Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: PENDRAGON THEATRE BRINGS BELLY LAUGTHS AND GOOD FUN WITH VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Pendragon Theatre
What: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike won the 2013 Tony award for Best Play. Written by Christopher Durang, this play centers around three siblings, their housekeeper, one adoring neighbor and a 20ish boy toy.  
Where: PendragonTheatre, 15 Brandy Brook Ave, Saranac Lake, 518-891-1854, 
Advanced tickets price: $25/adult, $22/senior, $15/student with ID, $20/matinee
At Door ticket price: $30/adult, $27/senior, $20/student, $15/matinee
When: Saranac Lake: July 29, 30, 31, August 1,4,5,6,7 at 8 pm with a matinee at 2 pm on August 2


PENDRAGON THEATRE BRINGS BELLY LAUGTHS AND GOOD FUN
WITH VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE

Cassandra (Christina Eskridge) predicts the future
(SARANAC LAKE)  The comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is as long in name as it is in laughs. Directed by Shawna Mefferd Kelty, this captivating show is set in present time Bucks County where middle-aged siblings Vanya and Sonia bicker over coffee, the definition of an orchard and the next stage of their lives. Having taken care of their now deceased parents and put their own lives on hold while their movie star sibling, Masha, supports them, Vanya and Sonia brood as if characters in a Chekhov play for which they are all named.

Mefferd-Kelty pulls a top-notch performance from her ensemble cast. The sound design (playlist is below) was intriguing and added depth and grace to the already stellar play, Bonnie Brewer’s light design provided a warm glow to Set Designer Tijana Bjelajac’s comfy country house sitting room.

Sonia (Allison Studdiford) and Vanya (Christopher Leifheit) are
surprised to find that Masha plans to sell their home
The action is slow-starting as gentle Vanya (Christopher Leifheit) quietly sips his coffee. His motions are so controlled, from his tightly pressed together legs to his hands resting on his lap. He never loses his temper even when his more volatile adopted sister Sonia (Allison Studdiford) throws a coffee cup and bemoans her stagnant life choices with such statements as “I am the wild turkey,” a nod to Chekhov’s famous line in “The Seagull.” Leifheit’s Vanya is the perfect straight man to Studdiford’s more manic Sonia.

Costume Designer Kent Streed cements the image that Vanya and Sonia have given up on life with their dowdy, plain mismatched clothes. Studdiford’s frumpy Sonia is desperate, bemoaning her adopted status.  Studdiford easily slingshots from woeful plain Jane to zany partygoer, drawing gasps and laughs from the crowd. .

Christina Eskridge, most recently seen in “Tintypes,” electrifies the stage as the soothsayer housekeeper Cassandra. Eskridge agitates as she spouts impending doom to the stoic Vanya and gloomy Sonia about their famous sister Masha, the owner of their house.

Spike (Dylan Duffy) is Masha's young lover
Cassandra’s predictions come true as the vibrant Masha, played by Laura-Jean Schwartau-Swanson, sweeps in as the self-absorbed, unlucky in love actress. Veteran Pendragon actor Swanson breathes life into this insecure character with five failed marriages under her belt who is desperate to flaunt her May-December romance with her latest fling, an out of work actor named Spike. Swanson’s Masha freezes any perceived competition with a glance and slowly gains more depth until finally deserving our sympathy as the breadwinner for her two siblings.     

Dylan Duffy plays Spike with such abandonment that it is easy to believe that he is as dim-witted as the character he plays. At one point the audience starts to clap for Spike’s reverse striptease and a few ladies to my left are whispering that they hadn’t realized that the play came with a “Magic Mike” bonus.

Masha tries to control her world by means of a themed group costume for the neighbor’s party, casting herself as Disney’s Snow White and her family as dwarfs. Masha becomes unrailed when Sonia decides to attend the party as the Evil Queen, but only as portrayed by Dame Maggie Smith accepting her Oscar.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Adirondack Events and Activities for July 27 - August 2, 2015

The Adirondack Events for July 27 - August 2, 2015.  Highlights: Enjoy!  Can-am Rugby in Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Bloomingdale, Shakespeare in the Adirondack Park, Adirondack Waterfest in Speculator, Learn to Sail in Port Henry, 23rd annual Ticonderoga Area Car Show, Clinton County Fair in Plattsburgh

An easy hike to Sis and Bubb Lakes, near
Eagle Bay, Inlet and Old Forge
Previous Events 
Have a great weekend from the Adirondack Park! There are a variety of activities and events happening around the Adirondack region this weekend that are great family fun!  

Calendar of Events July 27 - August 2, 2015
Adirondack High Peaks/Lake Placid/Saranac Lake Events What to do in Tupper Lake, Lake Placid, Malone, Paul Smiths, Bloomingdale, Gabriels, Vermontville, Town of Saranac, Wilmington, Jay, Upper Jay, Keene, Keene Valley, Malone, New York (NY)

Old Forge/Inlet/Long Lake (Central Adirondack Events) Hamilton County, NY– including What to do with kids, family in Cranberry Lake, Newcomb, Thendara, Raquette Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, Long Lake, Old Forge, Northville, Caroga Lake, Star Lake, Speculator, Croghan, Indian Lake and Inlet New York (NY)

Lake George/ Southern Adirondack Events – What to do in Schroon Lake, North Creek,  Whitehall and Lake George, Caroga Lake, Mayfield, Lake Luzerne, Bolton Landing, Gloversville, Thurman, Warrensburg, Hague New York (NY)

Champlain Valley, Adirondack Events – What to do in Ausable Forks, Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Westport, Port Henry, Elizabethtown and Keeseville, Wadams, Essex and Plattsburgh New York (NY)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Easy Hikes in Inlet, Eagle Bay and Old Forge: Bubb and Sis Lake to Moss Lake

Recently we had to pick up my son from a Nike tennis camp at Colgate University. Since the drive from our house is a lofty 4.5 hours, we needed a place to unwind, stretch our legs and decompress.

The beginning of the Vista trail at Bubb and Sis Lake
trail, Eagle Bay, NY
A favorite hike located between Eagle Bay and Old Forge (NY) is a stroll to Bubb and Sis Lakes. The options are pretty wide open depending on the timeframe from a short hike to a lengthy walk. We weren't under any time crunch, but we'd hiked the Vista trail before and hiked around Moss Lake so we choose to just have lunch on the shoreline of Sis Lake.

The hike starts from Rt. 28, about 1.5-miles west of Eagle Bay. Turn north into the parking area. There are two handicap accessible spots so anyone can access the nearby Tobie trail. The only mildly challenging section of the trail is the first 0.2-mile. The trail gains most of its elevation within those first tenth of a mile. My GPS read that it was about a 200' vertical ascent from the parking area. There are a few rocks to hop over and a small stream crossing. At the top of the incline the trail forks.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Find Waldo in Lake Placid to win prizes!

Once again The Bookstore Plus on Main Street is the “Find Waldo Local” headquarters bookstore and has gathered even more businesses willing to hide Waldo for our seeking pleasure. (Yes, I look for Waldo. I let my daughter find Waldo on her own, but it’s still fun to see if I can find him first.) Last year my daughter’s search for Waldo brought her up and down Main Street. Now the search has widened from one end of Lake Placid to the other. 
In the “Where’s Waldo” books, Waldo and his cohorts are on a world-wide hike when the elusive cartoon character goes missing along with his backpack and a series of other items. While visiting Lake Placid, it’s just Waldo who needs finding and he manages to stay within the extended village limits for this game of hide and seek. The only criteria for Lake Placid’s town-wide search is to find Waldo, get a stamp and return the completed passport to The Bookstore Plus.
The rules are simple. Collect 10 store stamps from participating businesses and take the passport card to the official Find Waldo Local headquarters (The Bookstore Plus) to receive a free Waldo button and $1 coupon off a “Waldo” book (for the first 125 Waldo spotters.) Collect 20 out of 25 “Waldo” stamps from the local shops and be entered to win a variety of prizes, gift certificates and games from the participating businesses as well as a six-volume deluxe set of “Waldo” books. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Adirondack Events July 20-26, 2015

The Adirondack Events for July 20-26, 2015.  Highlights: Enjoy!  Lake Placid Ironman (check here for road closures) Ticonderoga StreetFest, Long Lake Paddling Olympics, Old Forge Antiques and Vintage Show, The Smoke Eater's Jamboree!, Spirit of Place Studio Tour Wadhams (including Ted Cornell's Art Farm)

Previous Events 
Have a great weekend from the Adirondack Park! There are a variety of activities and events happening around the Adirondack region this weekend that are great family fun!  

Calendar of Events July 20-26, 2015
Adirondack High Peaks/Lake Placid/Saranac Lake Events What to do in Tupper Lake, Lake Placid, Malone, Paul Smiths, Bloomingdale, Gabriels, Vermontville, Town of Saranac, Wilmington, Jay, Upper Jay, Keene, Keene Valley, Malone, New York (NY)

Old Forge/Inlet/Long Lake (Central Adirondack Events) Hamilton County, NY– including What to do with kids, family in Cranberry Lake, Newcomb, Thendara, Raquette Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, Long Lake, Old Forge, Northville, Caroga Lake, Star Lake, Speculator, Croghan, Indian Lake and Inlet New York (NY)

Lake George/ Southern Adirondack Events – What to do in Schroon Lake, North Creek,  Whitehall and Lake George, Caroga Lake, Mayfield, Lake Luzerne, Bolton Landing, Gloversville, Thurman, Warrensburg, Hague New York (NY)

Champlain Valley, Adirondack Events – What to do in Ausable Forks, Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Westport, Port Henry, Elizabethtown and Keeseville, Wadams, Essex and Plattsburgh New York (NY)