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Presented over four nights just before the winter solstice, it was a particularly poignant triumph for the revelers, on stage and off. And the queen looked just as regal as ever.
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ast September, when we were able (INCLUDING SALE ITEMS) to phone gallerist Anni MACkAy after Tropical Storm Irene, we didn’t talk about art; she was uttering phrases such as “stages of crisis” and “how to maximize the manpower,” and conceded that things in her tiny town of Rochester were “a little terrifying.” Irene and the flooding that ensued hit Rochester like a grenade, destroying all the roads, taking out the electrical power and completely isolating the village for days. Bigtown Mackay’s on Main gAllery 115 college st, burlington • 658-4050 Street was spared, but sun 12-5, m-f 10-7, sat 10-6 she described it as “an closed 12/26, 1/1 island, pretty much, with water on three sides of us.” When two nearby houses col-8v-marilyns122910.indd 1 12/17/108v-All 5:20Breed PM Rescue120711.indd 1 12/6/11 7:46 AM lapsed and fell into the river, “It diverted the water around us,” she Choose from a wide selection of art, pottery, explained. glass and wood products to complete your That relative good fortune freed Mackay home decor as well as Vermont specialty foods and her husband, town and gift baskets. selectboard member and Green Mountain products that Verm best ont Bikes owner doon HinderyCkx, to help the has g n i to r others. Sounding a bit shell-shocked, she ta u told us how she had taken on “the responsibility of medical needs” for her town. Remarkably, four local residents were on dialysis, one required insulin and a few Woody Jackson needed antidepressants. “It took about 1087 Williston Rd., South Burlington, VT • 802-658-7684 72 hours to coordinate all that with variwww.vermontgiftbarn.com ous health facilities,” Mackay said. “We had a liver-transplant failure, a blood 8h-VTgiftbarn122811.indd 1 12/20/11 1:37 PM transfusion, things like that.” She called in helicopters from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Boarding $30/night. Open 365 days a year! Medical Center. As if Irene weren’t traumatic enough. By the time we reached Mackay, the medical crises were over, and she was helping coordinate requests for financial donations — and still, somehow, putting together the exhibit of works by sculptors dunCAn JoHnson and HugH townley that she’d arranged at seleCt design in Burlington for the soutH end Art Hop. “I really feel I have to,” Mackay said. “I can’t even tell you how panicked I am about business the next two months. They just can’t build the roads fast enough.”
On August 28, the stOrm And the river tOOk tOp billing
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in an unexpected, historic drama of their own making.
STATE OF THE ARTS 19
one piece that was not colorfast, but everything else came out of it.” Jackson points out that her bailiwick was just the Elizabethan costumes, however. Ann Fiedler, who manages the storage space, reports greater losses — shoes and leather items, masks, about 20 percent of the other costumes, and “a ton of fabric” used to make them. But she puts a positive spin on it: “We were very fortunate because we got people in there right away,” she says. “We went in there and just sort of triaged.” Over its 37 years, Revels North has put on a variety of themed shows, including Victorian, Scottish, French and Scandinavian ones. The costumes for the Northlands show, Fiedler says, “didn’t fare well — they had a red dye that ran.” And, she notes, “All the makeup stored in there had to be chucked.” But then the Christmas miracles began, a little early this year. News of the Revels’ situation quickly spread beyond the Upper Valley. The group operates under the umbrella of Revels, Inc., which is based in Cambridge, Mass. Both Revels organizations were founded by CArol lAngstAFF of Sharon, Vt. — her late father, John, launched the first one in 1971. There are eight “sister” Revels groups around the country. And they began to send donations — both costumes and money. “Now we’ll be able to build up, buying things for each show,” notes Fiedler. “For instance, we had to buy all new shoes for the children” for Christmas Revels. “It’s going to take years to build [our costumes] back up.” The group’s fundraising effort is called the Revels North Flood Recovery Fund Appeal. Board members and Revels performers pledged $10,000 to match the first 10 grand that came in from the general public. As for their space, both Dartmouth College and a business in Lebanon, N.H., offered temporary quarters to the Revels in which the players could begin to reorganize and prepare for December’s performance — based on a tale in which Elizabeth I travels to a manor house outside London and is roundly entertained by the villagers.
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