Friday, January 16, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"We refuse to be enemies"

A compelling story of friendship between a Palestinian woman and an Israeli woman aired tonight on KPCC's program "The Story." They spoke at length of how they keep communicating amidst the current hostilities. When I heard one say that at a women's peace movement rally she heard the slogan "we refuse to be enemies," I felt a pang of hope for the first time in weeks.

My OC Register Arts Blog today... about director Tom O'Horgan, whose death was reported in The New York Times.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My debut with the Orange County Register

Check out my guest blog there at:

Right now, I am more regularly posting to my work blog at:, so check that out.

More personal posts, inappropriate for my work blog, will continue to appear here as time permits.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Pausing to Take Stock

Two consummate artists I had the pleasure of meeting passed within days of each other. Much has been written about the more famous of the two (both Brits), and I can't say I knew Harold Pinter intimately. But Alison and I did meet him following his performance in No Man's Land, a 1990s West End revival of a play he had written many years earlier. I was pleased that Orange County Register theater critic Paul Hodgins reprinted his piece on Pinter of a few years ago in which I recounted the story of my encounter with the great writer.

The other, Adrian Mitchell, was a noted poet and playwright, among whose projects was a stage adaptation of Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales, which I staged in the 90s at Laguna Playhouse. The play with music had been produced by many theaters over the years, and I first encountered it when I was managing director of the Grove Shakespeare Festival/Grove Theater Company, where it was reprised each year. One year, the director took some liberties with the script, framing the story with a prologue scene in a pub where we meet the poet Dylan Thomas as an adult.

When I planned my own production, I contacted Adrian Mitchell and told him about that concept and that I hoped to re-create it in some way. He graciously offered to pen a handful of lines for the pub opening. I invited him to come see it, and though I can't remember exactly how we did it, arranged for him and his wife Celia to visit. The exquisite Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach kindly provided a complimentary room--their best corner seaside view room, no less--and we gave a warm Southern California welcome to them (despite experiencing very English rain & chill during their stay).

A year later, Alison and I found ourselves in London, and the Mitchell's insisted on our coming over to their home in Hampstead for breakfast. Celia was gregarious and opinionated while Adrian was soft-spoken--though no less opinionated.

The New York Times ran a substantial obituary on Christmas eve and I learned much about him that I had not known--for instance, that he collaborated with Peter Brook on the legendary production of Marat/Sade in 1964.

Over the years, I failed to keep in touch with the Mitchells, and was saddened to learn of his death through the newspaper. He was a remarkable man.

Until next time...