The good news this week is that, by virtue of being a virtual column (i.e. existing in cyberspace and not in a material, touchable form), At Quaquanantuck is safe to read without fear of infection by COVID-19, or any necessity for additional disinfecting or handwashing.
The bad news is … well, where do we start? Pretty much everything else.
This column does not presume to be an authoritative voice on any topic or issue, but it would seem that a common sense approach—such as that espoused by such disparate sources as the PBS Newshour and the Quogue Library—would be the best course to follow. First of all, disregard any and all of the posturing and finger pointing that are the sad hallmarks of the current penchant for turning every issue into a political football.
Instead, obtain your information from such reliable and trustworthy sources as PBS and scientific and healthcare resources like the Centers for Disease Control (cdc.gov) and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health. And then be sure to share what you have learned with your neighbors and friends.
In addition, At Quaquanantuck joins the Quogue Library and many others in encouraging all readers to implement everyday preventive actions: stay home when sick, cover coughs and/or sneezes in the crook of your arm, wash hands often, and keep your distance from others.
Self quarantining is no picnic, but it’s the responsible thing to do for anyone committed to the greater good of the community and protecting the most vulnerable among us.
Like the library, the Hampton Theatre Company is making the safety and well being of patrons the highest priority. New protocols are being put in place for disinfecting seats and armrests and other surfaces and points of contact, along with an open refund policy for those ticket holders who need to change their plans.
It’s important to remember that panic provides a solid foundation for many a bad decision. Better to stay mindful, take it a day at a time, and borrow a page from the U.K. during wartime: keep calm and carry on.
A.R. Gurney’s “Sylvia” Opens March 19 at Community Hall
“Sylvia” by A.R. Gurney will be the third play of the Hampton Theatre Company’s 2019-2020 season, opening on March 19, 2020 at the Quogue Community Hall and running through April 5. A talkback with the cast and director will be offered following the 7 p.m. performance on Friday, March 27.
Because the play deals affectionately with issues related to animal adoption/rescue, the HTC is dedicating the dress rehearsal at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, to a benefit for the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation. For more information on the benefit or to buy tickets, visit southamptonanimalshelter.com.
In this romantic comedy about a marriage and an adopted pet, a sassy stray dog (played by a human) is brought home from Central Park and becomes a major bone of contention for empty-nesters Greg and Kate. A street-smart mixture of Lab and poodle, Sylvia offers Greg an escape from the frustrations of his job and the unknowns of middle age. While Kate considers Sylvia a rival for Greg’s affection, Sylvia sees Kate as clueless about the bond between man and dog. After a series of hilarious and touching complications, all three learn lessons about the importance of compromise and the power of love.
A reviewer for the New York Daily News wrote: “I can only call it one of the most involving, beautiful, funny, touching and profound plays I have ever seen.” Vincent Canby, in his New York Times review of the original 1995 production, wrote: “Dramatic literature is stuffed with memorable love scenes. But none is as immediately delicious and dizzy as the one that begins the redeeming affair in A. R. Gurney’s new comedy, ‘Sylvia’.”
Originally produced Off-Broadway in 1995 with Sarah Jessica Parker as Sylvia and Blythe Danner and Charles Kimbrough as Kate and Greg, “Sylvia” has been widely produced in regional theatre, including by the Hampton Theatre Company in 1998. The play made its Broadway debut in 2015 with Annaleigh Ashford as Sylvia, Matthew Broderick as Greg, and Julie White as Kate.
A.R. (Albert Ramsdell) Gurney Jr. (1930 – 2017) was an American playwright, novelist and academic. Occasionally credited as Pete Gurney, he is known for works including “The Dining Room” (1982), “Sweet Sue” (1986/7), and “The Cocktail Hour” (1988), and for his Pulitzer Prize nominated play “Love Letters.” His series of plays about upper-class WASP life in contemporary America have been called “penetratingly witty studies of the WASP ascendancy in retreat.”
In addition to “The Dining Room” (in 1990 and 2000) and “Sylvia,” other plays by A.R. Gurney produced by the Hampton Theatre Company include “Love Letters,” “Later Life,” and “Black Tie.”
The cast of the Hampton Theatre Company revival of “Sylvia” features four HTC veterans: Edward Kassar (“Lost in Yonkers,” “Glengarry Glen Ross”) as Greg; Catherine Maloney (“A Comedy of Tenors,” “The Boys Next Door”) as Kate; Amanda Griemsmann (“A Comedy of Tenors,” “Don’t Dress for Dinner”) as Sylvia; and George Loizides (“On Golden Pond,” “Alarms and Excursions”) playing three separate roles.
Hampton Theatre Company Artistic Director Diana Marbury directs. Set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; sound by Seamus Naughton; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.
Following the SASF benefit dress rehearsal on March 18, “Sylvia” runs at the Quogue Community Hall from March 19 to April 5, with performances on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30. An additional matinee performance will be offered during the final weekend of the production, on Saturday, April 4, prior to the regular 8 p.m. performance that evening. A talkback with the cast will be offered following the 7 p.m. performance on Friday, March 27.
The Hampton Theatre Company is offering special dinner and theatre packages in collaboration with the Westhampton, Southampton, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries. A special lunch and theater package is also available for the Saturday matinee on April 4, with lunch before the show at the Quogue Club at the Hallock House. Discount tickets are available for veterans, Native Americans, under 35, students, and groups. For reservations and information on all packages and available discounts, visit www.hamptontheatre.org or email email@example.com.
Library Offers Computer Basics at Midland Street
On Saturday, March 14, at 4 p.m., the Quogue Library will offer a quick course in computer basics at the library’s Midland Street outpost.
This introductory course includes using the mouse, browsing the internet, and accessing various other tools to help participants navigate the computer. Due to limited seating, participants are asked to register in advance by calling 631-653-4224.
Sunday Book Club Meeting at Firehouse March 15
The Quogue Library’s adults Sunday Book Club will gather at the Firehouse on Jessup Avenue on Sunday, March 15, at 4:15 p.m.
The book to be discussed will be A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum. Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.
For more information or to register, call the library at 631-653-4224.
Natural History Conference at Brookhaven Lab March 20 & 21
The Quogue Wildlife Refuge has alerted At Quaquanantuck that the upcoming eighth annual Long Island Natural History Conference, slated at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21, has been cancelled.
Word is that payments already made will be refunded or may be applied to next year’s event. For more information, visit www.longislandnature.org.
Full-Time Employment and Internships at Refuge
The Quogue Wildlife Refuge has an opening for a full-time Administrative Assistant/Benefits Coordinator, as well as several internships, including: Summer Ecology Program Educator; Little Naturalists Educator; Environmental Education; and Nature Center and Animal Care. Visit quoguewildliferefuge.org or call 631-653-4771 for more information or to apply.
Sign Up Now for QWR Summer Field Ecology Program 2020
The fine folks at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge are currently focusing on early signups for the eight one-week sessions of the children’s Summer Field Ecology program, which will be marking its 51st anniversary this summer.
With separate programs tailored to first-timers and returning campers in grades two through six; six and seven; eight through 10; and Little Naturalists age 4 to 6, the one-week-per-customer sessions offer hands-on, intense exploration of some of nature’s secrets, always stressing the importance of the natural world and respect for the Earth and its inhabitants.
Due to limited class size, popularity of the program, and priority registration for QWR members, sessions may fill up. Early signups are encouraged; visit quoguewildliferefuge.org/summer-camps or call 631-653-4771 for more information.
Inn Spot on the Bay Set to Reopen Friday
The Inn Spot on the Bay is slated to reopen on Friday, March 13, with an Irish dinner on the restaurant’s international schedule, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
The cost will be $39 for the three-course prix fixe; there will be seatings from 5 p.m. on Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14. The Inn Spot on the Bay is just north of the Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bays. Call 631-728-1200 for more information or to make a reservation, or visit www.theinnspot.com/internationaldiningseries to see the complete menu.
Your Comments Welcome
At Quaquanantuck is happy to provide a forum for civil discussion of village issues and initiatives and welcomes all comments. All are encouraged to share observations, ideas and opinions by writing to AtQuaq@gmail.com.
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