Friday, July 29, 2016

All That Glitters is Not Gold, It's Heat

You know what the problem with tonight was? No eunuchs.

It's not like dinner at Acacia wasn't fabulous because when isn't dinner at Acacia fabulous?

My chilled cucumber/avocado soup with creme fraiche tasted clean as a cuke and creamy as an avocado. I'd rank my tile fish collar (probably my favorite part of the fish) over summer succotash with curry sauce as the star of the table (and the epitome of the chef's mad skills with seafood), except each of my table mates would probably have made a case for their soft shells, their wahoo and their crab cake.

Sipping a refreshing beverage of Lindera farms strawberry vinegar, honey, mint and soda, I was comfortably cool, but one at our table was feeling a tad flushed (despite her Anton Bauer Zweigelt Rose), hardly an unusual occurrence.

What we needed, she thought, was someone to stand on either side of her at the table with  palm frond fans. My suggestion was that they be shirtless, wear harem pants and include peacock feathers in the fans.

"That's what this restaurant is missing! Eunuchs!" she exclaimed, metaphorically smacking her forehead with the realization.

Consider that this was prior to an explanation by another friend of why I shouldn't go more than three days without showering and you have some idea of the scintillating dinner conversation we enjoyed.

Seems her research turned up the rather gruesome sequence of personal deterioration that would ensue sans bathing: the first day, sweat, the second, bacteria and the third, mold.

Growing on one's body, mind you.

I suppose the best news was that because we had theater tickets, we lacked the time for a proper linger over dessert and after-dinner drinks or god knows how much lower the conversation might have degenerated.

It was our take two for Quill Theater's "Merchant of Venice" at Agecroft after being sent home last weekend due to the arrival of thunderstorms. Fortunately, a look at the weather just before leaving home had assured me there was no chance of any rain or storm activity until 9:45.

With any luck, we were hoping the play, which began at 7:30, would be finished by then.

But fish not with this melancholy bait

Of all Shakespeare's plays, "Merchant" is surely one I've seen the least often and probably last as done by this same company when they were called Henley Street. The rarity of productions can undoubtedly be attributed to the play's problematic treatment of Jews, making for an easy analogy with treatment of other religious groups today.

Love is blind

From the opening scenes, the play was strong, in large part due to the uncompromising yet sympathetic portrayal of Shylock, the moneylender, by Matthew Radford Davies, a handsome Shakespeare professor at Mary Baldwin.

I think it's safe to say that his students must leave his tutelage well schooled in the mechanics of total character immersion. Simultaneously, he conveyed the years of persecution he'd endured and the effects of it in his now-merciless need for revenge.

We have friends who practice merriment

Completely compelling as the production was, the sweat factor - at intermission, the heat index still registered at 101 degrees - necessitated fans of the hand-held and battery-powered varieties and copious amounts of water in order to stay alive, forget about comfortable.

Once again, tragically, we were suffering from a lack of eunuchs.

Let not the sound of shallow foppery enter

In fact, at intermission, I was questioned on my ability to exist in my un-air-conditioned apartment given the heat dome that's dominated Richmond the past week and a half.

"Does anyone check on you?" one friend inquired. "If you mummified up there, who would find you? Would anyone even know you were gone?" Negative.

Madame, you have bereft me of all words

Probably the most moving moment of the evening happened when Shylock gave his "I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?" speech, which took place under a sky being lit up by lightening and which competed with the rumble of a train along the riverfront.

I never knew so young a body with so old a head

Now, here's the kicker.

We got through the trial scene, albeit uncomfortably watching Shylock ridiculed for and then stripped of his faith, money and dignity, before the house manager came out and insisted we go inside Agecroft to stay safe from the impending storm.

The time was, it should be noted, 9:48. Kudos,

A straw vote settled the matter for our quartet and we headed directly to the car. Those not acclimated to heat (that would be everyone but me) had long been miserable and had no intention of waiting 15 minutes to determine if the play would be continued.

Besides, all we'd miss would be the so-called happy ending - reunited lovers, unexpected inheritances and ships coming in - and, if I'm honest, while I'd have loved to see the last bit, I was ready for some rain relief, too.

You know, in hopes I won't be mummified tonight. No eunuchs, sadly.


  1. You should know,given how long you've been reading me! Generally, I'm no fan of sexless men,but it's hot!

  2. It's hard to find good help in this heat, much less eunuchs☺️