GHOSTLY CAST OF CHARACTERS:
MISS MARGARET – This graceful lady is our most frequent visitor. She’s always wearing a white, Victorian-style dress, complete with high lace collar, Ieg-o-mutton sleeves, and a full length skirt. She wears her hair swept up into a bun on top of her head. Ordinarily, we’re treated to her visits during a stage production, and she seems to focus her energies on and around the stage. This has led to speculation that in real life, our visitor was an actress who used to live near here. Miss Margaret Gething, a charming, beautiful young singer and actress, lived with her mother on Guenther Street. When a touring show came to San Antonio in the early 1900’s, Miss Gething stepped into a part vacated by an ailing actress. She toured with the show, finally winding up in New York. She stayed on to build a career on the legitimate stage. Miss Margaret died in 1975 and the lady-in-white began visiting the building one year later. We like to think it’s her. Her house is open for tours during Fiesta week and is completely filled with Victoriana.
LITTLE EDDIE – This little scamp is mischief personified. Those who have caught a glimpse of him, tell us he’s a red-head … and from the types of pranks and practical jokes he plays on the long-suffering kitchen help, we guess his age to be from eight to twelve. Like most kids, he can be a real pain and – like most kids – he settles down once he gets your attention. A local psychic told us his name, while another connects him to a child’s death on a long-since vanished playground. Another tells us that he arrived via an antique rattan wheel chair once used as a prop for a play.
THE OLD MAN AND WOMAN – Some of our more genteel visitors, they’re usually glimpsed in or near the stage or on the bell tower at the front of the building. Our psychic friends have told us that the woman is named Henrietta. She was possibly a servant or employee of Miss Margaret and did sewing. We believe her to be the cause of many of our costume appearances and disappearances.
OTHERS - We actually aren’t sure if we have one man or two (or more?). One of the men may possibly be named Alvin and have been an actor in one of our plays. Alvin, who was a partner in a gallery at Blue Star, two blocks down from the theatre, was cast in a performance of “Born Yesterday.” On opening night he thought he might have the flu. On the next evening he didn’t make the actors “call.” When the stage manager went to his home to find him, he was almost comatose. Days later he passed away in the hospital from an unknown virus. This ghost appears often after late rehearsals.
Our “visitors” have various ways of letting us know they’re around:
Cold spots suddenly develop in the air
· Lights go on and off by themselves
· Cooks are shoved into the refrigerator
· Washed and draining dishes suddenly move back into the dishwater by themselves
· Doors open and close … or lock and unlock themselves
· Unusual noises persist
Regardless of who – or what – is responsible for these occurrences, the restaurant staff just works around them. Once in awhile you’ll hear a cook shout, “Now you just stop that!” and everyone knows we’ve got a visitor in the place.
If you’re skeptical, (who isn’t?) ask to see the photos of the “lady-in-white” caught on Polaroid film by an out-of-state guest one summer day in 1990!
We can’t explain our visitors! We’re not sure we want to.
But we do know one thing for sure – our visitors are definitely Friendly spirits!
In Britain, the repertory movement was a theatrical movement that originated in the early years of the twentieth century, was continued and developed between the two world wars, and became, after 1950, the prevailing form of theatrical organisation outside London. The earliest repertory companies were created and introduced as a protest against London’s domination of the theatres in the regions, along with a desire to counter-balance the commercial successes of the ‘West End’. My argument in this essay is that the time has come for a renewal of that protest in the face of a modern domination of British theatre by ‘The West End’.
By the second half of Queen Victoria’s reign, most people earned more money and worked shorter hours than ever before. This meant that for the first time, ordinary workers had enough leisure time to enjoy pastimes. By the mid-1800s, most of the large towns had several theatres, providing a range of ‘song-and-dance’ shows that entertained the whole family. By the 1860s, theatre became so successful that not only were they decorated to make them more comfortable with proper cushioned seats and carpet, but also matinées were introduced and the representational style of theatre was replaced with a new realism, pioneered on the continent by writers such as Ibsen. This meant box-sets were placed on the stage to create a proper room or rooms and the set would then be decorated with all the household items appropriate to that type of room; the set would appear exactly like a real-life room. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, theatres had stayed open many hours, often until midnight, showing tragedies, farces, pantomimes and other forms of entertainment that appealed to a mass audience. Theatres were not always the most salubrious places to visit. However, by the end of the century theatres were more attractive, stayed open for much shorter periods of time and the theatre programmes again consisted of just a single play. Banks and Marson (1998, p.45) claim that:
The court of Queen Victoria and so-called Victorian morality and attitudes affected the theatre. The Queen invited actors and companies to give ‘command performances’ at Windsor Castle;
thus the theatre became open and acceptable to all social classes, not just the lower classes of the earlier part of the century.
After the end of the Victorian period, things began to change significantly. Annie Horniman was “one of the most important forces in the shaping of twentieth century theatre in England” (Flannery, 1970, p.34), funding many worthwhile and critically acclaimed theatrical ventures and launching the careers of many famous figures in the world of drama. Annie was one of the key promoters of realism in the theatre in the UK, after observing with interest some of Ibsen’s plays. She also became aware of the number of repertory theatres in Germany and was keen to introduce into England the cultural value they brought. In her time Annie Horniman bought and renovated or financed several theatres that went on to achieve international recognition, as well as developing the modern repertory movement and enriching Britain’s dramatical culture, for which she was awarded an honorary MA. Most significantly, Horniman collaborated with W B Yeats on the establishment of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin as the first British repertory theatre in 1903. In 1907, she then bought the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester and redeveloped it as a regional repertory theatre. Harold Brighouse was another supporter of Manchester’s Gaiety and a prolific playwright of over seventy plays. Brighouse’s dominant style of writing was realism, and with Annie Horniman, was one of the first Britons to introduce and project this new style of theatre into British society. Brighouse, author of ‘Hobson’s Choice’, and other writers working in a similarly realistic style at the Gaiety became known as the Manchester School, which influenced the work of many other regional repertory theatres.
Barry Jackson shared with Annie Horniman her belief in the repertory movement. He was responsible for opening the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, which offered a valuable springboard for young actors wishing to work in ‘professional theatre’; through his work in Birmingham, he was also financing and supporting four other theatre companies. In 1904, a small group of theatrical players travelled around an area giving performances of old plays such as, ‘Youth’. It was this group, the Pilgrim Players, that later developed, under Barry Jackson’s guidance and influence, into the Birmingham Repertory Company; soon small repertory companies were beginning to establish themselves all over the country.
Although uncommon in British repertory theatres, some companies employed a form of repertoire system. In theatre, a repertoire system can operate with a theatre putting on many plays, including musicals, ballets and operas, at any one time. It is different from a weekly (or three-weekly) repertory system in that each play will have a different cast from within the same company, and possibly a different technical team too, making each production quite separate and unique. There are many benefits to this system, such as better quality and an increased variety of productions. However, the repertoire system has drawbacks too, including increased production costs due to each show needing separate sets, props, costumes, actors and publicity, with frequent changes to be organised.
When the British repertory system was in its early period of great success, it used to be that even smaller towns supported a theatre. The resident company would present a different play each week, normally a revival from a range of classics, but occasionally, if given the chance, a new play – the rights for which would have been recently released after a West End or Broadway run. However, these companies were not known for producing and developing new, untried work. Generally, companies would include a ‘leading lady’ and a ‘leading man’, two younger actors who would generally play the romantic roles. There would also be a ‘character’ actor and actress who would usually play the older roles and possibly a ‘soubrette’ who would play the cheeky, mischievous roles, thus creating a resident cast of seven actors. Occasionally a ‘guest star’ would be brought into the company for a short run to boost audience attendance and help pick up ticket sales.
The process of weekly rep was very stressful and pushed both the actors and the technical team to their limits. Typically the plays put on were three act plays and so along with performing one play, perhaps seven times a week, they would also have to learn lines, run and block a second play in their time between performances. However, from the audience’s point of view, seeing so many more, different performances, nearby and cheaper than the West End, was a fantastic and exciting opportunity. Local communities would strongly support the actors and would treat them like celebrities. According to the article on ‘repertory’ in Wikipedia, “sometimes entire families would make a visit to their local rep as part of their weekly routine like going to church”. For many of the younger audience members, this became a base for their future recognition, acknowledgement and enjoyment of live theatre, and indeed, a base for their social and cultural sense of self. However, today the practise of a new play every week and a week’s rehearsal does not happen and the practise of rep is more likely to be seen in large cities in well known establishments such as Birmingham Rep where plays run for between three and six weeks. Now actors rehearse for at least three weeks and as a result, a better show is produced and performed. However, a variation of weekly rep can still be found in some places in the UK. For example, producer Charles Vance still produces a successful weekly rep in Sidmouth based on a rotation of twelve plays.
Local repertory companies were keen to ensure a regular, good quality production for their communities. However, due to the World War between 1914 and 1918, the development of repertory slowed so much, it almost ground to a halt. The repertory theatres that remained open and successful such as Birmingham and Liverpool, encouraged other theatres to open, and continued giving their own performances, even twice a night. However, despite other smaller repertory theatres opening, by 1950, the popularity of the old style repertory theatres was disappearing, being replaced by regional theatres. Following an act of parliament in 1948, which established the arts council, many new regional repertory theatres were built; these were better financed, provided better facilities and put on longer runs of plays and invested in new writing, although still in repertory.
Regional repertory theatre in Britain was at its most important and influential between the 1950s and the 1980s. During this period the number of repertory theatres increased and the movement offered a good solid base to teach actors their trade, often acting as a preparation for professional theatre. This enabled many actors, such as Imelda Staunton, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen, who all began their careers in repertory theatres, as did Laurence Olivier, Peggy Ashcroft, Edith Evans and Ralph Richardson at Birmingham Rep between the wars, to go on to achieve universal recognition for their acting abilities.
The financing of the early repertory theatres was found privately, either through wealthy patrons such as Annie Horniman and Barry Jackson, or by local support. This meant that the companies were dependent either on the public’s continual support or on a patron having enough money to keep them running for a long period of time. This left many companies in an unstable position; the money could disappear at any time and the group would dissolve. However, the importance of keeping morale high during the Second World War was recognised by government funding for the first time, through what would become the Arts Council. This resulted in an increase of financial assistance for repertory companies after 1945.There was also a noticeable growth in local funding for resident companies or ‘regional theatres’ through the 1948 Act authorising expenditure on the arts, from the local rates, by local councils.
The years between the 1950s and the 1970s were some of the richest for dramatical culture in Britain with a wide variety of productions. Not only were the classics performed, as we see in today’s professional theatres, but also many of the plays produced, both in and out of the West End, were contemporary, with playwrights such as Willy Russell, John Osborne and Harold Pinter bringing a new meaningful depth to British theatre. Regional repertory theatres enabled a wide variety of new writers to develop an interesting range of drama, often with a local or a social and political theme.
A feature of the work of Peter Cheeseman… at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, has been… historical documentaries of local interest, using idiomatic speech and researched by his own group of actors. (Goorney, undated)
In contrast, the same theatre was the early training ground for the famous comedy writer, Alan Ayckbourn. On the stage today, there are fewer plays being written to be performed specifically in professional theatres, again reducing what could be a very rich theatrical culture.
The vast development of the regional theatres throughout the 1960s and 1970s was followed by a huge decline in the 1980s. Cutbacks in funding meant that seasons had to be cut back and some of the studio theatres were closed completely. The closing and disappearance of repertory theatres is due to the year-on-year reduction in funding, whether it be funding from the local communities, the regional arts boards, or from central government, the financial support is simply being denied to them. The increasing difficulty for theatres in finding sponsorship and benefactors to fund their work is resulting in lowering wages, reducing cast and company sizes and restricting budgets, all of which have a clear effect on the final performances; a reduced quality production is the outcome. This has become a concern for many politicians. In February 2003, Robin Harper, MSP for the Green Party, challenged the Scottish Executive over the funding of Scottish theatre, saying, “Core funding for the Scottish Arts Council has been at a standstill, causing many theatre companies to suffer financial hardship, and their capacity to stage productions to be severely restricted.” Repertory theatre depends upon money and support from local and national government; failure to provide sufficient support will mean that repertory will not survive and Britain will loose a key educational and entertainment resource. In a Lords’ debate on 14 July, 1998, Lord Jenkins of Putney quoted Sir Cameron Mackintosh, a leading commercial theatre producer in Britain, saying:
The reason that British theatre is the envy of the world – both artistically and
financially – is that public money was invested in revitalising regional theatre from the 1950s onwards… most UK theatres outside the West End were built, saved or funded by public money. (Lords Hansard, 1998)
Bill Alexander (1998) wrote to The Independent newspaper about the benefits of good funding from his experience at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, saying that good finance:
…will see us almost double the number of performances and productions… launch Birmingham’s only venue for new writing… produce more work for children and family audiences, double our investment in education and community activities… and bring a rich programme of large-scale work to our main stage.
Today, the situation with theatres has much reverted to how it was pre-repertory, with the ‘regional’ theatres predominantly producing amateur productions, occasional touring productions and one-night entertainment shows such as music evenings and dance shows. In contrast the West End is dominated by Shakespeare and musicals – many of which are the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber – with only very few theatres presenting plays, and those that do are long-running and change infrequently. Television has become the dominant medium at the expense of live drama. Without repertory theatres there are very limited opportunities for actors to develop their talents and train and learn their craft, thus resulting in the whole of the British arts system wilting and being reduced to a very primitive and unpolished existence. As Lord Rix said in the House of Lords, on 14 July 1988, “Regional theatre is the birthplace of most new work and the training ground for our industry.”
Film and television have been an increasingly dominant medium for drama and acting over the last fifty years with many actors who had been professionally trained in theatre, turning to work ‘on the big screen’, a career change that pays more and brings greater public admiration and acknowledgement. However, film and television do offer a lot, especially for those who cannot afford to go to the theatre regularly; a wide range of classics and dramas are constantly being reproduced on film and aired on television, making it possible for the majority of the population to have some experience of cultured drama.
It is inevitable that the experience of watching television at home, alone or in a small group, watching a film in a cinema in the company of a larger audience and being part of an audience at a live production in a theatre are not the same. The improvement in cinemas, both physically and in terms of technology, has lead to huge revival in cinema going in Britain in recent years. Watching, for example, a comedy or a horror film with a large audience around increases the individual’s pleasure and involvement in the film, because it is easier to laugh out loud when others are laughing around you too, and when one person jumps or screams, others feel the tension too. However, the performance on film is fixed and cannot react to the mood of the audience.
The unique quality of live drama is not only that the performance of the actors changes and develops from performance to performance, but also the involvement of the audience with the production adds an extra dimension to the experience for both actor and audience. The most obvious form of this is in the ever-popular Christmas pantomime. However, in more subtle ways, the same is true for all live productions in the theatre. This interaction is the key force that enables you to understand what is the purpose and underlying meaning behind the play. We need theatres in Britain that present a rich variety of drama from both contemporary and classic sources and from a range of different cultures. As Goorney (undated) suggests:
A popular theatre cannot be built solely on the basis of contemporary plays concerned with the political or social ills of our society. The plays inherited from the great theatres of the past, the Greeks, the Elizabethans, the Commedia dell’arte and the Spanish theatre of Lope de Vega, are the heritage of all people and must not remain, as at present, the privilege of the few.
I believe there are many good reasons why we need more repertory theatres today, perhaps most importantly because they encourage, prepare and train young actors and dramatists for professional theatre so thoroughly, presenting a more experienced and better trained actor to the public. This has worked for hundreds of actors over the years, many of whom have gone on to become Britain’s finest dramatic performers. There is no point training the best stage actors if there is no demand or opportunity for them to exercise their dramatic performing skills. The whole community is impoverished if we are not able to be challenged, entertained and educated by the experience of seeing meaningful scripts brought to reality by skilled and exciting actors. As Goorney (undated) says, “…Art generally, including theatre, exists to enrich our spirit, to inform and extend our horizons…” In the past, regional repertory theatre has been at the heart of that experience and I believe it is time for it to be so again.
Alexander, Bill. 1998. Rep must look to the future, not live in the past, The Independent, July 3, 1998
Arts and Humanities Data Service 2005 Birmingham Repertory Theatre Archive Database http://ahds.ac.uk/performingarts/collections/birmingham-repertory.htm
Baker, F (Ed). 1998. The Annie Horniman Papers, Manchester: John Rylands University Library
Banks, R A and Marson, P. 1998. Drama and Theatre Arts, London: Hodder and Stoughton
The Birmingham Repertory Theatre 2007 Birmingham Rep
Chambers, Colin (Ed). 2002. The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre, London: Continuum
Goorney, H. (Undated). Political Theatre in Britain 1928-1986
Hayman, Ronald. 1973. The Set-up, London: Eyre Methuen
Flannery, James W. 1970. Miss Annie F. Horniman and the Abbey Theatre, Dublin: Dolmen Press
Lords Hansard 1998. Provincial Repertory Theatres http://www.publications.parliamnet.uk/pa/ld199798/ldhansrd/vo980714-16.htm
National Museum for the Performing Arts 2007. Drama Tour: 1900-1945 http://www.peopleplayuk.org.uk/guided_tours/drama_tour/1900_1945/repertory.php
The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch 2007. The Queen’s Theatre (1975-present day)
Scottish Green Party 2003. Green MSP Challenges Executive Over Theatre Funding
Wikipedia 2007. Repertory
Daniel Boulud talks about his casual theatre district bistro / business power lunch spot in Midtown Manhattan. Get more info on DB Bistro Moderne at Savory Cities: www.savorycities.com
Official promo music video for “Under The Milky Way” performed by The Church in HQ. Released on Arista Records. This video is posted courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment. “Under the Milky Way” is a 1988 song by Australian alternative rock band The Church. Written by the band’s vocalist and bassist, Steve Kilbey, and his then-girlfriend Karin Jansson, the song was originally released on The Church’s Starfish album and won the Australian ARIA award for best song in 1989. The song was the …
Image taken on 2008-11-16 22:25:17 by Joe Penniston.
We have seen the spread of bistros all over the country. This is rooted from people’s clamor for places where they can dine, relax and have fun all at the same time. After a tiring day at work or school, it sure is a nice finale to the day to eat out. Or after a stressful week, you surely want to spend the weekend chilling out instead of doing household chores like cooking and preparing food.
If you are one of those who want to take advantage of this business opportunity by opening up your own bistro, you should know that bistro furniture is one of the biggest investments you will have to make.
And this does not only entail some capital, but will also require your time, effort and patience because it is crucial to find the perfect pieces that will do well for your business.
To help you in your quest in bistro furniture buying, here are some of the things you need to know before you shell out some cash:
1. Your bistro furniture should possess both aspects of form and function. These two values are equally important in the sense that one will not do without the other. Even a set of table and chairs that looks aesthetically exquisite will be useless if they cannot provide your customers with comfort and efficiency that will make their stay worthwhile.
Same is true for those pieces of furniture that are functional and yet shabby looking. It is a good chance that they will only repel customers. To ensure that you have both form and function in your midst, opt for furniture that are stylish and will complement the interiors of your bistro beautifully as well as be efficient in providing comfort and good service to your customers.
2. Colors have psychological impact on people. Because of this, you will have to be aware of the different effects of different colors. For example, red is seen to create a festive and inviting mood in the atmosphere (probably the reason why a lot of restaurants have a red theme). Blue on the other hand is said to be the least appetizing color. So it’s wise to stay away from blue tabletops and utensils.
3. There is a thin line between distinct and outrageous. Surely, you want to give your bistro a personality that will make it stand out among the rest. But this does not mean that you have to throw good taste out of the window.
Be sure that you opt for pieces of furniture that will give your bistro a distinct look but not to the point where it will appear strange. For instance, if you want irregular shaped tables, fine. But if you’re going to do this for every piece of furniture in your bistro without taking into account if they blend well with each other is not the right thing to do.
4. Furniture stores are not the only great places to look for bistro furniture. Online, you will find numerous excellent deals that will give you affordability at the same time high quality bistro furniture.
What’s great about this is that you don’t need to traverse from rack to rack in search of the perfect furniture. With just a few clicks, you will be flooded by numerous selections in different colors, designs, and styles that are complete with photos and descriptions to make your shopping easier.
5. Bistro furniture will be subjected to daily wear and tear. For this reason, it is a must that you opt for furniture that guarantees you of high quality and durability so that they will last a long time doing service for your customers.
6. Cheap furniture does not mean a good deal. You may be thinking that you are saving a few dollars by opting for cheaper furniture. But in reality, you may end up just spending even more for repairs and replacements because cheap furniture often means low quality and short life.
Nobody said that buying furniture for your bistro is easy. But with these tips in mind, it will surely be less taxing and strenuous in your part.
Should a church act extra friendly towards them or no different? At a few churches I’ve attended alone and felt almost like I was in the way at times (not sure if it’s in my mind or if it’s just truly an unwelcoming church).
Do you think these are unwelcoming a churches or are all churches like this?
Live at Porgy & Bess Vienna, Krzysztof Dobrek – accordion, Aliosha Biz – violin, Alexander Lackner – bass, Luis Ribeiro – percussion, ————— The melodious eroticism of the tango, the deep melancholy of Russian folk-tunes, the elegance of the Parisian musette waltz and the colourful timbres of Viennese music – all these were combined to form the multicultural Dobrek sound. (Salzburger Nachrichten) ————— ————— Characterising their music is an unthankful affair …
AME Church Fight. Walter Furley, Corpus Christi anchor, reporting.
Gravity defying PUSH Physical Theatre has been called a cross between fine art sculpture and the hit movie “The Matrix.” You have NEVER seen anything like this before…it’s cool, it’s athletic, it’s entertaining, it’s impossible to resist… This theatre of the body features professional performers who appear to manipulate time and space in a live environment. It’s all about the stories. The narratives of our lives played out with hope, strength and optimism. Once you’ve experienced PUSH …