FOR a class writing project, Matthew Maskell, a first...

salmagundi

February 18, 1994

FOR a class writing project, Matthew Maskell, a first grader at Carney Elementary School, went with his father to a blood donation center. His teacher, Lynda Walker, forwarded Matthew's essay, titled "The Visit," to us. Here it is in its entirety:

"I went with my pop-pop to the hospital. He had to give blood. The nurses let me watch. He squeezed a ball and the blood went into a bag. Afterward, he got juice and cookies."

* * *

ALTHOUGH there may have been some dark, Teutonic significance to the Texas setting of "Das Barbeque," the wacky musical comedy currently playing at Center Stage, we thought it was a hoot.

Wagner's original "Ring" cycle, on which the Center Stage production is based, runs between 12 and 17 hours in the opera house. The Center Stage production summed up the tale in just an hour and 45 minutes.

In this version of Wagner's masterpiece, the Rhine maidens are synchronized swimmers, the giants are construction workers, and at Rancho Gibich the Texas ranch hands are firing up the barbecue in preparation for a double wedding.

Still, our local pride was offended, despite the actors' pungent Texas twang. Does the Lone Star state have something Maryland does not? Why put Valhalla there, when there are so many equally picturesque locales closer to home? Wotan, Fricka, and those lovely Rhine maidens, for example, would feel right at home in Charles Village or even in Pasadena.

How about a "Tosca" set in Mount Vernon? A "Traviata" on North Avenue? Or a Randallstown "Rigoletto"? The possibilities are mind-boggling.

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