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Plenty to Read, Plenty to Do

We write Bay Weekly for many tastes — especially yours

Bloody Murder is a play that “will slay you,” according to Bay Weekly theater reviewer Jane Elkin.
    Do you care? Is 2nd Star Productions on your radar?
    Jane’s opinion matters a lot to 2nd Star and the dozen community and professional theater companies whose plays are routinely reviewed in our pages. Davina Grace Hill, Bay Weekly’s other regular theater reviewer, and Jane damn or sanctify months of effort with their opinions.
    This time around, Jane went home laughing, which is what you want when your play is a comedy. Her judgment that “this is far and away the best non-musical I’ve ever seen under this roof” will boost ticket sales, swell the hearts of company and actors and add to their collection of good clips, which are as good as gold in theater currency.
    So rave or rant, our play reviews matter to the people — often volunteers — who make the plays.
    But do they matter to you?
    That question is a big deal to all of us who make the paper, because we invest a lot of ink in local theater. There’s a play review in our pages most weeks of the year. Summer used to be the quiet time in theaters, but no more, as resident companies extended their seasons. With plays to review for children as well as for adults, many weeks Bay Weekly felt and read more like Variety.
    Davina, Jane and I have been scratching our heads about what matters to you, the reader. We’re sure that you don’t see all the plays as they do.
    With that thought in mind, we’ve restructured our reviewing approach to write about plays as news instead of picking every performance apart by actor and detail.
    Who’s doing what, why and how well? That’s what we’ll tell you, in styles so cheeky and readable that, we hope, you’ll turn to The Playgoer (our review column’s brand-new title) for its own sake, whether or not you yourself are a playgoer.
    That’s the same appeal we offer you in The Moviegoer, where Diana Beechener’s saucy pronouncements are fun to read even if you don’t see the films. Same with The Sporting Life, where Dennis Doyle treats fishing not only as a sport but also as part of the culture of Chesapeake Country, so that you read him for knowledge and adventure as well as for advice on how to catch a fish.
    Bay Weekly’s editorial motto — many fish bite if you’ve got good bait — covers more than The Sporting Life.
    This month, we’ve added a couple of new baits to fish for your attention.
    In The Dish, Lisa Knoll reports on who’s cooking, eating and serving what, adding plenty of hows and how-wells to keep you entertained and informed.
    We’ve also added The Reader to keep up with the prodigious activity of authors in Chesapeake Country. Under that name, we’ll be looking at books, the people who write them and the means they use to get their words from their hands into yours.
    At the same time, we’re fattening our coverage of art galleries because artists are as common in Chesapeake Country as authors, fish and actors. This week, I’ve visited Annmarie Garden and Calvert Marine Museum to see a pair of shows featuring the watermen and women of Chesapeake Country. Like Jane and Davina — who reviews Colonial Players’ Bell, Book and Candle for next week’s paper — I hope you’ll enjoy the story I’ve brought back for you. But even more, I hope you’ll see these illuminating shows with your own eyes.
    This weekend opens a window of opportunity. Saturday and Sunday Annmarie Garden throws its annual Artsfest, with artists from all over the country setting up along its woodland paths. While you’re at the Garden, save enough energy to climb upstairs to see Marc ­Castelli’s The Art of the Waterman.
    Calvert Marine Museum, where the photo exhibit Endangered Species: Watermen of the Chesapeake opens this weekend, is just a hop, skip and a jump away. I promise you’ll want to see it, too.
    Whatever direction you turn in Chesapeake Country, you’ll find art and fun this weekend. At Bowie Playhouse in White Marsh Park, you can nearly die laughing over Bloody Murder. At Greenstreet Gardens in Lothian, you can see the art of Muddy Creek Artists Guild’s fall show. In Crownsville, you can time travel at the Renaissance Festival.
    Whatever your reading taste — and I do hope you’ll tell me what you read and why — you’ll find plenty of events to satisfying your tastes in Chesapeake Country. Let 8 Days a Week guide you.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; [email protected]