Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #234

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #234

…an Atlantic Ocean away from those snippily cruel London critics, who would not blink twice at the opportunity to carve up the performance of these rank amateur Americans…

KISS FOR CINDERELLA-001

Indeed, they will be able to deliver their lines in front of assembled loved ones in what is billed as “Tallahassee Night” for A Kiss for Cinderella. Every single local talent, from extras to actors, is to be front and center, stage one, in the glare of the spotlight. Some of the provincials never thought they would get a chance to appear in this immensely popular production, but Sir James is a consummate professional and an Atlantic Ocean away from those snippily cruel London critics, who would not blink twice at the opportunity to carve up the performance of these rank amateur Americans.

So committed is Barrie in this whimsical tale of fantasy and live theater that he even puts his own son on the shelf, in favor of James Ferrell, who is to be surreptitiously inserted during the play, at the second appearance of the nameless, nonetheless, handsome Prince. Fresh off his celebrated victory for the women’s rights movement, it should be easy to fit a glittery shoe on his own real-life wife, while looking the part of dashing royalty.

The front two rows of spectator boxes at Florida State University’s Lewis Auditorium are dominated by a who’s who of these life and times:

Row One

George Lewis and wife

Fairy Tale-001

Martha Ferrell

George Eastman

Harv Pearson and Judith Eastman

Cinderella Author C.S. Evans

Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks

Row two

A.O. and Maggie Lou

Laura Bell

Sheriff Cyril Odz

Jacques Francoise and Jacob Haley

Colonel Billy Mitchell

Tallahasse Mayor Holmes

Most everybody else in town can, if only briefly, be seen on stage, including the ever popular Flying Bleaker Brothers, who don’t jump as high as they used to, don’t travel as much as they used to, but as court jesters to Cinderella’s Prince’s kingdom,  they fit the bill to a tee.

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  Fairy tale backdrop aside, that was truly a magical evening, one well earned. It had been a long couple of decades, fraught with good and bad, tragedy and triumph, honesty and deception. And for the people of the panhandle of Florida and those they have touched, the world will never be the same. The times in which they live seem to changing so quickly, especially when you compare 1920 to the second half of the 19th century, when they were borne.

Vertical-001

Vertical-001   Addition by subtraction may be the best way to describe it. The automobile has altogether replaced the horse and buggy. The airplane has supplanted the dream of flying. Regional skirmishes now become world wars…

Worldliness has taken the place of sound moral innocence. When innocence is collectively lost, it can only be recovered a little bit at a time, one soul at a time.

For Alpha Omega Campbell, the times that he knows and places he goes, have gone from purely clear and simple to a 180 degree turn that leads to a future changing before his very eyes. In November of 1920, he learns that Camille Diaz has given birth to a daughter, Angela Ophelia. He had to have been really overwhelmed.

Just one month earlier, his dear Maggie Lou gave birth to a daughter, named for her mother Laura Bell. This beautiful little child is curiously light skinned, beyond what one would ascribe to the Cherokee influence of his wife. He was overwhelmed then.

  Listen closely and you can hear the careless whispers.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #234


page 219 (end ch. 12)

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #233

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #233

…after fifteen afternoon and evening performances of the play, A Kiss For Cinderella, fate intervenes when laryngitis strikes the title character, meaning Abigail Ferrell is pressed into action…

Fairy Tale-001

At the same time, bad things happen to good people. Take Cinderella, for instance. What did she do that was so wrong? Her mother died and her father, the baron, marries a social climbing hag with two insecure and demanding daughters. Is it her fault that her father spinelessly ignores the fact his own daughter is dominated and subjugated, left to obey the whims of virtual strangers? Of course it isn’t, but C.S. Evan’s story is a fairy tale, improbable in its cruelty and enchanting in its ending.

And after fifteen afternoon and evening performances of the play, A Kiss For Cinderella, fate intervenes when laryngitis strikes the title character, meaning Abigail Ferrell is pressed into action; poised to ride in a pumpkin carriage, with a 12 o’clock midnight curfew. She has been waiting in the wings low these twenty days, watching Barrie’s actors work at their craft, memorizing all their moves and lines for just an occasion as this.

Abigail Smythwick

Abigail Ferrell-Ferrell

“You will do just fine, lassie,” Barrie assures, who secretly had hoped she would get the opportunity to get more than the one scheduled understudy performance onstage. He has come to know his late cousin’s daughter/daughter-in-law well, taken with her charming demeanor and graceful abidance — in a fatherly way, with an eye to missing her help when he returns to Scotland. There is an inexplicable bonding of people of the theater, perhaps due in part of doing the same thing night after night, from the first performance to the last, with small differences known only to those onstage and behind the scenes. “I can see how beautiful you are going to be in Cinderella’s gown! You and Matthew will make a charming couple, absolutely brightening the stage.”

“Thank you for the kind words Sir James, but it is only make-believe… imagine me playing the part of a girl in her teens.”

That last line is heard in passing by Agnes Ferrell, who is looking forward to abusing Abbey, as is her right as cruel step-sister, Euphronia. “Scrub the floors, get water from the well, feed the chickens, and press my green jersey dress,” she orders in a mocking tone. Her resentment of Abbey has faded over the years, coinciding with a more reasonable aligning of her love for her brother, likely tempered by the ongoing courtship of her by Gadsden County Sheriff Cyril Odz.

“Why do you hate me so, Euphronia? I work my fingers to the bone, wear your tattered hand-me-downs and you still treat me so much dirt beneath your feet.”

Abbey’s ad-lib to Agnes’ exaggerated ordering does not go unnoticed. “That is not one of your lines, Abigail, but I do believe it would be a good addition. I will find the right spot for it before the next performance,” states the producer/director/playwright, who is always open to spontaneity, fully aware that certain of the audience are repeat patrons and they enjoy subtle changes in the script.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Cinderella scene

Episode #233


page 218

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #227

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #227

…April 1920 has begun with casting for the minor parts, a charming custom that helps add local flavor to the production…

Casting Call-001

True to his word, especially now that the Atlantic Ocean is free of enemy submarines, Sir James Matthew Barrie is bringing his play, A Kiss For Cinderella, to the United States; Tallahassee specifically. This is quite a coup for a Southern city with a population of less than 70,000. The news has spread quickly through the theater world, leaving New York’s Broadway wanting, immediately establishing Florida’s capitol a destination of some note.

The buzz about the April 10th 1920 premier is all around, well except for Martha Ferrell, whose buzz is mainly a bug up her behind, claiming still that it is Barrie’s doing that her husband was taken from her (even though he was a adulterating, lying, “will” changing man). Everybody else is very excited about this fairy tale translated for the stage, which will be the Auditorium on the Florida State University campus.

Stepmother-001    April has begun with casting for the minor parts, a charming custom that helps add local flavor to the production. There is plenty of talent in these parts, or at least people who think they have it. Auditions are well attended, with some being the last person you would think has any leaning for the stage. Some will need an extensive make-over, like Phoebe Love, who has actually won the part of the evil stepmother, displacing the actress who was traveling with the production and not at all pleased by the demotion. Talk about Jekyll and Hyde. It may be the only time you will witness Phoebe acting contemptibly mean.

Stepsisters Cinderella

“Stepsisters returning home after the ball” by Arthur Rackham

Others are cast as extras, and a chosen few are understudies, ready to step in if a star falls ill or loses his or her voice. Agnes is one, learning the role of Euphronia, not the role she coveted, but at least she would be the prettier of the evil stepsisters. ‘Drat! Wouldn’t you know that Abbey would get the part of Cinderella?’ Herb Love is the natural choice for the Baron, so that would mean if circumstances were right, it is he who would let Cinderella’s stepmother bully and belittle her, equally out of character.

James Barrie has chosen his son, Matthew for the part of the prince, not so much nepotism, as Matthew is an actor of good repute and he is lucky to have corralled him for this one month engagement.

Baron Cinderella

@CostumeKen

King, queens, princes, step family and extras work long hours rehearsing stage blocking and speaking parts. Barrie is a stickler for perfection and even though he did not write Cinderella, C.S. Evans did, his adaptation is crisp and demands much of his actors.

And the costuming——whew——-Cinderella has more than a dozen changes herself, quite an arrangement of rags and riches. But for the sake of a happy ending, in this case many happy endings, it is well worth the effort.

 


Alpha Omega M.D.

Cinderella

Aschenputtel by silhouette animation shadow master Lotte Reiniger

Episode #227


page 212

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #201

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #201

Chapter Eleven

BALANCE OF POWER

…Can’t we say that John Ferrell wasn’t of sound mind when he did this…

“You’re the lawyer in the family James! Can he do something like this?” Martha Ferrell Ferrell will-001has gotten over the shock of her husband’s untimely demise, turning her attention instead to his last will and testament. For her, it is a mystery novel, a work of fiction fraught with plot twists and turns, and a bitterly cruel ending.

“He did,” her son says flatly.

  “Can’t we say that he wasn’t of sound mind when he did this? Look at the crazy thing he did, going to Scotland in the middle of the goddamned war!” There is a lot of that G-D thing going around.

“Mother…  taking the Lord’s name in vain will not change anything. When she turns 21, Maggie Lou “Ferrell”, he clears his throat, “will officially own over 100 acres of Tallahassee.”

“People are calling him a hero, Mother. Cousin Matthew tells us they are thinking about naming a new huge rail-bridge after him.” Agnes is proud of her father, void of the tangible acridity.

“James Barrie can rot in a bog for all I care. He is the one who whined his way into making John feel guilty. ‘Our people are starving’, ‘we have no petrol for our motorcars’. Huh! I for one am glad he could not make the funeral… some silly play about a handmaid called Cinderella.”

Image result for a kiss for cinderella gif“When the war is over, he is going to bring A Kiss for Cinderella to the United States. I told him that I would find a theater for him. He even said I could be an “understudy”, he called it. If Cinderella falls ill, I could be the lead actress.”

“How silly would that be? You could make two of her I’m sure, but yes if Cinderella is single, you would be perfect for the part, 34 and without a man.” Martha’s dour mood turns vicious.

“Cyril (Odz) has been talking about the future quite a lot lately, I’ll have you know. Then you will be all alone, does that make you happy?”

“That is enough bickering!” A lawyer hears his fill of petty wrangling on a daily basis. “Maggie legally owns the land and that is the bottom line, though I wonder how he was able to keep the property a secret for all these years.”

“He was very good at secrets, wasn’t he? A black girl owning half of town,” She cannot let it go.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #201


page 188

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #197

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #197

…Each sip of whiskey makes it easier to repress the bad memories, not forget them…

J.M. Barrie

J.M. Barrie by James Quinn

There is a rejoicing noise coming from out the Central Lowlands, not yet audible to the men and women of the P-E J, just loud enough to echo through the Tay River valley, all the way to Dundee. Sir James Barrie, of literary fame, shares gallons of tales and scotch whiskey with John Ferrell, who has become a local hero; the man who has loosed a wealth of necessities on people who may well have remained distant memories. Now John is having regrets having to leave this festive gathering, away from the new world he created.

“I so wish that it hadn’t been a war to bring us together. We could have brought Martha’s Gaskells from merry ol’ England and had a reunion that would put the Queen to shame. Can you imagine the Scots and the Gaskells here in Perth? Come to think of it, we are all apt to be related… in a cousin sort of way.”

“In the American South, relation is a way of life,” admits John, speaking as if it is a foreign practice, without revealing the exact extent of his contribution to an even more sensitive subject. Each sip of whiskey makes it easier to repress the bad memories, not forget them. “Martha would have loved a holiday in Scotland, we rarely get out of Florida, don’t know why.” He silently rues the day he sacrificed a normal life for the lust of his flesh.

James Ferrell Lawyer

“So your James is a barrister? I am proud that he bears my name, me a lowly bard from the Lowlands. I myself never could get past the fantasy world, one which I have complete control. Fiction can far surpass reality.”

“My husband is not a borin’ you with his fancies, is he?” Madame Barrie brings them a tray of smoked kippers to snack on. “I am surprised he has not talked the bunch of us into rehearsing his new play… what is it again?”    

A Kiss for Cinderella, just a modest production in London, but I’d rather be playing golf than staging theater.”

“Oh, that silly game: A waste of good grazing land, if you ask me!”

“We did not!” ask you.

“Pasture billiards!”

“It is a gentleman’s pastime.”

“It is a poor excuse to catch a death of a cold.”


        Alpha Omega M.D.

“Golfers” by Charles Lees

Episode #197


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