The red and green M&M bowl is empty. Nothing but crumbs are left in the shortbread tin. Even the fruitcake is finally nibbled down to the last petrified cherry. January is the cruelest month.
Here and there you see people still displaying their Christmas lights, struggling to stave off the darkness that they know awaits without them, but for the most part the decorations have been packed away for another year.
November and December may be cold and stormy, but at least there’s something to look forward to: Thanksgiving dinner, the gathering of the clan, Christmas, for better or for worse. New Year’s Eve and a marathon puzzle-building session.
But January. January. It’s a black hole on the calendar. The only holiday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on the 15th, but most people don’t get the day off, and it’s not a big day for giving chocolate and flowers or quaffing green beer.
Most of the community groups that provide us with entertainment go dark this time of year, exhausted after their big holiday extravaganzas.
It’s the time of year when you just want to crawl back into the cave, stoke up the fire and draw on the walls.
County residents who are experiencing their first Northwest winter may be looking out at the rain with dismay and despair about now. It never rained like this in Florida or California! And that wind!
Those of us who have lived here long enough to sport a growth of moss on our north sides, aka “natives,” know that there is light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. Along about late July we know the cloud cover will break and the sun will shine brightly on this blessed land. That’s the day we all call in sick.
If you don’t have the option of staying in your cave or fleeing to a warmer climate to wait out the winter doldrums, the best thing to do is to look ahead. Go toward the light.
You don’t even have to look that far into the future. Local theater groups crank up the floodlights beginning Feb. 2.
Three community theaters open plays that weekend, while the other three open their winter shows the next week. Talk about feast or famine.
Opening the “winter season” are Bremerton Community Theatre with “Exit the Body;” Jewel Box Theatre in Poulsbo with “Wit” and Bainbridge Performing Arts with “The Sisters Rosenweig.”
Next up, Feb. 9, are the musical “Carousel” at CSTOCK, “Perfectly Frank” at Changing Scene Theatre Northwest and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at WWCA.
“Exit the Body” is a mystery by Fred Carmichael in which a hapless mystery writer rents a New England house that turns out to be a rendezvous location for a group of jewel thieves. Chaos and comedy ensue. David Noonan directs this funny show.
“Wit,” the Pultizer Prize-winning drama by Maragaret Edson takes on a more serious subject, as the main character, Vivian Bearing, has terminal ovarian cancer. What keeps the play from being a total downer is the way that Vivian carries herself, and others, through her final days.
It is a lesson not just in dying, but in living. Local actor Larry Blain directs, with Laurel Watt in the demanding role of Vivian.
“The Sisters Rosenweig” has its own death angle, as playwright Wendy Wasserstein died last year at the young age of 55.
“Sisters” is billed as a “heartfelt comedy,” based on the relationship of three Jewish-American sisters, searching to define themselves in the late 1980s, but Wasserstein considered it her most serious play. Expect to mix a few tears in with the laughter.
Ellen Graham directs, the sisters are played by Sara Anne Scribner, Jocelyn Maher and Karen Harp-Reed.
“Carousel” was written by Rogers and Hammerstein, and tells the story of Julie Jordan and carousel barker Billy Bigelow, for whom the course of true love does not run smooth. You can count on a happy ending though, along with plenty of singing and dancing.
Albert Guerra directs, with musical direction by Friedrich Schlott and Robert Forman.
“Perfectly Frank” is an original comedy written by Charlie Birdsell, who has acted in local theater for years. It is directed by Darren Hembd and that’s all I know at this point. Check back in a few weeks.
Western Washingon Center for the Arts is taking on the Ken Kesey drama, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which most people know from the 1975 movie starring Jack Nicholson as the not-so-crazy Randle Patrick McMurphy. The play is based on Kesey’s book (which is even better than the movie), and written by Dale Wasserman. It will be interesting to see what Jan Ewen and her crew do with this classic.
Yes, things start to heat up in February. Stay tuned to What’s Up for further details!