Also featuring photos from our monthly supplement...

Patterson Road Farmhouse

Human Race’s Rabbit Hole opens raw emotions

Effervescent Peter Pan lives in Never-Never Land.  Thanks to Dayton’s arts schedule, the review of this absolutely charming production must remain in Never-Never Land for one more week.  You don’t squeeze Peter, Wendy and Captain Hook into a crowded review.  They deserve their own page.

The busy week began with The Human Race production of Rabbit Hole at the Loft. Playwright David Lindsay–Abaire has chosen one of the most difficult human dramas to explore – the death of a child.  His exploration laid every nerve and sinew of cast and audience bare.  

The elements which battered us during the carefully crafted play were grief, remorse, selfishness, guilt and jealousy.  Sounds like a big slice of the seven deadly sins – it was.

Director Scott Stoney and his cast took the page-to-stage transformation of the play far beyond the written word.  The playwright’s “urban dialogue,” incisive, clever but often hackneyed, required the actors to bring to it real emotion,  

The cast played on a rotating set by Terry Stump which demarked the emotional landscape.  Samara Bay and Gil Brady, in their debuts, let us see the angst of a couple whose four year old son died in a preventable accident.  They also showed their inability to come together in their grief, inflicting extra suffering on each other and the family.  

Veteran actor Barbara Calarese Dirr as Samara’s mother tried to help the grieving pair in spite of decades of family baggage misguiding her efforts.  David Beck took a minor role to the maximum as the unwitting driver of the car which killed the child.
Samara’s underachieving and now pregnant sister was given an amazing performance by WSU junior and acting major Andrea Young.  I predict that this talented character actress will reach the heights.  You read it first here!

WSU’s Twelfth Night

The WSU Theatre program is rich and full.  Often, I miss productions given in the Herbst Theatre due to schedule conflicts.  Each time I experience one of these theatrical jewels, I vow to never miss one again.  Thankfully, I was able to squeeze in Mary Donahoe’s version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.  

A theater scholar, iconic actress and director, Donahoe has given us so many landmark experiences.  This Twelfth Night was another one.  

In perhaps thirty or more Twelfth Nights, this will be remembered as one of the best. Mary reversed the historic Elizabethan stage tradition of men playing all the parts. Her cast was all female.  Her women were not pretending to be men – they were women playing men.  The direction, and the manifold talents of these young women, gave each part nuances absent from any production I can remember.  

I felt enchanted watching each of the actresses become more physically beautiful as they developed Shakespeare’s immortal characters in their own special way.  Their effervescence seemed to emanate from their bright eyes like sunbeams on a clear day.  

As beauteous Viola and riotous Malvolio, seniors Julia Bentz, and Shelby Garret each proved their versatile talents and are ready for the “big time.”   Junior Robin Smith, in one of my favorite roles, Feste, sang like an angel with impish charm.  As the wild quartet, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Fabian and Maria, sophomores Katie O’Neill, Danika Haffenden, Jasmine Batchelor and senior Sarah Elder cavorted to the very walls.  

The pivotal role of Olivia was played with naturalness by freshman Darian Taschner. This proves an often repeated thesis.  The WSU Theatre department is a great program selecting major talents and molding them with love and expertise.  

Ruchman Duo Piano Recital

The final event of the crowded weekend was another landmark.  Robert and Tiraje Ruchman are major talents.  Their piano expertise and artistic passion is evident in every one of their many performances.  

This year, their Blair Hall duo piano recital was their No bad luck here – their appearance was nothing short of dazzling.  

Robert is Sinclair’s Music Department Chair. Tiraje is also a Sinclair piano faculty member.  They perform widely but Dayton is their home and their creative center.  
Duo piano literature grew from the time when music was played at home.  Two pianos or four-hand piano could reproduce an entire symphony. Many of the great composers added to this rich collection.

Today, orchestral music is much more available and there are only a few devoted duo pianists.  The Ruckmans stand at the very top of this roster.

The recital featured music of Liszt, Poulenc and Ravel. New music by Carlos Guastavino and Manuel Infante was an added gift. They play with technical brilliance and undisguised love for the music and the opportunity to share it. In true professorial mode, Robert introduced each work with concise, informative but completely charming remarks.  

I certainly hope that I will be able to hear the next 13 annual recitals.  It will be a joy and a privilege.

Eighth Annual Jewish International Film Festival

The Jewish International Film Festival announces its 2008 selection of 21 feature films and short documentaries. The venues will be The Neon Movies, The Little Art Theatre and the special opening night screening at the Dayton Art Institute.  

The festival opens on Tuesday, April 1 and continues through Sunday, April 13.  In addition to the films, guest commentators will discuss films of their special interest. Maestro Neal Gittleman, Coach Don Donaher, Sportswriter Bucky Albers and Arts Administrator Murray Horowitz are a few of the distinguished guests.  

The films are all unique to the Dayton area, many created in Israel, France and the U.S.  For schedules and ticket information, call 937-610-1555 or on line at

Vogler String Quartet to perform

The Vogler String Quartet, from Berlin, will perform on the Chamber Music Yellow Springs series in the First Presbyterian Church, 314 Xenia Avenue (US 68) in Yellow Springs, at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 30, Haydn’s birthday, to play his  rarely heard Quartet in E-flat Op. 64 No.6.

The Vogler, major recording artists in Europe, will play only Carnegie Hall and Yellow Springs this tour.  

A free pre-concert lecture at 6:45 p.m. in the church is scheduled.  A simple supper is offered in the church at 6 p.m. and a gourmet dinner at the post-concert reception, for which a reservation is required.  Tickets at the door are $18 adults, $6 students.  To reserve tickets or seats at the dinner, phone (937) 374-8800.

Please visit and for more information.

Soirees Musicales

Soirees Musicales will be presenting pianist Ann Schein on Saturday, March 29, 8 p.m. at Shiloh Church.

Bergamo Center to present Peaceful Earth Works

More than 100 contributors – artists, writers and musicians   – will explore the relationship between peace and the environment in the annual art show sponsored by the Marianist Environmental Education Center March 29 through April 27 at Gallery St. John at Mount St. John, 4435 East Patterson Road.

The public is invited to the opening reception for the show, titled Peaceful Earth Works, from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 29.  The reception will feature refreshments and music by Aaron Raleigh, a classical guitarist, from 2 to 3 p.m. and Eric Loy, a finger-style guitarist, from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Peaceful Earth Works features more than 128 works, including poetry, sculpture, painting and music and is part of the center’s continuing educational effort to promote an understanding of the important role of ecosystems in maintaining life on earth. It’s free and open to the public.

At 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 31 at Bergamo Center Chapel at Mount St. John , the center will present Namaste: Greeting the planet within us, a special performance featuring songs, dancing, poetry, artwork and comedy, followed by discussion, refreshments and tour of the exhibit.

The art and education show, an annual event, encourages artistic exploration of the spiritual nature of the environment.

The gallery is open from noon to 4 p.m. Wed. through Sun. Gallery St. John is located in St. Joseph Hall at Mount St. John , 4435 East Patterson Road in Dayton .  

Find more information and directions at or call 937-429-3582.

Benefit to feature Ohio Valley British Brass Band

The Ohio Valley British Brass Band will perform a concert on Thursday, March 27 at 7 p.m. in the Oakwood High School Auditorium. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the OHS band program.

“Many high schools bring in guest musicians to help raise funds for school music programs,” said Oakwood Band Parent President, Debbie Hershey. “The Oakwood High School Band is in need of a new set of five timpani drums which cost about $10,000,” continued Hershey.

The Ohio Valley British Brass Band is a 40-piece all-brass orchestra that performs many types of music. The band comprises professional-level musicians and music educators from all walks of life throughout the Miami Valley.

Tickets for the event cost $10 for adults and $5 for students. Sponsorship levels have also been set.  The sponsorship levels are as follows:

$25  - 1 complimentary ticket

$75 - 2 complimentary tickets

$150 - 4 complimentary tickets, and the patron’s name will be engraved on a gold colored nameplate in the high school

$250 - 5 complimentary tickets, and the patron’s name will be engraved on a platinum colored nameplate in the high school

A $500 donation will receive 10 complimentary tickets, and the patron’s name will be engraved on a nameplate attached to the new timpani drum.

Please contact Sandra Bally (937) 395-0051 or Sue Mooney (937) 293-6839 to order tickets or make a donation.

Tis’ the season for peas and asparagus

Vivaldi and Stravinsky commemorated this time of year in their oeuvre with The Seasons and The Rite of Spring.  For all of us awaiting the return to the culinary delights of the earth’s bounty shortly after the vernal equinox, we foodies anticipate the presence of the locally grown asparagus and English peas, our harbingers of Spring.

As Levi-Strauss said, “by turning the raw into the cooked we transform nature into culture.”  Here we have two simple, unpretentious foods that will reap oohs and aahs when culinary alchemy results in delicate, memorable dishes.

Certainly you all know that asparagus comes in three colors-green, white and purple.  All are good sources of folic acid, potassium, fiber and the amino acid asparagine.  White asparagus, also known as spargel, is more delicate in taste than the green and is covered during growth to prevent coloration.  The purple asparagus, developed in Italy, is much higher in sugar content and lower in fiber content than its green cousin.  But, did you know that there are male and female plants and occasionally hermaphrodite flowers?  (sounds like this may certainly be the topic du jour for Jerry Springer’s next appearance on Veggie Tales)  There is even a recipe for asparagus in the oldest extant cookbook, Apicius’ De re Coquinaria.  Asparagus is a member of the lily family with garlic, leeks and onions and it was disseminated to many other lands through the conquests of the Romans.

The three C’s for storing asparagus are clean, cold and covered.  Trim 1/4” from the stems, wash in warm water and dry well.  Wrap and cover with a moist towel and stand in 2” cold water and refrigerate.  Shop for firm stalks with closed, compact tips with all spears that are to be cooked together having the same diameter.  Contrary to popular belief, large diameter spears are more tender.  With only 4 calories per spear and no fat or cholesterol, it gets a lot of bang for its nutritional buck.  And to boot, it’s OK to eat it raw.  If you’re near Stockton, California April 25-27, 2008, drop by for their 23 year old Asparagus Festival.

Now here’s a teachable moment for tonight’s dinner table discourse.  Why are peas fruits and not vegetables?  The pea is the seed of the legume.  (All fruits contain the seeds)  Curiously, the pod of the English pea should not be ingested but sugar peas and snow peas can be eaten in their entirety.  It became popular in the 1600’s to eat peas when they were young and immature. (petits pois)  Later peas became de rigueur and ubiquitous on the plates of the English and French.  They are high in vitamin C and B1, low in fat and a mere 80 calories for 3.5 oz.

My college roomie, Kathy, used to do the unthinkable—she ate canned peas—those lifeless, olive drab pellets that were mushy—and then sometimes she would cream them.  Now that had a gag factor!  The hallmark in cooking or being served asparagus or English peas is to cook them until they are bright green and not one second longer.  If the color has started to turn, send them back or cook them again.

So from me to you, here are some recipes for two simple foods with the laudable objective of giving you good taste and ease of preparation.  Enjoy. Gotta run.  Soup’s on!

Early Spring Pasta Primavera

1/2 c. cream
1/2 chicken broth    
1 tbsp. lemon juice    
2 tsps. lemon zest    
12 oz. pasta (rotini or farfalle )    
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into pieces similar to the size of the pasta being used    
1 1/2 cups fresh, unshelled English peas
1 c. freshly grated Parmigianno-Reggiano
2 tbsps. fresh parsley freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Place the first four ingredients in a sauce pan and boil until reduced to 2/3 of the original amount (about 5 mins.).  Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions or about 7 mins.

Trim the asparagus (hold gently in the hand and bend, where the stalk breaks naturally is where the fibrous part ends and the tender spear starts)  If you wish you may peel the asparagus with a vegetable peeler to within 2” of the tip. Shell the peas. (or if you must use frozen).  Add the asparagus and the peas to the pasta pot about 3-4 mins before it is done cooking.  Drain.  

Place the pasta and vegetables in a bowl and add the cream sauce and cheese.  Salt and pepper to taste and toss.  You may garnish with finely julienned carrots, mint, parsley or even lemon zest.

Pea Salad

2 carrots, diced to resemble the size of the peas
16 ozs. English peas (if using fresh, cook first)
8 ozs. water chestnuts
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 shredded low-fat Mozzarella
1/2 c. Ranch dressing
5 bacon strips, crumbled freshly ground salt/pepper to taste

Boil carrots and fresh peas for about 4 mins.  Drain and place in the refrigerator. Meanwhile prepare the bacon or use the REAL bacon bits found in the salad dressing aisle of your grocery.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. When the carrots and peas have cooled, add them to the bowl and toss gently.

For questions, comments or suggestions contact this columnist at:

top of page

March 25, 2008
Volume 17, No. 13

front page
'round town


for ad rates!

Museums • Galleries Performing Arts




in the
The Oregon District




at the
2nd Street Market




























The Hobstetter Team

The Oakwood Register
site design by Hamilton Innovative