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Day 176/365 – Elizabeth Rex
the good hotel review

Image by Kevin H.
Another evening at the theater for me. This time the theater in question was the Keegan Theatre in the Dupont Circle section of Washington, DC, where they were staging a production of the play "Elizabeth Rex." Before the play, I stopped by Nage, a sexy little bar and restaurant a few blocks away from the theater, for dinner.

Nage is a cozy, red-tinted, snug, sensual little nook of a place that shares space with a Courtyard Marriott hotel. A big chalkboard by the entrance lists the daily specials and the options for the three-course, prix fixe meal. The service and cocktails are excellent and the food was pretty good. I started things off with a cantaloupe martini that was particularly luscious. Instead of the standard bread and butter Nage serves bread and hummus, which was a nice switch. For my three courses, I opted for a wedge salad, pork chops with risotto, and rhubarb upside down cake. The salad was good, although they went a little heavy on the dressing. The pork chop and risotto were well-prepared, but a bit bland. Then again, unless you drench it in jerk seasoning or drown it in mustard sauce, it’s hard to get much pizzazz out of a pork chop. The rhubarb cake was quite yummy.

I probably should’ve have gone with my first inclination and ordered the goat cheese baklava appetizer and grilled scallops entree from the regular menu instead of deciding to be thrifty and take advantage of the prix fixe. I’d likely have enjoyed those dishes more. Still, I’d say Nage is worth taking a flyer on. It’s an ideal spot for drinks and a pretty good option for a meal.

After I got my belly stuffed, it was off to the play. This was my first visit to the Keegan Theatre. It’s in the middle of a quiet residential street and is housed in a small brick building that was originally the gymnasium of a private school. Although it is purely a work of fiction, "Elizabeth Rex" is based on a historical incident. On the night before the scheduled execution of her lover, the Earl of Essex, Queen Elizabeth I of England engaged William Shakespeare and his band of players to distract her from her grief over having had to sentence the Earl to death for his part in a conspiracy against the crown.

"Elizabeth Rex" takes place in the barn of the Queen’s estate just outside London. Due to a curfew imposed until after the execution in order to prevent a civil disturbance, Shakespeare and several members of his company are forced to spend the night after their command performance in the barn. Unable to sleep, the Queen joins the players in the barn and has them keep her company to further distract her from her sorrows. The discourse between the Queen and the actors hits on the play’s core themes of love and loss, gender roles, and the dichotomy between the people we are in private and the parts we play in public.

It’s a excellent piece, well-written and powerfully performed. The set design and costumes are quite good and the cast is admirable, with the exception of the actors portraying Shakespeare and the Queen’s counselor. In the case of the latter, given the minor nature of the role the casting of a weak actor is insignificant. However, placing a poor performer in the part of Shakespeare, one of the central characters, is another matter. The producers did strike gold though with the casting of the actors portraying the Queen and the dying actor Ned, who square off against each other in several scenes. Both performers invest their parts with a great degree of power and pathos without being hammy or overwrought. It’s almost enough to make up for the miscast Shakespeare.

(April 2, 2009)

Tranquil
the good hotel review

Image by Express Monorail
I’m not going to lie, this is one of those pictures that every time I look at it, I wish to be back there. Of all the French Quarter pictures I took this is my favorite. I intentionally chose f/2.8 at 200mm to create a shallow depth of field. I hoped that it would make for a sort of dreamy like photo. Also, this is one of the many that I lost the RAW file and I remember choosing “shady” as the white balance as this scene was in fact in the shade. The colors seem a little on the warm side but I think, if nothing else, it gives the image an inviting feel. I had to wait a few minutes to make sure no one was in the image. At 200mm there is quite a bit of depth compression so this path is a lot longer than it looks!

I instantly fell in love with this resort… it is truly beautiful. I’m not good at writing reviews so hopefully my pictures (I have a few more good ones) do the talking.

*PLEASE CHECK IT OUT LARGE ON BLACK*
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Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter, Walt Disney World Resort

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’re having a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah day!

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