Saturday, May 7, 2011

Give us your tired, your poor...

...your moldy books? Ok, maybe not. But that is one of the things we have to deal with at the library on, if not a daily basis, at least once in a while. Myself, I have been accused of being a a right terror because I am generally spot water or otherwise damaged books from a mile away.

Today, we had a patron come in with five bags of books asking if we were taking donations. As our library director had recently run an ad in the local paper that we were accepting donations, I said "yes". Perhaps most unwisely. The patron then went on to say that the vast majority of the books were ones pulled from the trash that Hospice had deemed unacceptable. He didn't understand why, as obviously we would want them. Reader, some of them were moldy clear through. Others were soggy. Um, ew. Generally there is a reason why books end up in the dump. Needless to say that as soon as they weren't looking, I marched out to our dumpster to dispose of the evidence (and the smell).

Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing Liberty Smith at Ford's Theatre from the front row. It has been a while since attending a performance there as a patron (since seeing Meet John Doe for my birthday four years ago). I actually usher there, so I do see their productions all of the time. As an usher, you do get one free ticket per show that you usher (except for A Christmas Carol). This was just the first time my friend and I had taken them up on the offer.

Liberty Smith is about an orphan named Liberty Smith (Geoff Packard) who grows up in pre-Revolutionary War era Virginia. He is childhood friends with George Washington and is also in love with Martha Dandruff (I mean Dandridge). She, of course, looks down on him and tells him that the only way she would marry him would be if he managed to free the thirteen colonies of British tyranny. He goes galloping off to Philadelphia where he becomes Benjamin Franklin's apprentice, meets a more worthy object of affection played by Kelly Karbacz (though he doesn't realize that until act two) and her aunt Betsy Ross, the villainous Benedict Arnold, and eventually finds himself in the midst of Boston during the tea party and Paul Revere's (or should I say Liberty Smith's) midnight ride. Yes, he was there for all of it, but we just never knew about him because he never ended up in the history books.

Here's a preview:

The musical was actually originally written to be an animated movie musical and you can really see that whilst watching it. They don't hesitate to make modern references so it is filled with one liners. All said and done, it was quite the fun night of musical theatre (especially when one considers I typically see more dramatic pieces of art where people die all over the place). The only time it got a bit morose was for the end of Act One/beginning of the second act when all I could do was picture Liberty Smith listlessly counting bullets like Marius in the fabulous 1930s French Les Miserables movie. That said, I am a big fan of his "fort". My one quibble? Why in the world was Martha Dandridge dressed in a regency dress and spencer for part of the show? The other costumes were great and period correct. But that? Why?

And for the record, I took pictures. Of the set. Because we now can. Hehe. I can't tell you how many times I have had to ask people to delete pictures of the set because of copyright issues and now they finally gave up and we don't have to scold patrons anymore. How freeing! Well, except for when there are actors about. Then you still cannot. Don't worry, I didn't try to do that!

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