Hodge: Raft Of The Medusa wins over local audiences

Creators Pat Brown and Randall Robinson have every reason to be ecstatic with pride.

Told you so.

It’s rare I get to toss that line out, so when one of my predictions is actually fulfilled I try to remember to flaunt it long and loud.

Mind you, my prediction was pretty much a slam dunk.

The locally written and produced Raft Of The Medusa rock-opera exceeded even my lofty expectations and predictions, and clearly wowed the large crowd on hand for the world premier red-carpet opening performance last Friday.

Kelowna Community Theatre patrons were collectively on their feet in standing ovation before the stage curtain even had a chance to drop.

Apparently the second performance, Saturday, received even a louder and longer standing salute from the jam packed audience.

Why am I not surprised?

A significant contribution to my confidence in the project is that the two creators of this masterpiece are both multiple award winning musicians and song writers, and have both dazzled audiences with their on-stage theatrical skills in the past.

However, after four years of hard work writing every song and story line in this theatrical wizardry it is nice to see such insatiable drive for artistic excellence come to true fruition.

Pat Brown and Randall Robinson have every reason to be ecstatic with pride.

Raft Of The Medusa is an original score based on the diary of one of the survivors of the greatest marine disaster ever until the Titanic.

The French frigate Medusa ran aground off the coast of Africa and more than 150 passengers were placed on a makeshift raft.

When discovered 14 days later only 15 were alive with just 10 eventually surviving the ordeal.

The tragedy inspired artist Theodore Gericault to paint his famous painting Raft Of The Medusa which hangs in the Louvre today.

During the painting of the masterpiece it is suggested Gericault went mad.

A dark tale, at times extremely intense, the play also magically sprinkles in some relief humor and a compelling love story as part of the emotional roller-coaster creation.

The 22-stage performers and gifted seven-piece rock band in the music pit nailed off tune after tune during the two-hour show, and for an opening night, premier performance, did so with almost flawless precision.

Brilliantly written, the choreography and simple yet effective stage sets enhanced what was already a stupendous script and kept the audience spellbound throughout most of the night.

Robinson and Brown tastefully weave the fear and anxiety of those on board the raft set adrift at sea into a seamless parallel with the fear and anxiety of artist Gericault and his beautiful client whose portrait he is painting as they falling helplessly in love.

You have the chance to view this show yourself this weekend with the final shows set for tonight and Saturday.

***

Former Capital News editor Patrick Denton once mentored me with the following words about column writing.

“Forget trying to craft brilliantly written commentaries on what’s wrong with the world, why we need to abolish the Senate, or what the hell is wrong in Ottawa, Victoria, or even City Hall. Nobody really cares about pressing social needs such as the lack of national day care, homelessness, or how many people starved to death this month.

“Nope. If you really want readership reaction write something critical about girl guide cookie sales, pontificate why we should no longer swear allegiance to the Queen, or write about your favourite puppy dog. If you have pictures of him even better.”

Ironically enough, good ole’ Patrick was correct.

I don’t have a puppy anymore (violins please) but as some Hodge Podge readers may be aware, I certainly have a few kittens. In fact, my house currently resembles a cat farm.

True to Patrick’s prediction, I have received numerous emails, phone calls and comments from folks following two columns mentioning that I am fostering four new kittens and their feral mom.

Seems Kelowna readers have a soft spot and interest in following the fun and frivolity of four frisky four-footed felines.

Several folks asked for an update on Scaredy Cat and kids.

Following the wise advice of cat guru Helena Pol and some caring veterinarians, Scaredy was fixed and returned to our care.

While it is not my intent to try and convert Scaredy to a shed cat permanently she has decided it is safer than whatever woodpile it was she was hiding under before.

Young and wild as she is, there is a hint of a kitten who was once a pet and loved briefly.

I will continue to feed her until well and let her decide her future.

I do not believe in outdoor cats, however Scaredy sought me out for protection—not imprisonment.

At least she will not produce more feral kittens for the world to deal with.

Meanwhile, life is a constant riot and joy in the basement suite of our home.

I had forgotten just how much true pleasure kittens can be if you happen to like cats.

As a long-time cat lovers, Teresa and I know that like humans, the first few years of life have a huge impact on their quality and character development.

With Teresa on the scene, I am pretty sure that a lack of cuddles and kindness will not be an issue.

I’m not sure who is having more fun, Teresa or the four balls of fur.

***

For anyone venturing down to Penticton for the Peach Festival later this month, you may want to put on your cowboy boots and plan on visiting the Peach City on Aug. 8.

That is the day that local country singer Trudy ‘TJ’ Janicki (aka Charlie Rae) will be belting out some fine songs as a featured artist.

TJ and Horseplay are set to take the Peach Festival stage at 1 p.m. and folks can expect to hear a number of country classic covers as well as several superb originals written by the always entertaining TJ.

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