Touchstone Theatre is holding a “telethon” on stage through April 15 for a very unworthy cause, that is, celebrating political tyrants, and raising funds so that their children’s despotic dreams can come true.
The “Tyrants of Tomorrow Telethon” is the fictional setting for the musical satire, “Dictators 4 Dummies,” written and directed by Christopher Shorr, with input from his fellow Touchstone company members. The April 6 performance of the world premiere production was seen for this review.
I was reminded of just how superb Neil Simon is as a playwright when I attended Pennsylvania Playhouse’s impressive staging of “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” a semi-autobiographical comedy about a Jewish teenager growing up in the turmoil of a Great Depression-era Polish-American family.
“Brighton Beach Memoirs,” through April 22 at the Playhouse, is full of hilarious one-liners, as well as Simon’s unfailing insights into the human condition.
Q. I am a single mother of a four-month-old. I just got a job, but I am still living day-to-day, and I do not have money for child-care. I am relying on friends and acquaintances, which I know is not the safest thing for my baby, but I am not sure what else to do. I do not have family around to help. What can I do?
The panel agreed that the first message to the mother should be, “Good for you.” They praised her for getting a job, taking care of her child and being so aware that what she is doing is not the safest solution for the baby.
“They say that breaking up is hard to do,” but not when it’s done to music in the Pines Dinner Theater production of “Love is a Many Splintered Thing.”
Packed with four decades of Top-40 hit songs from Neil Diamond and Cher to Elton John and Gloria Estefan, not a word was spoken by the cast the entire evening. Instead, the story of six friends and their romantic relationships from high school to adulthood is told entirely through the lyrics they sing.
“The Second Coming” is the title of a poem written by William Butler Yeats in the aftermath of the carnage of World War I. Its allegorical reference is to the Christian belief that Jesus “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” After asserting that “the blood-dimmed tide is loosed,” Yeats’ poem concludes: “Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand.”
Q. My nine-year-old daughter often tells me that she is being picked on by other children. I made a point to observe her from a distance in social situations, and I see something different. She seems to be very sensitive, and she reacts strongly. For example, someone told her that her sneakers were “funny,” and she started to cry.
Panelist Pam Wallace pointed out that some children are more sensitive than others, and are going to react differently.
Q. My 10-year-old daughter came down for breakfast this morning, scared and not wanting to go to school. She had heard about the Parkland, Fla., school shootings, and is afraid that could happen at her school. I was able to calm her down and get her off to school this time, but what do I tell her that will reassure her that she is safe?
The first discussion centered around the parent’s question about reassuring her child.
It seems to Lehigh Valley author Shirley Binkley that everything she thinks about or experiences turns into a poem.
Actually, more than 300 and counting.
At 82, Binkley has published her first book of poems, “One Size Fits All: Poetry for Every Mood,” a compilation of 198 poems written during the past two decades.
How it all got started is a story in itself.
“My writing began on a dare,” Binkley recalls.
Q. I am concerned about my three-year-old’s development. Our pediatrician tells us that he is normal, but we are not so sure. Compared to other children, he seems like he is behind. Our son is physically-coordinated, but his speech is very hard to understand. He understands us and can follow directions. He doesn’t focus for very long like his older brother did at his age, and he is extremely active. Should we be concerned?
Q. My son graduated from high school this past spring and is not working nor attending college. He says that nothing interests him. My husband and I have explained to him that he needs to figure out what he wants to do to support himself, but he just says he doesn’t like anything. In the meantime, he sleeps late, plays video games and hangs out with friends at night. We can’t support him forever. What do you suggest we do?