Thursday, May 14, 2015

CONGRATULATIONS to The Cast and Crew of Milton High School on their Outstanding Cirque du Soleil Performances

Of a hundred people you survey on the street, I have to be among the few who had not been to, or seen in its entirety, a Cirque du Soleil performance. Until, that is, I saw Cirque Avontuur, a production of Milton High School -- a school known for its theater programs, and one from which my granddaughter will graduate this year. Milton High School is in Alpharetta, Georgia. The high school's plays and musicals have won "first in state" for the last four years. My granddaughter, Tori, has four rings to show for her work on stage lighting the shows.

About Cirque du Soleil.

Cirque du Soleil is the largest theatrical producer in the world. Based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and located in the inner-city area of Saint-Michel, it was founded in Baie-Saint-Paul in 1984 by two former street performers, Guy Lalibert√© and Gilles Ste-Croix.

Photobucket Stock

They toured Quebec as a performing troupe, but encountered financial problems until they received a government grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. Lalibert√© hired Guy Caron from the National Circus School to re-create it as a proper circus. Its character-driven approach and the absence of performing animals define Cirque du Soleil as a contemporary circus.

Each show has its own theme and storyline. Shows have continuous live music, with performers rather than stagehands changing the props.

Milton High School's Cirque Avontuur.

Cirque Avontuur at Milton High School
Cirque Avontuur, is an upbeat adventure based on the decisions, or lack of decisions, that we make in life and how those moments render our outcomes. Doorways of all shapes and sizes will serve as a symbol of the entrances and exits that we make as we take departures along our individual journeys.

Milton High School's Cirque Ravstava.
The Milton Cirque shows are unique pieces of theatre, and have proven popular with audiences like the sold-out Cirque Ravstava.

Milton is the only public high school in the country with a cirque program as a part of the regular theater curriculum. The audition-only class of over 60 students attracts students with various athletic and specialized skills like tumbling and dance. Cast members also train on various apparatus including the Cyr wheel and silks, and often train with some cirque professionals that travel to the school to work with them on mastering specific skills.

 The young men and women in the Milton Theatrical Program work tirelessly to perfect their art, and I congratulate them for improving on their talents. May they go on to whatever success they dream for themselves.

Gerrie Ferris Finger
Running with Wild Blood

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Good Walk at The Players

I should be working on my next novel, but instead I’m watching The Players on television. Will Rory keep his #1world ranking? Will #2 Jordan Spieth soar in his quest to steal #1 for himself? Will #5 Jim Furyk finally win a much coveted Players? Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida is his adopted hometown. The Sawgrass golf course is in his back yard. And, as everyone is hanging on needles to witness, will Tiger Woods keep the chipping yips at bay? And will Angel Cabrera and Keegan Bradley go round 2 over a disputed drop?

Important questions with important consequences. Money. To the winner, whatever his ranking, goes a dazzling $1.80 million.

Sawgrass Clubhouse

To the victor, besides the money (that dazzling $1.80 million) goes 80 points towards his world ranking, the most points besides the majors where winners get100 points. The winner also receives many opportunities to score more cash: a 5-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 3 year invitation to the Masters Tournament, 3-year exemptions for the U.S. Open and The Open Championship, and an exemption to that year's PGA Championship in August. And, if he's a PGA Tour member, he earns 600 FedEx Cup points.

Not bad for four day's of fun, if you ask me.

The Players Championship, aka Tournament Players Championship, aka The Players started in 1974. The championship offers the highest prize fund of any tournament in golf. The field usually includes the top fifty players in the world rankings, but unlike the three major championships in the United States, it is not an official event on the European Tour.

The Players is often considered the “fifth major” Beside the top money prize, The Players host course is the beautiful and prestigious TPC at Sawgrass. The Stadium Course at which the tournament has been played since 1982 is the home of the iconic par-3 #17. I can tell you it’s not long off the tee for women, but keeping the ball on the island green is tricky. A high soft shot is required. A line drive sends it top-spinning into the water.

Island Green

Have a great round and a fine weekend.

 Gerrie Ferris Finger




Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Great Mystery Mistress Leaves Us

From Wikipedia
Ruth Rendell, creator of the sensitive Inspector Reginald Wexford, was a novel mentor of mine, as was PD. James and Ngaio Marsh. That excellent trio came after Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith and Dorothy Sayers. So, sad to say, I learned that Ruth Rendell succumbed to an illness earlier this week. One of the most prolific authors in the mystery genre -- more than 60 novels -- she died at age 85 following a stroke. The family of Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE, announced that she passed away in London on May 2. 

There will never be another Wexford, and for that the mystery world has lost a very human policeman. Inspector Reginald Wexford was a flawed man, and so related to the flawed villains he pursued.  His wife is the placid Dora. His daughters are Sheila and Sylvia. He has a good relationship with Sheila (his favourite) but a difficult relationship with Sylvia (who feels slighted though he has never actually intended to slight her).

The first Wexford book was published in 1964. It was several years later that I read From Doon with Death, and that started me on a Rendell addiction. The talented Baroness never feared tackling such psychological subjects as racism or physical domestic abuse. She and the late PD James are credited with pioneering the psychological thriller.

Baroness Rendell wrote a darker series as Barbara Vine, plus many stand-alone novels, short stories and novellas. Many thought her writings were cutting-edge literature. Labels aside, I thought they were brilliant.

Rest in Peace, Baroness.

Gerrie Ferris Finger