#1: Sarah Weinman's thoughtful review of the new Elizabeth George novel at Newsday.
#2: Gordon Bowker at the Observer on a new collection of Orwell essays (I am in love with Orwell's prose, I want this volume--oh, and Bowker says Orwell almost certainly coined the term "cold war"--interesting, eh?).
#3: My first official (timed) race this morning, very exciting--I am pleased with my results too, I totally cracked nine minutes (I feel I am allowed to gloat a bit as the running thing has come solely by virtue of extremely hard work & well-organized training, running is not my natural talent).
#4: Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape at the Irish Rep; not exactly a good play, I think, but a wonderfully appealing one, its expressionism and socialism take it totally over the top and on the whole it is somewhat dated but the language and aspects of the staging (as it's conceived, I mean, not just as it's performed--since I am too lazy to paste in correct accents from Microsoft Word it would seem ridiculous to say mise-en-scene!) are absolutely spectacular, I quite loved this & the production is really excellent. The old-style New York diction of the main character tips it over the edge into complete surrealness, in its own time I expect it would have been a bit more naturalistic (well, perhaps that's not right, it's dementedly expressionist in a quite delightful way, the chorus of stokers reminded me of the goblins in George MacDonald and the prison scene in particular is superb), but Greg Derelian is really amazingly good as Yank--my only quibble is that while his posture is perfect, exactly that hulking stooped high-waisted effect that you see in photographs of the old-time boxers from the 1920s, his musculature is rather too well-defined--should be better padded for historical accuracy, I think only in modern times have people so much been getting that low-body-fat effect--oh, and while it would be too much for me to paste in a hundred of the amazing lines about hairy apes, did you know that this play actually ends with the main character being crushed to death by a gorilla at the Bronx Zoo?!? Absolutely delightful in any case.
#5: And though you might think the union-organizer theme that O'Neill highlights would rather outmoded by now (but the Wobblies guy is one of the best things in the play, very well-acted too by Allen McCullough if I have correctly matched the actor to the part), I heard the true organizer vein last weekend at the lively & stimulating n+1 "little magazine" discussion--in a rather enjoyable late-stage controversial intervention from the audience, the basic premises of the magazine were challenged ("You guys are all the same!" he called out to the editors as they sat there at the front of the lecture hall) by a strident character who, it later turned out, is Benj DeMott, son of the critic Benjamin DeMott and himself editor of the radical/literary tabloid First of the Month. We all perked up, controversy is exciting; and here is the link for the first part of DeMott the Younger's essay about his father in the magazine's current issue. (Thanks to whatever well-wisher slipped the paper issue under my office door, I was indeed very interested to read it after hearing its editor's characterization.)