Saturday, March 18, 2006

Saturday March 18, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:07 PM

The Crimson Passion continues…

How to Grow
a Crimson Clover

Published in the Harvard Crimson
on Thursday, March 16, 2006, 6:24 PM
by Patrick R. Chesnut,
Crimson staff writer

Stephen Dedalus, James Joyce’s literary alter ego, once described the trappings of Irish culture as nets that hold a soul back from flight. By his standards, Harvard has soared.

Irish culture has been an indelible part of Boston, but the names on our red-brick buildings tell a different story: Adams, Lowell, Winthrop. It would be easy to assume that for Harvard students, Irish culture consists of little more than guzzling alcohol in Tommy Doyle’s Irish Pub or at St. Patrick’s Day Stein Club.

Recently, however, a small but lively Irish subculture, centered on Celtic music and language, has been developing at Harvard. But despite its vivacity, it remains largely unnoticed by the broader student body.

Efforts by groups like the Harvard College Celtic Club and by the producers of the upcoming Loeb mainstage of J.M. Synge’s “The Playboy of the Western World” may be just the sort of first step needed to finally make Harvard a place where Irish artistic culture lives….


“The Playboy”– which will run from April 28 through May 6– revolves around the disruption of life in a provincial Irish village when an outsider arrives with an extravagant story. All points converge at this play’s production: members of the Celtic Club coordinated and will perform the play’s music, the producers hope to draw Boston’s Irish community, and the production will present Harvard’s students with a script deeply entrenched in Irish history, but that boasts a universal appeal.

As Kelly points out, the Irish roots of “The Playboy” are clearer than in the plays of the nominally Irish, but Francophone, absurdist writer Samuel Beckett. And unlike the plays of Sean O’Casey, which are extremely rooted in Irish culture, “The Playboy” boasts a visceral appeal that will be accessible to Harvard students.

From a site linked to in yesterday’s St. Patrick’s Day sermon as the keys to the kingdom:

“In the western world, we tend to take for granted our musical scale, formed of whole tone and half tone steps. These steps are arranged in two ways: the major scale and the minor.”

From the obituary in today’s online New York Times of fashion designer Oleg Cassini, who died at 92 on St. Patrick’s Day, Friday, March 17, 2006:

“… he was always seen in the company of heiresses, debutantes, showgirls, ingenues. Between, before or after [his first] two marriages, he dated young starlets like Betty Grable and Lana Turner and actresses like Ursula Andress and Grace Kelly, to whom he was briefly engaged.

‘He was a true playboy, in the Hollywood sense,’ said Diane von Furstenberg, the fashion designer and a friend of Mr. Cassini’s. ‘Well into his 90’s, he was a flirt.'”

“How strange the change from major to minor…
      Ev’ry time we say goodbye.”
   — Cole Porter

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