..by Anura Guruge
[Do a blog ‘Search‘ for ‘Revels‘ for the many others >>>>]:
§ Christmas Revels At Dartmouth, NH: Tickets … — Aug. 15, 2012.
The minimalistic, but functional, inside the R.M.S. Carpathia, set used for the entire Revels.
Click to ENLARGE to Full Size.
To say that yesterday’s ‘An Irish Celebration‘ Christmas Revels at Dartmouth, NH, ‘warmed the cockles of my heart‘ (as the expression goes) would be a lie. It did much, much more. They ‘toasted my cockles‘! It truly was heart warming, as befits its premise of helping people overcome the shortest day of the year, i.e., the Winter Solstice, and thereby herald in the new Yule. This was an inspired multidisciplinary performance that encompassed song, dance, storytelling and narration. It made your spirits soar; made you appreciate the genius of life. I always feel privileged to attend ‘Revels’. I wish more people could attend. I am sure that the world, given what transpired in Connecticut on Friday, would be a better place if more people experienced the joy of Revels.
Yes, as a confirmed lover of the Winter Solstice I am a captive audience for the Christmas Revels. The whole theme of driving away the shortest day and looking forward to progressively longer days is one dear to me. ‘December 21‘ (or thereabouts), the Winter Solstice, the shortest day, is my favorite day of the year. To me it signifies that we have turned the corner and that Summer is on the way. I sulk on the Summer Solstice and try to explain to others that ‘June 21’ is a day of sadness. The Summer Solstice is about the coming of Winter! Starting on that day, though it is only perceived by the cognoscenti, days start getting shorter — even though at first it will only be a few seconds a day. But, nonetheless, it is the beginning of the slippery slope that takes us into the dark days of Winter. But, as the Revels testify, each year, come the Winter Solstice we reach the other side. Rejoice. Days are getting longer. Summer is on the way.
As always the cast was gifted, motivated and interactive. They really want us to have a good time, to savor the moment, contemplate life, and get the best from the holidays. That said, it is hard to ignore that among all these talented folks there are some who are exceptional, beyond exceptional. Their prowess excels. They have me, a person devoid of talent, in awe. Yes, I have done standup presentations in front of 900 people, but all I was doing was talking. These people sing, they dance, they act. They are so gifted. Bravo. Among those that really stood out, you have Danielle Cohen, Jennifer Culley Curtin, Will Thomas Rowan, Josiah Proietti and the Irish bag pipe player. [I was so glad that they got it right.] The Irish dancing was good, though much of it was done by lovely ladies who were no longer teenagers. So, though I have seen ‘River Dance‘ (in Boston) and ‘Lord of the Dance‘ (in Vegas and Portland, ME), I would rate these ladies as entertaining as any I have seen. Also kudos to the two Morris Dancers. They were outstanding. Bravo. Bravo. The Irish dancers were sporting an interesting innovation that Deanna spotted. They wore wireless microphones on their shoes (the transmitters strapped to their thighs). I have been told that this was a suggestion by Kieran Jordan, one of the dancers, and was implemented by the ever resourceful and gifted Revels creative team. Very clever. Very smart. Always a joy.
As always they had lots of kids. This year, with the tragedy in CT so close, there was special, magical meaning to seeing these kids. In one scene they all appeared, dressed in white, standing at the top railing of the ship. Wow. I didn’t count, but I guess there were between 20 and 30. Roughly the number of kids we lost in CT. Seeing these kids made you appreciate life. Why we have a duty to protect these kids.
I bought the ‘accompanying’ CD — though it was not exactly the soundtrack from this show and was done by the folks in Cambridge rather than Dartmouth.
Three songs from yesterday’s Revels really made a mark, though I was familiar with one of them — not counting ‘All Around My Hat‘. So what I did is get YouTube versions of these songs. So, these were not exactly as performed at Revels, but variants by others.
Song 12 at Revels, ‘Colcannon’ by Mary Black. The Revels program does mention Mary Black. Click to hear Mary Black at YouTube.
‘An Poc Ar Buile’ (The Crazy Goat) song by the Chieftains. This was song 9 and was done very well. I was very familiar with the Chieftains version. I had even heard them play it at the Albert Hall in London. Click for YouTube.
‘Deck the Halls’ in Gaelic, song #5 yesterday. Josiah Proietti did better than this! This is just a sampler. I have a different version on the CD I bought yesterday. Click for YouTube.