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WERS featured Elaine Stritch singing a tongue-in-cheek Noel Coward song on Saturday: “Why do the wrong people travel, travel, travel/ When the right people stay at home?” I will include some lyrics.

“What explains this mass mania to leave Pennsylvania
“And clack around like flocks of geese
“Demanding dry martinis on the isles of Greece
“In the smallest street, where the gourmets meet,
“They invariably fetch up
“And it’s hard to make them accept a steak
“that isn’t served rare and smeared with ketchup …” More here.

But staying at home can be quite an extreme adventure. Especially when a neighbor decides to move a house facing Academy Lane so that it faces Sudbury Road, around the corner. Here are the old moorings of the house I have in mind. And just beyond is the house on its new foundation. What a lot of work! There must have been a very compelling reason. If it were me that needed to move a house, I think I would travel, travel, travel — and come back when it was all over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 30, 2013 Update. Would you like to see how that house looks now?

house-that-moved

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We had already bought tickets for the new version of Porgy and Bess at the American Repertory Theater when Stephen Sondheim weighed in with an angry letter to the NY Times. He had not seen the show, but he apparently resented the tone of an article’s quotes from A.R.T. He may have thought director Diane Paulus and writer Suzan-Lori Parks were implying that they were better than the show’s original creators.

After the opening, Ben Brantley of the NY Times raved about Audra McDonald’s Bess while giving a mostly lukewarm review to everything else. Meanwhile, the student D.J. at Emerson College’s radio station kept reading promos for the show and pronouncing Porgy as “Porjy.” (He will always be Porjy to me now).

By the time our matinee rolled around, the day was almost too beautiful to be in a dark theater for three hours, and our initial anticipation had been reduced to mild curiosity.

So I’m happy to say we really liked A.R.T.’s Porgy — pretty much everything about it.

I admit that I am not intimate with the whole score and therefore was not always able to tell when new material had been inserted. (One line, about saving to send the baby to college, did come across with a loud, anachronistic clunk — but now a blog reader tells me it was in the original!) But the beauty of the songs, the dancing, the characters making the best of no-options, the love story! I cried pretty much the whole way through. And I’m still singing.

The only other Porgy and Bess I’d seen was directed by Bobby McFerrin in Minneapolis. It was long and kind of confusing, but I accepted that that’s the way opera often is. The A.R.T. may have presented a rejiggered story that was not true to the original, but it was a story that I could follow.

As I said to my husband on the way out, “Well, it worked for me.”

He said, “Sondheim should rethink his position.”

P.S. Audra McDonald was breathtaking.

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