Rod Molzahn will present his very entertaining “A Visit With Will” this Friday (Feb. 13) at 7 p.m. at The Merc Playhouse. (I know it is entertaining, as I saw Rod perform as Will several years ago). The “Will” is, of course, William Shakespeare.
“This is not a lecture,” Rod wants us all to know, though Will may drop an occasional line from his plays into the stories about his life. Rod is performing this show as a benefit for The Merc. Tickets are $15.
Sundays through Thursdays in the late afternoon at The Merc, you will find the same Rod Molzahn in a different role: directing a cast of elementary and middle school students as they rehearse for the March production of As You Like It.
Rod has high expectations for the young actors, who range in age from 8 to 15. “If I make the expectations clear, they [the young actors] will respond to that,” Rod says. He tells his cast that they will see their progress for themselves when “they are better at the end of each rehearsal than at the beginning.”
Rod has announced a “line deadline” for the end of this week, the second week of rehearsals; actors will know their parts by heart and cannot take their scripts on stage with them. I think it’s important to note that the kids are learning Shakespeare’s play, blank verse and all, and not a prose adaptation. To have the opportunity to work with this actor and educator is a great experience for these valley kids.
Daniel James Brown’s No. 1 bestselling The Boys on the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics is the Columbia River Reads selection for 2015. A Washington State Book Award winner for 2014, the book is about the University of Washington’s crew team and their preparation for the Olympics, where Hitler intended to demonstrate Nazi superiority to the world.
North Central Regional Library is sponsor of Columbia River Reads, and copies of Brown’s book are available at Twisp and other branch libraries. Dawn Woodruff will lead a discussion of the book at the Twisp library sometime before April 9, when Brown will be in Wenatchee for a “Meet The Author” event in the evening.
According to the Omak Theater’s website, Clint Eastwood’s film American Sniper ends its three-week run there this Thursday (Feb. 12). If three weeks seems a longer-than-usual run, I suspect it is because the film is making tons of money for everyone: more than $280 million in the United States alone.
I haven’t been to see the film. Bradley Cooper is gorgeous, but I don’t want to spend two hours watching him play Chris Kyle, famous for being “the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history” (“Movie Info” at rottentomatoes.com). Whether Kyle was a “true American hero” has been a matter much discussed by all the media. That Kyle’s alleged murderer is now on trial only adds to the film’s notoriety. I don’t need to add to that discussion.
I will be visiting Omak to see several of the films scheduled for the 12th Annual Omak Film Festival. Sponsored by Wenatchee Valley College, the festival begins Feb. 18. Visit the website (omaktheater.com).
Instead of/in addition to American Sniper, I recommend that you read a little book of short stories about the Iraq war. Yes, there is violence described in these stories, and many deal with themes that the film does. Phil Klay won the 2014 National Book Award for fiction for Redeployment. Klay himself is a veteran of the Iraq war where he served as a U.S. Marine. Klay has crafted thoughtfully considered plots that reveal the destructive power of the Iraq war over the ordinary people who fought it. Not one character is “the greatest” anything. Each one suffers in some way from his wartime experiences. These stories demand careful, thoughtful reading.
Reading it has been both enlightening and painful for me. My library copy of Redeployment is way overdue — I’m reading the stories slowly — but I cannot return the book before I finish reading.