Posted by: gdevi | July 29, 2012

The Evidence of Things Not Seen

A while ago, when CERN first found evidence of the Higgs-Boson particle a handful of us at the University had some interesting discussions about it. So now, here is the poet’s take on it; it is actually the perfect testimony to higher ed research. You were right, Tom! The poet agrees with you!

The Evidence of Things Not Seen

How strong the lens, how keen the eyes

To see what we hypothesize,

To watch so small a thing in motion

As what we’ve christened the “Higgs boson,”

A tiny, massive thing that passes

For what can best explain the masses

Of other things we cannot see

But somehow, nonetheless, must be.

A thing so small is surely cute,

Though weirdly shaped, perhaps hirsute,

And just as real as any wraith

Imagined with the eyes of faith.

– Jay Curlin, “The Evidence of Things Not Seen,” The New Yorker, July 30, 2012, p. 77

I am going to see the Williamsport Community Theatre’s production of the West Side Story this afternoon; one of my students is acting in it. I will post a review later.

West Side Story@ Williamsport Community Theatre with ACT UP

It is hard to be in your forties and fifties and not to have seen West Side Story at least once. I have seen two other productions of this play; even so, I enjoyed the Williamsport Community Theatre/ ACT UP collaborative production of this Broadway standard tremendously. Wonderful lead voices and actors, gorgeous choreography, great sets, very pretty costuming for the ladies, and since the original play is an American retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story, the young men and women of this cast–all high school students from in and around the Williamsport and Loyalsock school districts–capture that ethos of adolescent love, sexuality and sense of tragedy very well. Romeo and Juliet is, after all, about adolescents just like them.

Musicals are uniquely interesting because in a musical, you don’t just dance to salutary human emotions, but also to sinister ones. (I would like to see Good Fellas: The Musical; it is quite possible.) In keeping with this feature, the fight scenes in this production–and there are many– follow the original choreography by Jerome Robbins from the operatic overture to the “Rumble” presenting the conflict between the white Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks as communicated to us through tense and agile masculine dance movements with athletic and acrobatic leaps and turns, the tense musculature of the dancers who move in precise unison to signal the gang ethos ruling the two adolescent groups. In contrast, the love songs between Tony (Zane Wagner, a Senior at Williamsport High School), and Maria (Jennie Judd, a graduate of WAHS and freshman at Wheaton College in Music Education) are filled with closeness and blending movements. A high point of Act One is the The Dance at the Gym with all the Jets and the Sharks and their girls–the whites and the Puerto Ricans keeping their cautious distance from each other through synchronized walks, while exploding into joyous movements within their own groups. Communicative dancing at its best. I also greatly enjoyed the satirical Latin number “America” sung by Rosalia (Brigid Lapp, a senior at Warrior Run), Anita (Tess Marshall from Loyalsock and a freshman at Shenandoah Conservatory) and the Shark ensemble girls. The dances in this production neatly communicate the highs and the lows of the tortured closeness and conflict that rule gang life, and the adolescents who walk into it.

I liked all the singers, but I should particularly point out for praise the stand-out talents of Tess Marshall (Anita), Jennie Judd (Maria), Joseph Taylor (Action-Jet Ensemble), Ryan Logue (Riff-Jets), Zane Wagner(Tony), and Caleb Albert (Bernardo). I enjoyed seeing my student with the Shark ensemble; excellent work, A.! The orchestra conducted by Mr. Robert Hickey with its dramatic rendition of the themes was just splendid as well. The audience was more than happy to give these fine performers a standing ovation. Thank you, Community Theatre, for a very enjoyable afternoon.

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