McCarter Theatre Blog

Archive for December, 2008

Old Joe’s Toy Bin
Posted by Old Joe on December 5th, 2008

Old Joe, played by John O'Creagh in McCarter Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol
Old Joe.   Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Well, Christmas time is coming ’round again.  I can always tell.  I makes my way through the streets and looks into the bins at the posher houses. (All part of me trade, you see.) This time of the year, of course, I finds discarded toys in the bins.  People making room for the new things the little ones will be getting for Christmas I suppose.  Ooo, I finds some lovely things.  Just yesterday a found a little doll, very nice, and a stuffed bear.  The bear was a bit rough-used, but I can patch it up.  That’s what I do.

Naturally, most of the things I finds and patches up I sells in my shop in Goodman’s Yard, but the playthings and the like I finds around Christmas, I patches up and gives to the children, quiet-like, so’s they don’t know who done it, you see.  They think it’s Father Christmas.

So I asks you, if you has a toy that you’ve no longer a need of, put it in the bin.  Try to leave it at the top so it don’t get all mucked up, if you’d be so kind.   You’ll be doing me a kindness, and I’ll be grateful.  And don’t go noising it about that I do this sort of thing.  I’ve a reputation to uphold in the community.  People finds out I give things away gratis and they’ll be hounding me to my grave.

Many thanks.

Old Joe

Posted by Old Joe, played by John O’Creagh in the McCarter Theatre production of A Christmas Carol.

Mrs Dilber’s Diary: December 3
Posted by Mrs. Dilber on December 3rd, 2008

Mrs. Dilber, played by Lisa Altomare in McCarter Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol
Mrs. Dilber. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

My Dear niece Sarah asked today if I was a “most important and famous perfeshnal cook“, “No” says I, “whoever told you that was telling a well meaning fib”, (as I knew it must be dear brother Herbert , relishing up a memory of past Christmas’s when we had a bit more to make a feast with, bless him).

“But what about at your job, Aunt Lizzie, Don’t you go and cook immense and festive meals for your employer Mr Scrooge?”

Oh, but I had to laugh, and squeeze the little one to my chest, stroking her fine silken hair, so much like my brothers when he was her age, just trying to imagine Mr Scrooge and the words lavish and immense squeezed together at the same table. “No, my sweet, but I do make him his gruel and tea, every day now for these past seven years since my first employer Mr Marley died. (’Twas on Christmas Eve 1836, who could forget it?”, a most lamentable sight, him dying all alone like he did the laundress and undertaker by his side, certainly not his partner Mr Scrooge, as it was a working day!)

“Oh, well, I knows you cook that right well auntie, right well indeed. Maybe you should share your receipt with me, case I should av too ‘elp you one of these days.”

I knew she was speaking of her Uncle John, as he needs me now more than ever, tho he’d be the last to admit it, my sweet Johnny.  “Well allright then,” I says, “lets start with my gruel receipt, and it goes like this:”

Mrs. Dilbers Gruel
1/3 cup oats
1 pint water
1 pint hot
2 pinches salt

“After you’ve made your fire, add salt to boiled water in the inner cup of a double boiler. Then stir in your oats. Boil for two or three minutes. Then set your inner cup in the outer cup of your double boiler and cook for three hours longer. Strain the oatmeal and add your hot milk.”

Little Sarah paid grave attention to each word, and I do believe she had it quite memorized as I finished. But, I said to her, “don’t you even think that’s what I’m making for our Christmas dinner!—You shall be the envy of all your friends, after you regale them of our lavish feast!” Oh, how her eyes grew wide with delight, and as she threw her little arms ‘round me, I prayed silently that the pennies I been saving would indeed maximize themselves into a Christmas dinner worthy of my beloved family!

Posted by Mrs. Dilber, played by Lisa Altomare in McCarter’s Production of A Christmas Carol.

McCraney Press Watch: Evening Standard
Posted by Adam Immerwahr on December 1st, 2008

I feel like we should start a new blog category, just for feature stories on Tarell Alvin McCraney. Here’s an article from the UK’s “The Evening Standard” about Tarell and Wig Out, which is playing at the Royal Court in London.  I like this article because it has a different focus than some of the other Tarell articles, of which there are many…  Click here, or read below.

Tarell Alvin McCraney, playwright of McCarter Theatre's 'The Brother/Sister Plays'
Tarell Alvin McCraney

The sexiest writer in town
By Nicholas de Jongh

When Tarell Alvin McCraney, the sensational writer voted Most Promising Playwright at today’s Evening Standard Theatre Awards, was a young schoolboy in Florida he quite often used to be beaten up. He got used to it. The scene was the poor, black streets of Miami in the early Nineties. He would be attacked and verbally abused on the streets and at school.

Once, when going to dance class - it remains his governing passion - he wore shorts and a T-shirt instead of formal dance clothes because his mother was too poor to buy them. He recalls how he was then set upon by a group of black boys on the street. It is important to report that they were African-Americans, because the incident says something particular about the working-class black culture in which he grew up.

“They were calling me punk, which means arsehole, which means gay,” he says, as he sits in the Royal Court café where previews of his play Wig Out!, about pre-operative male-to-female drag queens, transvestites and the odd straight boy, are already causing those extraordinary flurries of excitement and rumour that the shock of the new or different often causes.

“They broke a tooth and I was left with a swollen jaw,” he says. But why, I wondered, did they go for him? What had he done? What offence had he caused? “They didn’t need much reason to beat you up,” says the 28-year-old McCraney, who has grown up to be tall and handsome. He moves like a dancer, loose-limbed and flowing, elegant in a cool, understated way. His voice never rises above medium-quiet.

“They would call me white boy, which meant I was too effeminate, and they had this game called knock-down/stay down. One by one they would hit you until you fell. They kept calling me faggot, punk, sissy, though I didn’t even know what gay was.”

He stood there and took the blows until one of the boys who had already tried to bring him down whispered that it would be better to fall, because once he had they would stop tormenting him.

Today in London you would at most only stop to give him an admiring glance. He fits naturally into the capital’s scenery. Within the space of a year he has become accepted here as the hottest young American playwright of the time. That he will have had three fine plays, The Brothers Size, In the Red and Brown Water and Wig Out! all performed at major London theatres in less than a year is a tribute to the rare excitement that his dramas inspire. West African mythology, Yoruba demons, voodoo and hip hop give his plays a strange dynamic. His characters live in hard-pressed, suffering, impoverished circumstances. (more…)

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