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In a world of broken dreams, steep falls and wanderlust, what does it mean to be fragile glass that can be shattered by any of these? According to Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, these broken dreams can be our great equalizer. This journey of melancholy and hope played in Kelsey Theatre, Oct. 15 through 18, and was co-directed by St. Olaf College alumna Lauren Bartelt ’12 and Artist in Residence Dona Freeman.
Set as a memory, the show follows the unsatisfying stagnation of everyday life as a result of the rising and inescapable tensions at home that finally inspire Tom, a young man played by Dylan Stratton ’16, into leaving, even if it means abandoning his intensely shy and physically disabled sister, Laura. In this flashback, Laura, played by Tara Schaefle ’16, battles her constant anxiety through escaping into the reverie of her glass menagerie as she struggles to find her own way in the world. Despite embarrassing past failures, she remains hopeful even as her first brush with love, Jim (played by Jordan Solei ’15), is not the happy ending she and her mother, Amanda (played by Freeman), expected.
The acting felt so natural that the audience was confused over what was imaginary and what was real. For instance, when Freeman spilled lemonade on herself and shrieked that she was “re-baptizing” herself, the audience fell into titters and many gazed at Freeman with disbelief and deep respect. Many students believed that Freeman had improvised the line as a result of the glass shaking, commenting on it as they left the theatre. The action and line are both in the play, but Freeman’s organic acting convinced the audience that it was all an accident.
Stratton’s reactive imitations of Freeman when she recited the story of her 17 suitors was relatable for any annoyed teen. Likewise, his monologue about the “horrors” had everyone wrapped up with the mounted frustration felt within the mother and son relationship that was reaching a breaking point.
Solei’s character is a good ol’ boy who seems so interested in the fate of Laura’s glass unicorn that you’d swear it was his to begin with. It’s hard to be mad at him for kissing Laura when he’s already engaged – his apologies are real.
Schaefle plays a delicate Laura who somehow seems incredibly strong in the depths of her mind with a cheerfulness that saves her from despair or slipping into meekness. While the stage light actually covered all actors equally, Schaefle sparkled and drew the focus of the audience to her quiet voice and broken sobs.
The entire play was encased within an off-kilter frame that changed tone by the images projected upon it. The program stated that it is Tom’s imagination, yet at times it seemed like Laura’s. There were moments, such as when Freeman ripped apart the typewriter guide, that the images became traumatizingly splattered in exaggeration, like the images of the keys raining from the ruins of typewriters and shattered inkwells exploding ink across the smears of her mind. These images were not logical or inspirational like those representing Tom’s point of view. Instead, they provided insight into why Laura often screamed and hid from what seemed to the audience to be normal situations, by making them grotesque or more beautiful – such as the progressively accumulating mountain of blue roses that blush to pink and become more than an idea.
For a play often remembered for its focus on glass, this production instead chose to concentrate on images of fire, smoke and matches, including that the house technically was encased in a matchbox. Beyond being another reference to smoke and mirrors, and therefore illusions, it could show how once the match is lit, the dreams are like smoke – the characters can grab for them all they want, but they will never be able to hold them in their hands. The match itself has potential that is forever untapped until it is lit, but even then it burns out and the dream is over. This could be seen when the projection of the matchboxes turned to black and white when Jim left and when Tom and Amanda fought. Finally, Jim is seen as the only one who actually lights a match, which fits his line, “I’m superman.” It complements the idea that only their source of hope, “long delayed but expected but that which we live for,” can bring them their adventure and goals, which ultimately end when the match does.
Another notable scenery choice was a clear absence of green. In heavily draping everything with its converse, red, the sense of illusion is strengthened. It does make things dreamier.
And yet, the reality of Tom’s disappearance comes careening to the forefront through the heart-wrenching last scene. As Tom narrated his attempts to block out Laura, she gazed gently into the candles, as if fondly watching him. As he begged her to blow out the candles and let him go, she deliberately blew them out one by one, matching the tempo of her lullaby-like theme, leaving the audience wanting to scream for her not to blow out the last candle, not to let this happen, and yet feeling strangely caught up in her belief that he will be all right, assured by her unconditional love for him. So when the last candle, lit by Jim, is blown out, all the dreams are over and there is only the end.
A motorcyclist was killed after a crash on County Road 22 in Bridgewater Township on Friday morning.
Northfield residents have the chance to vote for one of five candidates for City Council during the general election held on Nov. 4.
Happy United Nations Day, y’all!
Band Of Horses/Compliments
Neko Case/Mood To Burn Bridges
World Party/Best Place I’ve Ever Been
The Pretenders/Back On The Chain Gang
Marshall Crenshaw/Cynical Girl
The Bluetones/Slight Return
Richard X. Heyman/Private Army
Cliff Richard/Devil Woman
Cracker/Happy Birthday To Me (indeed!)
Jillan Rae/Heartbeat (tonight at the Newhall Auditorium in Faribault!)
Bernie King & The Guilty Pleasures/Crazy ’bout the Rock & Roll (tomorrow night, KYMN Presents!, at The Tavern Lounge!)
Ben Kyle/The Turf Club
The Beatles/I Will
Then I chatted by phone with Ben Kyle, appearing TONIGHT along with his band Romantica, as part of the Minnesota Music Coalition’s Caravan du Nord, at the Newhall Auditorium at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault. Ben released a beautiful self-titled solo album in 2012 (get your hands on a copy if you haven’t already!) and plans are in the works for a new Romantica album this year (WOOT!). More at www.benkyle.com.
Romantica/The National Side
After the news, area funeral announcements, and the weekend weather forecast
The Dears/Who Are You, Defenders of the Universe
The Shins/So Says I
Kurt Vile/Jesus Fever
The National/Don’t Swallow The Cap
Mark Olson/Which World Is Ours? (from the forthcoming release, “Good-Bye Lizelle”)
Closed out today’s show with a special visit from singer/songwriter/drummer/keyboardist (!), Ben Cook-Feltz, appearing TONIGHT at The Tavern Lounge in Northfield, 8 to 11:30 pm and no cover charge! More at www.bencookfeltz.bandcamp.com.
This Broken Heart
Wedding Bells and Vinyl Shelves
The Carleton College Arboretum, located on the border of two distinct prairie and forest habitats, works to accomplish many conservation efforts, such as ecological restoration.
Have you ever wondered who answers Carleton’s telephone line, who manages Carleton’s student records, or who that elusive stud in the sculpture studio is?
I think I’m madly in love with my roommate’s amour. We’re a pretty close trio. Ah!! What do I do?
Please help, Lusting Lucy
If you have never philosophized about what came “before” the Big Bang, it may be a fun little enterprise for you to ponder in passing time, or perhaps a larger existential question from which you derive some sort of meaning.
I, Loki the Great, the ultimate authority on all things clairvoyant, do hereby declare this week to be Party Week. Midterms are over. Let the faculty and righteous scholars of the campus despair!
Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21)
In order to reinvigorate your sex life, you will role-play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. First, you have to find a few radiated turtles and an old rat. Good luck!
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21)
Erik Gartland ’15 is swagadocious. If you see him, ask him to “Cat Daddy” for you. Loki deems it to be lucky.
Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19)
President David R. Anderson ’74 loves colorful fall leaves. Find a beautiful leaf and give it to him! Don’t forget to take a picture and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18)
You have eaten the eye of Odin and been bestowed his endless wisdom. Now use it and stop going to Triplex.
Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20)
You will see your ex while walking through the quad. It will be beautiful and sunny and you will walk right past her/him. You will attempt to greet your ex, only to have your throat close up at the last possible second. He/she will then avert his/her eyes to the ground. It will be awkward.
Aries (March 21 – April 19)
After mistaking your sister’s Zoloft for your vitamins, you will come to the conclusion that life is fantastic and that we’re all part of the same cosmic ball of energy.
Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
Pizza bagels are the way forward!
Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
After shadowing the Norwegian mafia on-campus, you will finally meet the illustrious Cod-father. Be sure to pay your respects and don’t get too cheeky, lest he have you turned into Christmasfest lutefisk.
Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
If you put on a blazer, you better be ready to wear a tie. Who do you think you are, Robert Downey Jr.?
Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22)
Yeah, those textbooks have been heavy, but it’ll pay off when you are ceremoniously offered the position of first-string quarterback for the St. Olaf football team.
Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22)
Who let the dogs out? You did. That’s not good. There are literally hundreds of rabid hounds swarming around Dundas. See you in court, Virgo.
Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22)
October is the month of philanthropy. Treat your favorite Mess writers to a bag of Funyuns. Loki has the munchies.
For the first since Paul Beaumaster has held the Rice County Attorney seat, he is being challenged.
Around mid-September, the White House unveiled a new initiative to work towards ending sexual violence specifically on college campuses.
Often, moments of insight don’t come from reading Tolstoy and listening to Bach.
If I go home over a break, I typically work some hours at the job I have held for about a year and a half: cashier at a large retail chain.
This morning, a squirrel hopped up on the windowsill and peered intently at me through the glass.
Tech companies release new and updated products every year, some more useful than others. But all new products are cool (or just interesting), and as a techie I try to keep up with what is happening in the market even if I am not buying. Sadly, this year’s line-up does not feature anything particularly new and noteworthy for students, though Apple did announce the Apple Watch and launch the iPhone 6 and the iPad Air 2. Last week, Google chimed in by providing more information about Android 5.0 (nicknamed Lollipop) and announced the Nexus 6, 9 and Nexus Player. All of these should arrive in time for Christmas and I will introduce each of them here.
Android Lollipop focuses on a “Material Design” which simplifies the interface and is (hopefully) more intuitive. The main design elements are plain, geometric shapes, offering a crisp, clean feeling. The latest animations for responding to touch, opening apps, and browsing multi-tasking panes illustrate more clearly how the device responds to touch input. For example, the screen shows a lot of movement response when swiping and app transition reveals what is opening where (usually a window from the bottom of the screen).
The focus on animation helps develop a mental path of movement through the interface, which especially benefits non-visual people who struggle navigating UI. Furthermore, it appears in the preview that the home screen acts as an easy point of reference by acting more like the desktop of your PC or Mac than before. Animations create the feeling that menus and apps cover the home screen and rest on top of it (like a desktop window), rather than replace the home screen altogether, thus users are less likely to become lost. If these types of changes are successful in the UI, Android could be really inviting for first-time users.
Next we have the hardware which will run Lollipop: the new Nexus 6 made by Motorola. It looks a lot like the Moto X, naturally, but it’s much bigger and faster. The Nexus 6 features a larger screen than the iPhone 6 Plus, at 5.96″ vs. 5.5″ and 2560×1440 (493 PPI) vs. 1920×1080 (401 PPI). Inside, the CPU is the latest Snapdragon chipset with a Quad Core up to 2.7 GHz and 3GB of RAM, which means this device handles like a dream. For added bonus, Google claims you can charge fifteen minutes for six hours of additional use. These specifications make the Nexus 6 entirely capable of replacing a tablet and even a laptop. Large phones can appeal to individuals who use their computers only for web browsing, e-mail and video, and are interested in consolidating. For everyone else (like myself), I hope they make a more pocket-friendly version of this phone.
Another potential laptop replacer is the Nexus 9, which is working hard to strike a balance between work and play. With a 8.9″ screen, you can still hold it in one hand like a reader (though you might grow tired) and the optional attachable keyboard/folio ($129) adds work functionality. Interestingly, the Nexus 9 only has 2GB of RAM, compared to the 6’s 3GB, and sports a 64bit Nvidia chip at 2.3GHz. Though the specs differ, performance between the 6 and 9 will be comparable so customers are left selecting between sizes and prices. Price hasn’t been announced yet for the Nexus 6, but you can pre-order a Nexus 9 (Wi-Fi, 16GB) for $399.
Finally, Google’s latest product line extension is the Nexus Player, another entrant in the streaming device market, similar to a Roku Player or Amazon’s Fire TV. The Nexus Player takes the success of casting and adds video streaming from apps like Netflix, Hulu, TED and Crackle, as well as gaming through apps from the Google Play store. I think that means you can play Candy Crush on your TV… It will be interesting to see how many users purchase the additional game remote for this purpose. The Nexus Player could provide a console gaming experience for budget conscious users. However, even more budget conscious users who already own a laptop can invest in an HDMI cable and connect a laptop to their TV for a similar experience.
On Wednesday, Oct. 29, the Carleton Responsible Investment Committee (CRIC) will hold a town-hall meeting (Great Hall, 6-8 pm) to discuss divesting the Carleton endowment from fossil fuels.
There are three open seats on the Northfield School Board and four candidates.
The Carleton College Department of Art and Art History will present “Rising Suns in the North: Japanese Gardens in Minnesota” on Friday, Oct. 31 at 5 p.m. in the Boliou Hall Auditorium. Art historian Kendall Brown, author of “Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America” will discuss his book, tracing the local manifestations of this trans-Pacific imagination by examining the rich history of Japanese Gardens in Minnesota.
The Carleton Symphony Band will celebrate Halloween with a special concert entitled “Danse Macabre” on Friday, Oct. 31 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the Concert Hall. An appropriately “eerie” evening of music, the performance will accompany excerpts from the horror film classic, “The Bride of Frankenstein,” along with other short classic horror films, “all guaranteed to amaze and frighten,” says Symphony Band director Ron Rodman. Halloween treats will also be served.
Carleton College is pleased to present a not-to-be-missed appearance by critically acclaimed and very popular music pioneers, Red Baraat. The event takes place on Sunday, Nov. 2 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Carleton Concert Hall.