“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” (Tolstoy)

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” (Tolstoy) October 13, 2019


SUU's and USF's Randall Jones Theater
The Randall Jones Theater, named after my late former dean’s grandfather, whose name my former dean also bore, from the Utah Shakespeare Festival website.


My wife and I attended a brilliantly acted performance of Arthur Miller’s powerful play The Price in the Anes Studio Theater in Cedar City on Saturday afternoon.  (Saturday was the closing day of the 2019 season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival.  Otherwise, I would strongly recommend that you drop what you’re doing and see the play.)  The Price is a wrenching portrayal of a wounded family – basically of two estranged brothers whose lives have gone very different directions and who haven’t spoken in many years.  They find themselves together again, briefly, because of the sale of their late parents’ possessions.  Will they be able to reconcile?  I can’t honestly say that I enjoyed the performance, but I liked it very, very much.


We were also pleased to run into friends at the play.


Afterwards, we went to the home of other friends, where we’re staying while we’re here in Cedar City.  They’re a family that I’ve known since my early time at BYU, before my mission.  They were the first to introduce me to the very idea of a “Shakespeare festival” – they included me on a family trip to the festival in Ashland, Oregon – and I’ve been a passionate devotee of such things ever since.  (Thankfully, I married a theater major, so my wife shares my enthusiasm.)


We went out to dinner at the Chef Alfredo Ristorante Italiano, which I really like.  It’s located at 2313 West Highway 56,to the west of the main part of Cedar City.  I highly recommend it.


Afterwards, we went to see the closing performance of this year’s Utah Shakespeare Festival production of Hamlet, which was directed by Brian Vaughn, a locally very popular actor in his own right and the widely beloved artistic director of the Festival overall.  All four of the actors in The Price had significant roles in Hamlet, as well.  (Some of you will recognize Armin Shimerman; he played Gregory Solomon in The Price and Polonius in Hamlet.)  We saw this production of Hamlet already in the summer, in the Randall Jones Theater, but we were happy to see it again.  It is, of course, a magnificent and rich play, and this version was quite satisfying.  Quinn Mattfeld’s Prince Hamlet was alternately comic and forceful, and well worth seeing again.


It’s interesting to see these two plays on the same trip on which we attended a session in the St. George Utah Temple, and, in fact, on the day after.  The temple reminds us that heaven is a place of eternal family ties, and both The Price and Hamlet remind us that we humans are sadly quite capable of making earthly families hellish.


Posted from Cedar City, Utah



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