ArtFul Living

St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts
Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

Autumn Arts

The Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble (SATE) celebrates its thirteenth year in St. Louis by presenting selected plays that fit their theme of “The Season of Ritual.” (Really? They’ve been here for thirteen years and you haven’t attended one of their performances? Hmmm…). According to SATE’s info, “Each of this year’s plays explores the definition of ritual: ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order; acts done in accordance with social custom or normal protocol; or those acts done regularly, usually without thinking.”

So, for the final production of its Season of Ritual, SATE presents Deborah Breevoort’s The Women of Lockerbie. The play caught my interest, as I happen to have personally known a young mother who lost her husband in the Lockerbie crash. I can remember seeing her pain very clearly. Written in the structure of a Greek Tragedy, The Women of Lockerbie examines the crash of Pan Am 103 over LockerAbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988. The story follows, Madeline, a mother from New Jersey searching the hills of Lockerbie for her son’s remains. She encounters the women of Lockerbie, who are struggling against the U.S. government to get the clothing of the victims found in the plane’s wreckage. The women, determined to convert an act of hatred into an act of love, want to wash the clothes and return them to the victim’s families.

Pan Am Flight 103 was a regularly scheduled flight from Frankfurt to Detroit via London and New York. While on its transatlantic leg, the plane was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew. Large sections of the aircraft crashed onto residential areas of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 11 people on the ground. With the loss of 270 people, it is the deadliest terror attack in the history of the United Kingdom.

The play received the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award, and a silver medal in the Onassis International Playwriting Competition 2001. Although inspired by actual events, the play’s characters and situations are fictional. Plays are not always entertaining. They can bring back memories, good and bad, and cause us to possibly view things in a different way and sometimes, a play can offer healing.

SATE presents The Women of Lockerbie, November 6-23, at 8 p.m., at The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive. More info at www.slightlyoff.org.

Partly way through the month, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra presents a unique concert experience with an hour-long Happy Hour Concert. Why sit in traffic when you can relax and enjoy a wonderful performance? Beer and appetizers samplings from local eateries combine with the opportunity to mingle with SLSO musicians from 5-6:30 p.m. But the evening is still young, so the SLSO concert immediately follows. All for just $30! Bring some colleagues from your office, or meet some new friends. Purchase tickets at www.slso.org.

If you love The Nutcracker, enjoy a double-dose of the classic this month: November 29-December 1, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performs the colorful orchestral music of Tchaikovsky’s classic. This is a concert only (no dance), so the audience can fully focus on the music that generations have come to love. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. Ticket info at www.slso.org.

Now that you’ve given the music its due attention, a full dance performance is the perfect way to enhance your Nutcracker experience. St. Louis Ballet performs this favorite at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the UMSL campus, November 29-December 1. Tickets for evening and matinee performances can be reserved at www.stlouisballet.org.

The Nutcracker performances presented by St. Louis Ballet resume December 18-23.
For anyone not familiar with St. Louis Ballet, the story of Gen Horiuchi bears repeating. He remains the company’s talented Artistic Director. Born in Tokyo, Horiuchi’s parents owned a ballet studio; the family lived above it, so dance was part of his everyday life. A professional dance company tour brought him to St. Louis briefly in 1997—and he fell in love with the city. He went on to choreograph the opening ceremonies for the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan but, within 3 years, he returned to St. Louis and took on the task of building a ballet company right here. His is a story of perseverance, and St. Louis is lucky indeed to now have a professional ballet company to call our own, thanks to Gen Horiuchi.

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