Grace here. Today is one of my favorite unofficial holidays: Cheap Chocolate Day (CCD), when heart-shaped candy becomes obsolete, and therefore, deliciously discounted. I have two CCD Traditions. The first is to try to re-write a scene from a famous play using only Found Text from Conversation Hearts. Please feel free to join me in this quest, and post your attempts below.
The second is to buy Valentine’s candy for women who have inspired, befriended, mentored, or just impressed me. So today when I purchased my on-sale sweets, I was thinking of lots of amazing women. One of whom readers of this blog know quite well.
And since she was featured in this profile in the Washington Jewish Week, many others have been introduced to Theater J’s remarkable Associate Artistic Director (nee Director of Literary and Public Programming) Shirley Serotsky. Washington Jewish Week writer Lisa Traiger discusses Shirley’s colorful past as a musical theatre actress, assistant to “Orthodox rabbi-to-the-stars Shmuley Boteach” [author of Kosher Sex and The Kosher Sutra] and attendee of a “prominent African-American church.”
You should check out the whole piece, but I’ll take the liberty of sharing my favorite line:
“Just like Judaism wonders if your grandchildren will be Jewish,” Serotsky stated, “theater makers worry will our grandchildren ever think to go to the theater?”
And speaking of going to the theater, I want to share another piece about the significance of theatre, written by another one of my CCD candy recipient she-idols, Catherine Crum (though Catherine’s healthy habits mean that I should probably consider a less sugary alternative for her. Suggestions appreciated).
In her stunning essay “Because We Matter” Catherine, who is the Deputy Director of Miriam’s Kitchen, –as as well as an avid literature and theatre-lover—writes, “Theater matters because it allows our group of Miriam’s Kitchen guests to be theatergoers, not just people who are experiencing homelessness.
…Theater matters because it gives us insight into other people’s minds and issues, and takes us out of our own worlds. Brandon likes going to Theater J because he studied acting in college and dreams of being on the stage one day. Rocky loved The Whipping Man because he was able to focus on it, since he had a sandwich in his belly and his things were locked up for a few hours. Raymond hadn’t seen a play since 5th grade, and he is 38 now; After the Fall was his re-introduction, and he hasn’t missed a performance since. For Cynthia, theater is a way to get out of the cold.”
Definitely check out the rest of the piece on www.theaterwashington.org Catherine spends her life doing such beautiful work, and this piece does a great job of showing her warmth and love of the arts.
And as long as I’m bragging about the wonderful women in my life whom I am plying with candy, let’s not forget Carole R. Zawatsky, the CEO of the DCJCC, and her brainchild of an Arts & Ideas Festival. Thanks to her, we will be spending the weekend answering the question that David Mamet raises in his play Race, “Do you know what you can say? To a black man [or woman]. On the subject of race?” You can check out an interview she gave on WUSA this morning with this clip. Or you can just come to the symposium and meet her yourself!
I may even have some left-over Cheap Chocolate to share…
Stage Directions and Plot by Tony Kushner. Script by Conversation Hearts ©
(Louis appears. He looks gorgeous. The music builds gradually into a full-blooded, romantic dance tune)
Louis: Dance W/ Me
Prior: Get Real
Louis: Dance W/ Me. I love you.
(Prior stands up. The leg stops hurting. They begin to dance. The music is beautiful)
Prior: Call Me
Louis: Let’s Kiss
Prior: Be My Man
Louis: One Kiss
Prior: I love you
Louis: See ya