29 October, 2012

The Gentleman's Daughter

On some days Shura was ordered to clear the courtyards, other times she was made to haul logs, draw water, or to hew wood for kindling and stack them uniform as soldiers; and if the logs were not hearty, the water not clear enough, the wood not placed sufficiently in tight, symmetrical piles, she was ordered (in a tone colder than the temperatures she endured) to do it again.

Shura worked. Slogged. Waited.
Waiting was another hell of the convict.
It had its many depths.

Recently, however, Shura had been turning in her hard labor and working many a late night in The Gentleman’s office.


Shura knelt scrubbing mold from the lavatory basins when The Gentleman approached her from behind.
    “Hello” he said, in his distinctive, quiet voice.
    "Good day, Sir."
He was holding a pamphlet he shook lightly as he declared,
    “The guards say your Russian has become quite impressive, Shura.”
    “I have always had a talent for language, Sir.”
Shura saw language like a puzzle to be put together, her instincts always leading her to the absolutely correct next piece as it locked into place.     
    “—And that you do not merely speak, but read and write. Is that so?”
    “I do not think that my husband," she smiled, "would have it any other way.”
It was true, Mikhail made certain Shura could speak, read and write Russian, not merely for her own good, but because he could not have quelled her insatiable questioning if he tried.
The Gentleman stepped closer and handed her the pamphlet,
    “Would you care to demonstrate?”    

She would work while moths, beetles, snow and wind all beat against the November-colored windows as she transcribed, scribbled and translated. The hours were long and loathe at passing, but despite that she was of course quite comfortable in comparison to her prior tasks of drudgery. Besides, The Gentleman always provided her with hot tea, a fire, and, though modest in appearance, a cushioned chair. Yet even as she finished and put away each paper, there always seemed to be something else — just one more task in need of completion.

She shared the tasks with another girl whose name she understood to be called Sarangerel (she learned to be the Mongolian for 'moon-light,') though was always known to everyone simply as, Ana.

Ana always sat beside The Gentleman’s desk at a squat little table of her own; posture determinedly upright as she wrote endlessly on page after page of import and export, entry and discharge documents in handwriting as precise as religion and just as scrupulous. She was small, body rigid, relentless in its productivity, with a manner so reserved she seldom spoke.

Ana was in fact none other than The Gentleman’s daughter.

Perhaps it was due to his overly protective stance that she remained so silent — he kept her close and unvisited, forbidding anyone to speak to her; not only the prisoners but to fellow sentries, guards and keepers; and soon she had managed to learn a life of silence so effective she scarcely seemed fussed by the conversation kept from her by a imperceptible paternal boundary.

Shura had heard whispers that Ana was a mix of local races, and she did indeed possess a composition of features Shura had never seen before in her life, had never known possible! So unusual were her qualities that at times she could not help but stare upon her workmates’ tawny skin tone, her small, flat nose, the height of her cheeks, the prominence and beauty of her bones. Her face was shaped like a heart and clothed in a light headscarf—not as Shura would have worn secured beneath the nape of her neck, but wrapped under and below her chin in what the Russians called the babushka (or "grandmother") style.

The night was dark as tar. And quiet, still as anything. Shura thought she could hear her heart beating beneath her shawl when all at once Ana looked up and nodded silently toward her, unsmiling.

A scrap of blackest hair was swept across her forehead resting like a perfect leaf, as her lean brows framed her completely foreign eyes — not only foreign, but ferocious: articulating a universe of strength and intelligence, and so piercing a blue they betrayed in every way the blood connection to her father...

Oh judicious blood, thought Shura, to select so striking a quality…

26 October, 2012

"Glengarry's Richard Schiff is Holding Broadway's Alexandra Silber Hostage?"

Conspirators: Babani, Schiff and Silber
So.... things have gotten a liiiiiiittttle out of control. But man: is it fun. So, as readers, you have all heard me kvell about my "West Wing Song" over the years-- some of you have witnessed the performance of it live. 

But the other night? The other night I met Richard Schiff (and, after a delightful and truly lovely evening discussing everything) our mutual friend "outed" me-- and the SONG WAS SUNG. And perhaps... juuuuust perhaps it was video taped... the rest? The rest is "Twistery..."
* * *
From TheaterMania.com
By Editorial Staff • Oct 26, 2012 • New York City

Glengarry, Glen Ross star Richard Schiff has gone mad with power...on Twitter.The award-winning actor, perhaps best known for his performance as Toby Ziegler on The West Wing, reportedly has a video of Broadway and West End veteran Alexandra Silber singing the hit TV series' theme song, with lyrics she composed herself.
(The original "The West Wing Song," used during the series' opening credits, was a word-less W.G. Snuffy Walden overture.)
Silber recently attended the Glengarry revival and, following the performance, sang the song for Schiff, who documented it on film. Schiff has said he will release the video, but not until an appropriately belligerent amount of demand for it appears on Twitter.
"I will play #TWW song (recorded it) but only after intense tweet demand," Schiff Tweeted.
She wrote the song as a college student in Glasgow, Scotland, watching the series on DVD with her then-boyfriend. "We basically developed The West Wing Song, the one of such glory and more, with harmonies, with different versions for each season, and we would look forward to the first 30 seconds of each episode to sing it." (The lyrics, she notes, "are basically the names of the actors sung in alphabetical order," with the music.)
Since Schiff and Silber first posted about it, demand has skyrocketed, and Silber's Broadway comrades are also getting into the act:
"Dear @richard_schiff, We have never met but I feel confident we will be besties 4ever if you just post @alsilbs singin dat West Wing song," wrote Julia Murney.
"He has all the power," Silber added, "and he's clearly enjoying his power."
So we're sending out a call to arms and demanding a release of the video. Tweet them @richard_schiff and @alsilbs with the hashtag #TWWSong.
Next move is on you, Schiff.

* * *
Sorkin's Ransom shot


The Hollywood Reporter reports, THIS JUST IN:

"The Newsroom" creator tweets twice, posting a photo and asking for actress Alexandra Silber's rendition of "The West Wing" theme song.

We're now waiting for reports of pigs flying.
In what can only be described as the biggest "You cannot be serious" moment the Twittersphere has experienced in a long time, Oscar-winning screenwriter and The Newsroom creator, Aaron Sorkin has finally joined Twitter.

Sorkin has repeatedly scoffed at joining social networks in the past, even though he briefly had a Facebook page during the writing process of the The Social Network.
"I have a lot of opinions on social media that make me sound like a grumpy old man sitting on the porch yelling at kids," Sorkin said at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June 2011.

The unexpected move was confirmed on Twitter by former The West Wing actor Richard Schiff.
Schiff tweeted: "It's out. Yes, Aaron sent me word that it is indeed him. On to demand #TWWSong  // @leenie909  @aaronsorkin  @lawrence  @joshmalina  @dulehill."

Sorkin has only tweeted twice since joining the social networking service, posting his first tweet on October 26.

His first tweet featured a photograph of himself holding The New York Times from that day standing in front of posters of The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The photo is posted below.

Sorkin's second tweet was to Schiff, who played Tobey Ziegler on The West Wing and who's currently on Broadway in the revival of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross.

Sorkin tweeted: "@richard_schiff: Other than 18 hrs/day for 7 years I've never asked for anything. I want the A. Silber cover. #TWWSong @alsilbs."

According the TheaterMania, the tweet is in reference to Schiff's recording of actress Alexandra Silber's rendition of The West Wing theme song, complete with lyrics she composed herself. Schiff recorded Silber performing the song and is claiming to only release it after there's enough Twitter demand for it.

Schiff is using the hashtag #TWWSong to monitor the Twitter requests.
Whether we'll hear or see anything from Sorkin again on Twitter is yet to be seen. Sorkin could not be reached for comment.

Needless to say, does anyone know the temperature of Hell these days?

10 October, 2012

"Love Means..." A Two-Show Day With Love Story, the Musical Stars Will Reynolds and Alexandra Silber

"Spend a day at Philly's Walnut Street Theatre with Alexandra Silber and Will Reynolds, who star in the American premiere of Love Story, the Musical. Follow them en route to the theatre and learn the various methods and exercises required to bring Jenny Cavilleri and Oliver Barrett IV to life."

"Well hello Playbill. Alexandra ('Al') Silber and Will Reynolds here, straight from Philadelphia's historic Walnut Street Theatre," said the pair in a joint statement. "For us, playing Jenny 'snotty Radcliffe bitch' Cavilleri and Oliver 'preppy Harvard bastard' Barrett IV-- lovers of such notoriety-- has been a tall order, but also nothing short of a joy."
"That said:

  • 1. Interestingly, it is in fact, *not* always sunny in Philadelphia.
  • 2. It HAS been 'hot as hell-- in Philadel-PHIA.'
  • 3. This show isn't about 'brotherly love...'
  • 4. Love DOES mean having to say you're sorry. All. The. Time."
The full Playbill article is here.

08 October, 2012


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