BY PHILLIP SILVERSTONE
“All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts …”
Since entering ACT II of my life and career and devoting less of my time to wine and more of my time to the arts and culture, I have found my world to be warmer and richer than the previous world I inhabited. I am still passionately engaged in the act of imbibing in order to continue to write this column which I adore sharing with my readers every week. And, I present the amusing Phill and Jill’s Brilliant Wine Sketch on my globally heard weekly TuneIn Radio show with archeologist and restaurateur Jill Weber. And, of course, for those who can afford me, I will show up to host wine-tertainment events in your home and leave with as much of your belongings as I can fit into my suitcase. Oops did I just type that out loud. And yes, as Mr. Shakespeare is so often quoted: “And one man in his time plays many parts.”
So on Sunday as I sat in the theatre of the Quintessence Theatre Group watching their totally brilliant rendering of “As You Like It,” I was seated next to a critic of all things thespian related, and listened to his comments on the pros and cons of the production meticulously analyzed with the precision and dexterity of a surgeon’s knife. And I drifted from his soliloquy into the realization that theatre and wine are very closely related and that I hadn’t really exited one world and entered the other but merely juxtaposed the magic of the winemaker for the magic of the artistic director. And the one constant remains the critic. A person who expresses his or her opinion on the production of a wine or a performance, which is clearly a subjective matter, and one which cannot justify dictating whether their readers indulge in the experience or not.
A winemaker and a director are handed the cream of the season’s crop whether it is a manuscript of a play or the juice of plump grapes. Each must determine how to work their magic and produce something palatable for their respective audience. Some take the traditional route and stay the course with the more palatable audience pleaser while others, often younger and ready for change, will take risks and approach their work with a new spin, a fresh eye, a modern twist. The result might not appeal to the older, often more conventional enthusiasts but will be hailed as a remarkable stroke of genius by the younger, less prosaic audience.
Jill and I have been tasting new spins on old grape varieties, in particular grapes such as Sauvignon Blanc which tend to be moving away from the grassy, asparagus flavors and adopting fresher, less predictable dispositions. Quintessence is presenting “As You Like It” at the Sedgwick Theater, (7137 Germantown Ave. in Mt Airy. Call 215-240-6055) with a fresh, smart, clever and sassy production that kept this self-confessed Shakespeare-challenged Barrymore Award Nominator enthralled for the almost three-hour play.
Jill and I are discovering some incredible, affordable, esoteric gems in a world still dominated by Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays. We don’t avoid tasting new grape varieties or modern interpretations of old ones. And we applaud the winemakers who succeed in bringing us exciting new productions on a regular basis. And that’s precisely the same view I take with theatres and artistic directors. Life is too short for it to be dulled with the safe and the familiar. If you want a standing ovation, excite us with your skill and your art. For the winemaker and the artistic director all the world’s a stage and regardless of our age we will always enjoy your work sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. Cheers!
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this publication. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly two-hour podcast heard exclusively on TuneIn radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online on Tunein at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4. “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining