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Sunday, September 24, 2017
REVIEW: BRILLIANT “EVERY BRILLIANT THING” @ DREAMCATCHER REP ILLUMINATES DIFFICULT SUBJECT WITH HUMOR AND POIGNANCY
by Ruth Ross
Suicide—attempted or committed—is never a solitary act, for it affects family, friends and colleagues long after its occurrence. Nor is suicide a laughing matter, although there are some funny bits in Every Brilliant Thing, now receiving its New Jersey premiere at Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre in Summit.
Penned by Duncan MacMillan (with Jonny Donahoe), this engrossing, poignant dramedy presents a wry, albeit serious, look at the effect his mother’s multiple suicide attempts have on the unnamed character whom we follow from the ages of 7 to 27 as he tries mightily to deal with his own reactions to this seminal event. To do so, he makes a long list for his mother of all the brilliant things in the world that make him (and he hopes, her) happy. He knows she’s read it because she corrected his spelling, but she never talks to him about it. Soon, the list takes on a life of its own, offering him solace when the world around him seems bleak.
Tautly directed by Laura Ekstrand, Every Brilliant Thing involves the audience in this journey through a novel form of audience participation: Upon entering the theater, each patron is urged to take a card and, when called upon, to read what is written on it. Or, an audience member is called to come up onstage and play a role (with dialogue supplied by the playwright), say, of his father, school counselor or college lecturer. Thus, with an audience of just 50 (several seated on the stage), Every Brilliant Thing gives us an intimate, almost personal, look at the serious problem of mental illness and invests us in the protagonist’s life. It’s clever without being precious, touching without being maudlin or sentimental.
Clark Scott Carmichael (above), onstage and talking nonstop for 95 minutes, turns in a masterful performance. He seamlessly transitions from child to teenager to college student to young adult, without playing “cute.” He’s so convincing that we never doubt that this is his story. MacMillan has written some nice dialogue for the audience member playing his father, school counselor and the woman he eventually marries, opening the play so that it feels like a natural dialogue.
Over the two decades of his mother’s depression and attempts to take her own life, MacMillan chronicles the change in her son’s reaction, from confusion to disgust to an acknowledgement that he, too, suffers from the same “hard-wired” melancholy that drove her to do what his father calls “a stupid thing.” His making a list to lift her spirits is, in itself, a brilliant thing; that he uses it for his own comfort as he copes with the complexity of being alive, makes us feel glad and hopeful.
It’s worth mentioning that there’s a belief that the treatment of suicide in novels (The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe) and television (the controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why) or the seemingly ubiquitous reports of celebrity suicides can trigger a teenager to take his or her own life. While that subject is addressed in Every Brilliant Thing, Duncan MacMillan and Dreamcatcher Rep suggest that heightened awareness of mental health issues and professional help are keys to dealing with this problem. And, I am sure that I was not the only audience member for whom this play touched a nerve.
Once again, Dreamcatcher Rep has brought us a polished production of a timely play about a provocative subject. By talking about a serious problem in an unserious way, Every Brilliant Thing enriches our understanding of the problem and given us the power to deal with it. Bravo and thank you!
Every Brilliant Thing will be performed at The Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, through October 8. Seating is limited to 50 patrons a performance. For information and tickets, call 800.838.3006 or visit www.dreamcatcherrep.org online.
Friday, September 22, 2017
The Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County is presenting a two-part program with Dr. David Brahinsky (and the Roosevelt String Band), about Martin Buber.
At 1:00 p.m., Dr. Brahinsky will present a lecture, Martin Buber and the Zionist Movement, about the philosophy of Martin Buber. Buber was one of the most important Jewish philosophers of the 20th century, deeply involved in the Zionist movement. His focus was on "cultural Zionism," a focus he shared in the early decades of the movement with many of the political founders such as Chaim Weitzman. As time went on, however, Buber found himself at odds with many of these leaders. Dr. Brahinsky will discuss the evolution of Buber's thoughts on the subject, how it relates to his overall philosophy, his most famous book, I and Thou, and how it came to be in conflict with the majority, and the consequences of this conflict today.
After the lecture at 2:30 p.m., David Brahinsky and Friends (The Roosevelt String Band) will present a concert, Songs of Zion in Yiddish, Hebrew (and via Bob Dylan!), featuring David Brahinsky on guitar and vocals, Guy DeRosa on harmonicas, Noemi Bolton on banjo/guitar and vocals, and Phil MacCauliffe on bass. It will include Hebrew and Yiddish music/songs related to the Zionist enterprise, as well as selected songs by Bob Dylan that illuminate his tie to Judaism.
David Brahinsky is a professor of philosophy and comparative religion at Bucks County Community College and the founder of the Roosevelt String Band. He has given concerts and lectures at The Jewish Heritage Museum in the past. He lives in Princeton with his wife, Naomi.
For more information or to make a paid reservation (non-refundable), call the Museum at 732-252-6990, or visit www.jhmomc.org. The Jewish Heritage Museum is located in the Mounts Corner Shopping Center, at 310 Mounts Corner Drive Freehold, NJ, at the corner of Route 537 and Wemrock Road (between the CentraState Medical Center and Freehold Raceway Mall). It is on the second floor of the historic Levi Solomon Barn. The JHMOMC is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Museum is handicapped and assisted-listening accessible.
Join the Art Center this fall for one of our fantastic Road Trips. We’ve taken advantage of Curator Mary Birmingham’s extensive knowledge of the contemporary art scene to provide insider experiences unlike anything you’ll get from any other museum. You’ll tour a variety of galleries and museums and sample the local fare in a some of today’s most vibrant art locales. (Above: Attendees of an Art Center Road Trip in 2015.)
Our first trip, on Thursday, October 12, takes us to the growing art scene and vibrant community that is DUMBO, Brooklyn. With its amazing waterfront access, beautiful parks featuring views of Manhattan, and a thriving art scene, DUMBO (which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) has become one of Brooklyn’s most buzz-worthy neighborhoods. It features art studios, luxury residences, and hip restaurants. We’ll travel by luxury coach to DUMBO where we will have an early private lunch at DUMBO Kitchen. Mary Birmingham will guide us through several galleries such as Smack Mellon and Minus Space.
WHERE: The bus departs from the Art Center, 68 Elm Street, Summit, PROMPTLY at 8:45 am and returns approximately 4:30.
TICKETS: $100 for members and $125 for non-members.
On Thursday, November 16, we return to New York City, this time to explore Long Island City. We will visit MOMA PS1 where Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting, the first comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s prolific six-decade career will be on view as well as their permanent collection featuring site specific works by artists created over the organization’s 40-year history. Other stops may include Fisher Landau Center For Art or Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs based on availability. We have arranged a private lunch at The Astor Room & Landmark Café at Kaufman Studios originally built as the commissary to the movie studio opened by Hollywood icon Adolph Zukor and frequented by early movie stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Mary Astor.
WHERE: The bus departs the Art Center, 68 Elm Street, Summit, promptly at 9 am and returns approximately 4:30.
TICKETS: $125 for members and $150 for non-members.
We’ll head to Doylestown, Pennsylvania on Thursday, November 30, for a visit to the James A. Michener Museum, a regional art museum which focuses on the rich tradition of artists working in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. On view will be “A Time to Break Silence: Pictures of Social Change,” as well as their permanent collections which include George Nakashima Reading Room and their modern and contemporary art. Our luxury coach will then take us to downtown Doylestown which features a variety of restaurants, shopping, and small galleries for lunch on your own. We’ll also visit Fonthill Castle, a poured concrete castle built by Henry Chapman Mercer for his amazing collection of textiles and handcrafted tiles. If you prefer, you can use the time to visit the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works, a National Historic Landmark and museum where handmade tiles are still produced in a manner similar to that developed by the pottery’s founder and builder, Henry Chapman Mercer.
WHERE: The bus departs the Art Center, 68 Elm Street, Summit, promptly at 8:15 am and returns approximately 4:30.
TICKETS: $100 for members and $125 for non-members.
To make your reservation contact Bonnie-Lynn Nadzeika, Development Department, 908-273-9121 ext. 225 or via email at email@example.com. Due to limited seating, tickets are non-refundable. Reservations are also available on www.artcenternj.org.
About the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey
For more than 80 years, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey has been exclusively dedicated to viewing, making, and learning about contemporary art. Recognized as a leading non-profit arts organization, the Art Center’s renowned studio school, acclaimed exhibitions, and educational outreach initiatives serve thousands of youth, families, seniors, and people with special needs every year.
The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is located at 68 Elm Street in Summit, New Jersey. Adult and children’s group tours are available throughout the year. Gallery Hours: Monday to Wednesday and Friday: 10AM to 5PM; Thursday 10AM to 8PM; and Saturday & Sunday 11 AM to 4 PM. Please call 908-273-9121 to confirm holiday hours. Visit www.artcenternj.org for more information.
Major support for the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is provided by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Walter V. and Judith L. Shipley Family Foundation, the Wilf Family Foundations, and Art Center members and donors.
Songwriter, Satirist and Improv Artist
WHEN: Saturday, September 23, at 7:30 pm
WHERE: Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Rd, Morristown.
Tickets are available either online at Concerts.FolkProject.org or at the door on the evening of performance.
For further information, call 973-335-9489, or visit Concerts.FolkProject.org.
How would one best encapsulate the essence of Eric Schwartz? Think Jon Stewart with a guitar. He zeroes in on the social and political foibles of 21st Century America with the precision of a Robin Hood skewering the forces of greed, corruption, and foolishness with each unerring arrow. His humor is wickedly biting and to the point. On top of this, he is also a superb singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist, not only on guitar, but on piano as well. Well known as the bad boy of the Folk World, he is also highly regarded in the West Coast comedy club scene. Schwartz is possibly the only artist in the history of the world to get raves from both Gloria Steinem and Hustler Magazine. Eric’s songs go from the political to the profane, are sometimes both, and are always characterized by intelligence, brilliant wordplay and savage wit.
Please note that if this concert were a movie, it would be rated “R” for language and sexual content. And, like the aforementioned Jon Stewart, Schwartz is prominently political and Left Wing.
The event is part of the Folk Project Special Concert Series that takes place a number of times a year at The Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, the same venue as its Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series.
The Folk Project is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Corporation whose mission is to present high caliber folk music performances and instructional workshops for the public and members; to encourage development of musicianship and performance skills in the northern New Jersey area; and to provide interesting social and learning activities relating to traditional and participatory folk music and dance.
Funding for this concert has been made possible in part by funds from Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Two Sing-Along Movies in One Weekend!
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
WHEN: Saturday, September 23 at 8pm
Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Animated)
WHEN: Sunday, September 24 at 1pm
Both movies feature costume contests, refreshments, and more!
WHERE: The Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Road, Maplewood
SUGGESTED ADMISSION PER FILM: Adults - $10, Children - $5
Tickets available at www.thestrollers.org
*Separate admission required for each night*
You can also find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheStrollersMaplewood
CENTENARY STAGE COMPANY’S 2017–18 SEASON CONTINUES WITH ENSEMBLE CHACONNE’S “MEASURE FOR MEASURE: THE MUSIC OF SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS”
WHEN: Sunday, September 24, at 2pm
WHERE: Sitnik Theater of the Lackland Performing Arts Center, 715 Grand Ave., Hackettstown
TICKETS: $22.50 for adults and $15 for students and children under 12 in advance. Ticket prices increase $5.00 the day of the performance.
For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.centenarystageco.org or call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979 – 0900. The box office is located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center; 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1–5 pm and two hours prior to each performance.
The musicians (Peter H. Bloom, renaissance flute; Carol Lewis, viola da gamba; Olav Chris Henriksen, renaissance lute; and mezzo-soprano Burcu Gulec) display versatility and dramatic flair in everything from love songs and comic antics to madness and tragedy. Praised by The Portland Press Herald as “the perfect Elizabethan evening,” the concert features music by leading composers of Shakespeare’s time (Robert Johnson, Thomas Morley, and others), with selections from As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Henry V, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth.
Hailed for “vitality and character…style and verve” (MusicWeb International), and now celebrating its 32nd season, Ensemble Chaconne concertizes internationally, with tours in England, Ontario and across the United States. The group has performed at the National Gallery in London, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s residency at Davidson College, the Edison Theatre in St. Louis, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park Florida, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Jordan Hall in Boston, and many other venues.
Mezzo-soprano Burcu Gulec has performed in the United States and abroad, in New York, Boston, Detroit, Seattle, and throughout Turkey (Ankara, Antalya, Kastamonu, other cities). Acclaimed for charisma, versatility, and impressive vocal range, she has appeared with Grammy-nominated Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, Robert Larabee, the early music/world music group Dünya, and other noted ensembles.
Among the many selections in the Shakespeare concert are “The Willow Song” sung by Desdemona in Othello; “It Was a Lover and His Lasse” (As You Like It); “O Mistress Mine” (Twelfth Night); “Full Fathom Five” (The Tempest); “Go from My Window” from Ophelia’s mad scene in Hamlet; and “Greensleeves,” the famous ballad tune (quoted in The Merry Wives of Windsor). Additional selections feature songs from the “Sundry Plays”; Cymbeline and Measure for Measure, as well as, an entire assortment of songs featuring the work of composer Thomas Morley.
Centenary Stage Company can also be found across social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Like and follow to receive the latest in Centenary Stage Company news and special offers.
The 2017-2018 season of performing arts events at the Centenary Stage Company is made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts, the Shubert Foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, the Sandra Kupperman Foundation, and CSC corporate sponsors, including Premier Season Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Medical Center, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), The Holiday Inn in Budd Lake, The House of the Good Shepherd, Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.
Spitting In The Face Of The Devil
WHEN: Friday/September 22 8:00pm-10:00pm (Doors open at 7:30/includes Talk-Back); Saturday/September 23 8:00pm-10:00pm
(Doors open at 7:30/includes Talk-Back)
WHERE: Jersey City Theater Center , Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Avenue, Jersey City
TICKETS: $20 General Admission ($15 Students & Senior Citizens, with valid ID)
to purchase tickets visit: www.JCTCenter.org or call
Can you imagine discovering that your father is a predator?
For the first theatrical show in its new Fear Series, Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) presents Spitting In The Face Of The Devil, a daring, uplifting and often comedic solo show by acclaimed monologist Bob Brader.
In this gripping solo show, Brader tells the true story of finding out that his abusive yet charismatic ex-Marine father is a pedophile. Spitting In The Face Of The Devil recently completed a successful tour of the US and Canada and following its win as Best Encore in the United Solo Theatre Festival, the largest solo theatre festival in the world, the critically acclaimed solo show makes its Jersey City Debut at JCTC. This 7-Time Best of Award-Winning solo show has been produced in numerous venues and festivals across North America, including the New York International Fringe Festival, Garage Theatre Group’s Solo Fest, Inaugural United Solo Theatre Festival, Inaugural Woodstock Memoir Festival, San Francisco Fringe Festival, Atlantic Fringe Festival, Omega Institute, Victoria Fringe Festival, Montreal Fringe Festival and London Fringe Festival.
- San Diego Gay & Lesbian News: “A harrowing and powerful one-man show… Brader is a riveting actor as well as storyteller!”
- London Free Press: ★★★★1/2 "A funny, engaging marathon of storytelling that not only delivers understanding, but inspires—a must see performance that will make you laugh, cry and just feel good!"
- Donald’s Dish, London: ★★★★★ “Eighty minutes of brilliance!”
- Michelle Stevens, PhD, Author of Scared Selfless: “A truly AMAZING one-man show. Bob Brader is the next Spalding Gray; I kid you not!”
A portion of the Artist’s proceeds from the JCTC presentation will be donated to Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect in all forms for all New Jersey children. (www.preventchildabusenj.org)
Spitting In The Face Of The Devil is part of JCTC’s new Fear series. “We are thrilled and honored to be presenting Spitting In The Face Of The Devil at JCTC, and to be a part of such an exciting multicultural, multimedia series,” said Brader.
JCTC selects topics global in scope yet relevant to the community then explores that theme using visual arts, theater, dance, monologues, and other performances. With Fear—the first (of three) series of its 2017/2018 series—JCTC presents subject matter that exists on both internal and external levels and is relevant to individuals and communities alike.
“Spitting In The Face Of The Devil is a deeply honest piece of work,” said Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC. “Childhood is a very fragile stage of life and your parents can make or break you. Bob’s story is not just one of trauma, but also struggle, perseverance, and overcoming adversity.”
INTIMATE SHOW ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS AND ITS IMPACT ON A FAMILY TO PREMIERE @ DREAMCATCHER REP IN SUMMIT THIS WEEKEND
Every Brilliant Thing
by Duncan Macmillan, with Jonny Donahoe
WHEN: September 22 - October 8, 2017; Friday & Saturday 8 PM; Sunday 2 PM
Due to the intimate and interactive nature of the show, only 50 seats will be sold for each performance.
You're six years old. Mom's in the hospital. Dad says she's "done something stupid." She finds it hard to be happy. So you start to make a list of everything that's brilliant about the world. Everything that's worth living for. 1. Ice cream. 2. Kung Fu movies. 3. Burning things. 4. Laughing so hard you shoot milk out your nose. 5. Construction cranes. 6. Me. You leave it on her pillow. You know she's read it because she's corrected your spelling. Soon, the list will take on a life of its own.
The production is directed by Laura Ekstrand (Livingston) and features Dreamcatcher ensemble member Clark Carmichael (Montclair). Playwright Duncan Macmillan’s other plays have been produced at the Royal Court Theatre and the National Theatre in London as well as the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, among many others. Co-author Jonny Donahoe is an actor, comedian and writer, and was nominated for a Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk Award for his performance in Every Brilliant Thing.
This solo show that is performed in the round had its debut in London and then travelled to Off-Broadway in 2016. In it, the protagonist engages the audience by asking them to read items from the list and, occasionally, to help him tell his story. Sincere but not sentimental, Every Brilliant Thing deals with mental illness and its impact on a family. It employs humor and theatricality to reveal the way tragedy can yield both sweetness and sorrow.
The facility is wheelchair accessible. Assistive listening devices for the hearing impaired and advance large print scripts are available for free by prior arrangement. To purchase tickets or for information on any of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's programs, visit www.dreamcatcherrep.org or contact Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre at Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901, business phone 908-514-9654.
WHEN: Sunday, September 24, 7:30 – 9 pm
WHERE: Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, 411 E. Clinton Ave., Tenafly
ADMISSION: $12 JCC members; $14 public
The VIP reception with Alon Ben-Gurion, at 6 pm, is sponsored by American Friends of Soroka Medical Center. Tickets are sold separately at $100 per ticket. For more information, or to register, please call 201.408.1427.
Six hours of interview footage with David Ben-Gurion, filmed in 1968 when he was 82, has recently been discovered and released. The setting is his secluded home in the desert, removed from all political discourse, providing him with a hindsight perspective on the Zionist enterprise.
Ben-Gurion’s introspective soul-searching is the focus of this film, and his clear voice expresses his deep understanding of the currents of history and a surprising vision for the future of Israel. His grandson, Alon Ben-Gurion will appear and speak at the screening.
IAC Cinematec was founded by Etti Inbal with the support of Aya Schechter and the team of IAC NJ, to introduce the US public to Israeli films, film makers, and daily life in Israel in an effort to create an Israeli-American community of film fans, who can share in the experience and enjoy dialogues about the films. Films are screened with English subtitles and attended by a guest director, actor, or a film professional, who will discuss issues related to the film in English.
All talks are 10:00-11:00 AM and will include coffee, muffins, and time for questions.
There is no fee for the talks but pre-registration is mandatory. Sign up link can be found at PrincetonDance.com or call 609-514-1600
October 1: A Dancer's Pathway to College - PDT Alumni and Princeton University students: Emily Wohl, Jorina Kardhashi, and Madison Lai
November 5: Mindfulness/Meditation/Yoga for Performance Anxiety - PDT Alumna, Ballet and Yoga Instructor, Elyse Mertz and PDT Director, Risa Kaplowitz
December 3: Summer Intensives - What to Look For and Where to Go - PDT Director, Risa Kaplowitz
January 7: The Different Schools of Ballet and Ballet Exams - PDT Instructors and ABT® National Training Curriculum Fellows, Risa Kaplowitz, Maura Ryan, Nora Cotter
February 4: A Dancer's Pathway to Becoming a Professional Dancer - PDT Instructors and Professional Dancers, Risa Kaplowitz and Talin Kenar
March 4: Injury Prevention for Dancers - Justine DeLuccio PT. MS. OCS. FAAOMPT and PDT Ballet and Pilates Instructor Talin Kenar
April 8: Never Too Late - Dance for Adults - PDT Instructors Talin Kenar and Risa Kaplowitz along with current adult dance students
“There are many advantages to seriously pursuing dance at any age and level,” explains school director, Risa Kaplowitz. “We want to support anyone wanting to do so.”
For information about Princeton Dance and Theater Studio, visit www.princetondance.com @PrincetonDance on Facebook and Instagram.