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DAN'S PAPERS, November 20, 2009 Page 40

Arts & Entertainment Anne Frank at Bay Street Theatre By Aline Reynolds

Gary Mamay Photo

Despite a sluggish year in ticket sales, Bay Street Theatre has debuted an ambitious annual theater program aimed at enhancing middle- and high-schools’ core curricula. Approximately 1,500 students from 15 Long Island schools have been trotting through Bay Street’s doors last and this week to attend “Literature Live!,” Bay Street’s first full-scale program of its kind. This year’s production, The Diary of Anne Frank, premiered last Monday and will continue through Saturday, November 21. Each weekday performance (open to the public) is followed by a presentation by Holocaust survivor Werner Reich, who was in Auschwitz. National retail chain Target allocated a large part of its $100,000 donation to Bay Street to “Literature Live!” this year. The BOCES-approved program was designed around the core curriculum of grades 5-12. All the local schools are participating, and students from as far as Lindenhurst are making day trips to see the play. Having just studied the play in class, a group of 30 students in Mary Ann Ferri’s eighth-grade English class at Lindenhurst Our Lady of Perpetual Help attended Tuesday’s performance. An annual “Literature Live!” production, Ferri says, will bring

live theater, a medium that many Long Island students have never before experienced, to venues closer to home than Broadway. “Who knows where it can lead?” she said. “Look at Jerry Seinfeld; he’s from Massapequa.” The play was a fitting culmination for Ferri’s students, as it brought the saga of the Frank family poignantly to life. “The kids can actually see the Frank family freeze in fear when they hear something on the street outside [of the annex, the family’s hiding place],” Ferri said. “It’s heart-wrenching.” Students watching history relive itself on stage makes what might read like a fictionalized version of the truth seem all the more credible. The play is still influential in 21st-century America, where, despite progress, bigotry still exists. “To see what prejudice can do when it is not overcome is important,” Ferri said, especially in the light of America’s recent election of its first black president. “Anne takes a stand and says, ‘this is wrong.’” “If you do nothing while a horror is perpetuated, you’re somehow culpable in that you’re making a choice to stand by and watch it happen,” said Bay Street Artistic Director Murphy Davis of the play’s (continued on page 41)

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Honoring the Artist: Nick Cordone This week’s cover by Nick Cordone, “The Guardian,” does not simply celebrate the fall season with its iconic scarecrow. The rusting trucks convey a theme that’s close to Cordone’s heart by representing what were once dominant images on the East End. Unfortunately, those images are fading fast. Q: It’s obvious that this cover holds a special significance for you. Why? A: This painting pays homage to these workhorses: trucks and tractors that local farmers relied upon for years of service. It’s a reflection of an older, more respectful work ethic. Q: What could we expect to see in these trucks if we took a ride on the East End? A: The East End is filled with these trucks, some standing alone and others, side-by-side. Many are laden with tools of their trade, and others are filled with the bounty of local produce. Q: Where is this particular truck on the cover? A: This painting is actually a composite of a local truck that I found up on Route 105. The truck is in a deteriorated state with faded paint and creeping rust. Yet it’s standing proud, showing off its “patina of life.” I added the crows that announce the end and beginning of each season. Q: “Patina of life” is such a descriptive term. I know you used to take groups abroad, and even then you were conscious of the part the abundance of the land played in the various cultures. A: Yes. The best places to eat when you’re touring are the places where the buses stop. And produce stands have good food. Q: I take it you like to experience all kinds of settings, and you like outdoor adventure. Why is that? A: I can’t spend too much time inside painting in the studio; I have to get out. I’m a tennis player and I ski. I even take groups to ski the glaciers. Q: Isn’t that dangerous? A: It’s still the same basic snow. Q: Regardless of where you have traveled and what you’ve done, I take it you really like it here–you feel a connection. A: Living out here, we’re pretty lucky. It’s very soothing looking at the water. I was born in Queens, lived in Nassau and kept moving east to this place here in Southold. Q: When you go other places, even locally, you still have an eye out for images. You are still learning. A: Yes, when I go to SoHo and Chelsea, the experience opens things up for me. I also spend time doing research in libraries, and reading art history books and art magazines, which gives me ideas. Q: How does research influence your work? A: I realize when I do research that there’s nothing new under the sun. I just keep going, working on two paintings at a time, doing sketches. Sometimes the sketches are better than the paintings. All that prep works pays off for me. I like diversity; I can travel from one concept to another. Q: You have collected many references points that also impact your art. A: Yes. Trucks are a reference point indicating that a lifestyle has gone. Also my travels and my connection to animals are references. By the way, I’m still working on my animal series. –Marion Wolberg Weiss Mr. Cordone’s work can be seen at Greenport’s South Street Gallery and Westhampton’s Fitzgerald Gallery. Visit him online at

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