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August 11, 2017

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POST-GAZETTE, AUGUST 11, 2017 PAGE 5 GT]ME A Delightful and Thought Provoking Syncopation in Ogunquit Josh Young and As the musical Ragtime be- gins, it appears to be a bit overwhelming. The play has a huge cast, and I wondered how I would keep track of all the characters and what was going on. I soon realized that it was like watching a huge chess- board with numerous pieces that were constantly in mo- tion. All of these pieces had a purpose that soon became very clear. The story, set in early 20 Century America, revolves around three groups of people -- the established old guard, the recent immigrants (mostly from Eastern Europe}, and Afri- can-Americans. The struggles, pain, hopes, disappointments, and coping with change, suc- cesses, failures, and tragedies are all captured in this work. And while it takes place over a hundred years ago, many of these struggles are constant in a free society that is continu- ally dealing with change. It is what makes the United States so great while also so vulner- able to making mistakes. Ragtime has a truly mar- velous score. The fact that so much of it is played with the delightful syncopations of rag- time is fitting. Fitting because the new music of the time rep- resents so many of the changes then occurring. I am not a mu- sician but I felt there was more to the music than just being used to reflect the period, so I looked up the definition of syncopation. I found it is a Ella Luke-Tedeschi (Photo by Ganj Ng) term for "a disturbance or in- terruption of the regular flow of rhythm," a "placement of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn't normally occur." And that is just what is going on in Ragtime. This fine production cap- tures so well that interrup- tion of the regular flow in the lives of all involved. Everyone one involved is dealing with change, drastic change: Tateh (Josh Young}, the Jewish im- migrant from Latvia who has brought his young daughter to America in the hope of giv- ing her a better life; Coalhouse (Darner Abraham), the Afri- can-American musidan, who has worked hard to make a good life for his family; and the unnamed father and mother (Jamie LaVerdiere and Kirsten Scott} who are faced with the "interruption" in the way of living they have known for so long. For one it turns out well, for another tragic, and for another transformational. It is fasci- nating, though at times overly predictable, to watch. It is also quite thought-provoking be- cause none of the issues ad- dressed are simply black and white. What is to be done when change doesn't occur fast enough? When justice is not equally applied? Is vengeance ever justified? We hear from Booker T. Washington {Rod Singleton), Emma Goldman (Klea Blackhurstl, and Admiral Peary (Joel RobertsonI. www.depas KITCHEN & BATH MASONRY REMODELING CONSTRUCTION Construction Services, LLC DEMOLITION Remodeling & Design . FENCES & DECK: " Licensed & Insured Bostonianc onstructionServic e s@gmail.c om The discussion between Washington and Coalhouse af- ter a terrible injustice has oc- curred is very provocative. How to deal with such injustice is a question that is not easy to answer. Though dealing with so many serious questions, this is also a lively and funny play. There are appearances by Harry Houdini (Freddie Kirnmel) and the singer Evelyn Nesbit (Carly Hueston Ambur), and a won- derful scene at a baseball game that captures the fun of the early game but also shows the difficulty in some being able to accept the changing ethnicities of the players. The score is superb. It flows smoothly and keeps the story connected. Darnell Abraham's rendition of "Make Them Hear You" is particularly powerful, not only in its lyrics but also because of the deep emotion Abraham brings to it. As I have said, this play has a huge cast so it is impossible to give credit to all of the ex- cellent performances in the limited space I have. However, I have to mention one member of the cast that not only im- pressed me but who also had the audience talking about him after the show. Seven-year-old Tyler Wla- dis as The Little Boy was just phenomenal. I have never seen such talent in someone so young. Tyler had a huge part with many lines, both opening and closing the play. His open- ing monologue set the tone for what was to unfold. His expressions and movements about the stage were just im- peccable. This young man has an energy and timing that is truly amazing. He was simply a joy to watch and will surely be seen again. Ragtime at the Ogunquit Playhouse is an interesting and well-done work. It is both thought-provoking and fun. It will inspire much discussion afterwards. I would just warn you not to take a position of moral superiority when hav- ing a conversation about it. Remember, just because some- one has views that differ from yours or is not from the same so- cio-economic background does not mean they are evil. I firmly believe that the vast majority of the American people only want better lives for their families and for others. The approach- es to the problems facing our society may be different, but if you keep in mind our goals are similar and meant for the bet- ter, it will maybe, just maybe, make it easier for us to talk to each other. (Continued on Page 10) I DIAMONDS 1 FIOLEX ESTATE JEWELRY Bought & Sold Jewelers Exch. Bldg. Jim (617) 263-7766 Mar Seafood, Crudo & Oyster Bar 000 Mare Place 223 Hanover St. * 617.7Z&MARE Bricco Boutique Italian Cuisine 000 241 Hanove St, * 617.248.6800 Quattro Grille. 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