Dead Blogging WAM, ‘Sondheim,’ and ‘Disgraced’

Well the Missus and I trundled hither and yon this past weekend to catch one thing and another and say, it was swell.

On Friday we spent a lovely afternoon at the Worcester Art Museum, mostly to see Flora in Winter, which is no longer there but which had some smart floral imitations of the museum’s artworks.

We also took in Knights!, which is now part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Knights! reveals the fascinating place of arms and armor in the broader context of history, storytelling, and art. Only three Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 2.37.41 PMmonths after the closing of Worcester’s Higgins Armory Museum, this exhibition marks the first step in the long-term integration of arms and armor into the collection of the Worcester Art Museum. This process ensures that a treasure of national importance remains in Worcester and continues to delight future generations of museumgoers from within the city and across the region.

Hear, hear!

WAM always has interesting photography exhibits, and the current one is a beaut.

Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period

2010.271.32

Invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842, cyanotypes are photographs with a distinctive Prussian blue tonality produced by treating paper with an iron-salt solution. The treated paper can be developed using only the sun, which made cyanotypes a favored technique among amateur photographers through the turn of the twentieth century. Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period will trace the rise of these “blueprint photographs” beginning with the botanical photogenic drawings printed by Anna Atkins in the 1850s. The exhibition will also feature contemporary artists who have recently revived the process manipulating the medium to varied expressive effects.

Cyanotypes is on exhibit through April 24.

Speaking of expressive effects, you really have to see Hassan Hajjaj: My Rock Stars, “[a] video installation by Moroccan-born, UK-based artist Hassan Hajjaj, along with a related series of photographs, in a salon installation designed expressly for the exhibition.”

Sample:

 

 

The whole setup – from a video room to an exotic seating area to a mini-grocery – is wildly colorful, eye-poppingly stylish, and thoroughly engaging.  You have until March 6 to immerse yourself in it.

On Saturday we ventured down to the Lyric Stage for Sondheim on Sondheim (through February 20).

Just a taste:

 

 

That representative sample is exactly the problem with this production: Too many run-of-the-mill songs, too little of Sondheim’s lyrical genius. Really, five selections from Merrily We Roll Along, a musical that closed after 16 performances at the Alvin Theatre in 1981?

The Missus and I both love Stephen Sondheim but you’d never know just how special a songwriter he is from this grab-bag of a revue.

Undaunted, the very next day we moseyed over to the Huntington Theatre Company‘s production of Disgraced, which the Huntington says is “the most produced play in the country in the 2015-2016 season.”

(Trailer, discussions, audience reax here.)

The plot: “High-powered New York lawyer Amir has climbed the corporate ladder while distancing himself from his Muslim roots. When he and his wife Emily host a dinner party, what starts as a friendly conversation escalates, shattering their views on race, religion, and each other.”

A rainbow coalition of characters – Muslim, Jew, white, black – goes under the microscope, none of them in the end admirable, all of them in some way disgraced.

The cast is terrific, especially Rajesh Bose as Amir. The production runs through this Sunday. It would be a shame to miss it.

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