I am an author, actor, and attorney living and loving in the DFW (metroplex) area. I love books, theatre, movies, and legalese. I've been in plays, short-films, feature films and when I am not working on my debut novel "Black Scorpion Trilogy Book 1: The Veil", I enjoy reviewing plays for The Column Online and representing the down-trodden in legal matters. Thanks for stopping by. If I can help you in anyway, just let me know. I'm your paraclete. -E-

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving from me and mine to you and yours. Wishing you enough...


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Theater Review - Pride and Prejudice at the Stolen Shakespeare Guild

by Jon Jory
Adapted from the novel by Jane Austen
Stolen Shakespeare Guild
Director – Jason and Lauren Morgan with Chelsea Duncan
Stage Manager – Chelsea Duncan
Set Design – Jason and Lauren Morgan
Lighting Design – Bryan Douglas
Costume Design – Lauren Morgan
Music Director – Chelsea Duncan
Choreographer – Karen Matheny


Samantha Chancellor – Elizabeth Bennet
Lauren Morgan – Jane Bennet
Libby Hawkins Roming – Mary Bennet
Mara Frumkin – Catherine (Kitty) Bennet
Dana Cassling – Lydia Bennet
Allen Walker – Mr. Bennet
Laura Jones – Mrs. Bennet
Michael Rudd – Mr. Darcy
Blake Owen – Mr. Bingley
Shane Hurst – Mr. Collins
Nathan Dibben – Mr. Wickham
Jule Nelson Duac – Caroline Bingley
Karen Matheny – Charlotte Lucas
Delmar Dolbier – Mr. Lucas & Gardiner
Hazel Murphy – Mrs. Gardiner
G. Mike West – Col. Fitzwilliam
Katy Hill – Housekeeper
Maegan Stewart – Georgiana Darcy
Cindy Matthews – Lady Catherine De Bourgh

Reviewed Performance 11/15/2013
Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Pride and Prejudice, as performed by the Stolen Shakespeare Guild, is what an evening at the theater should be about. The story was simple, the performances were well- crafted and the theater was engaging. The experience was delightful.

Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen and adapted by Jon Jory, is a story about the prejudices of wealth and status in 19th century England and how it affects the Bennet family. The story centers on Elizabeth Bennet and how she deals with the societal issues of the day such as marriage, status, education and morality.

The set design was quaint and simply elegant. Set in a theater in the round format, the main stage consisted of six chairs that represented the sitting room at the Bennet estate. A large chaise lounge sat at one corner while a piano adorned the opposite. The back wall was exquisitely painted with a mural of a field with a tree bringing depth to the stage. Steps leading up to the mural acted as an entry way into the sitting room and also served as a platform from which the actors were able to give some narratives about different scenes or characters. The entire set was interesting and engaging and allowed unobstructed views of almost the entire stage area. However, the chaise lounge was a little difficult to see from all vantage points.

The costumes, designed by Lauren Morgan, were well-crafted and appeared to be period authentic. Even though the costumes didn’t change from day to day, the addition of hats periodically and the fast pace of the dialogue seemed to overshadow that fact.

The music direction by Chelsea Duncan added immensely to the overall 19th century English feel. The music that was played during the dance routines was well chosen and felt period authentic.

The choreography by Karen Matheny was well done. The dances at the parties didn’t seem to overpower the dialogue or the acting taking place on stage and served to enhance the overall party atmosphere. The type of music and dance appeared to be 19th century baroque and was elegantly performed.

The acting was superb and the accents were authentic and easy on the ear. Samantha Chancellor as Elizabeth Bennet was phenomenal. She performed the role with relative ease and grace. Her dialogue felt comfortable and the transition between dialogue and narrative was fluid. Chancellor’s accent was flawless and even during the stressful moments in which she was berating Mr. Darcy it never wavered. The manner in which Chancellor carried the character was both noble and approachable.

Lauren Morgan as Jane Bennet was soft spoken yet strong. Morgan exceptionally portrayed the character’s reserved yet strong, faithful persona. Morgan’s facial expressions conveyed Jane’s disappointment in Mr. Bingley moving away. While, her animated response to his return belied her secret desire to be wed.

Mary Bennet, the book-toting sister, was smartly played by Libby Hawkins Roming. Roming had a bookish aura that was pleasant and humorous. During the time that Mr. Collins was parading around the sitting room looking for a spouse, Mary was fervently following him with obvious desire. The desire and coquettish way in which Roming did this was both humorous and endearing. While the other sisters tolerated Mr. Collins with disdain, Mary Bennet would have been more than happy to spend the rest of her days as a pastor’s wife.

Mara Frumkin as Kitty Bennet and Dana Cassling as Lydia Bennet were a match made in shrieking, quirky heaven. As the youngest sisters of the Bennet house, Frumkin and Cassling spent most of their time squealing with delight over whatever drama was at hand and added a sense of humor to the play. It was difficult to determine which had the more interesting character portrayal and the most fun.

Allen Walker as Mr. Bennet and Laura Jones as Mrs. Bennet were perfectly attuned as husband and wife. Jones was superb as the doting, pushy mother trying to better her daughters’ situations by marrying them to a higher status. Walke’s whimsical way in which he walked and spoke was wonderful as the patriarchal head of the Bennet family and reluctant participant of his wife’s undertakings. Walker portrayed a real sense of exasperation when he rolled his eyes or mocked his wife with laughter as he attempted to do what was right and still please his ever higher reaching spouse.

Michael Rudd as Mr. Darcy was excellent. Rudd had both the aloofness of a wealthy aristocrat as well as at times the shy boyish charm of a man in love for the first time. Rudd was awkward and played Darcy with tension and angst as he interacted with his object of affection.

Blake Owen portrayed Mr. Bingley well and portrayed a genuine attraction to Jane Bennet through his facial expressions and the unassertive way he approached her. Owen’s accent, however, was a little weaker than the rest of the cast.

Jule Nelson Duac did a fabulous job as the pretentious snob Caroline Bingley. She played the perfect amount of better than thou attitude with a mild disdain for the Bennet family. Duac’s facial expressions and mannerisms were calibrated to Caroline’s snobbish persona. Duac had a great way of rolling her eyes and turning up her nose every time she spoke of Elizabeth Bennet that drove home the point that she did not care much for her.

One of the highlights of the play was Shane Hurst as Mr. Collins. Hurst did an outstanding job portraying the pastor. It was difficult to decide whether the pastor was supposed to be lecherous or threatening but either way Hurst did a marvelous job. The audience couldn’t help but laugh every time he made an appearance on stage. The lascivious way in which he approached Jane and Elizabeth Bennet was both disturbing and inspired. When Hurst would enter the sitting room he would sweep in with a grand gesture and high pitched wanton discourse on why he wanted to marry. He would hover Elizabeth which sent ripples of disgust through the sitting room. Hurst was truly on his game as an actor. He added a humorous twist to the wanton pastor.

Pride and Prejudice is considered to be a classic and Stolen Shakespeare Guild not only achieves but surpasses a classical rendition of it. The atmosphere, costuming, music and dialogue all coalesced into an entertaining performance. The play was lighthearted and whimsical with a happy ending for all. This performance was truly a joy to behold.


Stolen Shakespeare Guild
Fort Worth Community Arts Center
Sanders Theater, 1300 Gendy Street, Ft Worth, TX 76107

Runs through November 24th
Friday - Saturday at 8:00 pm and Saturday – Sunday at 2:00 pm
Ticket prices are $18.00 evenings and $15.00 matinees.
For tix & info: www.stolenshakespeareguild.org or call at 1-866-811-4111

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Open our eyes...

“Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 kings 6:16-17

Just like Elisha's servant we need to ask GOD to open our eyes during the difficult times so that we can see the warriors there to defend us. Often times we feel alone in our defeat but we are only viewing our circumstances through our earthly eyes. If we could see the heavenly hosts that are called to our aid we would no longer fear our trials but instead embrace them. Take heart that you are not alone.  During your dark times, close your eyes and listen for the rustling of the horses and chariots of fire...THEN know that GOD has ALWAYS got your back.


Friday, November 15, 2013

The sun WILL come up tomorrow...

As Annie sings..the sun WILL come up tomorrow.  Over the last 10 months the universe has been handing me a royal a$$ whooping. I've been dealt a hand that I didn't really want. It peaked with me sleeping on an air mattress in my parents living room. I was handed defeat after defeat.  I was at the bottom. I lost my job, my wife left me for another, I couldn't keep my kids because I was sleeping on the floor of my parents house.  But as low as I got one thing was always clear. The sun rose the next day.  Maybe GOD has given us a perpetual sign of faith. The SON always rises. Jesus died and rose again. So no matter how bad things get always know the sun always rises on a brand new day.  Dust yourself off. Pick yourself up. Get back in the game. Each new day is a brand new canvas to paint your future.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Touched by the SON...

As a Christian I find spiritual meaning in a lot of different places.  I particularly enjoy Carly Simon's music and have found my self swapping "SON" for "sun" when singing along with her song "Touched by the Sun".  The sun is the center of our solar system.  Without it all life would cease.  As Christians the SON should be the center of our soular system.
If you want to be brave
And reach for the top of the sky
And the farthest point on the horizon
Do you know who you'll meet there
Great soldiers and seafarers,
Artists and dreamers
Who need to be close, close to the light
They need to be in danger of burning by fire
And I, I want to get there
I, I want to be one
One who is touched by the
One who is touched by the
As a Christian I want to be one who is touched by the SON.  I want to feel his presence in my life.  I want to feel the burning, yearning desire to be part of HIS holiness. 
Often I want to walk
The safe side of the street
And lull myself to sleep
And dull my pain
But deep down inside I know
I've got to learn from the greats,
Earn my right to be living,
Let my wings of desire
Soar over the night
I need to let them say
"She must have been mad"
And I, I want to get there
I, I want to be one
One who is touched by the
One who is touched by the
This goes along with my post about talents.  Sometimes I want to just phone in my life.  Take the easy way out.  Come home every day and just lay on the couch and dull my senses with tv and beer, but deep inside I feel this yearning for more.  That my talents are wasted and that I was built for a grander purpose.
I've got to learn from the greats,
Earn my right to be living,
With every breath that I take,
Every heartbeat
And I, I want to get there
I, I want to be one, One who is touched by the
One who is touched by the
As Christians I think we all want to "get there".  To be touched by the SON.  I think we all want to walk through the gates of heaven and hear those words..."Well done, good and faithful servant" Mathew 25:21
To that end then I say....start today.  Start now.  Take that first step.  Everyone's journey to the end will be different.  The key is that it is a journey.  Always moving forward...

Choose your words wisely, Wordsmith...

The Pen is My Sword
The Desk is My Horse
Onward I Race into
The Battle of Words
As a wordsmith (author/writer) words mean something to me.  Not only are they a way to express ideas but also a way to convey feelings.  I've heard the saying "Actions speak louder than words" but to me I think words cut deeper.  A slap to the face may sting but I think a cutting remark or a cross word has the potential to last a lifetime.  I believe wholeheartedly in the saying "the pen is mightier than the sword".  Governments have been toppled on words alone...
How many of us remember the multiple spankings we received as a child?  Do we remember each individual spanking? Probably not.  But do we remember the time our mother told us she wished we were never born?  Do we remember the moment our father told us he was disappointed in us?  Told us that we were not good enough to make the football team?  In everyone's life there is probably a time that they can remember where someone's words burned them to the very core. 

We as a society need to stop handing out abuse in the form of words and need to start taking a moment to think before we speak or write.  A pause in the action to avoid a lifetime of pain.  Count to three...walk away...do something other than launching that volley of arrows that will forever scar a person. 

There is forgiveness and there is forgetting.  One is infinitely easier than the other.  I find it easy to forgive.  However, in the down time...in the darkness just before sleep I can hear the words reverberating in my mind.  The damaging tones.  The stinging barbed colloquy.  The conversation replays over and over in my mind.  What did they mean?  Why did they say that?  I should have said this... I should have explained better...Was what they said true?  Am I really like that? Do I act that way?

It begins the seeds of doubt which begin to thrive, grow and choke out our self worth.  We refer to our society as cultured.  We refer to other countries as third-world countries.  But are we really so enlightened or are we just in denial. 

Maybe it is time we took a long hard look at the mirror...


Friday, October 4, 2013


There is more to stop and smell the roses than we think. Ever wonder how life was before technology.  It is said that animals possess a kind of inner sense of the world.  A sixth sense if you will. Stories of dogs getting freaky right before an earthquake.  I've noticed that a few days before a storm the birds will congregate on the wires. Do they know a storm is coming and if so how? GOD is magnificent in his design. The birds come together to weather the storm as a group for protection then part to resume their lives.  We could learn something by allowing ourselves to come together to weather our own storms. However,  I think our lives have become so dependent on technology that we have lost the gifts GOD has granted us. We have lost that inner connection to the natural world...and because of that disconnect we feel lost and alone.  Well it is still there. Turn off the computer.  Turn off the cell phones.  Step outside and smell the roses. Watch the birds. Listen to the natural rhythm of the world around you.     -E-

Friday, September 27, 2013

Relational Parasitism

Recent events in my life have caused me to reflect on relationships.  More specifically, on MY relationships.  I'm not speaking of marriage, boyfriend/girlfriend or even friendships per se but on relationships as a whole. 

I woke up this morning to the realization that a relationship that I was in has become parasitic.  What I mean by parasitic is that their needs and their wants have been met but alas mine were not.  Is this a rant?  possibly...is this bitching and whining? maybe.  But it got me to thinking.  Relationships, whether it be friend or lover, walk a fine line between symbiosis and parasitic. 
1. Biology .
a. the living together of two dissimilar organisms, as in mutualism, commensalism, amensalism, or parasitism.
b. (formerly) mutualism (  def 1 ) .
2. Psychiatry. a relationship between two people in which each person is dependent upon and receives reinforcement, whether beneficial or detrimental, from the other.
3. Psychoanalysis . the relationship between an infant and its mother in which the infant is dependent on the mother both physically and emotionally.
4. any interdependent or mutually beneficial relationship between two persons, groups, etc
1. Biology . a relation between organisms in which one lives as a parasite on another.
2. a parasitic mode of life or existence.

It wasn't an angry realization.  It was more of a light bulb moment.  I realized that this person was fulfilling their needs, or more importantly I was fulfilling their needs while mine went unfulfilled.  The contact, the conversations, the interactions were all fulfilling their needs.  They were in essence feeding off of me.  Instead of a mutual relationship where both "organisms" receive something from the exchange...I was left empty. 

In nature, most parasitic relationships end with the host dying.  Let me reiterate that statement.  In nature, most parasitic relationships end with the HOST dying.  If you find yourself in a parasitic relationship you should seriously consider letting go.  Ending the relationship.  Walking away. 

Can a parasitic relationship be redeemed?  Of course.  Don't get me wrong.  I believe in LOVE.  I believe in TRUE LOVE and the power it has to conquer all.  The problem is within the parasite.  The parasite has to change.  Instead of feeding off the other person the parasite needs to begin to give back to the relationship.  The parasite needs to reinforce the HOST or the host will DIE.

Can it be done? yes.  Is it likely?  therein lies my cynical perspective.  I think it can be done but I don't think it is very likely.  (I'm not just speaking to my relationship but as a society as a whole).  It reminds me of the saying "a leopard can't change his spots" or the story about the scorpion and the frog/turtle crossing the river.  "I can't help it.  It's in my nature". 
Is this to say that these people are naturally parasitic?  No.  They may have become parasitic over time or the relationship may have just gotten to the point where they took more than they wanted to give.  Are they always the parasite?  No.  I would imagine there are relationships where they are the HOST.  And it may be that very relationship that is causing them to be a parasite in yours.  They don't have the "energy" for you because they are drained in another relationship. 
Life is about balance.  And we need to start taking control of ourselves, our energy, and our lives.  We need to stop allowing relational parasites to feed off of us and start living again.  A natural, healthy life of MUTUAL beneficial relational exchange. 


 What do you think?  Do you have a relational parasite in your life?  Do you think it is a fine line?  Please leave a comment and let me know....

 Be on the LOOKOUT for my debut novel coming October 15, 2013!!!  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/360666



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Your TALENT is a gift from GOD not to be wasted

     One of my favorite parables from the bible is the Parable of the Talents from Matthew 25:14-30.  Originally, at first glance, I thought the parable was about money.  Essentially talents were a unit of financial measurement in biblical times.  However, as I read it more it made sense to me that the "talents" could also refer to "gifts and/or skill" that people are blessed with.  I believe this is where we get our use of the word as it relates to musical talent and artistic talent among others.  In the parable of course the master leaves his servants with the financially related talents.  The first servant takes the 5 talents and invests them and has 10 talents to give to the master.  The second servant does similarly but with only 2 talents.  The final servant has only one talent and buries it and does not increase the master's talents.  The parable states that each is given talents according to their ability.  The reason I love this parable is that each one of us has abilities.  No two of us have the same ability in all areas but we are ALL required to utilize our talents for the benefit of the kingdom.  Not all of us are superstar athletes or musical stars.  Not all of us are gifted speakers.  But we are ALL required to USE our talents for the benefit of the master.  It is only when we bury our gifts or skills...our TALENTS that the master becomes displeased.  Burying our talents could be as simple as working an unfulfilling job that doesn't utilize our gifts.  It could be as simple as just marking time in our lives and not truly living out our divinely appointed purpose.  The main point is that we are called to use our talents, not hide them, bury them or let them waste. 

     Who determines what a talent/gift/or skill is?  One person may be very understanding with their kids.  Another person may be a great listener.  Sometimes it's just comforting having a certain person to talk too.  The problem comes from when society attempts to determine for people what a "talent" is.  Often times this is attached with financial gain but can be very misleading.  There are teachers with ENORMOUS talent for reaching our kids and teaching that are severely underpaid.  There are police officers that are EXCELLENT at diffusing a situation with just their words.  All of these, to me, seem like talents. 

     There are numerous ways to determine your gifts or talents.  There are churches that offer service aptitude tests.  There are psychological assessments that help people through surveys and questionnaires to determine talents or skills.  Even trial and error is a great way to determine your talents.  Not sure if you are a talented painter?  grab a brush.  Not sure if you can sing? go to a karaoke bar and give it a try.  Regardless of the way in which you discover your talents the key is to DISCOVER them.  Discovering your talents opens up an opportunity to use them for the benefit of mankind.  And that can only be a good thing...


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bankruptcy is Morally and Biblically OK!

A lot of times I have potential clients that come in to my office with heads hung low griping and grousing about how they just can't make it anymore.  They extoll "I borrowed the money but after I...
  • lost my job
  • got sick or hurt
  • kid's got sick or hurt
  • reduction in income
I just couldn't pay them anymore and the credit companies wouldn't work with me."  They go on to explain how they were not raised that way and that it is against their values.  It's usually at that time that I make my appeal to their better judgment.  Bankruptcy is Morally and Biblically OK! First of all, it is a federal law.  A group of people who ARE a lot smarter than I am sat down and realized that sometimes, bad things happen to good people.  They also realized that debtor's prisons were not the most enlightened response to a financial problem.  Therefore, they came up with a federal LAW that allows people to discharge their debts.  A law that has been used by:

  • Presidents: Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln in order to overcome failed business ventures.  If HONEST Abe can file bankruptcy over a failed business venture and go on to become President of the United States it seems that YOU as a debtor could file and reorganize your left for the better and not feel too much shame.
  • Celebrities: P.T. Barnum...yes, that famous Greatest Show on Earth Barnum; Mark Twain; Henry Ford and even our beloved Walt Disney
  • Companies: American Airlines; Texas Rangers (the sports team, not the law enforcement agency) and even Hostess.....say it ain't so Twinkie...say it ain't so...
I know I know.  The term "deadbeats" gets thrown around a lot.  (I would imagine Honest Abe would have decked someone for calling him a deadbeat...but that's just me)  Mainly by creditors. (Not a big fan :-)  )  The truth of the matter though is that the federal LAW has a significant amount of checks and balances in order to weed the "deadbeats" out from the system.  Which, mind you, comprises a very minute amount of cases.  Most people are just down on their luck decent people looking to survive a crisis.  So why bully them?  There are wise judges, stern trustee attorneys and creditor hired guns all looking through the paperwork to find "deadbeats".  Must we shame debtors as well?  So does the fact that it is a federal LAW approved by Congress make it morally OK?  Well, that depends on which side your on.  Do you think laws are enacted to protect society? protect the people? for the well being of the world?  Or do you feel that even though a law is enacted it can still be morally bankrupt?

As far as biblically OK goes I believe it was Jesus that said in Matthew 6:12 "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."  Some would say it is interpreted as "trespasses" or "sins" but regardless of how you spin it its ultimately an act of forgiveness.  Jesus evens tell the story of the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor in Matthew 18:21-35.  (I could type out the whole story but honestly, grab a bible and look it up)  If Jesus considers the forgiveness of debt OK then why shouldn't we as a society?  I believe the root cause of the problem is fairness.  Is it fair that their debt is forgiven while you have to pay yours?  No.  Is it fair that you work two jobs to support your family and to pay your bills and they walk their debts? No.  But...if you want to talk about fairness you need to make sure you not only JUDGE them but also JUDGE yourself.  Is it fair that you have two jobs while someone else is unemployed?  Is it fair that you have a house while other people are homeless?  Unfortunately we tend to judge others by a different standard than ourselves.  Sometimes bad things happen to good people and we, as people and as a society, should not judge them.  We should not shame them.  We should not blame them.  We should bend a knee to the dirt, grab them by their arms and lift them back into our fold gently dusting the circumstances from their shoulders and listening intently to their plight.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Choice is one of the greatest gifts GOD has given us.  Choice is often times the reason GOD is blamed for events beyond our control.  But ultimately it's not GOD that directs these events against us.  It is the consequences of someone elses choices that we are dealing with.  At the time of creation GOD created Adam and Eve.  He gave them the most important gift of all.  The gift of choice.  The choice was exploited by the adversary and it resulted in a great fall of mankind.  This great fall again resulted in one of the most important choices a person can make.  To accept the savior, Jesus Christ, or not.  It is said that GOD never casts a person into hell.  They willing walk, through choice.  They choose to live a life without the creator.  Given all the options and all the information they turn from Jesus and willingly walk into the embrace of the void.  An eternity of separation from the creator.
  • Violence - in the instance of violence the offender often times makes the choice to commit the violent act.  It's not GOD directing the offender to attack or hurt someone.  The offender is allowed the choice to harm or not harm.  The victim also has the choice to allow the offense to change them either for the good or for the bad.   
  • Nature - sometimes people cry out to GOD when a natural disaster wipes out an entire town or city.  However, the choice was made to live in that area.  Some people choose to live in flood zones or tornado alley.  Do we blame the hurricane when we live on the coast or do we blame GOD for not diverting it from our homes? 
Bad things happen.  Good things happen.  Why is it we blame GOD for the bad things but have such a hard time giving glory for the good things?  Why is it that we cry out to GOD during our pain but not during our joy?  Perhaps again we are making the choice on where our focus lies.  Maybe we should strive to give glory to GOD for our pain because it tests our mettle.  Surviving the pain makes us stronger and more compassionate towards others that are going through similar circumstance.  It allows each and every one of us that has suffered some loss or some indignity to minister to others where no other opportunity may have existed before.  Weep your tears.  Cry out to GOD.  And when you are finished...make the choice to use your pain for the benefit of others and you will begin to see that the CHOICE has always been yours.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

10 Reasons to Buy a Book.

So as I sat staring at my blinking little cursor it suddenly dawned on me that with the advent of ebooks there were some very compelling reasons to purchase physical books.  Of course, mind you, this is not that list.  Instead...this is my list...
  1. Weightlifting - stack the whole Left Behind series (what, like 12 books?) or hardcopies of Twilight on your weight bar and go to town.  Or, keep a copy of War & Peace on your desk or nightstand for some light curls.
  2. You might learn something.  Books are full of knowledge.  Yes, the "k" is silent and if you read more often you would know (there it is again....spooky) what that means.
  3. Chicks dig smart guys.  Not the professor type with the patches on their sweaters because that just looks pretentious.  But the guy eating lunch perusing a worn copy of Catcher in the Rye or the guy at the coffee shop drilling through an espresso and the Art of War.
  4. Reading - its fundamental.  Or as I like to say...Fun for Mentals.  Remember Reading Rainbow with Levar Burton (Geordi La Forge)?  Geordi La Forge telling you to bust a spine on a book.  Yea, that was sweet. 
  5. It makes you look smart.  Go on...check your back stock of photos or magazine articles and find a picture of someone reading a book.  Heck.  Find a picture of someone carrying a book and you will STILL think that person was smart.  (Come ta think of it...carrying a book could boost your cardio...See #1) 
  6. All purpose hammering tool.  Make sure it's a hardcover and not one you are particularly fond of and hammer away.  You can also use it to smash things such as spiders.  If you like spiders you can smash bugs.  If for some weird reason you are an Entomologist then use it to smash lawyers.  (Oh come on...you had to know that one was coming)
  7. Prop up a table.  Depending on the size and/or shape you can use it to do some serious propping of short table legs.  Also, if you refer to Reason #2 you might find a book that can show you how to fix the leg properly...but hey, we are getting way ahead of ourselves here.
  8. Batteries never run out.
  9. Regifting after reading makes you look like a compassionate and caring person.  Who doesn't look caring when handing over their used copy of The Giver.  Books are designed to be read and passed on....ummm Library? Hello.  Otherwise you look like that crazy hoarder person with stacks and stacks of books and a missing cat named Clarence.  Clarence? Hello...
  10. Books are Fat Free.  That's right.  FAT FREE.  Go on..consume as many as you want.  You will never gain weight.  Heck, consume several after 9 p.m.  No weight gain.  Nothing.  And if that's not enough for you they are Gluten Free and Sugar Free.
                                                                 Get you SOME!   

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sequester - flash fiction story

“How long has it been,” the old man whispered.
He heard a slight stirring from somewhere across the room.  The wool blankets on the cot shifted and pitched.
“How long has it been,” the old man muttered louder.
“What?” the half asleep soldier questioned from beneath the blanket.
“How long have I been here, how long has it been?” the old man shouted.  “Surely, the war has ended by now.” 
The soldier threw back the blankets, swung his feet to the floor and hunched over sleepily.  The large stone room was cold.  It was always cold…and dank.  The soldier remembered a time, not too far in the distant past, when the sun shone on his face and warmed his still beating heart.  The soldier wheezed and coughed. Blood darkened his lips as he spat on the cold stone floor.  “Petraculus”, the soldier coddled.  “It’s been years.” 
“Then arise my friend, look out the window and tell me of the battle’s progression.”
“I need a minute,” the soldier wheezed with pain. 
“What?” Petraculus craned his neck to try and peer around the cloth sheet that divided the room.
“I need a minute.”
“Now,” shrieked Petraculus.  “As long as the war yet rages my oath to the king traps me here in this tower.  We are nearing the end of the war, dear Talus.  I can feel it in my old bones.” 
“Fine,” Talus grimaced as he stood, once wrapped in his robe he shuffled toward the window.  The warm fur robe felt good against his cold skin.  As he reached for the open window, he stopped short as the chain tightened around his throat.  He ran his fingers across the rough stone edge of the window sill and felt the dampness as it seeped through the rocks. He imagined the sun shining on his face as he touched his moist fingers to his lips. 
“I still don’t understand why they keep my bed over here.  It would be easier to win this war if I could simply watch as my spells unfold on the battlefield,” Petraculus mumbled.  He tugged on the chain anchoring him to the large oak bed.
“We have been over this a thousand times.  In fact every soldier before me has been through this with you,” Talus snapped. 
“I know, I know.  My bed sits closer to the hearth where it is warmer.”  Petraculus rubbed his ankle under the chain.  “But why the restraints?”
“It was part of the deal you made with the king.  You were the most powerful man in all the kingdoms.  After you went mad the king captured your daughter and threatened to slay her unless you agreed to use your powers to help win the war against his enemies.” 
“I don’t remember a daughter.”  Petraculus rubbed his forehead as he sat on the edge of the bed.
“Oh yes.  She was very beautiful.  And wise.  She was the wisest woman in all the land.”  Talus pulled the fur robe tighter around his body.  The fever made it almost impossible to get warm.  The chills so violently shaking his soul would soon end and he would finally be at peace. Just one more night, he thought. “Shall we begin?”
“Ah, yes, the war.”  Petraculus stood and walked toward a withered wooden desk standing next to the bed.  A vegetable crate sat nearby on its side as a make-shift chair.  Petraculus threw out the back of his robe like a tail and squatted over the crate.  He grabbed a feather quill from the desk, dabbed it into some ink, and hunched like a gargoyle over some parchment. “Tell me Talus.  What do you see?”
Talus rubbed his face and felt the empty sockets where his eyes used to be.  He traced his cold trembling fingers across the ragged scars.  He remembered the itching and throbbing from the stitches more than the pain of the surgery.  He snorted a barely audible laugh.  “I barely remember colors,” he muttered to himself.
“Nothing.” Talus retorted.  “I said they are flying their colors.”
“What are their colors?” Petraculus hunched back over the parchment with renewed vigor.
“Green and Black, with a large dragon wrapped around a gold ingot.”  Talus coughed again and fell to one knee.
“FAMINE.  Ah yes…, probably using a vast array of undead monsters.”  Petraculus snickered to himself as he wiped drool from his lower lip with the back of his hand.
Talus propped himself up on the edge of the bed with one arm.  “Oh my king, My sweet, sweet king,” he whispered. 
Petraculus cackled with glee.  “A simple spell of undoing will return the majority of those nightmarish creatures to the dust from which they came.”  He began scribbling feverishly.
Talus placed his second knee on the ground and slumped over the edge of the bed.  “What about the crops?”
“The crops?”
Talus’s body shook violently as the fever throttled his bones.  “The crops are withered.  The people will starve.”
“Yes. Yes.  I will undo the withered crops as well.  They will grow verdant and abundantly.”  Petraculus scribbled in an ancient language.  Darkness filled the room from all corners. As it swirled, slowly covering the light, letters appeared on the parchment.  Petraculus slid the parchment under the cloth divider.  “Quickly Talus read this tome out loud.”
The door opened quietly and in shuffled three soldiers wearing fur on the bottoms of their boots.  Two soldiers had their mouths sewn shut with leather straps while the third had his eyes sewn closed with hemp twine.  The two silent soldiers unchained Talus’ cold lifeless husk and chained the third soldier to the wall in his place.  The silent guards carried Talus body from the room as the third soldier picked up the tome.
“Thank you, Lord FAMINE,” the soldier whispered to himself.  Immediately it seemed, the soldier felt his body begin to decay.  He sat on the edge of the bed.  “What about the fish in the sea?”
Petraculus began to scribble intensely.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A dog walks into a bar...

And swaggers up to the bartender. "Arf arf arf". The bartender says "I'm sorry sir, I don't speak dog."
"Oh dear me," the dog replies.  "Meow meow meow".

Yea, I didn't get it either when my cat told me the joke. I thought maybe it was just me.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The adversary…



This is how I imagine the life of a Christian is.  Of course the dragon would be replaced with a serpent but you get the drift.  The serpent, devil, satan, evil one…whatever you want to label it, is lying in wait for everyone.  Believer or non-believer.  In John 10:10 Jesus states “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy”.  However, I believe it is the believer that is the target more so than the non-believer.  How often are we, as believers, whipping ourselves with our own guilt and shame at what we have done?  How often do we expect more from ourselves than we do others?  How often do we tell ourselves “I should have known better”?  The adversary as it is sometimes referred to used to be the Worship leader in Heaven.  One of the archangels of GOD.  The adversary knows the bible, the scriptures, the history backwards and forwards.  For anyone that thinks that enough learning, education or memorization will match what the adversary knows all I can say is what my friend Vizzini says in the Princess Bride…

VIZZINI: Let me put it this way: have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates?


VIZZINI: Morons.

The battle has already been won by Jesus Christ.  It’s time to stop beating ourselves up and start pushing for more ground into the enemies camp…it’s time to put on the armor of GOD and get back in the war. 


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Theater Review - A Wrinkle in Time




A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle
Adapted for the stage by Taffy Geisel
Original music composed, performed & recorded by Joey Geisel
Artisan Center Theater

Director – Taffy Geisel
Stage Manager – Bethany Jarrell
Set Design – L.K. Fletcher, Nate Davis
Lighting Design – Nate Davis
Costume Design – Rebecca Roberts
Special Costumes – Beasts - Jeannia Philips;
Wings - Marjorie Bell, and
Flying Creatures – Michelle Schmidkofer
Properties Design – Chris Seil, L.K. Fletcher
Special Choreography – Jennifer Leyva
Sound Design – Joey Geisel, Nate Davis

CAST (production is double cast – this is the cast from the
reviewed performance)

Meg Murry – Morgan Gerdes
Charles Wallace Murry – Parker Wilson
Calvin O’Keefe – Jameson Taylor
Dennys Murry/Camazotz Child – Isaac Jarrell
Sandy Murry/Camazotz Child – Ethan Jarrell
Mrs. Kate Murry/Aunt Beast – Tonya Laree
Mr. Alex Murry – David Priddy
Mrs. Whatsit – Jackie Holt
Mrs. Who – Joanna Philips
Mrs. Which – Katy Wood
Centaur Whatsit/Head Beast – Bob Willey
Happy Medium/Nurse Beast – Joanna Berry
Prime Coordinator – Timothy Raif
Billy Henderson/Paper Boy – Tavin Bohel
Postmistress/Ball Girl’s Mom – Hallie Raymond
Mrs. Jenkins/Camazotz Mom – Susan Spangler
Ms. Porter/Gossip/Camazotz Mom – Christianne Miller
Spelling Operator – Scott Collins
Gossip/Camazotz Citizen – Baylee Smith
School Girl 1/Winged Creature – Shakira Sadler
School Girl 2/Winged Creature – Parker Gerdes
School Girl/Butterfly – Omega Priddy, Chanel Perreault,
Alyssa Yates

Camazotz Child/Winged Creature – Julia Wood
Ball Girl – Alana Thomson
Camazotz Children – Jacob Meyers
Prime Coordinator’s Assistants – Christopher Wood, Josh Yates,
Hallie Raymond, Andre Perreault

Reviewed performance on August 2nd, 2013

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

_________________________A WRINKLE IN TIME______________________

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

A Wrinkle in Time, produced by Artisan Center Theater, is a story of individuality and non-conformity. Based on the classic book by Madeleine L’Engle and read by generations of children, the story opens with Meg Murry, an awkward teenager, being harassed at school by her peers because of her own unique gifts but also because her family is eccentric. Her father, a noted physicist working for the government was sent on a secret mission and mysteriously disappeared.

Her younger brother, Charles Wallace Murry, is a genius on some level but socially inept, and her mother, Kate Murry, also a gifted scientist, is busy with her own work and the disappearance of her husband, leaving Meg alone to face the taunts and trials of teenage angst. Meg discovers secrets that lead her, Charles and friend Calvin on an adventure of a lifetime to save not only her father but also the world.

Taffy Geisel did an admirable job of both adapting this book for stage and directing this marvelous cast. There were some glitches, like rushed lines and missed cues, mostly from opening night trial and error, but overall the play was well done.

The set design was minimal but the large video screens on the east and west walls as well as the large one in the south corner more than made up for any lacking physical set construction. Because of the universe spanning adventure, the videos provided a much appreciated galaxy-traveling quality. The videos will surely keep the younger children engaged.

The minimal set design was due in part to the special choreography by Jennifer Leyva. In a particular scene the ensemble cast spirals and dances through the darkness dressed in black, holding lighted globes of varying sizes. As the scene progresses the darkness devours the light until nothing is left. The dance routine could use more polish, a few of the “stars” ran into others, but nonetheless was a poignant and powerful display of the evil that was being fought.

The costume design by Rebecca Roberts was nicely done but the special costumes were phenomenal. The Centaur Whatsit costume was excellent and provided the ability to sit astride the centaur. The Wings by Marjorie Bell and the Flying Creatures by Michelle Schmidkofer were amazing, but by far the best costumes were the Beasts by Jeannia Philips. The Beasts had a unique look and provided the actors within the costumes the ability to both see and act. They were very well crafted and a wonderful addition to the play.

The acting was superb. Morgan Gerdes as Meg Murry did a wonderful job. She was able to portray a nerdy yet sincere teenager at the outset of the play and then a strong woman of conviction during the final climatic battle with “IT”.

Parker Wilson as Charles Wallace Murry gave an excellent performance.
His portrayal of the odd genius Charles Wallace was realistic and believable. There were a few times where Wilson jumped his lines and fidgeted with his costume sleeves too much but he was very expressive and performed his lines with ease.

Jameson Taylor performed well as Calvin O’Keefe but at times seemed a little too reserved. The quiet way in which he spoke often times was drowned out by the other players.

Tonya Laree did well as Kate Murry but had a more impactful role as Aunt Beast. Given the fact that she was covered in costume from head to toe she was still able to emote well enough to provide an emotional farewell scene with Meg Murry.

Jackie Holt did a masterful job as Mrs. Whatsit, the youngest of the beings that helped Meg on her adventure. Whether she was mumbling to herself or rolling down a ramp, Holt maintained the eccentricities of the character and was a pleasure to watch. She had a heart-warming quality in both her mannerisms and her speech. She had very good comedic timing and was amusing every time she was onstage.

Mrs. Who, played by Joanna Philips, was the second of the ancient beings that helped Meg on her quest. Philips did an amazing job in this role. She had an odd quality that carried through her character into every scene. Additionally, she had an uncanny ability to rattle off foreign language quotes naturally and smoothly.

Mrs. Which, the third of the ancient beings, was more of a leader than the other two and had a more royal air about her. Katy Wood was impressive both in her regal attitude and her commanding presence on stage. She truly acted the leader of this quirky trio and was able to portray a mystic air in both form and substance.

Timothy Raif was excellent as the Prime Coordinator. Raif portrayed the evil and smug personality well. You could feel the disdain and a better than thou attitude dripped off every word that Raif spoke. He was a pleasure to watch but also a bit reserved. It felt at times there was more to Raif than he was willing to give.

David Priddy did a fine job as Alex Murry, even when at times he wasn’t certain where he was supposed to be. He acted well enough and delivered his lines properly but I never got the feeling he was someone that Meg would really be looking for. Murry was the missing father figure and when he was finally found I didn’t get the impression that much was lost by him not being around. Priddy was a wonderful actor but in several scenes the character of Alex Murry almost got lost as an after-thought.

A Wrinkle in Time is a powerful story of individuality. It showcases the uniqueness of the universe and the people that fill it and Artisan Center Theater, at the direction of Taffy Geisel, wove a masterful tale. Each scene had a story within the story to tell and the observant audience member will walk away with a new found appreciation for the quirky yet unique people that inhabit our lives. The play is both engaging for younger audience members and thought provoking for those a bit more seasoned.

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia's THE COLUMN


Artisan Center Theater
418 E. Pipeline Road, Hurst, Texas 76053

Runs through August 31st

Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday evening at 7:30pm
and Saturday matinee at 3:00 pm

For tickets and information please call 817-284-1200 or
go to www.artisanct.com.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fool for Love Theater Review


FOOL FOR LOVE by Sam Shepard
L.I.P. Service

Director – Angel Davis
Set and Costume Design – Jason Leyva
Lighting Design – Robert Molina
Sound Design – Phyllis Huaute and Jason Leyva
Stage Manager – Phyllis Huaute


May – Tanasha Friar
Eddie – Jason Leyva
Martin – Sean Massey
The Old Man – Kit Hussey

Reviewed performance on June 1st, 2013

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

____________________________FOOL FOR LOVE__________________________

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Fool for Love, produced by L.I.P. Service, was a riveting drama from start to finish. The drama was intense and the acting was phenomenal. The play centers around two battling lovers in the Mojave Desert. May is at a motel there, trying to start a new life when Eddie comes to convince her to move with him to the farm they always dreamed of.

The set design was outstanding and Jason Leyva did a wonderful job. The Mojave motel room was perfectly fitted out and painted to give the impression of a rundown rustic motel. A large wooden bed made from old splintered wood took up much of the left stage while a weathered card table and chairs adorned the right. Next to the card table was a large cushy chair where The Old Man perched and waited. A large window was covered with metallic blinds and had a neon light on the outside that simulated the lighting trim of the motel. The set design was also replete with a rope, which Leyva did a wonderful job roping the bed repeatedly with, a shotgun which was a foreshadowing of a darker aspect of the drama and simulated alcohol.

Sound design by Phyllis Huaute and Jason Leyva was well done with car noises, horse sounds and some gunfire. The sounds seamlessly mixed with the action and the drama to enhance the performance.

The costuming by Jason Leyva was well done as well. The outfit worn by Leyva as Eddie was both rural and rustic symbolizing the farmhand background from which the character originated. The outfits worn by May were also symbolic. At the beginning of the play May was huddled covering her face wearing a simple pajama like outfit but soon transformed into a vision of desire in her red evening dress and red lipstick as the drama and passions enflamed.

The lighting design by Robert Molina was masterfully done. During one of the more intense moments the lights were repeatedly shut off by Eddie but the audience was able to still see the action unfold.

Tanasha Friar did a superb job as May. Her acting was powerful and intense. There were some rough scenes that required wrestling with Leyva and she performed them well. The confrontations were flawlessly
executed and the crying scenes, while somewhat long and drawn out, felt genuine. At one point, May stared off into the distance and recounted how she was going to murder Eddie and his girlfriend, The Countess, which brought chills to the audience.

Jason Leyva portrayed Eddie in an authentic and rustic manner. Leyva had a subtle accent, leaning towards rural unsophisticated, that didn’t overpower but gave him enough character so you could feel the farmhand in him. The confrontations between Eddie and May didn’t feel rushed and the tension could be felt in the audience.

Martin, May’s date for the evening, was played by Sean Massey. I’m not sure whether the character was designed to be portrayed as dull-witted or innocent but the overall impression was that Martin was a bit slow. Massey did a wonderful job in his portrayal. He kept a straight face during Eddie’s howling laughter and maintained a cool composure when Eddie was in his face and angry.

The strangest character in the play, The Old Man, was performed by Kit Hussey. It was difficult to tell whether this character was a figment of Eddie and May’s imagination or if he was some crazy mass delusion. Hussey did an excellent job in his portrayal. His southern drawl and mannerisms perfectly accentuated the accent that Leyva portrayed with Eddie to seamlessly blend the two characters together as father and son. Hussey also did an excellent job in remaining static during the times that he was not an active participant in the drama. Hussey would sit idly by in his chair motionless until the opportune time to spring forward and impart either a comedic story or an impassioned plea for defense.

Fool for Love is a simple one-act play. There were no scene or set changes but it carried with it some very intense moments and impactful
acting. L.I.P. Service’s production was a pleasure to watch.

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia's THE COLUMN


L.I.P. Service at Arts Fifth Avenue
1628 Fifth Ave. Fort Worth,TX76104
Runs through June 8th

Wednesday – Saturday at 8:00 pm
Tickets are $15.00 each.

For tickets and information please call (817) 923-9500 or
go to www.jasonleyva.com.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Hiding Place - Theater Review

Play and Lyrics by George Christison
Based on the book “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom
Music by Ted Snow
Artisan Center Theater

Director – Eve Roberts
Stage Manager – Kelly Jo Scott
Dialect Coaching – Hans Vrij
Set Design – Eve Roberts, Nate Davis
Costumes – Rebecca Roberts

CAST (this play is double cast. List below is from the
reviewed performance):

Betsie Ten Boom - Rose Anne Holman
Corrie Ten Boom - Judi Conger
Young Corrie - Alison Borish
Casper Ten Boom “Opa” - Chris Seil
Willem Ten Boom - Tim Dewhirst
Peter - David Seil
Frau Gutlieber/Prisoner 1 - Andrea Duwe
Mr. Bierens de Haan/ Prisoner 2/Person 3 - Amy Beaman
Annaliese/Prisoner 3/ Ellie Floor - Michelle Henson
Prisoner 4 - Robin McElvain
Chief of Police / Person 2 - Brian Sears
The Snake / Person 3 - Kay Barrington
Mrs. Weil / Prison Guard - Ellen Borish
Donna Toeset / Sister Weilmaker / Midwife - Cathy Lackey
Lt. Rahms / Mr. Weil - Scott Collins
Fred Koornstra / German Soldier - John Lattimore
Kapetyn / Klaus Mueller - Paul Borish
Norbert S. Van Tinden /German Soldier - Joseph Ritz
Pastor Tjaard Van Soelen - Charles Spaulding
Myer Mossel / Dietrich - Billy Myers
Gierz / German Soldier - Dan Johnston

Reviewed performance on March 23rd, 2013

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Critic
for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

___________________________THE HIDING PLACE_________________________

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

The Hiding Place, as produced by the Artisan Center Theater, is a deeply moving and emotionally impactful play. It follows the lives of the Ten Boom family as they struggle with the Nazi invasion of Holland and the atrocities committed against the Jewish people. It is a story of sacrifice, perseverance and forgiveness.

The story opens in 1937 with the Ten Boom family celebrating the 100th anniversary of their family’s watch and watch repair business. As the Second World War begins to tear apart Europe, the family gets increasingly more and more alarmed at the atrocities sowed upon the Jewish people by the Nazi army. As a deeply religious Christian family, the Ten Booms decide to help the Jewish people in any way possible. The play continues through the horrors and triumphs of these families as they endure the hardships of such a horrific part of our history. The play centers mainly on Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsie as they attempt to reconcile their faith with the horrors of the Second World War.

The set design by Eve Roberts and Nate Davis was masterfully crafted to envelope the entire theater. Corrie’s bedroom was in one corner while in another corner the watch shop, replete with painted mural clocks and door with old-time doorbell, added to the old world charm. Corrie’s bedroom had a false door in the closet and the wall was transparent enough that you didn’t lose the fact that there were six people hiding in the wall. The painted town murals on the south and west walls added to the open air feeling when the play took place outside in the town streets.

I particularly enjoyed the train scene, not in the sense of joy or elation but more in the sense of raw emotion. The set was a low twelve inch wood frame that simulated a box car and once the prisoners were on the “box car” the lights went off and train sounds began. The whole scene was well directed and evoked a feeling of fear and despair.

Rose Anne Holman’s portrayal of the faithful Betsie was both authentic
and emotional. Betsie was the solid rock of faithfulness that Corrie tended to lean on during tough times. During the incarceration at Ravensbruck, Betsie was the one that inspired Corrie to new heights. Holman was able to portray Betsie as both strong in her faith and weak in her physicality.

Judi Conger’s performance as Corrie Ten Boom was masterfully done. Conger was required to go from jubilation to devastation in the span of the play and was more than capable of digging deep during the darkest of times. Corrie gave an impassioned plea to God during one of the more impactful moments when it came time for her to either forgive the Kapetyn that so devastated her life or turn her back on the faith that carried her through her darkest moments. Conger delivered big time. The impassioned plea was soul jarring in a deep meaningful way.

Chris Seil was excellent as Casper “Opa” Ten Boom. As the patriarch of the Ten Boom family, Opa was the foundation of their family.
Seil’s performance had the air of aged wisdom intermixed with approachability. Opa was the typical approachable grandfatherly figure ready to dispense knowledge and wisdom and Seil was able to hit the mark dead on.

Tim Dewhirst as Willem Ten Boom, the older brother, was both inspiring and distracting. Dewhirst acted the part well and the audience could feel the emotion, but the accent was weak and inconsistent which detracted from the overall stellar performance.

A stand out performance in Act 1 was by David Seil as Peter. In the beginning, Peter was setting up the celebration and David Seil did a wonderful job of portraying Peter’s youthful exuberance. Peter also had a few other memorable moments when he was overcome by anger at the injustice of the Nazis and David Seil’s acting was authentic and impactful. In a few select words Seil was able to sum up the frustration of a dark time and launch those ideas like a javelin at the very core of Norbert S. Van Tinden, a Dutch traitor responsible for Jewish and Dutch atrocities.

Another outstanding performance was by Paul Borish as Klaus Mueller/
Kapetyn. Borish had the unenviable job of portraying not only a villain, but a Nazi villain. Borish did a wonderful job, in a subdued and menacing way, of extracting fear from the Ten Booms. Borish had a commanding presence of Nazi evil on stage that made his end transformation all the more inspiring.

Brian Sears as Chief of Police and Scott Collins as Lt. Rahms both gave admirable performances but missed the mark in what could have been two very emotional scenes. In Act1, Scene 4, the Chief made a plea to Corrie Ten Boom for help with killing a Nazi sympathizer and threat to the Dutch underground. This scene had the ability to really raise the stakes in this drama but the emotion from Sears was lacking and the scene just fizzled into an afterthought. In Act 2, Corrie Ten Boom and Lt. Rahms had an emotional discussion regarding God that had the capability to be impactful but fizzled as well into what amounted to nothing more than a filler scene. Collins seemed unsure of his character and only showed emotion at the end of the scene with a barely raised voice. I didn’t feel the emotion that should have been there in someone who had not seen their family in weeks and was questioning the very existence of God. The exchange between Corrie and Lt. Rahms was more akin to two people arguing over who would pay the dinner check.

I was also disappointed in the accent of John Lattimore as Fred Koornstra. There comes a point where the attempted accent diminished and distracted from the overall character. Lattimore did a good job acting as Koornstra but the accent sounded more Hispanic than Dutch.

Another underutilized character was that of The Snake as portrayed by Kay Barrington. A character that should have struck to the very heart of redemption and divine intervention but fell far short. The problem for me was that I didn’t get the impression that The Snake was warming to Corrie. Aside from a brief pat on the shoulder to Corrie, Barrington showed no outward emotion that her dark Nazi persona was cracking in the least.

Overall, Artisan Center Theater’s The Hiding Place was deeply and emotionally revealing. The sheer raw power of the Nazi atrocities had me wanting to stand and scream “Never Again”. However, this was a story of sacrifice and forgiveness. A story of hope, faith and God. A story of a families’ descent into darkness and the light that they chose to carry through it.

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia's THE COLUMN


Artisan Center Theater
418 E. Pipeline Road, Hurst, Texas 76053

Performances run through April 20th

Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday evenings at 7:30pm,
Saturday matinee at 3:00pm

Monday, January 7, 2013

Theatre Review - FOOTLOOSE

John Garcia's THE COLUMN: Theater Review: FOOTLOOSE (Artisan Center

Sun Jan 6, 2013 4:45 pm (PST) . Posted by:

"John" thecolumnbyjohngarcia

John Garcia's THE COLUMN- Sunday January 6, 2013


follow The Column Awards - @thecolumnawards Get up to the
minute information about The Column Awards and other
arts organizations in the DFW metroplex!





Sten-Erik Armitage
Heather Alverson
Kayla Barrett
Richard Blake
Kristy Blackmon
Charlie Bowles
Mary Clark
Cheryl Cory
Bonnie K. Daman
Tony Austin Douglas
David Hanna
Nicole Hodges
Lyle Huchton
Chris Jackson
Laurie Lynn Lindemeier
Danny Macchietto
Eric A. Maskell
Jeremy W. Osborne
Ashlea Palladino
Elaine Plybon
Rachel Sampson
Christopher Soden
Mark-Brian Sonna
Joel Taylor



Stage Adaptation by Dean Pitchford & Walter Bobbie
Based on the Original Screen Play by Dean Pitchford
Music by Tom Snow, Lyrics by Dean Pitchford

Artisan Center Theater

Director – Dennis Canright
Stage Manager – Terry Shaw
Music Director – Richard Gwozdz
Set Design – Dennis Canright
Scenic Design/Painting – Meredith Stowe
Choreographer – Michael Sylvester
Costume Designer – Jennifer Cadenhead
Resident Costumer Designer – Rebecca Roberts
Properties Design – Tina Ellis

CAST (This production is double cast. This is the cast list
for the performance reviewed)


Ren- Kevin Acosta
Ethel- Jenna Hill
Rev. Shaw- Mark Winter
Vi- Tamera Miller
Ariel- Meredith Stowe
Rusty- Macy Rand
Urleen- Patricia Cannon
Wendy Jo- Scout Harrell
Donna- Hannah Allen
Chuck- Cameron Allsup
Travis- Max Mandudi
Lyle- Daniel Curl
Derek- Tevin Cates
Eddie- Drew Sifford
Willard- Remi Budge
Jeter- Aaron Otteson
Bickle- Matthew Gil
Garvin- Carroll Savage
Bubba- Sean Calvin
Lulu- Chalea Blair
Wes- Chuck Ellis
Coach Dunbar- David Otteson
Eleanor Duncan- Evelyn Kryska
Principal Clark- J. Ben R. Friberg
Betty Blast- Faith Hope
Cowboy Bob- Chuck Ellis
Anna- Tyler Vaden
Marybeth- Rebekah Beaman
Laney- Jordan Thomas
Reanna- Lindsey Ellis
Georgia- Delaney Ellis
Molly- Lauren Kendrik
Town Kids-Erikah Blair, Gabriel Blair, Nathaniel Blair

Kristina Bain (Ariel)
Hannah Allen (Rusty)
Tevin Cates (Willard)

Reviewed performance on January 4th, 2013

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN


Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Footloose, as produced by Artisan Center Theater, is the story of one family and one town's journey to overcome loss and grief. The story centers on a recently divorced Ethel and her spirited teenage son, Ren, as they move to a small town from the big city of Chicago to escape the emotional demons of their past. However, the small town of Bomont has its own emotional demons to exorcise.

A few years back, a car accident resulted in the death of four teenagers. It was alleged that the teens had been involved in alcohol and drug use. After the accident, the town, led by Reverend Shaw, whose son was one of the boys killed in the accident, sought to ban all "negative"; influences that would affect their children. One of the many things banned for its negative influence was dancing.

Upon Ren's arrival to the town he is considered a "negative"; influence
and trouble maker for his modern ideas of freedom and youthful exuberance.

It quickly becomes apparent that Ren's outgoing personality is seen as a destructive force that Reverend Shaw must deal with before his quiet town erupts into chaos.

The battle of wills between Ren's youthful push for freedom of expression and Reverend Shaw's tyrannically imposed iron grip of controlled safety is the battleground of our musical.

Artisan Center Theater's rendition of Footloose was excellent. Dennis
Canright did a masterful job directing. Canright's creative blocking and scene changes were inspired. Add to the fact that Canright also had a hand in the set design and you have a perfect foundation for this high energy musical. The set design was well planned. The style of the set pieces and the flexibility that Canright put into each was truly a work of art.

I especially enjoyed Scene 4 in which four girls on skates sang
"Somebody's Eyes".

The fluidity of the scene was impressive. The girls skated in a large circle, singing. After a few lines of song they skated off in one of the four directions while the lights came up in an opposite corner where the other cast members acted out a high school scene. It was a moving montage of complex choreography and it worked well. The only down side to the scene was that Macy Rand, who played Rusty, appeared severely unsure of herself on the skates and at one point fell. Rand's skating was very unsteady and it impacted the fluidity of the scene as a whole.

Set design and choreography was impressive in the diner during Scene 6: The Burger Blast. During the song "Holding out for a Hero", the booth in which the four girls sat was rotated and spun by ensemble cast members as they danced. At one point Ren, played by Kevin Acosta, swung out from the side of the stage on a rope while Ariel, played by Meredith Stowe, stood atop the rotating diner table and sang "Holding Out for a Hero". An offstage smoke machine billowed smoke as Ren swung into the diner in a true swashbuckling heroic manner. The moment was exciting. The audience cheered. Well done Canright.

Finally, my favorite piece of set design was in Act II Scene 4: Under the Train Bridge. During the musical, the bridge was split into two pieces on either side of the west side of the audience. From the beginning, it was impressive as just a part of the barn or church but when it "transformed" into the bridge where the accident took place and was this massive construct in the middle of the stage, it was awesome.

Ren and Ariel stood atop the bridge singing "Almost Paradise" as the smoke from the river covered the ground. I got goose bumps. The two young lovers, in this scene where they shared their pain, was beautiful.

The cast did a phenomenal job and maintained the high energy required throughout the musical. A wonderful performance overall was by Mark Winter as Reverend Shaw. Winter was the total package. He could sing, act and, in each scene, be heard.

There were a few points in the musical in which other actors' voices were lost in the crowd but Winter was clear and concise in every scene. His rendition of "Heaven Help Me" in Act I, as he sang out for help from God was, heartfelt and inspired. Winter was an excellent Reverend Shaw and a real pleasure to watch.

Kevin Acosta did an excellent job as Ren. His acting and singing abilities were outstanding. Acosta's dancing in Act I Scene 4: A High School Hallway was very well performed and his rendition of "I Can't Stand Still" was great.

Meredith Stowe did a superb job in her performance as Ariel. Stowe was believable and likable as a preacher kid with a desire to escape the confines of small town living. The majority of Stowe's songs was understated and could have been sung with greater intensity.

However, as stated previously, she had a couple of stand-out performances. Her voice never seemed to waiver and the words were clear. Stowe could have been stronger in the duet with Acosta but overall it was touching and impressive.

Another wonderful performance was by Tamera Miller as Vi. Vi was the pastor's wife and had one of the more emotional performances in the musical. As other characters laughed and danced, Vi remained pensive yet hopeful of seeing her husband return to his normal loving self. Miller set the mood with her haunting dreamy rendition of "Learning to Be Silent". Miller was joined by Meredith Stowe as Ariel and Jenna Hill as Ethel in this song. However, the strength of Miller's singing far outshone those of Hill and Stowe. Miller's performance of "Can You Find it in Your Heart?" was another beautiful song in which she was able to capture the longing of the pastor's wife. Miller sang with such feeling that you could feel it in your own heart. Miller conveyed in song the longing of a grieving mother for her child but also for the husband who had emotionally distanced himself.

Remi Budge did an amazing job as Willard. Willard is the shy yet protective comic relief and best friend of Ren. When Willard was learning to dance in Act II Scene I, the audience was laughing and cheering. Budge did a wonderful job keeping a straight face as his friends attempted to teach Willard how to dance. Additionally, Budge's performance of the song "Mama Says" was one of the funniest of the entire musical.

Jenna Hill as Ethel, Ren's mother, did a great job. While her character did not have a solo song, Hill was the inspiration behind Ren confronting Reverend Shaw on a heart to heart basis. Hill's heartfelt and compassionate plea for Ren to go after what he wanted was truly uplifting.

Cameron Allsup did a fair job as Chuck, Ariel's ex-boyfriend. Chuck is a minor character in the musical and not a true antagonist.

Allsup's rendition of "The Girl Gets Around", was weak and often times his voice was completely drowned out by the other singers or the music. His dancing was awkward and wooden. If the character had completely disappeared after Act I Scene 3, I don't believe anyone would have noticed.

Macy Rand played Rusty, Ariel's best-friend. Rand can act and her best performance was when she was acting ditzy and in love with Willard. Her tone and mannerisms were well played and believable. However, Rand's "Let's Hear it for The Boys" was awkward and poorly sung. By the finish of the song Rand seemed out of breath and struggled to finish the song.

Finally, Chuck Ellis played the dual role of Wes, brother-in-law to Ethel, and Cowboy Bob. Ellis did an amazing job as Wes. His southern
accent and his manner added depth to a supporting role. However, his song "Still Rockin'" was simply sub-par. I'm not sure if it was intentionally designed to be that bad or if it was just a bad day to be Bob. The song from the beginning seemed off cue and often times the words were unintelligible.

Artisan Center Theater's production of Footloose is a high energy, high- intensity musical that dances onto the stage from the very first song and keeps on rocking until the end. Footloose, directed by Dennis Canright, was an amazing and enjoyable musical suitable for the entire family to enjoy. Everybody should "Cut Loose" and dance on down to see this one.

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia's THE COLUMN


Artisan Center Theater, 418 E. Pipeline Road, Hurst, Tx 76053
Through February 9, 2013

Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday evenings at 7:30pm
Saturday matinee at 3:00 pm

Ticket prices are Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays: Adults $14
Seniors (60+) / Students $14, Children (12 & under) $7

Fridays, Saturdays: Adults $18, Seniors (60+)/Students $16
Children (12 & under) $9

Artie's Playhouse: Child $5, Adult $7
*EFFECTIVE JAN 1, 2013: Kids $5, Adults $7. Group Discounts Available.*

For tix & info call 817-284-1200 or go to www.artisanct.com