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Day 134/365 – The Heavens Are Hung In Black
Image by Kevin H.
Tonight my friend Pia and I went to the newly-renovated and spiffed up Ford’s Theatre to see "The Heavens Are Hung In Black." It’s a new play that was specially commissioned by Ford’s Theatre to commemorate its post-renovations reopening. Given the theater’s tragic connection with President Lincoln and the fact that this year is the bicentennial of his birth, it was only natural that Ford’s would commission a work about Lincoln.
The play is set during some of the darkest days of Lincoln’s life and presidential administration: the country is disintegrating due to the Civil War, the Confederate Army is on the attack while the Union Army dithers and delays, critics from all sides are assailing the President and his policies, the Lincolns are mourning the death of their son Willie, and the first lady’s reason and sanity have begun to decay. These are heavy burdens to bear and the play gives us an insight into what Lincoln’s internal dialogue might have been like during that period.
As Lincoln grapples with the questions of what direction the war should take and whether he should emancipate the slaves, he holds congress with a variety of ghosts, fictional characters, and contemporaries in a style somewhat reminiscent of Ebeneezer Scrooge’s visitation by the three Ghosts of Christmas. It’s a gimmick that could prove hokey and disastrous if not done well. Fortunately for this production it is carried off well for the most part, although it might be good to cut one or two of these ‘asides’ in the interest of paring down what is a rather long production.
The play as a whole is both informative and entertaining. The set design is excellent and accomplishes much within the particular limits of the theater, managing to transport us from the Oval Office to settings as varied as a military cemetery and the Mississippi River. The performances are uniformly outstanding and the actor portraying Lincoln does a remarkable job of bringing to life what we think the President might have been like as a man.
Ford’s Theatre itself doesn’t look much different, apart from the new and more comfortable seating (although the view from many seats is still blocked by various columns). The bulk of the changes involve the shiny new lobby next door with its new bathrooms and elevator. The new lobby is a welcome addition given that the theater’s original lobby, a spartan eight-foot wide vestibule, meant that crowds were forced to wait outside in the cold prior to the opening of the seating area. It’s always good to come in from the cold.
(February 19, 2009)
Image by Viton
aka Bank of America Tower
Some facts for the tallest building in Seattle:
Height: 285 m
Approximately 5,000 people work in the tower daily.
Originally designed to be taller. It was shortened because of a flight path to SeaTac Airport.
Voted the Best Bathroom in the USA, the Columbia Club women’s bathroom is located on the 76th floor and offers a spectacular easterly view of the Cascades mountain range and the city below. 😀