This weekend was a special one. Friday afternoon I headed off to Salmen Scout Reservation, located outside of Kiln, Mississippi (the home of Brett Favre) to help run the annual Fall Encampment. An expected 2,000 Cub Scouts, parents, grandparents and siblings blossomed to 2,200 as registration continued on Saturday morning for the event titled "Swamp Stomp." Activities for the Cub Scouts ran the gamut from canoeing (only permitted for Cub Scouts at council events), to preparing discarded flags for proper disposal, to archery, b-b guns and land boat races to name just a few. Several members of the award-winning Chilankatoba Lodge's Native-American dance team performed from the early morning till late in the afternoon on Saturday. On Saturday night the hillside next to the lake was filled with all of the participants who were treated to an incredible arena show with fun skits (pie throwing, "guests" like Homer Simpson, etc.) and a 20-minute long fireworks display that would rival many of those put on by major metropolitan markets. Sunday I helped lead an interfaith religious service that got everyone in a proper mood to pack up and move back to their homes. Despite this being the first camping experience for hundreds of participants, the campsites showed little wear and tear when all was finished. Much of the "Leave No Trace" component of camping was embraced throughout the weekend, I am happy to report. All in all it was a happy time with near perfect weather of blue skies and little wisps of clouds in the sky. Temperatures were pleasant during the day and a little nippy at night, but then that's what campfires are for, aren't they?
FourFront Productions' presentation of Alan Bennett's "The History Boys" finished its run yesterday at Southern Repertory. Lucas Harms, one of the lead actors in the production and one of the four producers who gave the production company its unique name, thanked everyone who attended and reminded the audience that their next presentation will be "Altar Boys" on April 10 though 19, a short run during a very busy time of year in the city. The very large cast, practically all male, was very ably directed by Fred Nuccio, longtime stage manager at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre. Aside from Harms, veteran director and performer David Hoover, who heads up the drama and theatre department at the University of New Orleans, and Beverly Trask added support to the cast members who portrayed British upper schoolboys. Among the excellent performances were those by P. J. McKinnie (Dakin), Joe Siebert (Lockwood) and Alex Lemonier (Posner). Lemonier sang several duets with Dr. Brian Rosenberg, who played piano throughout the three-hour show (including intermission). Rosenberg was bit by the acting bug prior to his becoming a doctor and it was a pleasure to see him still tread the boards , even after Meanwhile, Cripple Creek Theatre Company continues its production of "Erik the Fourteenth," a never-before-American-staged-play by Swedish playwright August Strindberg, until November 10. Quite compelling was the performance turned in by Keith Launey in the title role of the 16th Century paranoid, schizophrenic Swedish king, who literally went mad.