Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stormchasing among friends at Stormfield Theatre

October 31, 2010
By Susan G. Parcheta
“I’m playful; I use the meridians of longitude and the parallels of latitude for a seine, and drag the Atlantic Ocean for whales. I scratch my head with lightening and purr myself to sleep with the thunder.” – Mark Twain

  “I like the sound of it: “Be a stormchaser at Stormfield,” Kristine Thatcher told the audience at the last weekend performance in October of mid-Michigan’s newest professional theater, Stormfield, which she founded in Lansing, MI.  Thatcher is artistic director at Stormfield Theatre (located in the Frandor Shopping Center at 201 Morgan Lane). So, with that request, I’m out passing the word along, to be a stormchaser at Stormfield.

Being among friends, enjoying the theatre’s first big production, Among Friends, was delightful. The play, written and directed by Thatcher, came alive with the three-man cast: local Equity actors John Lepard and Aral Gribble, as well as Bill Bannon from Chicago.

Thatcher’s script, Among Friends, is the story of three longtime friends, Dan (Lepard) who is  a real estate developer, Will (Bannon) who is a school teacher, and Matt (Gribble),  an appliance salesman at Sears.

Encore Michigan,  in a review, outlines the story well:
“Dan is by far the most successful of the three and appears to be a model citizen. But when Will surreptitiously discovers the lionized Dan cheating at cards, he decides to explore exactly how deeply the rot goes. Both funny and poignant, Among Friends plumbs the nature of friendship and the jealousy and resentment that sometimes lie just beneath the surface.

My husband and I, along with our friends, were familiar with Lepard, who is also director of the Williamston Theatre, which previously held the title for the newest professional theatre in mid-Michigan, having been founded in 2006.   We’d followed Lepard’s career there, and had seen Gribble in a production there.
Thatcher couldn’t have had three better actors for the roles of the three friends. We came away, transfixed, to put it boldly.

Among the four of us, Among Friends was instantly rated: Thumbs up!  For anyone who’s struggled with keeping an even keel in relationships with friends, Thatcher’s play is eye-opening, and enlightening.  And all three performances made it so.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Somewhere in Time: Bluewater Memories and Huckleberry Friends

October 23, 2010
By Susan G. Parcheta
“We’re after the same rainbow’s end, waiting ‘round the bend, my huckleberry friend, Moon River, and me…” – Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini from  ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I took a trip back in time in more ways than one on a beautiful October visit to the Bluewater area of Michigan, the St. Clair River from Algonac to Port Huron.

Bluewater Memories

The somewhere in time for my husband and me was the mid-1960s in the sweet, quiet village at the bend in the river, Algonac. Back then, Henry Mancini’s Moon River – from the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the pop lyrics crooned by Andy Williams – surely had to be written just for that time in our lives. For me, at least, Moon River was the St. Clair.

It was there in the Bluewater Delta, tucked remotely off the map, in the magical realm of “the river” northeast of Detroit, that we met as first-year teachers. My husband was drawn to the area because of the waterways and his love of boating from growing up in Grand Haven, on the shores of Lake Michigan and the Grand River.

I, having known only the flat expanse (everything-in-square-miles sections) of Gratiot County in the Middle-of-the-Mitten (mid-Michigan), just wanted a new adventure. It was one of those follow-your-hunch impressions after several interviews around the state. I can still recall the feeling; when I interviewed in Algonac, with its water world of canals and the big river, my heart said, “Yes.” Somehow I knew I was meant to be there.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Writer Within: A reflection on ‘The Creative Life’ of Julia Cameron

October 12, 2010
By Susan G. Parcheta
Julia Cameron

Julia Cameron, bestselling author of ‘The Artist’s Way’ and ‘Vein of Gold,’ reveals her authentic writer self in her newest work: The Creative Life – True Tales of Inspiration.

The cover slogan, ‘Finding Your True North,’ seems misleading at first glance. As a writer, and as one who cares deeply about one’s creative life – and, as one who loves to write about the creative spirit in others – that’s what drew me into the story. Finding your true north; what writer, or any person, doesn’t wish to discover that? Finding your yellow brick road and following it, staying true to it, following your North Star.

While I was looking for new perspectives on Creative Spirit, what I found was affirmation of what I’ve known, intuitively, all along. Writing, or any other act of creativity, is all about relationships. As I read, I kept thinking how the book is set up as a running diary of a year or so in the life of a famous writer – a writer who inhabits New York’s Upper West Side, and who enjoys the company of many collaborative friends.

‘Blue Door’ spellbinds at Williamston Theatre

September 30, 2010
By Susan G. Parcheta

Like the beautiful full moon in clear skies over Williamston on September’s first day of autumn, the ‘Blue Door’ opened the first night of a beautiful new, and fifth, season at Williamston Theatre.

‘Blue Door’ – by Tanya Barfield – is about “History. Roots. Heritage.” So writes Chris Purchis, WT managing director, who figures the play is great for working through the themes of “Where did we come from? How did we get here? Where are we going?” Questions the theatre company is also working through.

Says Director Tony Caselli: “I’m hoping we pack the house for this one – it’s a show that I think is going to knock people’s socks right off, and leave them with a LOT to talk about after they leave the theatre!”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hellava Traffic Hullabaloo in Fowlerville

“May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow.”
Getting to where you want to go can be a hellava time, now that construction zones are everywhere across the state and country. My local community, Fowlerville, MI, is having one traffic hullabaloo right now.  And, it’s not the kind of party where you’d love to make an appearance.

I tried. All I wanted to do was get to the chiropractor the other day.  I knew the road construction on the south end of town, where I travel from, was a mess. But that day it looked impossible. I needed some exercise, anyway, so I parked (asking the manager first) in the Sunoco parking area and walked across all the other parking lots until I reached the chiropractor’s office.

I asked Dr. Tim (Tersigni) if the traffic construction zone had affected business. Definitely, no picnic. In fact, he informed me, the wonderful Irish store, owned by Don and Maureen Call across his parking lot, is wondering if they can hold out until the end of December when the construction is supposed to be done. He hinted that I should blog about it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Walking: It's a good thing at Genesis House

Pink peonies greet walkers along village sidewalks

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Take time to smell the flowers…walk. 

For the  folks at Genesis House, the clubhouse in Fowlerville affiliated with Livingston County Mental Health organization,  the daily mantra might well be: “All Things Walking.” 

To clubhouse member Bea Eldridge, it definitely includes taking time to smell the flowers. Eldridge helps keep the flowers around the clubhouse blooming all summer long; and during the daily noontime walks about town, she slows to appreciate the colorful beauty of blooms flowering along village sidewalks.

This May clubhouse members experienced their 9th walkathon, an annual fund-raising effort held during that month, which is also national Mental Health Month.  For the past several years they’ve been inspired by a walk, talk and visit with Clayton Klein, Fowlerville’s own walking hero – who walked each year from 2005 to 2009 (to benefit Michigan Hospice & Palliative Care Organization) from Paradise in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Hell in his home county of Livingston and on to Ohio – a journey of about 420 miles.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yesterday's Coffee, Tomorrow's Muse

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” – T.S. Eliot (From the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)

Yesterday’s Coffee, as a blog title, has been brewing on the back burner of my mind since last summer, when Maria Stuart of -- the new online community for Michigan’s Livingston County – asked me to blog.  I did, but my blog didn’t have a title; it didn’t really need one at the time. However, that experience got me to wondering. What would I call my blog series, if I wanted to name it?

Last September my husband and I were camping in northern Michigan with his father.  One morning the men got out on the lake early to fish. Of course I’d slept in, so they returned to find only leftover coffee. Our camper has a microwave. We nuked the cold brew before making a new pot; and that’s when my father-in-law suddenly smiled, and came out with some saying about “Yesterday’s Coffee.”

Whatever he said was catchy; and I’m sure I wrote it down, but can’t find my notes. The gist, though, was that yesterday’s coffee was pretty good -- and that it was an old song title!  A song?

Hmmm, I was thinking. Song or not, that could be a great blog title for me. So, I parked the idea away for a year.  And, who knew!  Dozens of others had the same idea, I discover. Everyone from a music group on Facebook to another blogger who changed his to “Reheated Coffee” (perhaps we’ll meet up sometime and rehash all this), to forums and surveys about leftover coffee – and, even a website devoted to funny jokes, called “Yesterday’s Coffee.”