View of the Gulf

I was recently assigned a news article for a local paper’s lifestyle section and I got to interview the director and playwright for a community theatre production of Gulf View Drive. The publication date for the magazine got pushed, so the article will not appear. Too bad! They will be into the run of the show for an entire week before publication, so they decided to pull it, but the paper still covered the theatre. I also got to write that short article and I can’t wait to see it in print. I’ll share when they go to press. 🙂 But please enjoy this article since it’s still mine and I love it! Please, let me know if this sounds pro? Leave a comment. Thanks.


View of the Gulf

Venice Theatre completes Arlene Hutton’s trilogy of plays with Gulf View Drive. Gulf debuts in the Pinkerton at VT on January 10, 2020 and runs through January 26th.
In 2018, Venice Theatre started with Last Train to Nibroc. In Nibroc, May and Raleigh meet for the first time on a train, pre-World War 2. In 2019, VT produced See Rock City, a furtherance of the couple one year after their elopement–add mothers. In 2020, we see the last play of the trio, Gulf View Drive. Gulf is inspired by the Sarasota area. May and Raleigh buy their first home.
The Nibroc Trilogy takes place just over a decade. The series started as a one-act play based on a news item. The bodies of Nathaniel West and F. Scott Fitzgerald were transported for burial on the same train. Hutton imagined a couple encountering for the first time on that journey.
Third in the collection, Gulf View Drive forces May and Raleigh to make difficult choices in an uncertain world. Family pressures stretch the limits of love.
Each play is a complete work and does not require prior knowledge of the sequence. However, resolution to the series will be satisfying for those who have followed the productions.
From the catwalks to the footlights, each experienced member of VT staff, cast, and crew are excited to bring this third production to life. A veteran director of VT, Kelly Woodland heads the final offering.
Kelly brings authenticity, sentiment, and prowess to each show she directs. Nuance is her expertise; tight drama and tenderness are her hallmarks. Woodland enjoys working with new faces and carefully selects each cast. Kelly has raised many shows at VT, her most recent–Good People.
A fifth-generation Florida native, Woodland understands the subtle distinctions of this play set on an island inspired by area keys–Siesta and Longboat. Warm November Gulf breezes, cinder block houses, sunburns, and sulfur water are just some of the small brushstrokes of Hutton’s Gulf View Drive.
Floridians, transplants or no, won’t compare old bayside beachtown to new in this impression. Kelly surmised, “I think more than anything [audiences] will relate to a young married couple with their in-laws moving in, trying to deal with personal relationships, as well as developing their professional life…and all of the clashing personalities. It’s really interesting.” As with any good drama, plenty of laughter peppers Gulf.
The story takes place in 1953, a different time for Sarasota than the bustling beach borough we enjoy today. Gulf is a snapshot of the area’s past. May and Raleigh, the main characters of the three shows, are a portrait from Hutton’s own family album, her parents.
Interesting director’s note–Kelly’s father was the original athletic director for Manatee Junior College (State College of Florida, currently). He taught alongside Hutton’s parents. May and Raleigh are based on Hutton’s real-life mother and father. Also, Kelly’s mother, a teacher for Bradenton schools, taught Hutton’s fifth-grade class…the year Kelly was born. For Woodland to direct Hutton’s show feels like fortune to her.
More than chance, Arlene Hutton scripts strong female characters for the stage. She started writing parts for herself. At a time when there were hardly any dynamic roles for older women, Hutton created her own. From her personal experience and working with actors, Hutton crafts thoughtful, honest scenes hewn and honed on the boards.
“[I]t’s been hard for women playwrights to get produced.” Hutton shares hopeful insight, “That’s changing.”
Emerging playwrights have an even wider representation of backgrounds, cultures, and orientation, but Hutton reminds us; “[d]iversity includes age.” There are many “wonderful female voices…yet to be widely heard.”
Several theatres have produced one or all of the shows. “I’m happy that my family can see Gulf View Drive at Venice in January and Last Train to Nibroc at Mad Cow in Orlando in February.” Hutton has been quite successful with the trilogy that started as a one-act. With the help of companies, workshops, and actors–she just kept expanding it.
Venice Theatre keeps expanding as well. VT venerates its 70th season; the theatre established in 1950. Founded by two women, Muriel Olds-Dundas and Sonia Terry promised a picnic to volunteers and supporters.
The theatre still thrives on an active volunteer population and throws an annual volunteer barbeque picnic to honor their growing numbers. VT is the second largest community theatre in the US.
VT just purchased the facility that Sarasota Public Library had used temporarily for its Venice location. With the new library built and operating, VT can now plan expansion for its campus and education department. 70 years and Venice Theatre is still growing.
With only one building for performance and rehearsal, the addition of the Arts Education Building (formerly the Hamilton Building) welcomes even more students, performers, and artists. Home to aactWORLDFEST, VT’s new space will be crucial in housing actors, technicians, and theatre companies from around the globe.
Venice Theatre is a powerhouse of talent and technique thanks to Murray Chase. Chase is a visionary who takes risks. Under Murray’s charge, VT included shows in its seventy-year anniversary like Gulf–the setting just three years after VT’s inception. Other shows at VT this 70th season: Menopause The Musical, Guys and Dolls, Hamlet, Chicago, aactWORLDFEST 2020, concerts, cabaret, and much more.
Gulf View Drive has a short run so don’t miss this well-written, well-done Nibroc finale. Tickets are on sale now at venicetheatre.org. Shows run from January 10-26, 2020. Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM, all other performances have a curtain time of 7:30 PM.

For My Cowgirl

Another repost poem. Happy birthday, Pencil Princess!

The picture on the post is Lilli wearing my dad’s old straw cowboy hat.


Before I had a girl,
I thought she’d steal my husband’s heart.
I was scared of sharing,
Expecting battle from the start.

What I didn’t know
Is that she stole my heart instead.
I wanted Dad to heap
Love and kisses on her head.

My daughter is my strength.
She’s taught me more than I could teach.
She’s my tough defender
When I’m sick or sad or weak.

She’s my will, she’s my power.
She’s my endless, eternal drive.
She’s the reason I get up.
She’s the reason I’m still alive.

Before I had a girl,
I didn’t understand
How much I’d love another girl.
I’m her biggest fan.


Love you, Cowgirl.

Sail Haiku

Only the insane
Would sail from a safe harbor
Crazy for the sea


Sails don’t always fly
Sometimes we all lose our wind
True sailors make waves


Sailing in the sea
Upon wooden boards and hope
Wanted: wood and sea


Sails fly high above
My troubles sink far below
Rock me down to peace


Sailboat harbor home
Only for a tiny rest
Tomorrow: the world


Towing home the sun
Bringing in the clouds to shore
Now the day is done


Here, so much I saw
Witness to what God has borne
Sea, fish, birds, and sky

jetty sunset.jpg

happy halloween, my freaks.

Horseman rides
Without a head
Pumpkin placed
In facial stead

Seeds for brains
Candle for eyes
On this dark night
His ghost will rise

Sword in hand
Out for blood
The streets will run
With crimson flood

Don’t be caught
In the lane tonight
Or you might suffer
More than a fright

Keep your head
And wits about
Stay inside
While the Horseman’s out

halloween

 

Therapy

Toes on the beach
Leaves me speechless
Lost in time
Clouds on the climb
Sky is reachless

Mind in the sand
Gives me bedrock
Found on the wave
Pain in the grave
Peace and joy in wedlock

Heart on the ocean
Takes my sorrow
Seeks a new story
Bottomless quarry
Mining the treasure of tomorrow

Pray for Heaven

Too many memes
To cover our screams.
Tell us to pray
And wish it all away.

Pray for Vegas

Our thoughts and prayers
Fall on dead ears.
Those victims are gone.
That gun has been drawn.

Pray for Orlando

Cut through the night
With muzzle flash light.
When will I succumb
To Madman overcome?

Pray for Dallas

Hunker down now.
Kneel and bow.
Live in fear.
My rights are clear.

Pray for Newtown

How many deaths
Are required for checks?
How many guns
Are required for one?

Pray for Columbine, Denver, San Bernardino, Virginia, Paris, London…

ETC.

Pray for the whole fucked-up world.


This isn’t about protecting your home. This isn’t about one pistol or rifle for sport. This is about limiting Goddamn military hardware for crazies. It shouldn’t be your right (and it isn’t BTW) to collect an arsenal. Well-regulated, I believe it says! And we’re not.

I’m tired of thinking and praying because the men in power who can control our safety aren’t listening. Gun manufacturers profit from the death of innocents.

Pray for Heaven to have Its way. This isn’t heaven.
This is hell and the NRA is the red one with the automatic rifle, horns, hooves and pointy tail.

Punkin

Horseman rides
Without a head
Pumpkin placed
In facial stead

Seeds for brains
Candle for eyes
On this dark night
His ghost will rise

Sword in hand
Out for blood
The streets will run
With crimson flood

Don’t be caught
In the lane tonight
Or you might suffer
More than a fright

Keep your head
And wits about
Stay inside
While the Horseman’s out

halloween


An early Halloween story. It’s October. It’s allowed.

Grow

If you want to change the world
You have to open your eyes
Take a good, long look in the mirror
And start with those well-told lies

If Life isn’t what you hoped it would be
Simply start again
Cut down the dark, jumbled jungle of Past
And let rain remove the pain

To see new sprouting bits of promise
It may take a moment to flourish
Don’t lose heart or faith
In time, your garden will astonish

Keep your soil watered and clear
The dawn is coming soon
Just wait for the sun to rise
And witness all your flowers in bloom