Category: Performance

A city of the mind

Old Prague 1If in the city winter comes and goes in a swift gray coat of mist and snow, like a secret traveler eager to be off, then true spring takes its time to settle in: adrift and sullen in the rainclouds, unsure if the staying shall be worthwhile. But when at last the sun appears, its warmth spreads everywhere, insistent as the hordes of chattering black sparrows, fecund as the river adrift with life and death, fish heads and flotillas of swans and their cygnets, broken sprigs of pink heart’s-ease sent drifting to mark some lover’s advent or end, tossed by the maidservants and shopgirls in their ribboned serge jackets leaning over the still-cold stone of Crescent Bridge, eyed by the gray-suited bridge patrolmen and the quayside grifters and the stray cats who yawn at the statues’ feet like bored familiars, all teeth and pink gullets in the spill of lemony light. [from THE MERCURY WALTZ]


Some readers are certain that the city that is the stage for THE MERCURY WALTZ is actually Prague. Others claim, as certainly, other cities. Still others want to know which city it is “really,” finding the geography a puzzle that they’d like me, as the writer, to solve.


History is aggregate memory handed down, geography is fact on a map. The story of Rupert and Istvan, and their friends and enemies, is set in a landscape created by the mind – mine when I wrote it, yours when you read it – that may indeed wear the vestments of Prague, or of another place altogether. Fiction has its own boundaries, and the story of the Mercury Theatre and its actors is ultimately one of play: where something is what we say it is, what we agree it is, as long as the playing lasts.




Brio in the dark

March Hare

The dash and verve of nerve is eloquently here displayed by John Denyer, who will bring the March Hare to life in our dark Wonderland, ALICE, coming in October 2014.

And yes indeed, oh indeed a puppet is involved …

[Photo: Rick Lieder]

World Puppetry Day with a master

Not all puppets wear strings …


A shout-out to Jan Svankmajer, whose constructed objects, ominous bricolage, and dark brio belong to all the best puppets, everywhere!

A splash of champagne, a sparkle of MERCURY

Nerve merriment

We do have a marvelous time at our Poppy events! Here, Istvan (Steve Xander Carson) amuses the ladies (L to R, nerve ensemble members Laura Bailey, Marisa Dluge, Samantha Moltmaker, and Kathe Koja; photo courtesy Rick Lieder).

Outside, the snow shimmered and flew; inside, artist Megan Weber talked Tarot artistry, while Heatherleigh of Boston Tea Room offered on-the-spot readings. And another reading, from THE MERCURY WALTZ’s first chapter, set the stage and drew aside the curtain for the continuing story of Istvan and Rupert, watched over as always by the patron of speedy travel and artistic fabrication, “that foxing god whose name the theatre bears.”

Many thanks to the evening’s guests, some of whom braved long drives to be present at our fête. There’s no keeping the Poppy people from their fun …. And thanks again to the Boston Tea Room for hosting the celebration!

Make: believe

God in the Theatre quote

Delighted to have found this Poppy quote online while researching something else and other . . . A religious belief in the power of make-believe, yes indeed.

Chance spins the Wheel of the world

Fortune's Wheel


Without the nudging hand of Chance, the Wheel – of our fortunes; of the world itself – could not spin at all . . . and how dull then would our living be!

These gorgeous designs were created by Tarot artist Megan Weber for THE MERCURY WALTZ, and featured in the book’s trailer:

The Mercury Waltz Trailer from Under the Poppy on Vimeo.

Take this chance to meet Megan at our Mercury Waltz celebration on March 1, at the Boston Tea Room.

In the words, in the cards


Two weeks until the MERCURY WALTZ event … “Giving a reading” is an interesting turn of phrase – and entirely true and appropriate, especially in this particular setting. A writer reading her words aloud is giving the story to those who hear; a skilled Tarot reader gives the story of the cards to the querent, the one who asks.  And in both, the energy is tangible.

Very much looking forward to that atmosphere in the Boston Tea Room, where so many tales have already been told!

The rascal lord


Across town, at the city’s railway terminus, trains depart for Paris and for elsewhere as others arrive, disgorging in steam and soot a moving frieze of passengers, all greeted or dispatched by a marble statue of Mercury, grime on his white helmet, winged feet adroitly poised between Olympus and the bootblacks …. that railway god whom the Greeks called Hermes, that rascal lord of thresholds and of journeys, of thievery and hard commerce, of ecstasy and lies.


This godly gentleman – created by Rick Lieder – stood beside my desk all throughout the writing of the novel, demonstrating with great panache how lightly we ought to take ourselves whenever we mean to make trouble, love, or art. Cry the Mercury!

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