Tag Archive | "Romance"

Sag Harbor Named America’s 4th Most Romantic Town

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A couple gets married on Windmill Beach in Sag Harbor. Michael Heller photo.

A couple gets married on Windmill Beach in Sag Harbor. Michael Heller photo.

By Tessa Raebeck

Those who have enjoyed a glass of wine while watching the snow fall out the windows of the American Hotel, spent an autumn afternoon perusing the trinkets in local shops, or watched the yachts come in during a summer stroll down the wharf know that Sag Harbor is nothing short of romantic.

What local lovers have always known is now official; Sag Harbor has been named the fourth “Most Romantic Town” in America by Travel & Leisure.

From the magazine’s January 2014 issue:

“This branch of the Hamptons has long inspired good name-dropping: it attracts plenty of celebs and, more than a hundred years ago, even merited a mention in Moby Dick. On Saturdays from May through October, you can scan the crowds for familiar faces and pick up a local wine and other picnic provisions at the Sag Harbor Farmers’ Market in front of the Breakwater Yacht Club.”

Travel & Leisure compiled the list of America’s most romantic towns using reader nominations and subsequent rankings of the selected towns in 55 distinct categories. The top 25 were then determined by a calculation using the most “lover-friendly” of those categories: bakeries, brunch spots, farmers’ markets, gay friendliness, “idyllic, picnic-friendly parks,” romantic hotels and “wine scenes.”

Montauk also made the list; the “more relaxed version of the Hamptons and the perfect spot for long-walks-on-the-beach-type romance” came in at number 25.

Sag Harbor is enjoying national recognition as a travel destination for the second year in a row. In 2013, Coastal Living ranked the village, also in fourth place, as one of America’s “Happiest Seaside Towns,” or “the best places to live on the coast.”

Taking on Mamet’s Surprising Comedy

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web romance

By Ellen Frankman

 “The title of this play is not a misnomer,” Reg Rogers insists, the actor who plays a defense attorney in this month’s production of David Mamet’s “Romance” at Bay Street Theatre. It certainly seems however, that audience members may have to dig deep – or perhaps just stick to the surface of absurdity – to confirm this.

Mamet’s “Romance” appears inherently unromantic in fact – a biting conceptualization of a farce that sets nearly every existing ethnic and sexual stereotype amidst the setting of a traditional courtroom drama. The defendant is a Jewish chiropractor, on trial facing a pill-popping judge, defended by an anti-Semitic defense attorney, who is battling a homosexual prosecutor. To laugh at the characters it is suggested that the audience be willing to laugh at human madness itself.

“Romance” first premiered in 2005 with the Atlantic Theater Company, a theater group founded in 1985 by William H. Macy and David Mamet himself. In order to master the scathing humor that emanates from the production, the cast (gratefully an all-star lineup) first had to perfect the staccato rhythm signature to Mamet’s language.

“Mamet’s language is so specific and tricky. You really have to be on the syllable,” explains Chris Bauer who plays the courtroom’s prosecutor, a character he describes as being “verbose, over-mannered, aggressive and obsessive.” Bauer even admits to having started memorizing his part much earlier than what is typical for him.

For actor Richard Kind (Judge), the language — which requires that every word, every breath, every pause be exact — is “close to impossible.”

“This is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to work on in my life. Literally my brain hurts,” says Kind. Although the words sound as they should coming from the characters’ mouths, Kind insists that “gobbledygook” is in fact what the person is actually saying.

Joe Pallister (Doctor) found the style equally as nuanced. “It’s got a very specific rhythm. It’s like music. You can’t paraphrase this type of writing,” says Pallister.

“He wrote a symphony and you can’t start playing any notes you want to,” Kind agrees laughingly.

Ultimately, the true thrill of theater emerges from mastery of the script. “It’s so satisfying when you get it right,” grins Pallister.

And the show’s director Lisa Peterson agrees. “When it’s right, it’s exhilarating!”

There is more to “Romance” than a taxing twist of the tongue, however. “The other part that’s so exciting is how naughty it is,” describes Peterson, who expressed surprise and a modest smirk of approval in the fact that the only insults Mamet chose to not include are those about women.

The cast, described as a “dream come true” by Bauer, is entirely male, “all very good actors and funny guys” according to Peterson, who finds that “they all come at the work at very different angles.” Each one recognizes the absurdity of the content, and though all back the genius of Mamet’s language, few are certain of what the audience’s reaction will be.

“If you’re not liberal hearing and of liberal humor, stay away,” advises Kind. “This is not ‘Hello Dolly.’”

Most of the actors remain positive in anticipation of the public’s reception. Though Bauer admits, “it’s an outrageous 85 minutes,” he exudes confidence in that it is “a play that is dangerous in the way theater should be dangerous.”

Pallister is trusting of the audience as well. “The crowd here I think will be open because it’s so over the top and so politically incorrect.”

“I see them getting it and being taken by it,” agrees Matt McGrath (Bernard).

Whatever the outcome, it appears everyone involved is giddy to take the production on stage. “You’ve got to have the partner of the audience to make the rhythm work,” explains Peterson.

And beneath its charming traditional exterior, Bay Street Theatre certainly gets credit along with its actors for taking on such a challenge. Says Kind, “I love this theater. I think it’s a very brave theater.”

David Mamet’s “Romance” directed by Lisa Peterson will premiere at Bay Street Theatre, Long Wharf, Sag Harbor on August 10 and run through September 5. Performances are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Wednesdays at 2 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m., and Sundays at 7 p.m. Tickets $55/$65. 725-9500.