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  1. Unknown Country by Rhonda Hansome

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

                                                                 Unknown Country

     or Fancy Meeting You Here!

    Writing this from the main deck of Holland America’s M/S Westerdam, I am traveling south west to Cozumel.  Looking at the green-blue glorious water, I think what could be better than this?
    The limited phone and internet access is a blissful break in my restless Pavlovian routine of grabbing and scanning an electronic device every time a bell chimes.  The food is delicious and everywhere as is the music on this Smooth Jazz Cruise.  I have no recourse but to comply with the required agenda of eat, drink and be merry as I’m entertained by a continuous roster of musical headliners jamming, jazzing and rocking the boat all day and night. 

     Our seafaring talent reads like a Who’s Who of the smooth jazz genre.  George Benson, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Angie Stone, Rick Braun, Andre Berry and Bob James are just some of the magnanimous tune masters calling the shots as we swing and sway to the Caribbean.  What could be better than this? 

    Last night Richard Elliot blessed the stage and then burned it down with his sax.  He’s a musical magician who transformed the showroom into a melodious Mt. Olympus and in a 6° of separation situation wait for it… 

    I’m in his entourage!  Well it’s really just relaxing with Richard (when he’s not wailing on stage) and getting to know his family members I'd never met like George & Vivian. 

    As surprising as it frequently seems, it really is a “small world.”  Well that’s what it felt like when George & Vivian said they were from Newfoundland. 

    Just prior to boarding the M/S Westerdam I was eyeball deep in preparation and rehearsal for the Fri. Jan. 25th presentation I'm directing in, the Unknown Country play reading series at the Workshop Theater Company in NYC.  Oil and Water by Robert Chafe is the soul touching true story of the rescue of the lone black survivor of the 1942 USS Truxton shipwreck off the coast of wait for it… Newfoundland.  

    Embarking on the Westerdam I thought I’d left the churning waters and dangerous hulking cliffs of Newfoundland behind.  Even though the incident happened way before they were born, George and Vivian Smith’s vivid retelling of their historic local legend put the world of Chafe’s powerful play right at hand. The treacherous bluffs, the violent snowstorm, the hundreds dead and the townspeople determined to save the oil caked survivors freezing along their shoreline.  

    Vivian had read lots about The Pollux and The Truxton.  She recounted how her countrymen living at that time had never seen a person of color before and in removing the oil, tried to scrub the black off Lanier Phillips.  
    George and Vivian had seen numerous TV interviews with Lanier and his rescuers on his multiple return trips to the area.  George in his youth was in a band and the folk song, The Ballad of The Truxton and The Pollux, was requested and sung at almost every gig.  It feels like Kismet.  What could be better than this? 

    You Dear Reader, experiencing the wind and snow danger, the life and death struggle, the Oil and Water of the Truxton’s demise and the rescue of Lanier Phillips.  FREE with your reservation.
    One night only  -  8 PM Fri. Jan. 25th  -
    Workshop Theater Company 312 W. 36th St. 4th fl  

    Make your FREE reservation here and join me as my theater alter-ego, Passion, directs Oil and Water.  Until then for me it is music, food and laughs with the super star comic on board, Alonzo Bodden.  

    What could be better that this?

    Well, since you asked… opening for any of these music acts or telling my jokes on a cruise line.  Call me.

  2. 1 comments:

    1. Your cruise was a lot more interesting than the one I took several years ago. We had the a capella version of the Osmonds, the Greenbergs or something. Other than the unlimited access to food, I saw no other positive reason to take another big boat ride.

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