Before the annual stroll around The Galleria in search of holiday gifts both selective and silly, it’s time to contemplate what occurred on local stages in the past 12 months.
Story: The place is England and the time is the 1930s, between the two world wars of the 20th century. Richard Hannay is an unadventurous British chap, much taken to pondering his dull life but not inclined to do much to alter it. Then, one night while attending a performance by “Mr. Memory” at the London Palladium, he is approached by a beautiful but mysterious young woman who convinces him to escort her back to his home.
Story: Middle-aged Judy is forced back into the workplace when her husband squanders their savings and runs off with his teen-aged secretary. Judy is hired by the mammoth Consolidated Companies and dumped into the lap of Violet, the senior office supervisor.
Story: World War II is over, and Joe Keller is back at work running his factory. During the war, he and his partner, Steve Deever, had been convicted of selling defective airplane parts to the United States Army. Those defective pieces led to the deaths of 21 Army Air Force pilots who flew faulty planes into combat.
Story: Homer Smith has received his honorable discharge from the Army in 1949 and has decided to see the USA, specifically the American Southwest. He has enough money saved that he can afford to take this scenic vacation, picking up odd jobs along the way for extra cash. While traveling through New Mexico, he happens upon a village where a group of nuns from East Germany lives just outside the city limits, on a hardscrabble farm where they grow their own crops.
Story: Ralph takes the same walk every day, same park, same path, same familiarity. One day he goes crazy, changes his routine and becomes smitten with a beautiful woman strolling with her dog in the city’s dog park. Suddenly, the retired widower has a new spark and aggressively befriends the reluctant Carol.
Undoubtedly, everything is faster paced now than in the ‘good old days,’ whenever those days may have been. Still, there’s no reason to automatically equate modern technology with rudeness, a self-centered attitude and a lack of common courtesy and grace.
Story: It’s a traumatic time for Gaynelle Verdeen Bodeen. Her husband has run off with his girlfriend and, in retaliation, Gaynelle has “accidentally” run her car into the double-wide trailer home of that man-stealing woman. Gaynelle subsequently faces various legal charges as well as being observed by a court-appointed psychologist checking on her sanity. All of this happens shortly before the annual Verdeen family reunion in Sweetgum, Texas, usually presided over by Gaynelle’s overbearing Aunt La Merle.
Story: Lawrence Jameson has made a very good living as a con artist on the French Riviera. He has a palatial estate not far from the casino where he plies his trade, with the assistance of local police inspector Andre. While relaxing at a café, he notices a loud American doing a cheap swindle on an unsuspecting tourist. He mildly chastises the Yankee, Freddy Benson, and compares his debonair style with Freddie’s blunter approach. Intrigued, Freddy asks Lawrence to mentor him.
John Patrick Shanley’s drama won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play in 2005, and it’s easy to see why. It features just four characters, but each of them plays an integral role in the controversial plot.
Story: A troupe of actors is on the road with its production of Nothing On, a sex comedy set in “a delightful 16th century posset mill” by its author, Robin Housemonger. It’s now been restored to a fashionable retreat owned by Philip and Flavia Brent, who spend most of their time living abroad to avoid paying taxes. When the Brents sneak back to their estate, they unknowingly are joining realtor Roger Tramplemain, who is showing the place to a sexy Inland Revenue agent named Vicki. The Brents’ housekeeper, Mrs. Clackett, does an indifferent job keeping up the abode, which is about to be burglarized by a senior thief as well as visited by a sheikh who looks a lot like Philip and is interested in renting out the home.
Play: “The Heiress”
Play: “Perfect Wedding”
When…St. Louis’ newest charter elementary school, Carondelet Leadership Academy, opened Aug. 23? The school, located at 7604 Michigan Ave. in the historic Carondelet neighborhood, has a total enrollment of 225 students, kindergarten through fifth grade.
Play: “High Society”
Play: There’s a Burglar in My Bed
Here’s a ‘tweet’ for fans of TWITTER, the social networking and micro-blogging phenomenon: Twitter creator/chairman/co-founder JACK DORSEY is returning to his native St. Louis to speak at Webster University next Friday, Sept. 18. He’s being honored as the university’s ‘Success to Significance 2009 Person of the Year.’ The event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required at webster.edu/jackatwebster. Business Week recently named Dorsey, a ‘95 grad of Bishop DuBourg HS, as one of technology’s ‘best and brightest.’
5/1 ‘RE/ACTION(S)’ EXHIBIT OPENING Gail Brown curates an exhibit of work by 35 emerging artists with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. at Craft Alliance. The exhibit continues through June 28.
Play: Dial M for Murder
Play: The Cemetery Club
1/16-18 TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Edison Theatre and Metro Theater Company present the civil rights classic at Edison Theatre through Jan. 18. $16 adults; $12 children, students and seniors; 935-6543 or metrotix.com.
1/9 WINTER BLUES The Soulard Art Market, 2028 S. 12th St., hosts an opening reception from 7 to 10 p.m. for a juried exhibition of artwork reflecting ‘the blues’ whether it’s Blues music, the color blue, or feeling ‘blue.’ The exhibit runs until Feb. 7.
10/31 THE LAST BROADCAST John Borroughs School hosts a reception for ‘The Last Broadcast,’ a series of drawings inspired by the Northwestern landscape, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Bonsack Gallery.
10/16-31 THEATER ON THE HOUSE. Seven St. Louis theaters, including St. Louis Repertory, Mustard Seed and New Line, have free tickets available for various shows. www.freenightoftheater.com.