Our Village Gets a Review

Golly. Who would have thought that a review of the Hampton Theatre Company production of “Venus in Fur” would begin with a couple of sentences characterizing, in a slightly snarky and condescending way, the populace of our village as outlanders who are better suited to making their homes elsewhere:

“Quogue is the epicenter of WASPdom on the East End,” Lorraine Dusky writes in the first paragraph of her review in The Southampton Press (and East Hampton Press and 27east.com). “It is where all the people who should live in Connecticut—but find themselves with a house in the Hamptons instead—are making do, thank you very much.”

It is not lost on the author of this column—and it should not be lost on readers either—that this dismissive assessment by a paid contributor appears in the very newspaper and online media outlet that deemed it appropriate to cease publication one year ago of all individual community columns (including the one about Quogue you are reading now). The only exceptions, to my knowledge, are the Sagaponack Scene column, putatively about the community where the publisher resides, and the Beachcomber column, about the Southampton summer colony social scene. Make of that what you will.

Don’t get me wrong: As a resident of this village (who, like many of my fellow citizens, has no inclination to live in Connecticut) and a theater person, I am extremely grateful for any and all coverage of the Hampton Theater Company and its productions; it’s impossible to overestimate its value. Still, it’s hard to understand the purpose or the value, in a theater review or anywhere else, of narrowly profiling our village and its residents in this way.

Seems like a good place to show some natural beauty and a lovely vista that can’t be found in Connecticut.

Deep freeze canal
Deep freeze Quogue Canal at sunset.                                                     –A. Botsford Photo

“Venus in Fur” Earns Raves

Of course, as Hamlet reminds us, “the play’s the thing.” And so At Quaquanantuck is happy to report that “Venus in Fur,” which opened last Thursday and runs through January 28 at the Quogue Community Hall, is an unqualified success.

Among other accolades in her review of the play, Ms. Dusky calls the David Ives play “a delicious morsel of a comedy/drama that is likely to leave you pleasantly titillated as you consider just what happened up on the stage at the end of 90 minutes.”

Venus in Fur 118b
Tina Jones and Tristan Vaughan.                                                                     –Tom Kochie Photo

The play revolves around the desperate efforts of a writer to find an actress to play the female lead in his stage adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s “Venus in Furs”—the novel that inspired the term “masochism.” The comedy, and drama, unwinds as he auditions a vulgar, unschooled, and equally desperate actress who seems utterly wrong for the sophisticated part, until she turns the tables on him in a mysterious game of submission and domination that builds to mythic proportions.

In a New York Times review, Christopher Isherwood wrote that “Venus in Fur” offers “a seriously smart and very funny stage seminar on the destabilizing nature of sexual desire.” Described as a “comic free-for-all” in a Bloomberg review, the play was called “fiery, intense, and so sexy you could sweat” by the reviewer for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

And, of course, given the MeToo and TimesUp movements and all-too-frequent revelations of impropriety in the headlines, this play couldn’t be more timely.  

The cast of “Venus in Fur” features Tristan Vaughan playing Thomas Novachek and Tina Jones in the role of Vanda. HTC Artistic Director Diana Marbury directs. Set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.

Venus in Fur 118a
Tina Jones and Tristan Vaughan.                                                    –Tom Kochie Photo

“Venus in Fur” runs at the Quogue Community Hall from January 11 to 28, with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30. There will be a special lunch and theater package available for the special Saturday matinee at 2:30 p.m. on January 27, offered by HTC in association with the Quogue Club at the Hallock House.

To reserve tickets, visit www.hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111. For information on the Quogue Club matinee package, visit the HTC website or call 631-653-8955.

Another Film Feast at Quogue Library Saturday, January 20

On Saturday, January 20, it’s time once again to join friends, neighbors, and other cinephiles for an evening of fine food and a terrific film at the monthly Film Feast at the Quogue Library. This month’s selection is the Gary Cooper/Grace Kelly classic, “High Noon” from 1952.220px-High_Noon_poster

Produced by Stanley Kramer from a screenplay by Carl Foreman, “High Noon” was directed by Fred Zinnemann. Included in the cast were such now well-known names as Lon Chaney Jr., Lloyd Bridges, Otto Kruger, Harry Morgan and Lee Van Cleef, among others. The plot, depicted in real time (with an ominously ticking clock in the sheriff’s office, centers on a town marshal who is torn between his sense of duty and love for his new bride and who, because of the cowardice of the townspeople, must face a gang of killers alone.High_Noon1

Wikipedia helpfully points out that although the film was mired in controversy with political overtones at the time of its release, “High Noon” was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four (Actor, Editing, Music-Score, and Music-Song) as well as four Golden Globe Awards (Actor, Supporting Actress, Score, and Cinematography: Black and White). The award-winning score, and memorable song, “Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling,” was written by Russian-born composer Dimitri Tiomkin.

“High Noon” was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” in 1989, the NFR’s first year of existence.

The feasting begins at 6:15 and the film will be screened at 7:15. As always, admission is a beverage to share and a dish that serves at least six. Best to call the library at 631-653-4224 to let them know you’re coming and what food you’re planning to bring.

Live Owls at Quogue Wildlife Refuge

Get a close-up look at the resident owls at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge this weekend, on Saturday, January 20, starting at 4 p.m. owl for QWRIn this special one-hour program for adults and families with children age 6 and older, visitors will learn about native Long Island owl species and what they might be doing during the winter months, as well as how they can be better protected. Topics will include their diets, habitats, and physical adaptations that make them excellent hunters.

The fee is $10 per person, or $5 per child under 10. To register, call 631-653-4771; online registration is now closed.

Harvey Herman Featured in January Exhibition at Library

Despite the snowstorm two days prior and the frigid temperatures, the opening reception for the January exhibit of works by Harvey Herman at the Quogue Library was a big success. The exhibition features paintings of some of Mr. Herman’s favorite subjects, including images of his Koi pond, indigenous wildlife, local waterfront landscapes and winter scenes.

As a mark of his popularity as an artist and a teacher, Mr. Herman’s senior painting classes at the library sold out almost instantaneously.

Art Gallery Committee members Carroll Highet, Cristina Kepner and Maya Ryvicker are chairs of this show, which will be on exhibit from January 3 to 29.

Harvey and Friends
Artist Harvey Herman, right, with his friends Sheri Winter Clary and her husband Brian, who flew in from Paris for the reception at the library.

International Dinners Return to the Inn Spot

The Inn Spot on the Bay down by the Ponquogue Bridge is once again offering international dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings. The three-course prix fixe is $39; reservations are recommended.

This weekend, the menu is devoted to the special cuisine of Tahiti on January 19 and 20. On January 26, the Inn Spot will be offering a vegan menu. For more information or reservations, call 631-728-1200 or visit www.theinnspot.com.

“Check Please” Dinner Theatre Fundraiser at WHB School

A Dinner Theatre fundraiser for the Westhampton Beach High School Drama Club will be held on Saturday, January 20, at 6 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.

WHBHS Drama
Seniors Quentin P. Collins and Geena Garcia rehearse a scene from “Check Please.”

Organized by the students in the Drama Club, the evening will feature a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad and dessert along with a live performance of a theater piece titled “Check Please.”

Tickets are $20, available at Lynne’s Cards & Gifts and HUGS at 108 Mill Road in Westhampton Beach, paid with cash or check, or online at whbhsdramaclub.ticketleap.com. 20 percent of all proceeds will go to HUGS and The Dreaming Zebra.

Condolences to the Family of Jane Post

It is with real sadness that At Quaquanantuck shares news of the death of Jane Post on January 14, 2018. There will be a memorial service in the spring at the Westhampton Presbyterian Church on  Meeting House Road on Saturday, April 14 at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow at the Quogue Field Club.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Westhampton Presbyterian Church, 90 Meeting House Road, Westhampton Beach, NY 11978. More details as they become available.

John deMarmon Murray Remembered

As reported last week, John deMarmon Murray, a longtime resident of Quogue and the brother of Bob Murray, died on January 6 at his home in San Paulo, Brazil, after a lengthy struggle with cancer. He was 82.

A graduate of the Quogue School when it included grades 1 through 8, he also graduated from Deerfield Academy and Yale University class of ’58. After fulfilling his military obligation in the Army, he took a series of jobs in Brazil and lived there for 55 years, following his marriage to Irene Wefers, a Brazilian citizen.

According to his brother, Bob Murray, despite a lifetime in Brazil, John always considered Quogue to be his home and returned almost every year with his family and grandchildren to spend several months in the Quogue Street house where he had grown up. In recent years he was pleased to have his brother Bob and family living only two doors away. He left what Bob called his “favorite place in the world” just before Thanksgiving to seek further treatment for his illness in San Paulo.

With a favorite pastime of meeting new people and making new friends, John liked to finish his evenings in Quogue at Nando’s Miramar or the Inn at Quogue, precursors to the Quogue Club at Hallock House, for a nightcap and for one last conversation with an old, or new, friend.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Irene; sons Robert Murray and Manfred Wefers; daughter Alice Murray Reimer and her husband Ronaldo; grandchildren Lisa, Christine and Matthias Reimer; as well as his brother Bob Murray and his wife Meredith. Funeral and burial will be in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The following is excerpted from a remembrance of John Murray by his brother Bob:

“My brother and I had a very close relationship, even though we were four years apart in age. What strikes me most is that we never fought. I always looked up to him and he always looked up to me!

john and bob
John and Bob Murray

“He was my big brother, and he always took care of me. He and cousin Barbara took me to my first day at the Quogue School. He was my counselor at Quogue Field Club Junior Sports. He was a cheerleader at Deerfield, so I followed in his footsteps.

“In our “hell raising years” John was always the guy who would get me in trouble. We always loved going to the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC, after which we would try to see how many bars we could hit on 3rd Avenue before we passed out.

“When he got out of Yale and first worked with Irving Trust Bank in NYC, he and his buddies had an apartment in NYC and a group house in East Quogue.  I would hang out with them, but if I got in trouble, brother John would watch my back!

“What I really admired most in my brother was the way he got along with everyone. How he loved to interact with just about anyone … didn’t matter if it was a waiter or a CEO of a company.  He would dive right in with questions to get to know who they were and how he could relate. He loved people!

“And then there was his special place called Quogue. Whenever we communicated with one another, when were both away at school or thousands of miles apart, the written words or conversation would always return to Quogue: when are you going to be there? We both cherished our time together in Quogue.  He and Irene and I would have breakfast together at the Quogue house, the house where John and I grew up and where we played hide and seek and where he and Barbara scared me playing ghost games when our parents were away and he and Barbara were babysitting me.

“Through our various stages of life, we would had many private conversations on the porch of the Quogue house. We never argued. I looked up to my brother, and he looked up to me. I loved my brother.

At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list, or just to visit AtQuaquanantuck.com and feel free to follow.

Storm Tossed Sea
High winds from the west.                                                                                    –A. Botsford Photo

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