The Lion in Winter: Opening Friday Night at Brazosport Center Stages

Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine give us their family dysfunction with such a combination of loving and loathing, tenderness and violence, and whiplashing from one to the other so adeptly that they become fearful to the extreme. Fearful to each other, to the lands they contest to rule, and to us in the audience.

Why should they frighten the audience, you ask? Well, maybe it’s just me but I kept seeing King Donald and Melania of Slovenia on the stage with the kids and dad’s chief paramour, all contending for a slice of the pie.

Well, set that aside and stay focused on the Twelfth Century. Just relax and enjoy family dysfunction as entertainment. This play, this director (Judi James) and this cast deliver.

For example, here’s an argument at the dinner table.

Arguing at the dinner table. The kids at play in Henry and Eleanor’s dysfunctional family.

Much of it has to do with the complicated relationships involving Pop and the lady they picked when she was younger (a lot younger) to be married to one of the sons.

Maybe the coolest head on the stage, Dad’s not-so-secret girlfriend, Alais, played by Lisa Chapa.

And if you thought Mama was taking her incarceration lightly (her loving hubby’s doing), she will remind you that she carries a switchblade.

But believe me, this is serious drama and the cast is fantastic. If you are a BCS follower and fan, you will know Susan Moss (Mummy, aka Eleanor of Aquitaine), Devon Smith (Pops, aka Henry II), Craig Fritz (as one of the conniving sons), Lisa Chapa (as Alais), and lots of new ones. And the newbies are very good.

If you enjoyed the photographs, thank the lighting designer. (I’m not sure who that is, but I think one of the actors may have been involved. I’m guessing Lisa Chapa.) Also the costumers, set designers, builders, and all the people it takes to put on a production of this quality. Thank them all. They have done a superb job under the most difficult mid-pandemic conditions.

It opens Friday in the Freeport LNG Theater in the Brazosport Center for the Arts and Sciences. But only about a quarter of the seats are being sold to reduce the risk of spreading Covid. They won’t tell you this, but I don’t care what the guvner won’t allow, I’m gonna tell you anyhow: Wear a mask, dammit.

Make your reservations here. See more rehearsal photographs here.

Remembering Theresa Jackson

Today we remember Theresa Jackson and the smile that would warm the darkest of days and penetrate the darkest of hearts. We will miss her.

Theresa Jackson 1945 – 2021

This is a picture I took the last time I saw her on February 26 of this year at the Say Their Names Memorial exhibition at the Brazosport Center for the Arts and Sciences. She was there as one of the organizers. Of course.

Read more about her life in today’s edition of The Facts.

A Workshop Made to Order for SOTLJ Readers

The Brazosport Fine Arts Council is sponsoring a workshop by Ron Rozelle that is designed to help people with memoir writing.

It will be held online with remote sessions via Zoom. Mr. Rozelle is a published memoirist and historian. I have signed up and I hope readers of sotlj.com will also sign up. If you are serious about writing interestingly of your own life for the sake of your children, grandchildren or just for the sake of satisfying your ego, it will be worth a hundred bucks or so. (It will be $125 if you are not a member of BFAC.)

Mr. Rozelle has done it successfully and I am sure he can help us. Here is a link to the workshop information and registration. Please join me there on January 2.

I can see us all having a great time and learning a lot from Mr. Rozelle and from each other. The writing should make for some interesting sharing among some of the most interesting people who inhabit this charming South of Town place we call home. I know a few of you who read here and I know that you have had interesting lives and careers. I would like know more about you.

If you don’t know Ron Rozelle, just Google the name or, better yet, put it into an Amazon book search. You can read samples of some of his writing. And you will wish you were able to write like him.

https://bcfas.org/event/ron-rozelle-memoir-workshop/2022-01-02/

Don’t Despair: Good People with Grit Find a Way to Win

www.nytimes.com/2021/11/22/opinion/american-democracy.html

This is an article by Michelle Goldberg from the Nov. 22 New York Times. In it she discusses the various techniques the present day Republican Party has put in place to prevent Democrats from ever again influencing public policy in any meaningful way. I hope you will be able to open the article and read it if you have not already done so.

As she ticks off the things they have done over the last forty years, it becomes clear that what they have in mind is a one-party America run for the benefit of a white, male, evangelical Christian minority that won’t hesitate to use its Second Amendment rights to intimidate and suppress.

If you are a Democrat, things seem hopeless. And things look particularly grim if you are a Democrat who is non-white, or maybe someone who identifies as LGBTQ (will five letters do?), or maybe even if you are a woman, things begin to look pretty hopeless.

I grew up in a one party state. Yes, it was right here in Texas. It was the Democrats then. We went through the whole process of picking candidates to run against a Republican nominee in the General Election. The democratic primaries usually offered the voters real choices. But the Republican never won. And many of the Democrats who won could easily match conservative cred with today’s Republicans, including the racist part.

The Republicans never won, that is, until some rich Texans decided they had had enough when the Democratic Party started doing the unthinkable — electing liberals. And some of the conservatives the Democrats had elected to state offices moved into national office and began to act like liberals. Rich Texans decided it was time to build a Republican Party that could take care of business — literally. Continue reading “Don’t Despair: Good People with Grit Find a Way to Win”

A Thanksgiving Wish: a Poem from Sheenagh Pugh

 


Sometimes
by Sheenagh Pugh

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost, green thrives, the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.

Veterans Day and a Thought about Vaccinations and Masks

I read today that only one in ten adult Americans alive today have spent any time in military service. The other ninety percent are quick to “thank you for your service.” Yet a good many of them insist on the right to remain unmasked and unvaccinated during a deadly pandemic.

I wasn’t told about any such rights in 1968 when they lined us up and marched us between two rows of medical technicians who administered multiple inoculations through pressure pumps that pierced the skin without needles. One med tech leaned on us from each side to administer two shots quickly so we could move on the the next two shots. I don’t even remember how many shots we got that day to prepare us for possible service in southeast Asia.

Mine turned out to be unnecessary since I never went to Vietnam. Still, I have been protected against some unknown list of exotic diseases all these years. I haven’t had the plague yet. Thank you, Uncle Sam.

I try to imagine anyone that day claiming a religious exemption. He probably would have been sent over to talk with the chaplain. It would have been a brief consultation. Mine would have gone about like this: “Methodist? Hmmm. No, private, Jesus didn’t have anything to say about vaccinations. In fact, he talked a lot about sacrificing for others. Go get back in line.”

Maybe Veterans Day would be a good time for Americans to take their minds off their rights for a brief while and spend a few minutes thinking about duty and responsibility. No uniform is required to be a responsible citizen.

So, get vaccinated. Do it for a veteran you love. Do it for your protection and theirs. He or she may thank you for your service.