Over our long and wonderful winter break, we saw six plays:
■ The Testament of Mary at the Victory Gardens Theater
■ Isaac’s Eye at the Writers Theatre
■ The Humans at the American Theater Company
■ Pericles at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater
■ Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater
■ Waiting for Godot at the Court Theater
Godot actually concluded our break.
VLADIMIR: I missed you… and at the same time I was happy. Isn’t that a queer thing?
ESTRAGON: (shocked). Happy?
VLADIMIR: Perhaps it’s not quite the right word.
ESTRAGON: And now?
VLADIMIR: Now? … (Joyous.) There you are again… (Indifferent.) There we are again… (Gloomy.) There I am again.
NOTE: For those of you in and around the Chicagoland area, drop everything and see if you can get tickets to the gobsmackingly awesome Waiting for Godot at the Court and The Humans at the ATC (reviews here and here).
While on break, we also visited three zoos. Just before Christmas, we saw “Zoolights” at the Lincoln Park Zoo before heading to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater for the Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol. Both experiences put us in a holiday spirit.
We spent Christmas Day the Brookfield Zoo…
… and a few days later, we visited the Milwaukee County Zoo.
As you may have guessed, we essentially packed all of the adventures we would have ordinarily spread over the course of the fall semester into the five weeks of our winter break — including our annual birthday trip to the Adler Planetarium (two months late but still wonderful).
It was a cold, clear day, but those brave enough to venture outside were treated to sun observations through Dobsonian ‘scopes outfitted with solar filters. We so thoroughly enjoyed ourselves that we promptly put one of our Christmas gift cards toward a solar filter for our own Dobsonian.
While Mr. M-mv was able to join us for the second and third weeks of our break (as well as an adventure here and there in the first week), it was a reunion of the “Girls Rule!” School for our trip to the Art Institute of Chicago last week.
Always up for the interplay of serendipity, synchronicity, and synthesis, we couldn’t help but remark on The Crucifixion (1538, Lucas Cranach the Elder): “But she wasn’t there.” (Those who have read and / or seen The Testament of Mary understand.)
And The Triumph of Death (1539, Georg Pencz) led all of us to exclaim that it perfectly complemented our recent viewing of The Seventh Seal (1957).
Speaking of movies, in anticipation of their film course, the Misses asked me to use part of our break to fill some gaps in their film education. In addition to The Seventh Seal, I introduced them to Testament (1983), Rushmore (1999), Donnie Darko (2001), Psycho (1960), and The Godfather (1972). We hope to squeeze The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Amadeus (1997), and another viewing of Citizen Kane (1941) into this rather slow first week back to the familiar rhythm of work, studies, volunteering, and the rest.
And speaking of how much we love to watch (yes, they’ve seen Being There (1979)), I will share that over our break we made much progress in our quasi-binge-(re)watching of “LOST” — we have only eight episodes left. We’ve chosen “Jeeves and Wooster” as our next (re)watch project. The Misses were quite young when their brother and I first watched the series. They’ve seen some of it since then but not recently, and they’d like to begin at the beginning, as he did.
BERTIE: You can’t be a successful dictator and design women’s underclothing.
JEEVES: No, sir.
BERTIE: One or the other. Not both.
JEEVES: Precisely, sir.
The penultimate adventure of our break was a behind-the-scenes tour of the John G. Shedd Aquarium, after which, Miss M-mv(i) participated in the “Trainer for a Day” program while Miss M-mv(ii) and I explored the aquarium. Mr. M-mv and the Misses took part in “Trainer for a Day” in December 2011, when Miss M-mv(i) first expressed an earnest interest in pursuing animal behavior as a course of study. Over the following year, she and her sister also participated in similar programs at Oceans of Fun in Milwaukee and the Brookfield Zoo. We arranged for this solo return to the Shedd program to celebrate her upcoming birthday, and she arrived with the benefit of all reading she has done in the field, as well as a mental list of questions she had about the trainers’ education and experience.
In and among these many adventures, we all continued with our music practice and lessons, and the Misses worked during the first, fourth, and fifth weeks (swim instruction and lifeguarding). We also returned to the the conservation area where we spent part of Thanksgiving Day, this time for a longer hike, and we attended a seminar on the owls of Illinois. Miss M-mv(i) and I took an online bird behavior class with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and all of us enjoyed some board games, notably Clue, Set, and Blink. We read a great deal, the Misses sketched and drew, and Miss M-mv(ii) worked on her chess game using Chesscademy and built two small robots.
How did you spend the winter break?