Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Pssst! A SNEAK PEAK at "Camelot", with no spoilers! Take the quiz.....

LOGON has hit the road!  We opened in Beer Sheva last week, and this past Sunday we played in the Jerusalem theater.  Thank you, Jerusalem, for a lovely reception; you were a splendid audience!

I have persuaded the Producers to let you have a sneak peek at the show (thank you to Avital for the lovely photos!) - but since we all hate spoilers, I'm not going to tell you what is happening in each shot.  Will match the picture to lines from previous LOGON shows. How many can you identify?  Boast in the comment section below!  So here we go - let's start with an easy one. Here is Dr. Albert Jacobs, our Orchestra Steward:

 ".... trying to scratch out a simple living, without breaking our necks"

Our court Jester and one of the Pages:

"O-oh the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-coming down the street; I wish I wish I knew what it could be!"
How about one of the King and Queen, in their casual clothes?

"I think I want a Western. Do you want a Western?"

The relationship between a Knight and his Squire is a complex thing:

 "I could have danced, danced, danced all night!"

LOGON founder Ed Spitz is the magical mystical Merlin:

"Good night ladies, good night ladies, good night ladies, we're going to leave you now"

 Two other long-time LOGON stalwarts, Sir Leon and Sir Arnie: 

"Break a leg.... or we'll do it for you."

There's usually one great number for the male chorus, and this show is no exception. That's the evil Mordred front and center:

 "To life, to life, l'chaim!"
And big numbers for the whole chorus, too:
"This was a real nice clambake, and we all had a real good time"
 One of our producers, Alan Cohen, aka Sir Lionel:


"Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day...."
And finally, let's have a close-up of King Arthur and Sir Pellinore:

"Anything you can do, I can do better"

It's an amazing show, a comedy and a tragedy at the same time, with manly men and a beautiful queen,  famous songs ("If Ever I Would Leave You", "I Loved You Once In Silence"), swordfights and a miracle and a human of the female persuasion who thinks she's a dog (a pointer). 

 COME SEE US for One Enchanted Evening! Details of performances and ticket sales:


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Camelot on the Couch: King Arthur, through the Ages

We first meet King Arthur when he drops out of a tree.  Very Kingly indeed.  But then, this Arthur is a man-child of a King.  He wheedles and then threatens his mentor (Merlyn) like an angry child; indeed, he even has a small tantrum when thwarted. He demands that Merlin obey his whims: "I insist that you remember who I am!" - but Merlin reminds him that he is no longer a child, and that he is expected to behave accordingly: "It is YOU who keeps forgetting who you are!".  Arthur has found his calling, he is King (if you've never seen Disney's "Sword in the Stone", so see it NOW!!!)

 - but he has not yet reached maturity.  Certainly not a cowardly type, he is completely unnerved at the prospect of meeting his bride:  "A warrior who so calm in battle even his armor doesn't rattle, faces a woman petrified with fright? RIGHT!"

 Pictured:  Fearless Warrior, with non-rattling armor

In the opening scenes of the first act, however, Arthur will reach a new stage of personal development: he will meet Guenevere,  fall in love on the spot, and finally own up to his identity as King. For her, he will want "to be Caesar and Solomon".  In one (admittedly, fairly long) scene, Arthur has successfully navigated Stage 5 (Identity vs Role Confusion) and Stage 6 (Intimacy vs Isolation) of the "Eight Ages of Man"*.

 * Chapter 7 of this breathtaking classic: 

The bulk of the play will follow Arthur's attempts, over a period of years, to reform his world; to make the country, and himself, civilized.  A new code of chivalry, "might for right",  a system of civil courts to replace trial by combat - and of course, the Round Table, where Knights will sit and discuss things and make laws. His dream is a a world where "no one will bear arms at all anymore... and that there will really be peace... all borders will disappear...."  In Erikson's terms, this is where he evolves through Stage 7, "Generativity vs Stagnation".  He tries to "establish and guide the next generation", not by fathering a child, but by fathering a civilized nation.

As the play continues, it becomes clear that Arthur is imperfect.  He allows his illegitimate son Mordred to poison the atmosphere, he stands by in helpless confusion as his wife and his best friend find themselves in love.  At moments of crisis he begs to be turned back into a hawk, that he might fly away..... and yet, in the final act, King Arthur blooms into full maturity.  He almost gives in to despair - "It's too late, Lance. The Table is dead. It exists no more....It's the old, uncivilized days come back again. Those dreadful days we all tried to o put to sleep forever."  

At the last moment, however, King Arthur transcends despair and successfully resolves the final conflict, Stage 8, Ego Integrity vs Despair.  He meets a child, Tom of Warwick, who has been inspired by the tales of the Knights of the Round Table - and realizes that all is not lost, that in the future, "...perhaps people will remember how we of Camelot went questing for right and honor and justice. Perhaps one day men will sit around this world as we did once at our table and go questing once more... for right...and honor... and justice."

Pellinore reminds him that there is a battle to be fought, but Arthur has moved beyond spear and lance:

"Battle? I've won my battle, Pelly. Here's my victory! What we did will be remembered."

So say we all, amen.

PS  It isn't mentioned in the play, but "young Sir Tom of Warwick" is intended to represent Sir Thomas Malory (c. 1415-18 - 14 March, 1471),  an English writer, the author or compiler of Le Morte d'Arthur.  From  Wikipedia: " Le Morte d'Arthur was first published in 1485 by William Caxton, and is today perhaps the best-known work of Arthurian literature in English. Many modern Arthurian writers have used Malory as their principal source, including T. H. White in his popular The Once and Future King " - which is, of course, the source for our play. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Ready, Set, GO! Or: Ready or Not, Here We Come

This is it, gang.  Home stretch, the final countdown, last chance for gas, the 90th minute.  We rehearse tonight, we rehearse on Sunday night, on Monday we pack up the truck and on Tuesday - we're "home", at the theater in Beer Sheva, for a technical rehearsal. Which usually goes on well into the wee hours.....

 Wednesday night full dress rehearsal, and on Thursday March 3 CAMELOT is up and running!

We've had our fair share of drama this year. 

King Arthur got laryngitis, and none of Merlin's potions could help. Some last minute changes were made to the script.  Gah!  Final bits of scenery have yet to be delivered, and our costume designer is still trying to get the knights' helmets to work.  On Thursday, Lancelot sang an entire solo with his visor down..... made for some interesting echo effects.

Incidentally, we're celebrating LOGON's 35th season this year!!!  Happy Birthday LOGON!

On a personal note, I am pleased to report that this year I'm having NO TROUBLE AT ALL remembering my lines.  Possibly because i don't actually have any lines, but whatever, it feels great.  

Also: intended to do a "Camelot on the Couch" post about King Arthur, but only about ten people read the last post (about Lancelot) -- [THANKS GUYS, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!!] - so decided that maybe it wasn't an interesting thread.  If anyone is interested, let me know in the comments, and it will be done.  Your wish is my command!

So!!!  Hope people will turn out in their multitudes to join us, for an evening, where the rain may never fall til after sundown, and by 8 the morning fog must disappear.  

See you at the show!

PS   We have one dear Lady of the Court who is ill and will apparently not be able to perform with us this season.  Get Well Quick, dear lady, we miss you much, verily!  


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Camelot on the Couch: Was Lancelot "on the spectrum"?

Do you remember Baskins & Robbins Ice Cream Parlors?  They used to have a "flavor of the month".  Mmmmmmm..........   Hang on, now i need to go get some ice cream, brb.

OK, back.  But it's freezing cold in this castle, so i settled for some hot spiced wine instead.  Please ignore all subsequent spelling errors.  Thank you kindly.

On to the Character of the Week:  Let us now consider Lancelot du Lac.  Lance arrives "from far-off France", having heard The Call to join King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table.  His sincerity and dedication immediately win Arthur's heart, 

 You shall be my right-hand knight, Lance, but on my left.  Never did get that straight, whot?

but pretty much everything else about him drives everyone else up the wall:  he's FRENCH, but that's only the beginning!  He is the prototype Captain America: outrageously strong, fit, bold, 

 "I've never lost in battle or game; I'm simply the best by far....."

and so Pure of Heart that he makes the Eagle Scouts look like the Chippendales.  

"And here I stand as pure as a pray'r Incredibly clean, with virtue to spare The godliest man I know"

Now, here's the thing:  Lancelot is not some boastful, stuck up blowhard (think Gaston, for example, in Beauty & The Beast).  He really IS everything he says he is, but he's tone-deaf about it sounds to others.  He immediately riles the Queen (hate at first sight, who knew that trope was so old?!), who conspires to have him defeated at the jousts.  Things do not, however, go as planned, and in the end he makes good on his most far-fetched boast:  

"The soul of a knight should be a thing remarkable His heart and his mind as pure as morning dew With a will and a self-restraint That's the envy of ev'ry saint He could easily work a miracle or two"

So what's the problem here?

The problem is that Lance can't sustain his purity, when push comes to shove.  

Lancelot has lived his life as a man apart; obsessively devoted to bettering himself - trying to perfect himself - he admits to having shut out all others.  As long as he remains in his bubble, he's good to go, remaining as saintly as he wishes to be.

We needed a cat here, don't you think?

But in Camelot, through his fierce devotion to Arthur, he is exposed to Queen Guenivere,  and he soon discovers that he is NOT the equal of his ideals:

"To love and desire he ought to be unsparkable The ways of the flesh should offer no allure"

Lancelot falls in love with Guenevere, and even though - as befits the time and place - there is no indication that they ever consumate that love, Lancelot has, in one fell stroke, pretty much committed the ultimate betrayal:
Fallen in love with a married woman
Who is the wife of his best friend
And who is the Queen of his country.

Talk about the trifecta.  

I wonder quite a bit about what happens to Lancelot after the events depicted in the show.  Does he live the rest of his life consumed with shame?  Full of self-hatred and regret?  Does he forgive himself, or try to find salvation via some noble quest?  There is that whole Holy Grail thing, but that's out of the scope of the show.

I love how bored the squire appears to be.  Rehearsals get me feeling like that sometimes, too.

Here's something to contemplate in your spare time:  is it possible that Lance was somewhere along the spectrum of Asperger's disease, just a little bit autistic?  Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the disorder:  Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger's syndrome, Asperger disorder (AD) or simply Asperger's, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.
There is his single-minded, obsessive devotion to achieving perfection (and to perfecting Chivalry, as well). There is his difficulty in understanding the emotions and reactions of others.  His social isolation.  
If this is so, then his attraction to Jenny is all the more excruciating, on an epic scale.  King Arthur is a tragic figure in many ways, but when you think about it.....  it's really Lancelot whose story breaks your heart.  
Coming up next:  Camelot on the Couch looks at his majesty KING ARTHUR!  
The LOGON production of CAMELOT opens in Beer Sheva on March 3!  

Tickets and performance information at LOGON Hotline 08-6414081 or at

Performances in Beer Sheva, Jerusalem, Kfar Saba, Netanya, Rechovot, Haifa, and Modi'in


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Camelot on the Couch: The Queen and the Monkey's Paw

It's not really her fault.  Guenevere lived a very sheltered life; we are told that her trip to marry King Arthur is actually the first time in her life that she has been allowed out of the castle.  She is a "good girl"; as she sings to Saint Genevieve, "you must admit I've always been a lamb".  

 OK, not such a lamb in this painting.  In fact, here she looks more like Cersei Lannister.  Let's try again.

Much better. 

When we first meet Guenevere, she is awash in the romantic fantasies common to her era (this would be a good time to go back and read the blog entries "It's Complicated", parts 1,2 and 3, from 2013).  She sings of "the simple joys of maidenhood": 

Where are the simple joys of maidenhood?
Where are all those adoring daring boys?
Where's the knight pining so for me
he leaps to death in woe for me?
Shan't I have the normal life a maiden should?
Shall I never be rescued in the wood?

Shall two knights never tilt for me 
and let their blood be spilt for me?
Shall I not be on a pedestal, 
Worshipped and competed for?
Not be carried off, or better st'll,
Cause a little war?
Shall a feud not begin for me?
Shall kith not kill their kin for me?
Oh where are the trivial joys?
Harmless, convivial joys?
Where are the simple joys of maidenhood?

Delightful, no?  But this song actually sets up the entire sad story of Guenevere: she never read "The Monkey's Paw", and never learned the great truth: Be careful what you wish for, for you may get it.   [Note: DO NOT read "The Monkey's Paw" while home alone on a dark and stormy night.]

Pictured: Not a monkey paw.  But a paw.  At least that.

Our Queen is a simple girl at heart.  Her one stab at rebellion - she tries to flee before actually meeting Arthur - ends in a whimper, as she is charmed by the loveliness of Camelot and the delightful man/boy King.  Later on, she will torment the King by willfully trying to undermine the dashing Lancelot; the psychologist wonders if, at that point, she is simply jealous of the close relationship he seems to have with Arthur.  

Years go by and many things happen (trying not to inject too many spoilers into the blog!), but in the end, Guenevere will be rescued (as she dreamed, though not in a wood) and she will, in fact, cause a 'little war' --- and discover that it isn't nearly as much fun as she thought it would be.  In fact, it will be a terrible thing, bringing the dream of Camelot crashing down upon King Arthur:

Guenevere, Guenevere
In that dim, mournful year
Saw the men she held most dear
Go to war for Guenevere

 The original Knight on a White Horse - to the rescue

Guenevere is NOT evil.  She is naive, she is a bit shallow (in her youth, at the least), she's not even too smart, but she is loyal, decent, and good.  Unfortunately, this will not be enough to save the realm, or her happiness, and therein lies a deep layer of tragedy.

The LOGON production of CAMELOT opens in Beer Sheva on March 3!  

Tickets and performance information at LOGON Hotline 08-6414081 or at

Performances in Beer Sheva, Jerusalem, Kfar Saba, Netanya, Rechovot, Haifa, and Modi'in