Sunday, April 21, 2013

Brutus, You Give Good Words

A trip to the theater requires a pre-show meal.

Now that we have several to choose from near CenterStage, I took my pleasure at Pasture, where the patio and bar were full, but the back bar invited all comers.

I barely got my butt in a stool when I heard my name called and saw a food punk sitting at the end of the bar, calling me over.

Company? I'll take it.

But with a curtain to make, I had to be mindful of the business at hand, so I ordered a glass of tonight's featured wine, Domaine d'Andezon, a smooth, mouth-filling red to go with my Frito pie.

Nothing prepares you for a night of Shakespeare like cheese-smothered vegetarian chili, onions and Fritos, especially when served in a red and white checked paper container (sort of like how fries came from the snack shack at the pool when I was a kid).

While I chowed down on an absolutely delightful pre-theater supper, she enjoyed a Lincoln cocktail which she tried unsuccessfully to describe to me.

Since words are what I do, I listened and then asked, "Leather chair?" and she ecstatically affirmed that, yes, a leather chair was exactly what it tasted like.

One sip and I knew I'd nailed it.

We talked about the documentary she's making on Sally Belle's Kitchen, the pleasures of a picnic at the Carillon and how easy it is to get into a rut and not try new restaurants.

Since, like me, she's a come-here, she shares my enthusiasm for Richmond, and the array of options available for anyone who cares to avail themselves of it all.

We almost got off on a discussion of negative-energy foodies, but decided to table that talk for an entire evening instead.

Julius Caesar, after all, was awaiting me.

I walked the two blocks down to CenterStage to pick up tickets and took a seat to wait for my date to arrive.

I was soon joined on my bench by a woman in a striking, long white and purple flowered dress, complete with purple belt and shoes.

She was waiting for her husband, she said, giving me a long stare.

"You have the cutest nose," she said in a very British accent. "It's really a very pretty profile you have."

I think she was saying I gave good nose, so I thanked her.

Soon the menfolk arrived and we headed upstairs for a great tragedy.

Henley Street's production had not only been getting rave reviews, but its artistic director, James Ricks, will soon leave Richmond for no doubt a bigger market, making this the last thing he'd direct for Henley Street.

It was closing night for the show, meaning everyone was superb in their roles, performing at 110% emotion.

He reads much, he is a great observer.

Ricks had set the play in early 20th century Europe, a plausible substitution for a republic headed toward dictatorship.

Who is so firm that can't be seduced?

Watching the action unfold, I couldn't help but be impressed with the level of acting I was seeing.

I grant, I am a woman

At the point that Brutus gets up to speak to the Romans after he and his accomplices have killed Caesar for the sake of the republic, an actor suddenly slipped into our row and sat down.

Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.

He became one of the Romans yelling questions and accusations at Brutus, bringing the drama within two seats.

With Caesar dead by intermission, I was eagerly awaiting and dreading the sadness of the second act.

A friendly eye could never see such faults.

Watching men go into battle, even knowing the outcome, I felt what I always feel about battles.

Why must men do this?

I know young bloods look for a time of rest.

By the end of this grand and glorious "Julius Caesar," one with imposing music, an evocative set and a cast that would have impressed in markets far bigger than Richmond, I joined the audience in giving a standing ovation for such a fabulous theater experience.

Of course, that's just my opinion, but then, I read much and I am a great observer.

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