New Play ‘The Bourgeois Pig’ Reaches The Stage At Muhlenberg

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, Pa – “The Bourgeois Pig,” a new play by award-winning playwright Brighde Mullins, will be presented in its first full-scale production, Nov. 28 through Dec. 2 at Muhlenberg College.  Beth Schachter directs the production.

Named for a notorious paparazzi hangout spot in Los Angeles, “The Bourgeois Pig” explores the power of image—on the page and in the public eye—through the character of a late-1970s war photographer-turned-paparazzi.  The play will be presented in Muhlenberg’s 100-seat Studio Theatre.

“The play was inspired by my move to Hollywood from Cambridge, Mass.,” Mullins says. “I moved from a place where people walk around reading books—they are actually often reading while walking—to a place where there was no evidence of that kind of immersion in words, in language.  It was all about the surface, the image.  And in my new neighborhood there were lots of guys hanging around.  I thought they were dealers, but it turned out that they were paparazzi.

“I started talking with them, and I started to have sympathy for these people who are an underclass in Los Angeles.  They are considered bottom-feeders.”

Set in 1978 Los Angeles, “The Bourgeois Pig” tells the story of the Riley family, trying hard to hang onto their hopes and each other in the face of serious dysfunction.  Jack, the father, is a brilliant but damaged former war photographer who never really came back from Vietnam, now making his living as a paparazzi.  His ex-wife Francie hasn’t quite given up on an acting career that began (and pretty much ended) with an appearance on “Laugh-In” eight years before.  Older daughter Riley is in her first year at UCLA, awakening to intellectual exploration and her attraction to women.  Her sister Colette struggles with the pressure of her mother’s expectation that she grow up thin and beautiful, and find the success that Francie never had.

The play has been presented several times in workshops and staged readings over the past four years — at Minneapolis PlayLabs, at Bard College, and at the Blank Theatre, in Los Angeles — but this is the first full-scale production.  Mullins says the play has evolved considerably over that time.  The cast was still receiving text revisions up to just a couple weeks before the play’s opening.

“I think I first told Beth of my idea for the play and we’ve been talking ever since — this was four years ago,” Mullins says. “Theater is so collaborative, and a large part of making plays is finding simpatico souls.”

A 2012 Guggenheim Foundation Award-winning playwright, Mullins holds Master of Fine Arts degrees from the Yale School of Drama, in playwriting, and the Iowa Writers Workshop, in poetry.  Her plays include “Rare Bird,” “Monkey in the Middle” (produced at Muhlenberg in 2007), “Those Who Can, Do,” “Fire Eater,” “Topographical Eden,” and “Pathological Venus.” Her plays have been seen in London, at the Tristan Bates Theatre; and in New York, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.  Other awards include an NEA Fellowship a 2010 United States Artists Award in Literature, and a Gold Medal from “The Pinter Review.”

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa.  The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance.  The Princeton Review consistently ranks Muhlenberg’s production program in the top ten in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.

Performances of “The Bourgeois Pig” are Nov. 28 through Dec. 2: Wednesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for LVAIC students, faculty and staff and for patrons 17 and under.  The performance is intended for mature audiences.

Performances are in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.  Performance information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 or http://www.muhlenberg.edu/main/academics/theatre-dance/

Reading Holiday Parade This Saturday, November 17th

Christmas in the post-War United States

Christmas in the post-War United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About 3,500 proud participants will march down Penn Street this Saturday in the Reading Holiday Parade, presented by the Downtown Improvement District.

The Reading Police Honor Guard will lead the parade as it kicks off at 9 a.m. from City Park at 11th and Penn streets.  The Reading High School Marching Band will be the first of 10 school bands to fill the air with music.

When the parade arrives at Fifth and Penn streets, it will stop briefly while Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer lights the Christmas tree and the Menorah.  Then the parade will continue to its conclusion at Second and Penn streets.

“We expect more than 11,000 spectators,” said Barb Tarczynski, who celebrates her 25th year as parade chairperson this year.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=427904

Mount Penn Formally Ends Merger Talks With Lower Alsace

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lower Alsace Supervisor John Theodossiou made one final plea asking Mount Penn Borough Council to reopen merger talks between the two municipalities.

“I understand there are a lot of differences and things got derailed,” he said. “At the very least go to the next meeting.”

But Theodossiou’s effort landed with a thud, as Mount Penn council voted on Tuesday to send letters to the Pennsylvania Economy League and Berks County formally ending the merger study.

Read more:

http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=428047

BP Gets Record Fine In Gulf Oil Spill

English: Platform supply vessels battle the bl...

English: Platform supply vessels battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. A Coast Guard MH-65C dolphin rescue helicopter and crew document the fire aboard the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, while searching for survivors. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon’s 126 person crew. Français : Les restes en feu de la plateforme Deepwater Horizon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

NEW ORLEANS — Oil giant BP has agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history, totaling billions of dollars, for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a person familiar with the deal said today.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the deal, also said two BP employees face manslaughter charges over the death of 11 people in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that triggered the massive spill.

The person said BP will plead guilty to obstruction for lying to Congress about how much oil was pouring out of the ruptured well.  The person declined to say exactly how much the fine in the billions of dollars would be.

BP made a net profit of $5.5 billion in the third quarter, it reported last month.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=428304

This just in, according to Lancasteronline.com, the settlement is $4.5 billion!  Read full story:

http://lancasteronline.com/article/ap/778336_BP-agrees-to-pay–4-5B–3-employees-charged.html

West Reading Fires Police Chief, 2 Others

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  At least there are places in the universe where poor performance and bad behavior aren’t rewarded or tolerated!

After months of turmoil in its troubled police department, West Reading Borough Council voted Wednesday night to fire Police Chief Edward C. Fabriziani, Sgt. Richard Vetter and Officer Ronald E. Ladd.

“We had a rough night, as you can imagine,” Councilman James J. Gallen Jr. said after the vote, which was preceded by a 2½-hour executive session that left some council members teary-eyed.

Fabriziani and Council President Kevin M. Conrad declined to comment on the action, and Ladd and Vetter were not present.

Reached at home following the meeting, Ladd’s wife said that the couple needed a couple of days to deal with things before they would comment.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=428065

Australian Pink Floyd Rocks Sovereign Center In Reading

The stage design before a show.

The stage design before a show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight, a Pink Floyd tribute band, Australian Pink Floyd put on a 2 hour show at the Sovereign Performing Arts Center in downtown Reading.  The packed house was on their feet, dancing, clapping, holding up lighters and making various other signs of approval throughout the show.

The first half of the show was one hour.  The band took a 20 minute break, returned to the stage and played for another hour followed by one encore.  I thought the stomping on the floor in the balcony was going to collapse it!

There are so many Pink Floyd songs that you can’t pack them into one show.  I was disappointed that they did not play Money but they did perform a number of Pink Floyd’s other hits and some songs which I did not know.  My personal favorite album by Pink Floyd is Dark Side of the Moon.

The light show and special effects were awesome!  There was a large object the resembled the Stargate (if you ever watched any of those shows on Syfy or the movie) which was constantly streaming pictures.   Fog, laser and strobe lights abounded.  There were also two huge inflatables.  One was the teacher from Another Brick In The Wall and the second was a giant bouncing kangaroo!  A gigantic disco ball was lowered from the ceiling at the end of the show to add even more sensory overload to the experience.

The musicality was superb.  I don’t think you could get a better Pink Floyd show unless the actual band performed it.  The instrumentalists and singers were all excellent.  No weak links.  Even the backup singers were amazing.  All in all it was worth every penny and then some.

Surprisingly, there were a good number of younger fans in the audience.  It wasn’t by any means made up of mostly 60′s and 70′s era folks.  Lots of 20 somethings in the house which I find pretty cool.  The music of Pink Floyd is evidently timeless if it is still being embraced by young people.

If you like the music of Pink Floyd I highly recommend taking in an Australian Pink Floyd concert in a city near you!

Click here to go to the group’s website: http://www.aussiefloyd.com/

Click here to read the Reading Eagle’s glowing review of last night performance:

http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=428061