Second Effort

At Quaquanantuck looks forward with great longing to the day when all administrative tasks connected to publishing a column are predominantly automated, and begs dear readers’ patience and forgiveness as the author struggles to graduate from cybergarten and attempts the challenging ascent up to elementary interweb.  

Case in point: the “Follow” button that I have been asking readers to click, so that they may enter their email addresses and be notified automatically whenever a new post (column) is published. Many of you have found the button and complied with the instructions there and, with luck, are now being notified as promised. For the time being, successful button-finders will likely be notified twice: once by the website and once by group email from the author. Apologies for the redundancy and In Box clutter.

Others have been unable to see or find said “button” and have kindly written to atquaq@gmail.com to notify me. If you care to try again, it seems the button appears in the lower right corner of the home page of the website when it opens. If you scroll down, though, it conveniently disappears. And if one has already clicked it and entered an email address, it somehow knows not to show itself.

Not to worry if you still can’t find it. As long as I have your email address included on my subscriber list, you will be notified when new columns are posted by group email. If you aren’t sure I have your email, or if you think you may have inadvertently unsubscribed, please write me at atquaq@gmail.com and I will make sure you are on, or are restored to the subscriber list.

Enough. Next week I’m moving all the tedious technical chatter to the bottom of the column. On to what’s up and what’s on, in and around our village.

The Hampton Theatre Company production of Amy Herzog’s dramatic comedy “4000 Miles,” opened last weekend at the Quogue Community Hall and will run through January 29. The formal reviews should be published in local newspapers this week, but At Quaquanantuck is prepared to recommend this show without seeing what the critics say, based on personal experience of the production as well as the very positive comments about the show from the size large audiences that turned out to see it.

In “4000 Miles,” Herzog tracks the relationship between the contentious, elderly, left wing Vera Joseph and her disaffected, 20-something grandson, Leo Joseph-Connell, who shows up on the doorstep of her Greenwich Village apartment in the middle of the night near the end of a cross-country bike trip.  

“4000 Miles” premiered Off-Broadway in a three-week run at the Duke Theater in June 2011 and  then ran Off-Broadway for three months at the Mitzi E. Newhouse at Lincoln Center starting in March 2012. The show was the winner of the Obie Award for Best New American Play and was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize.

“Herzog unravels the details slowly, with uncommon narrative skill,” the reviewer for Time magazine wrote. “Everything about ‘4000 Miles’ seems fresh, particularized, plausible.” The review also characterized the play as “the family drama that really sticks with you, easily the best play of the season.”

Writing about an Australian production in the Sydney Morning Herald, John Shand wrote: “If your heart is sick or just needs warming, go and see this play. If you are a baby boomer who doesn’t understand your grandchildren or are from Gen Y and, like, really weirded out by your grandparents, go and see this play. If you simply love theatre, go and see this play.”

The cast of “4000 Miles” features three Hampton Theatre Company veterans—Diana Marbury, Amanda Griemsmann and Ben Schnickel—and one newcomer, Samantha Herrera. HTC Executive Director Sarah Hunnewell directs; set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.

Showtimes for “4000 Miles” are on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30. There will also be an additional matinee performance of “4000 Miles” on Saturday, January 28, at 2:30 p.m. prior to the regular 8 p.m. evening performance.

New this season, the HTC is offering $15 discount tickets for audience members 35 and under. For more information or to reserve tickets, visit www.hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111.

Moving from live theater to the silver screen, the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center continues its Finest in World Cinema programming in the off-season with a smashing lineup. This weekend, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the featured film will be the double Golden Globe winner “Elle,” directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Isabelle Huppert.

Ms. Huppert won the best actress in a drama prize for her portrayal of Michèle, a seemingly indestructible head of a large company who is attacked in her home by an unknown assailant. Michèle resolutely tracks the man down in a curious and thrilling game of cat and mouse  that threatens at every turn to spiral out of control.

According to the LA Times, Ms. Huppert “gives an arguable career best performance” in “Elle,” which won a second Golden Globe as the best foreign language film of the year.

“Elle” will be screened on Friday, January 20, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, January 21, at 4 and 7 p.m.; and on Sunday, January 22, at 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.whbpac.org or call the PAC box office at 631-288-1500 (which some people of a certain age might recall was also the box office phone number for the old UA theater that was transformed into the PAC).

A critically important issue will be examined at the Quogue Library on Sunday, January 22, at 2 p.m., when investigative reporter Isabel Vincent will discuss the question, “Is the First Amendment Under Siege?”

Ms. Vincent, who is a veteran of several lawsuits tied to this issue and First Amendment challenges, will discuss whether or not the new administration is likely to honor one of the most important tenets of a free society, or whether it will support the erosion of the right to freedom of speech by cracking down on what the new president has called a liberally biased media.

A discussion will follow. Visit www.quoguelibrary.org or call 631-653-4224 for more information.

Lovers of authentic French cuisine are in luck this week, courtesy of the Inn Spot on the Bay down by the Ponquogue Bridge. Cheffe Colette and Pam—beloved by many Quogue residents dating back to the time when they ran the Inn Spot across the street from the former Inn at Quogue—spent two weeks in Paris last month and tasted their way to new inspiration for this week’s installment of their ’round the world culinary tour.

Populated by signature French dishes, the menu for Friday and Saturday, January 20 and 21, at the Inn Spot on the Bay will feature such appetizers as: soupe a l’onion; a tartiflette of golden potatoes, caramelized onions and lardons with Roblochon cheese; pâté mousse; and croque monsieur.

Among the entrées will be: a Normandy style fillet of sole with oysters and shrimp; chicken baked with mustard in the Basque style; local Long Island duck with an apricot cassis glaze; a layered crepe cake with roasted vegetables and cheese; and venison medallions with morel cream, mushroom hash and truffled potato purée. There will also be sample plates, “street food” crepes and de rigueur French desserts on the menu.

On the first Thursday of February and continuing on Thursdays until spring, Colette will be offering the next series of cooking classes at the Inn Spot on the Bay. Classes include demonstration, recipes, some hands-on preparation, tastings and a glass of wine. The fee is $45 per class; buy 10 classes and get one free; reservations required.

For more information or to make reservations, visit www.theinnspot.com or call 631-728-1200. If the spirit moves you, please don’t hesitate to let Colette or Pam know that you learned about their offerings from At Quaquanantuck.

Next up on the international tour: Japan, on January 27 and 28.

A very cool—but hopefully not frigid—program is coming up a week hence, on Saturday, January 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge: this will be the fourth year of the very popular “Light the Night Winter Trail Walks.”

In this program for adults and families, visitors are asked to arrive at the QWR between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. for a serene self-guided stroll through the gently illuminated forest trails. Whilst walking, they will (it is hoped) enjoy the ambient sights and sounds of the Refuge courtesy of that most masterful minimalist composer, Mother Nature.

Trail walkers are invited to warm up in the Nature Center near the cozy fireplace with hot cocoa and cookies either prior to or after their perambulations. The fee is $10, or $5 for kids 12 and under. Check-in will be inside the Nature Center; and reservations (631-653-4771) are preferred but walk-ins will be welcome.

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