The opening performance of "Gossamer" at the Adventure Stage Chicago was an absolute treat: the staging, costumes, set, and the individual performances all went together so smoothly and made for a magical 90 minutes and a completely rapt audience.

These couple of pictures are dreadful because I was using my iPhone while sitting on the stage afterward, with no light in some areas and too much in others. But here, photographed badly, is Toby, the dog, operated by Kasey Foster, who brought a semi-puppet to vigorous and endearing life:

Toby the dog

And here is the entire cast sitting on the edge of the stage, answering questions from the audience:

Cast post play

In the foreground is Susan Veronika Adler who played the foster mother with compassion and restraint. I'm sorry that you can't see Victoria Abram-Copenhaver, who played the boy, John, an 8-year-old child damaged emotionally by abuse. Victoria is small, and to be honest, I thought she was actually a young boy until, post-performance, she removed her baseball cap and they announced her name. Wow. She went from swagger to heartbreak in the role.

You CAN see "Littlest" in this photo, seated in the middle of the group with her pale blue legs dangling. She is Elizabeth Birkenmeier, and this was her theater debut in Chicago---she has been performing Shakespeare in St. Louis till now.  Remember her name because you will hear it again. She captured Littlest exactly: her innocence, her impetuousness, her energy and curiosity, her gradual maturation and her compelling charm.

No room to list everyone but they all were wonderful, and my thanks go to Brian Bell who directed the play and made it work so well.

*****

I came home to find a package of books which at first seemed somewhat mysterious. Translation copies are always sent to me, and at first glance this appeared to be "The Giver' in Spanish, but with a girl's picture on the jacket. Take a look:

Spanish GIVER

But on closer scrutiny I realized that it is THE GIVER, Book II: Gathering Blue.  Hmmmm.  I had heard that THE GIVER has become wildly popular in Spain----so clearly they are capitalizing on that---and why not? Presumably they will soon send me THE GIVER, Book III: Messenger.

I have yet to photogaph the incredible award they gave me in NY Tuesday night, from the American Place Theatre, but will get to it next, thereby rounding out a series of narcissistic posts.

Lots of waiting mail to be dealt with, and then the Patriots/Dolphins game at 1.