I am fifty pages from the end of Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. I had a hard time getting into it (I started it and put it aside last fall). But about 75 pages in, it takes off. The author is remarkable in her ability to go from the real to dream world and back again, and making it look completely effortless. The two main characters, Ava and Kiwi, are equally compelling in their individual ways. It also reminds me very much of a playwright I knew at La Mama Umbria who had a day job as a mermaid, and referred to her tail as "the uni-fin."
"The Skull Beneath the Skin" is back by popular demand next weekend- Saturday, March 15 at 5:30 and 7PM at 440 Gallery, 440 Sixth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Admission is free. It features Cotton Wright and Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum, pictured above, as Bertha Roentgen and Dr. Wilhelm Roentgen, the man who discovered xrays and won the first Nobel Prize in Physics.
The play is written by me, directed by Christie Clark and the costume design is by the illustrious Meganne George. It's being produced by Ellen Chuse, as part of her solo show of drawings and paintings, Finding the Root.
I am reading this wonderful, touching novel by Elizabeth Jenkins. It's not mentioned in her Times obituary (she died in 2010). It's the story of the unraveling marriage of Evelyn and Imogen Gresham. Evelyn is a successful lawyer, Imogen is a housewife and mother, about to pack her only child off to school. They are temperamentally diametrically opposed. Evelyn become distracted by and besotted with their neighbor, the heiress Blanche Silcox.
There is a harsh introduction by Helen McNeil, which denigrates Imogen's character as a passive doormat. But I don't see her that way. She knows that her marriage is falling apart, and there really isn't much she can do about it, other than watch it happen; Evelyn is not the type of man to respond well to a "Modern Woman," whatever than meant in 1954. Imogen is a sad case, not a victim.