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Blacktip Island Thespians To Perform Ring Of The Nibelung Operas

Ring of the nibelung

Jessie Catahoula, left, as Sieglinde, and Hugh Calloway as Siegmund rehearse for the Blacktip Island Community Players’ spring production of Wagner’s ‘Der Ring Des Nibelungen’ Thursday afternoon. (photo courtesy of יוסי צבקר)

 

The Blacktip Island Community Players Thursday announced the group will perform all four opera’s in Richard Wagner’s ‘Der Ring Des Nibelungen’ cycle in the original German for their annual spring theater fundraising extravaganza.

“We were tired of doing the same old ‘Tora Tora Tora’ and ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ fare,” BICP creative director Doris Blenny said. “As a joke, someone suggested Wagner, and the idea really took off. We couldn’t agree on which opera to do—Das Rheingold is the most accessible, but it’s really just a prelude—so we went ahead and committed to the whole 15-hour epic. It’ll last all spring. If enough people come.

“We’re scouring the dump and the beaches for props and costumes,” Blenny said. “Helen Maples is working with anyone interested on boosting their vocal ranges, and Alison Diesel is giving everyone German lessons. This production will truly showcase the unique talent we have on Blacktip.”

Many in the community said the choice was fitting.

“Operas about heroes fighting gods, then at the end everybody dies and Valhalla gets destroyed?” Corrie Anders said. “Sounds like a standard Saturday night at the Ballyhoo, frankly. I mean, people already call it ‘Brawl-holla. It’s perfect. The horned helmets and spears and whatnot’ll make it even better.”

Others were uncertain.

“When Doris said ‘Wagner’ I thought she meant Robert Wagner,” Stoney Macadam said. “Now I’m really confused. I didn’t know he had a brother, much less that the brother wrote musicals. In German. I’d have studied German if I’d known.”

The cast includes:

Marina DeLow as Wotan

Payne Hanover as Fricka

Hugh Calloway as Siegmund

Jessie Catahoula as Sieglinde

Elena Havens as Siegfried

Lee Helm as Brunhild

Linford Blenny as Alberich

Antonio Fletcher as The Norns

“Had plenty of time to kill, so I figured why not learn some basic, myth-specific German and give it a shot?” Jessie Catahoula said. “Now, none of us can sing worth a damn, but that adds to the rustic appeal. We’re even looking at live streaming it so off-island people can see it.

“What really blows me away is the sheer scope of this production,” Catahoula said. “We’re not just staging a one-hour musical number. This is the biggest opera there is. It’s a definite go big or go home opportunity.”

Blenny hopes the operas will inspire future performers.

“I think the little ones will really like the story and the singing,” she said. “People talk about opera being unapproachable, but I think just the opposite is true. The kiddos should love it. Especially the brass and drums at the end of Götterdämmerung when everyone dies.”

Proceeds of the performances will go to the Blacktip Island chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

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Blacktip Island Readies For Most Boring Person Contest

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Rusty Goby is favored in Saturday’s 17th Annual Most Boring Person on Blacktip Island contest. “Talking to Lee’s like trying to have a conversation with a bunch of sea grass,” one resident said. (photo courtesy of Doris Blenny)

Blacktip Island’s 17th Annual Most Boring Person vote will be announced Saturday afternoon at the Caribbean Island’s Heritage House, with proceeds going to the local Habitat for Humanity.

“Rusty Goby’s won the whole enchilada three years running, and he’s the favorite to win it again,” vote organizer Jerrod Ephesians said. “Rusty’s so boring, I’ve seen people ditch him to watch paint dry.

“You get stuck next to him at the bar, it can make your teeth hurt,” Ephesians said. “He’s the guy you’ll cross the street to avoid in case he tries to start a conversation.”

Contestants are judged by a monetary donations from island residents.

“We charge a dollar a vote, and people can vote as many times as they want,” Heritage House docent Doris Blenny said. “It’s not uncommon for some people to vote multiple times for the same person and treat every dollar as a charitable donation.

“It’s doubly charitable, really, since it raises money for a good cause and publicly identifies a person one should avoid at all costs,” Blenny said. “We think of it as a public service.”

Goby faces stiff competition this year from island newcomer Brandon Schaft and longtime resident Lee Helm.

“Lee’s about the dullest person I’ve ever met,” resident Finn Kiick said. “He’s an ass, too, but that’s a different contest. My money’s on him, hands down.”

Others disagreed.

“Lee’s not so much boring as he is tedious,” Val Schrader said. “You cringe when he shows up at a party, but then you pull up a chair to see how many people he pisses off in how little time. There’s a brute entertainment in that.

“Brandon, now, he could stupefy an ADHD monkey on acid,” Schrader said. “I’m not sure if he can knock off Rusty, but I put in $100 to hopefully put him over the top.”

While many island residents see being nominated as an insult, many old-timers view it as a badge of honor.

“If Blacktip folks say you’re boring, that means they’re not gossiping about you,” Rocky Shore said. “That’s tough to accomplish on this little rock. And if no one’s talking about you, you’re living your life right.”

The winner will be announced at 5 p.m., then promptly ignored.

“We used to give out a t-shirt, but there’s not really any point,” Ephesians said. “We leave the winner at the Heritage House and go out bar hopping without him.”

Rusty Goby could not be reached for comment.

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