Editor’s note: This week’s column was written by Dietrich Theater Program Director Margie Young.
Have you ever wondered how Tunkhannock’s River Day got started? Has there always been a River Day at Riverside Park? Well, the history in a nutshell is that 12 years ago, an itinerant musician and environmentalist by the name of John Hazard came to the Dietrich Theater office bearing Gable’s Bakery doughnuts for us, asking if he could perform a concert at the theater. He told us he paddled down the Susquehanna from New York state, performing concerts along the way, and asked what did we think about a concert here.
As we thought about it, the idea came to us – why not have a concert at Riverside Park, a celebration of the river?
So 12 years ago that is exactly what we did. About 100 people came, local musicians loaned us sound equipment, John Hazard came down the river in his boat with other paddlers, and River Day was born. The 12th annual River Day, a much enhanced River Day, will be held from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 23 and we expect well over 1,200 attendees. We invite you, your family and friends, to attend.
An extra-added attraction to River Day will be the featured performance of Sadie Green Sales Jugband at Open Mic at 7 p.m. the night before, Friday, July 22. Timothy Walker and David Driskell are bound to put a smile on your face and set your feet stomping with their special performance at Open Mic after you take in various local performers, who can sign up at 6:30 p.m. Sadie Green Sales will take the stage with their always uplifting and fun songs and instrumentals. On River Day, the next day, they will perform again with children and adults from their Jammin’ in the Jugband classes the previous week, where they have been artists-in-residence.
Another source of buzz at the Dietrich is our Summer Fest and its magnificent selection of foreign and independent films.
There is much talk about how many films people have checked off to see. What a wonderful way to catch up on the best ones in the middle of summer. I personally hope to see as many as possible. Everyone should see our two featured opening night movies, “Love and Friendship” and “Dark Horse,” both audience-pleasers, showing multiple times during the festival.
I have on my list to see several of the movies that give you a glimpse of other cultures, other places, such as “Dheepan,” which begins in Sri Lanka and ends up in Paris, France, a thriller that relates the immigrant experience. I also want to see “Dough,” about a Kosher bakery and a young Muslim, hired to help, who just happens to inadvertently add a secret ingredient that sends the bread flying off the shelves. And I am a great fan of our art movies that attract such a dedicated audience, this year enabling us to take a tour of the Louvre in Francofonia, and “Painting the Modern Garden-From Monet to Matisse,” a self-explanatory title.
These are just a few on my must-see list.
You have one more chance to see the sizzling hot National Theatre Live filmed play of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 24. I missed it the first showing, so I will get to this one for sure. Find out about the decadence of the French aristocracy and their relentless toying with the hearts of their victims, and their games of seduction. A real glimpse into their merciless escapades.
And don’t forget one of the end of summer opportunities for the kids. Mixed Media Mask Making is a chance for 5-12 year olds to use their creativity to work with paper mache and recyclables to design unique masks. Our own artist-in-residence Steve Colley teaches art the way it should be taught, taking each child from where they are to where they can strive to be. His fan club is huge.
Summer is not over yet. There is so much to still enjoy at the Dietrich. We look forward to seeing you soon – and often. For information about any of the offerings above, call 570-996-1500.