On A Mission from God

The other night I was hanging out with my husband, procrastinating doing laundry, watching The Blues Brothers for the umpteenth time. It’s one of those perfect movies that you can see again and again, and laugh out loud at something new, every time. I mean, what’s not to like? Lovable crooks, Jake and Ellwood, Aretha at her fiercest, Cab Calloway in a white cutaway tailcoat, Carrie Fisher with a flamethrower…I could go on, but you get the idea. Jake: How you gonna get the band back together, Mr. Hot-Rodder? Mr. Motor Head? The cops got your name, your address! Ellwood: No, they don't got my address. I falsified my renewal. Put down 1060 West Addison. Jake: 1060 West Addison? That’s Wrigley Field. Suddenly, I had a burst of insight: What about Elwood’s annual appeal solicitations? They were probably delivered straight to the Wrigley Field front office, processed through the mailroom and stamped RETURN TO SENDER. And in six weeks, when...

Simplicity and Shakespeare

“And this, our life… Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything.” Pop quiz – is this a stanza from: An Appalachian folk song Shakespeare All of the above If you guessed “All of the above” – you’re right! Re-imagining something as complex as Shakespeare takes time and talent. When I heard that a company was setting As You Like It in the 1920s Ozarks, I was skeptical. Would an exile to the Elizabethan forest of Arden work in mid-Missouri? It did. The team stripped the script down to the bare essentials, and wove Shakespeare’s lyrics into original compositions and traditional folk tunes. The set was a cabin porch and a campfire. The lighting designer projected a starry night sky on the ceiling of the theater. Sitting in the audience, it felt like spending a spring evening on a porch swing. Every design choice helped tell the...