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Serially entertaining

Actors and screen-writers are busier these days than they have been in some time. There are “streaming” shows, 100s of cable outlets producing both series and movies, and of course Hollywood and the Indie scene all requiring their talents and services.

We are the beneficiaries of all this production. We will be enlightened, entertained and excited by the films they produce.

What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than binge watching Divorce?

Gifted, the movie with Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace, and not so incidentally Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate, Lindsay Duncan, and Elizabeth Marvel, is touching without being maudlin. It is generally intelligent, with a sterling performance by young Ms. Grace, and until we saw it last night on HBO, I had not heard much about it.

The assignment for Black History Month can include the excellent Get Out, Jordan Peele’s genius defies and reinvents the “horror” genre. It should also feature a viewing of Birth of a Nation, perhaps both in its regressive D.W. Griffith 1915 version and Nate Parker’s 2016 “remake.” The contrast between a paen to the Ku Klux Klan and to Nat Turner’s slave rebellion may prove edifying. Add Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (although not our personal favorite) to your list of films for 2018. (In the New Yorker, Vinson Cunningham expresses a different view, especially of Parker’s film.)

Art is meant to engender controversy, stimulate and even incense and enrage. We should not be passively diverted in its presence. It is here to help us ponder life’s (and history’s) biggest issues.

Thanks to films and serial dramas we have a lot to consider and enjoy. And we are treated to some terrific performances in the bargain.

Posted in drama, found money, friendship, homelessness, husbands and wives, Irish drama, mothers, poverty

Powerful "Temporal Powers" Is Part 2 For Mint’s Deevy Project

It has been nearly 80 years since Teresa Deevy’s play won the Abbey Theatre’s New Play competition, but “Temporal Powers” still packs a wallop. Set in a small impoverished Irish town in the 1920s,”Temporal Powers,” currently in a production by The Mint Theater Company under the direction of Jonathan Bank, closing 25 Sept., extended to October 2nd 9th was deemed ”strikingly original and of fine literary quality” by the Abbey judges.

Money and the lack of it are powerful tests of any marriage, but the Donovans have such a completely different sense of right and wrong that it is not just their homelessness that can tear them apart. Michael (Aidan Redmond) is a fiercely moral man, so madly in love with Min (Rosie Benton), his wife of ten years, that she can bend his senses in any number of ways.

Aidan Redmond as Michael Donovan, Rosie Benton as Min Donovan (Photo Credit: Richard Termine) 

Michael is content to toil without enriching himself, for the pride of accomplishment. But unlike Michael, Min feels entitled to a better life. And she is not sure that she will get it just being his wife.

(See video at http://vimeo.com/channels/minttheater.)

The plot of “Temporal Powers” subtly twists, asking questions about fairness, and loyalty, as it makes its way around the rich cast of nine characters. The troupe all handle this intelligent material ably. Eli James, along with the leads, gives a particularly admirable performance as Michael’s true friend, Moses Barron. Thanks to the workings of the dialect coach, Amy Stoller, everyone’s speech is convincingly country Irish, yet easy to follow.

Please visit http://www.minttheater.org/ to find out more about “Temporal Powers” and The Mint’s Deevy Project.

“Temporal Powers” is part of the 1st Irish Festival 2011.

Photo Credits: Richard Termine

Eli James as Moses Barron, Wrenn Schmidt as Lizzie Brennan in a scene from Temporal Powers, written by Teresa Deevy and directed by Jonathan Bank presented by The Mint Theater Company 

Paul Carlin as Jim Slattery, Aidan Redmond as Michael Donovan in a scene from Temporal Powers, written by Teresa Deevy and directed by Jonathan Bank presented by The Mint Theater Company 

Aidan Redmond as Michael Donovan, Rosie Benton as Min Donovan in a scene from Temporal Powers, written by Teresa Deevy and directed by Jonathan Bank presented by The Mint Theater Company 

Rosie Benton as Min Donovan in a scene from Temporal Powers, written by Teresa Deevy and directed by Jonathan Bank presented by The Mint Theater Company 

Aidan Redmond as Michael Donovan, Rosie Benton as Min Donovan in a scene from Temporal Powers, written by Teresa Deevy and directed by Jonathan Bank presented by The Mint Theater Company