Live, from Wright Brothers Field

By Tim Smith

Where A r [ts] Thou?

#795

I will be away from the home office @ “Rusty Water Tower Place” a bit more than normal in the coming few weeks – yes, our travel schedule is opening up for the first time in a while, therefore, I am having to share thoughts a bit further out to meet this deadline.

If the recent Ingenuity flight taught me anything, history unfolds on its own timeline.

I had no sooner sent last week’s column to the Democrat when our son walked in to inform me that Ingenuity had successfully completed its first test flight. I had worked diligently over the previous week to try to be available to catch the live feed, but had missed by a small margin.

What a magnificent moment it was, seeing that slightly over 4-pound vehicle climb, hover, turn – and then return to the surface. The first powered controlled flight from another celestial surface, truly one of the most important moments in space exploration.

I was particularly moved by the video of technicians installing a small piece of fabric from the 1903 Wright Flyer onto Ingenuity, and then announcing that the crater’s terrain from where it took off had been named Wright Brothers Field.

Flight times: The Wright Flyer: 1903 – 12 seconds, Ingenuity: 2021 – 39.1 seconds, and in that 27.1 seconds aviation’s trajectory is encapsulated.

Summer theater, First theater: I have decided that as we begin to open up across the nation, it would be interesting to look back at a live performance setting that continues to be a learning, and if you will, proving ground for theatre artisans today, and that takes place in our summer theatres.

From coast to coast, the Canadian to Mexican borders, these venues make it possible for performers, dancers, musicians and technical artisans at all levels of experience, to ply their trade in a journey that one day may lead them to higher levels of work on the amateur and professional stages in addition to tomorrow’s classrooms and studios.

Over the course of a nearly 40-year commitment to the art form, I had the honor of working in four summer theatres over a seven-summer period, performing in musicals, dramas, Shakespeare, an original historical pageant play, and yes, even a folk opera. A building block sculpture ‘played out,’ if you will, and each with untold memories that sustain me to this day.

Enjoy the reflections beginning next week and well into next month. Summer programs should begin to open up, so please support one in your area.

“Once in seven years I burn all my sermons for it is a shame if I cannot write better sermons now than I did seven years ago”. [John Wesley]

Drury University @ 50: Saluting the “Class of 1971”: One of the most important educational focuses of theatre arts programming at Drury was the unwavering support of the students and their ability to tackle projects that supported the school’s major season of productions, what today would be called, their subscription series.

In addition to heading technical crews such as make-up, costuming and set building, more advanced level students, generally juniors and seniors, were able to direct and/or design an entire production with only limited supervision and guidance.

Upon graduation, a student colleague attended a prestigious theater school and I was able to see his work that was elegant and certainly worthy for any professional stage.

That’s My (Will) Rogers: “Mr. Rogers Considered Us A Nation of Buckpassers: Santa Monica, Cal. April 28.- (1935) This is dispatched just before the President goes on the air tonight. I am anxious to hear comments in the press. Even if it’s good there is plenty of ‘em won’t like it . . . Yours, Will Rogers.”

Update: Carne Golf Links–West Coast, Ireland: Here is a snippet on the ongoing preparations for the August playing of the Irish PGA Championship. My contact continues their immersion in every detail, certainly compounded by nature and – well, even more nature, and then, ever positive, (and also her nature), this is how she began to close out that latest email:

“We were lucky to have Paul McGinley, previous Ryder Cup Captain and famed Irish golfing legend, visit the course for a look around and do some filming, and although predictably it rained whilst he was here, as they say a bad day in Ireland is still better than a good day anywhere else!!!”

She also acknowledged that “domestic bookings are flying in for the summer months.”

EFA’s Town: How did your Oscar pics turn out? I was pleased for colleagues in Northwest Arkansas that a best film nominated work, “Minari,” shot in that area, won a performance award, in the supporting actress category. This was Yuh-Jung Youn’s first Oscar.

From the mind, and subsequent pen of Mr. Twain: On Heaven: “It would be a wonderful experience to stand there in those enchanted surroundings and hear Shakespeare and Milton and Bunyan read from their noble works. And it might be that they would like to hear me read some of my things…” [Unpublished book review of The Cities of the Sun by George Warder (1901)

Connections made, locally inspired, from our town to yours, since 1/06.

See you in the local paper.

t A s

[For EFA-62]

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