Sunday, December 29, 2013

200 Quiz Answer

The answer: Mozart’s “The Magic Flute"
Here’s the “bird man” in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of the opera, surrounded by Julie Taymor’s birds. 
(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "Y" is for "yearning")
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question.  I wrote the following scenelet, thinking it might remind you of a gorgeous Mozart musical production.  What’s its name? 

“Cathy, I do hope you won’t take this the wrong way, but I’m afraid it was a mistake to invite Adam to dinner last night.”

“Yes, it was kind of a jittery evening, wasn't it?  I thought Dad might make an effort to be at least a little polite when I bring a friend home to meet the folks.”

“Well, you know your father.  His idea of a young man for his daughter is someone in the corporate world or in hedge funds or whatever.  He just couldn’t get his mind around what a ‘bird man’ is or what he does.”

“Mom, Adam is just a friend.  I happen to admire him very much.  There aren’t many young guys his age who are openly yearning, yearning for something and probably aren't sure themselves what it is.”

“Well, yearning is okay, I guess.  But I'm a bit like Dad; earning is pretty important too.  What is it exactly that Adam does for a living?  Something to do with birds, evidently.”

“It’s – it’s a bit difficult to explain.  His job is sort of unique.”

“He hunts birds?  He goes into the woods and shoots birds?”

“No, no, not at all.  He goes into the woods but not to kill anything; he sort of collects birds.”

“He collects birds.  I see.  It’s a scientific thing.”

“Well, sort of.  To be honest, I don’t have it perfectly clear in my mind just what he does with them.  I guess he sells them.”

“There can’t be a lot of money in that.”

“You see, Mom, that’s the thing.  He doesn’t care about money.  He has his mind set on higher things.”

“Like collecting birds.”

“I know it sounds odd, but keep in mind that the thing I admire is that he’s so dedicated, so committed, to his work.”

“Yes, you mentioned that he even dresses up like a bird when he’s working.  Dad did find that – strange.”

“Well, Adam says he wants to understand the mindset of birds when he walks among them.”

“H’mm.  I think Dad was worried that you might get serious about this fellow.  He probably could see himself walking down the aisle some day to give his daughter away and waiting there would be the groom – outrageously dressed like a bird.”

Sunday, December 22, 2013

199 Quiz Answer

The Cherry Orchard is the last play by Anton Chekhov. It opened in 1904 at the Moscow Art Theatre in a production directed by the great Stanislavski himself. 
(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "X" is for "exception")
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question.  I’m sure you’re familiar with Russian playwrights - Tolstoy, Turgenev, Chekhov, Gogol.  I wrote the following scenelet, thinking it might remind you of a famous Chekhov play which has been translated and adapted into many languages and produced around the world, becoming a classic of dramatic literature.  What’s the play?

“Mrs. Wallace, I mean no disrespect, but you’ve always lived off that trust fund your father left you.  That money is just about gone.  And you seem to be loaded down with bills and unpaid loans – a lot of debt, in other words.” 

“Well, you’re the financial expert; that’s why you’ve been brought in on this.  How do you propose to solve this problem?”

“We can sell the house.  But that would just about pay off the debt.  You would wind up with no money and nowhere to live.”

“You certainly paint an enticing picture of my future.  I hate the idea of having to move.  I was born and raised right here; I love this magnificent house, the exquisite cherry trees, the stream that runs nearby...

“Well, it’s a serious situation, no question about that.  However, before they start playing the finale and bringing down the curtain I’m pleased to report crisply that you are fortunate to have one asset that is going to solve all your problems.”

“Ah, I was hoping you’d get around to a solution.”

“It’s your property.  Because of the debts we may not be able to raise any cash from the sale of the house, but the acres of your property out back are going to provide you with all the money you’ll need to live on.”

“So there’s no real problem.  You go ahead and sell anything and everything you need to – there’s just one exception.”

“And that exception, I suppose, has to do with all those trees on the property?”

“That’s it exactly.”

“I see.  When I say no problem, I’m assuming you’ll let me clear the area and allow the building of condominiums or family homes or rental units, whatever.  That is the only way you will be able to have an adequate, solid income.”

“What do you mean, ‘clear the area’?  You’re planning to cut down the trees?”

“Ah, I was afraid that might be your reaction.  At this moment, ma’am, you possess nothing – nothing – of value except that property.  And as thickly overgrown with trees as it is, it cannot be sold.”

“You are not to cut down one tree!”

“Mrs. Wallace, what will you live on?  Don’t you understand?  I don’t like the idea of cutting down trees either, but you have literally no choice!  I can be of no help to you if you don’t face reality.”  

“Look, we can save a lot of time right here.  I’m open to any suggestions except for this one exception.  I love those trees; they must remain just as they are!”

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

198 Quiz Answer

Michael York and Liza Minnelli
Cabaret is a musical based on a book written by Christopher Isherwood, music by Kander and Ebb.

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "W" is for "Will")
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question: I wrote the following scenelet, thinking it might remind you of a famous musical.  Name the musical.

Berlin, Germany, in the early 1930s.

“Come on, Will.  Are you talking about the Austrian corporal?  Don’t worry about him.  He’s just a bag of hot air.”

“Really?  Seems to me Hitler is something to worry about.  He has quite a following.”

“But what does it add up to?  A collection of dimwits marching about shouting heil! to each other in a combative way.  His party, the National Socialists, does not represent the general population and will never amount to anything serious.”

“I hope you’re right.  You’ve lived here for a full year so I guess you know more about this than I do.  I realize I’m just a tourist.”

“Look at it this way.  The German people are blessed with a large portion of common sense.  They may have the occasional radical agitator to deal with, but he won’t win any general elections.  My advice is, ignore local politics and especially ignore local politicians.”

“That’s easy to say, but I’m still concerned.  Along with this Hitler movement, there’s the economic depression to worry about – it’s spreading around the world.”

“So that’s your theme now, to be permanently down in the dumps?  What you need is a little cheering-up.  Wasn’t that the original idea?  To enjoy your visit to Germany?”

“But there’s so much bad stuff going on…”

“Listen, Will.  We’re going to go out and have some fun.  I know a great little spot, a sort of night club here in town where’s there music and comedy and beautiful girls.   You’ll love it.”

“Sounds great, but I’m really not in the mood right now.”

“This joint will get you out of that sluggish mood, get you to enjoy life for a while.   What good is sitting alone in your room?  Come here the music play!”

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

197 Quiz Answer

Finding Nemo is a 2003 American film, released by Walt Disney Pictures

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "V" is for "Dr. Vernon.")
Here’s this week’s Berownial Quiz question: I wrote the following scenelet, thinking it might remind you of a hit motion picture.  What’s the name of the movie?

“Good morning, Miss Swenson.  Welcome.  I want you to know I read your column regularly.”

“So you’re the one, Dr. Vernon!  You know, I’ve heard so much about your office I just had to come and see it for myself.”

“Well, you’ve got to admit it’s different, right?”

“It’s – it’s, well, maybe ‘spectacular’ might be too strong a word, but it’s certainly impressive.”

“I see you brought your camera.  Please feel free to take all the pictures you want.”

“I’ve seen quite a few other dentists’ offices, but never one like this.  It should make for an interesting column.  How did you come up with the idea of making the highlight of your waiting-room a huge fish tank?”

“Well, you know, most folks in a waiting-room have to just sit there and look through old magazines.  In fact, a trip to a dentist is almost by definition something unpleasant.  I wanted to make a visit here something that could be enjoyed.”

“And the fish!  What an extraordinary variety.  Some of them are truly beautiful.”

“Yes.  Folks tell me looking at my fish tank is like going to a well-produced movie.”

“Is there some company that supplies you with these amazing sea creatures?”

“Company?  No.  I submit to you that, as you well know, lying right outside our own Sydney harbour is one of the wonders of the world.”

“The Great Barrier Reef.”

“Exactly.  It’s an incredible sea paradise teeming with life, with over a thousand different species of exotic tropical fish.  We have an endless supply right next door.”

“They certainly put on a show in this tank.  I love this little fellow right here.  I wonder if he ever dreamed that one day he’d wind up swimming about in a Sydney dentist’s office.  Do you suppose he’s happy here or do you think he’d rather be back home in his coral reef?”

“Well, if he’s got any brains, he’d prefer being here.  I'd instruct him that out there he’d soon develop a phobia because of the possibility he could be swallowed up by one of the larger species.  And here there are no sharks or jellyfish or other such threats.”

“I wonder if fish have family ties.  You know, maybe the folks back home are wondering what happened to him.”

“Ha.  You’ve got quite an imagination, Miss Swenson.”

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)


Sunday, December 1, 2013

196 Quiz Answer

The elder Germont's aria, sung to his son, from Verdi’s “La Traviata”:

“The sea and soil of Provence, who has erased them from your heart?

From your native, brilliant sun, what destiny stole you away?

Oh, remember in your sorrow the joy that glowed within you,

And that only there can peace yet shine upon you.”

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "U" is for "unacceptable")
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz.

Giuseppe Verdi was the composer who created the world-famous operas “Rigoletto,” “Aida” and a number of others.  I wrote the following scenelet, which I hope may suggest one of his works.  Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: name the opera.

(At some time in the nineteenth century an elderly gentleman is visiting his son in Paris.  He would like him to come back to their home in Provence, especially since the young man seems to have become involved with a woman of easy virtue.)

“Dad, this is all so pointless.  I told you to stay home.  Nothing you can say is going to change my mind.”

“So I’m just paying a brief visit.  Surely I have a right to visit my son once in a while.”

“Okay, you’ve visited.  Now I must insist.  I don’t want to offend you but please go back home and leave me alone.”

“I’ll go, I’ll go.  But first I want you to know just how – unhappy – I am about your situation.”

“My ‘situation’ is fine, Dad.  There’s nothing to worry about.” 

“You really prefer being exposed to the noise and hustle and grime of this infernal city to what we have in Provence?  The sun, the sea, the beauty…”

“Yes, I very much prefer it here.  I like the noise and hustle – maybe not so much the grime – and of course it’s here that I met Violetta, a truly wonderful girl.  Though I guess that’s one of the main reasons you came this time.”

“Well, since you bring it up.  You’ve changed so much, associating with all kinds of people.  As for the – er – young person in question, I’m sure she’s interesting, in her way.  But it’s clear she one of those who revel in a cheap, unacceptable life style.”

“Unacceptable?  Dad, I realize the news-flash that times have changed hasn’t gotten around to you yet.  That you might refer to a girl as ‘cheap’ is so last century, but even so I find it offensive.  Let me spell it out for you: this is the girl I want to marry.  Don’t say anything about her that you’ll be sorry for later.” 

“And don’t you be sorry later.  Your mother and I, we worked hard to raise you for something so much better.”

“Yeah, well, say hello to everyone back home in Provence.  Have a safe trip.”

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings.)
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