Der Besuch der Alten Damen (The Visit of the Old Lady): Das Musical
Based on the play by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
Book by Christian Struppeck
Music by Moritz Schneider and Michael Read
Lyrics by Wolfgang Hofer
Director Andreas Gergen
Choreography by Simon Eichenberger
Wanting to experience local theatre, I was concerned that the language barrier might be a problem but thought it would be less so for a musical. As it turned out at the Ronacher the production had English surtitles but even without these translations, this production woud have blown me away. I had seen a production of Swiss playwright Friederich Dürrenmatt’s 1956 play Der Besuch der Alten Damen years ago and been struck by the power of the story. Add a new powerful music score, sharp choreography danced with impeccable precision by the ensemble, some lyrical songs with powerful acting, and the impact of the story is magnified many times over.
As I studied the web-sites and brochures listing the myriad cultural events that were taking place in Vienna during the week that I would be there, I had to keep reminding myself that the reason I was going to Vienna was to join the Waltz Week in Vienna group for a week-long dance camp and to have the experience of waltzing at one of the fabulous Viennese Balls. The well-planned schedule for Waltz Week allowed for time to explore the city in between dance activities and I figured that I would wait till I got to Vienna, to decide what I wanted to do.
Communication is so important and yet it is impossible to be able to speak the language of every country one visits. Here is my story about my duvet dilemma - and how the inability of me and the housekeeping staff to communicate in either German or English caused some funny moments and nearly cleared out the Hilton linen supplies. Well- not quite.Well- not quite.
My home from home for 11 nights was the Hilton Vienna at Am Stadtpark 1. I managed to find a reasonable room price through Orbitz. Overall I liked almost everything about it - location, comfort and the staff. My room was large and very comfortable- perfect for a stay of 11 nights. The desk was spacious and there was lots of storage space.
Having made the spontaneous decision to join the group for Waltz Week in Vienna, I now had to figure out the best way to travel there. I went through a number of options on the Air Canada and Aeroplan web sites hoping to use points for the air travel, checked out Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak ... and realized that in February with the risk of winter storms, I did not want to be booked on any routes that involved transfers through the North American mid-west or East Coast hubs, nor did I want to find myself traveling through Western Europe airports. So in the end I booked a route that has worked well on two previous occasions; Turkish Airlines from Los Angeles to Istanbul. This is the flight I took when heading off on my Aegean and Adriatic Dance Odyssey and also on the Black Sea Cruise; on both previous trips I found the service excellent. For this trip after a two-hour layover in the fabulous Turkish Airlines lounge at Istanbul airport it’s about another hour or so flight to Vienna.
This visit to Vienna for Waltz Week is my first - in fact it will be my first time ever in Austria, and I realized early on in the planning stage that I knew very little about the city, or in fact the country. With my recent travel adventures to other foreign areas as diverse as the Amazon Jungle and the Black Sea, I have developed a short word-association brainstorming tool to see what I associate with a place, before I actually begin my pre-trip research. I mentally list the first things that immediately spring to mind when I think of a place name. Then after my travels it is always interesting to me to see which aspects I actually encounter and how my associations with a place have changed.
I made a last-minute spontaneous decision to join a dance friend and her dance partner on a week-long dance adventure in Vienna - and soon I was reading and researching for this travelblogue about Vienna. The names for Vienna are legion - City of Music (Strauss, Mozart, Beethoven and many more), or City of Dreams (home of Sigmund Freud), City of the Waltz. After 11 nights in the historical inner city, I was sorry to leave, feeling that I had only scratched the surface of the cultural, historical and gastronomical highlights. Below is the index to my stories about this trip. Links will be activated as the stories are posted.
The Kettle Restaurant
1138 Highland Avenue
Manhattan Beach, California
Instead of spending a 6 hour layover in the not-so-comfortable International departures area of LAX, I was lucky that my family came to pick me up at the airport to take me out for lunch. We drove out to Manhattan Beach and enjoyed a nice lunch at The Kettle restaurant a couple of blocks up from the beach.
The Original Grease
Book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey
Directed by Peter Jorgensen
Musical Direction by Courtnay Ennis
Choreography by Kayla Dunbar
Studio 58, Langara
Playing till February 23, 2014
Vancouver , BC: Loved the show - this Grease is energizing, galvanizing, electrifying!
A non-stop, high voltage, entertaining production. I'm addicted to dance and my passion for dancing that started with rock and roll in my teen years continues till this day. Watching the student ensemble jive and gyrate though Kayla Dunbar's exuberant choreography, I could hardly keep my feet from tapping through the show
This is not the Grease of the iconic 1978 film with John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John and Stockard Channing but the original Grease,which premiered in Chicago in 1971 as a play about students at a fictional high school in a working class neighbourhood. After Jacobs and Casey were asked to develop it into more of a musical, it opened in New York in 1972 as a musical and was well received, being nominated for 7 Tony Awards.
It was interesting to have the opportunity to see the roots of what evolved into a highly successful Broadway production and film, and to realise that most of my favorite musical numbers were already present from the earliest musical version.
To celebrate two January birthdays, three of us picked dinner at Minami, since we had all enjoyed previous dining experiences there. (Minami Restaurant and Minami Reprise). We all chose to sample the special Dine Out menu for $38.00. It sounded great and proved to be excellent value.
The first course was a sampler of aburi sushi. Aburi is the signature sushi at Minami and it's sister restaurant Miku, which incidentally has moved from the location it was in at the time of my review, to 70-200 Granville street. The raw fish is lightly seared with a blow torch allowing the juices and flavour to seep into the rice of the nigiri sushi.
Second course of Zen dishes: This was beautifully presented in a four compartment box.