The Bard and a Barn

Missives from the Jet Set

Truer Words

(Top row, left to right: Scott Utzinger, Will Lyman and Patrick Sylvester at King Lear’s opening night; Tom Kemp, Judith Darrell-Kemp and Adam Sholley at King Lear; Matthew McSwain, Bob Bowers, Liz Kastner and Paul Kastner at King Lear; Bottom row, left to right: Ricardo Rodriguez and Michael Kelley at King Lear; Rich Doucette and Steve Maler at King Lear; Cheryl Horton, Anika Agarwal and Diane Giacobbi at King Lear; Gov. Charlie Baker at King Lear)

A cocktail reception to celebrate one of the world’s greatest tragedies might sound a bit unseemly, but Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s opening night party for King Lear was cause for celebration, marking its 20th year of presenting free world-class Shakespeare on Boston Common.

Spotted at the pre-performance wine and cheese fest at the Parkman House: prominent Florida arts patron Alexis Summer Angel and her handsome son, Josh, A.R.T. bigwig Kati Mitchell, the drop-dead gorgeous Katy Linley and her fiancé, William Grote, the aptly named Katja Weinacht, up-and-coming actor Patrick Sylvester, soft-spoken sex bomb Bryan Simmons, professional ski bum/golfer Kier McDonough, the delightful and delovely Anika Agarwal, the hale and hearty Rich Doucette, ubiquitous party boys Ricardo Rodriguez and Michael Kelley, King Lear himself, Will Lyman, someone who broke a wine glass (eliciting at least one loud “Mazel tov!”) and company cofounder Joan Moynagh, who said in her remarks, “It’s so nice to sit outside in Boston without wearing 16 layers of clothing…” to which Lyman interjected, “…Watching people who are wearing 16 layers of clothing.”

Fun fact: When someone raised his wine glass and ironically wished artistic director Steve Maler a “Happy King Lear!” he pointed out that the play had been rewritten with a happy ending in the 17th century, and that was how it was usually performed until well into the 1800s.

The performance was beyond superb, and the after-party was the usual bacchanal, but the evening’s best quote (aside from Shakespeare’s) came from Gov. Charlie Baker, who introduced the play by saying, “Betrayal. Lies. Treachery. It’s like your average day at the State House.”


SAT Word for the Win

(Top Left: David Croll, Jon Previant, Barbara Erickson and John Chatinover at Meals in the Meadow; Top Right: The tent at Meals in the Meadow; Bottom Left: Charles and Caroline Esdaile with Clem and Stephanie Benenson at Meals in the Meadow; Bottom Middle: Priscilla Bender and Nicie Panetta at Meals in the Meadow; Bottom Right: Anita and Mike Devlin with Linda Comstock at Meals in the Meadow)

“Farm-to-table” has become an annoying cliche, but when the table is actually in the middle of a field on the farm, we’re inclined to let it slide.

The Farm Institute on Martha’s Vineyard held its annual Meals in the Meadow fundraiser under an elaborate tent in the middle of its Edgartown property. The evening celebrated the organization’s recent merging with The Trustees of Reservations, and while everyone was busy chowing down on hors d’oeuvres and tippling at the bar, the two organizations’ big kahunas planted an oak tree from the Trustees’ oldest working farm to commemorate the union. Meanwhile, fierce bidding in the silent auction dominated the cocktail hour, as did the agrarian displays that prompted one guest to say, “I feel like I’m at the Ag Fair!”

The livestock grazing in the fields surrounding the tent seemed utterly unimpressed, which can’t be said of the guests, who oohed and ahhed and otherwise extolled the Farm Institute’s virtues. “I came here to pick up my kid from camp,” confided one guest, “and who do I run into but Meg Ryan!”

Present and accounted for: author Anita Devlin and her gregarious other half, Mike, lunachick Linda Comstock, yoga goddess Johanna Hynes, farm founders Sam Feldman and Glenn Hearn, entertainment behemoth Frank Biondi and his child welfare crusader wife, Carol, Edgartownians Elaine Miller and Nancy Brother, Trustees head honcha Barbara Erickson, North Shore nabob Clem Benenson and his gorgeous wife, Stephanie, force of nature Vivian Spiro and the always delightful Lionel, the affable Charles Esdaile and his lovely other half, Caroline, Chestnut Hillion David Croll, trustee Nicie Panetta, happy hotelier Dan Scully and island transplant Priscilla Bender, who was brave enough to show her face on Martha’s Vineyard despite living on Nantucket.

The dinner buffet was hearty and delicious (and needless to say, locally sourced), and Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish got even the most wheezing geezer onto the dance floor. Given the down-island glitz factor, it’s no surprise that the chatter included some juicy gossip about a certain 1960s musical legend, as well as an extremely press-shy billionaire. But an even funnier exchange came when someone pointed out that the Trustees are the single largest owner and operator of farmland and shoreline in Massachusetts, to which someone else responded, “Really? I thought that was Ernie Boch.”

However, the best remark came from a woman talking about a prominent author who refuses to make public appearances without his wife. “They’re inseparable,” she said. “I mean, what are they? Gonococci?”

Related Articles

Comments are closed.