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Old December 5th 09, 02:16 PM posted to rec.games.chess.misc,rec.games.chess.politics
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First recorded activity by ChessBanter: May 2006
Posts: 3,026
Default Paul Morphy



PLAY ABOUT MORPHY

Here is a review of a play about Paul Morphy that premiered in 2006 at
Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

THE CHESS KING

By Noah Sheola
534 State St. #2
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Copyright 2006
All rights reserved



If care isn't given, the words "lovely" and "touching" could be over
used and lose their meaning. But so much about "Paul Morphy," which
premiered last weekend, is just that, entire scenes, a turn of a
phrase, transitions, and notably its lead actor, Eliot Johnston as
Morphy.

It's quickly clear area playwright Noah Sheola has great respect, and
a fondness for his subject. When he's done with you, you'll feel the
same. Morphy, an American, was a chess prodigy in the mid 1800s. He is
considered one of the greatest players of all time, the first ever
American to be given this distinction.

It's a tragic story of a man who most likely found his talent trivial,
perhaps simply unchallenging. After all, it's reported by the age of
10 he was doing university level math. Believed to have a photographic
memory, Morphy's interest tended more toward the law, art and opera
then chess. All that's interesting, but Sheola's telling of the story
is more. His portrayal of the man is subtle yet deeply moving.

"Morphy," is an incredibly clean premiering script, needing little
more than a touch of the pen for refinement. Its dialogue is clear, at
times approaches poetic -- without the side of syrup. There's also a
lot of humor, both sweet and broad, giving balance to the angst,
insecurity, and sadness. Sheola uses interesting conventions, offstage
setups that foretell the next scene's direction or melding one scene
into another as the acts are physically changed. In the end what the
audience comes away with is a very moving human story.

There's no doubt that Eliot Johnston as Morphy is a large reason this
show seeps into the skin. He truly embodies the vulnerable, lost,
lovely person. A soul would need to be stone to remain unmoved by
Johnston's Morphy, from his early submissive days through the later
years of paranoia and rage. This performance, like the play, is, yes,
lovely and touching.

In a role quite differently endearing, Chris Bujold plays Caspar, the
servant of Mr. Staunton, Morphy's would-be opponent. Bujold is the man
of the formidable comic face. He is so utterly hilarious while
reacting to Staunton's rants it's hard to keep track of the latter's
dialogue. It's certainly not for a lack of skill on actor Kevin
Barringer's part. He gives a fine performance as Staunton. It's simply
that Bujold is brilliant, as his face telegraphs his thoughts in
reaction to his master's pontification. What a knock out bit.

The rest of the cast varies. Kudos to John Herman who gives a lovely
performance as Morphy's friend Charles. Brian Morrison gives an uneven
performance as Morphy's companion/secretary. At times he gives clear
delivery but often appears unsure of character and line, and shuffles
his feet to the point of distraction. Betsy Kimball offers a solid
portrayal as Morphy's mom. Finally, Chuck Galle seems lost as Morphy's
dad. He moves about quite naturally, but his vocal delivery seems
separate from anything being said. It's laced with an odd accent and
while quite animated, the inflections are often incongruous with the
words delivered.

But it's a show where the strong elements outweigh all, where you come
out feeling moved and enriched, thanks to a fine script and some solid
to exceptional performances. It's immaterial if you have an interest
in chess or not. It isn't really what the show is about. It's about
choices, obligations, expectations, love and foibles. This Sheola
shines.




ryan wrote:
My name is Ryan Dunn (for those who care, I am about a 1650-1700
player on chess.com, no clue what my over the board score would be, as
I am not a club player, and I consider myself somewhere between novice
and adept in the game of chess).

First time poster, but I am currently researching the life of Paul
Morphy, and have thus far found the discourse here nothing if not
fascinating.

Anyways, I wanted to hop in with a couple of thoughts/points/questions
regarding Paul's perception by his peers, family and otherwise,
including but not limited to the much debated question of his
sexuality.

First of all, it seems to be no secret that Morphy was a man small of
stature, a nattily dressed dandy, a well-primped fop, and a more than
a little bit delicate/boyish in his looks. Just about every biography
I've read about him from Buck to LŲwenthal to Queyrouze to Edge and
onward describes the man thusly.

With that said, is it possible that at least half of the speculation
as to Morphy's sexual orientation might be a product of his physical
appearance? The term effeminate may be useful in this context. I have
not read description of Morphy's speech patterns, other than he was
quiet, humble, modest, and extremely well-mannered and cordial.

Surely the fact that there has been no documented/proven evidence of
him having any sort of intimate relationships in his life besides
family, education, law and chess (which is its own slippery slope
indeed), female or otherwise, is another factor to this debate. It is
well and good to ponder whether he died a virgin, but sexual
orientation would likely be a larger factor to a man's persona,
especially if it were true that he were homosexual, no?

As a novice to this group, what is the general perception of Buck's
biography, namely his proclamation in his booklet regarding the woman
who rejected Morphy? I know there is a preface to his biography by
Will H. Lyons citing the research Buck underwent, but have these
sources been verified? FWIW, this is the citation I am referring to:

"An incident may here be related as showing how Morphy was often
crucified on the cross of his fame. He became enamored of a wealthy
and handsome young lady in New Orleans and informed a mutual friend of
the fact, who broached the subject to the lady, but she scorned the
idea of marrying a "mere chess player". Small wonder that he became
morbid and abjured the practice of chess."
- C.A. Buck "Paul Morphy: His Later Life" ©1902

Moving on, and as a bit of an aside, I am surprised by those of you
who don't think this point of Morphy's sexuality is worth exploring/
investigating. For a man whose later years are so enshrouded in
mystery, including the irrefutable mania he suffered in the years
leading up to his untimely death, it would seem any and every morsel
which may have ostracized/defined this man from/in his society would
be worthy of debate and discussion. I know it is a fascinating topic
for me to learn and read about (amongst myriad other Morphy-isms).

With regards to the LOVER, BROTHER, MOTHER debate, and the etymology
of the phrase "lover" in the late 1800's, I came across a couple of
interesting notes. First of all, the term "make love" seems to
originate in 1590, wherefore it meant to "pay amorous attention to."
This term did not become its modern euphemism until the 1950's. Also,
in researching the use of "lover" I came across the word amateur,
which not only meant "non-professional" or "dabbler" but also was used
with regards to its latin root "amatorem" which quite literally means
"lover".

All of that leads me to believe (again not concrete fact, just a
contextual deduction, with sensitivity for the time of its writing)
that Edge was using the term "lover" as an "extreme admirer of" or a
"lover of" Morphy. We cannot refuse the magnetism Morphy exuded to
most all whom came into contact with him. Not just using Edge's memoir
as proof of this, but also the speeches from Holmes and others, all of
whom go out of their way to describe Morphy's personality as just as
much a reason to admire the man as his chess play (and for someone
thought to be the "world champion" of chess, that must have been
saying something!).

I will close with a simple sentiment, and that is how the true tragedy
in the life of Paul Morphy is that his notoriety scarcely reaches
beyond the realm of chess players nowadays, and sometimes not even
that far. I am working on a project about Morphy which (if I do my job
right) will reach well beyond this microcosm of chess enthusiasts, and
so I look forward to reading more and more banter on this board in an
attempt to mine for information in support of my current endeavor.

See you soon, and thank you for loving/hating eachother
(metaphorically speaking of course)!



...ryan

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Old December 6th 09, 01:31 AM posted to rec.games.chess.misc,rec.games.chess.politics
external usenet poster
 
First recorded activity by ChessBanter: May 2006
Posts: 3,026
Default Paul Morphy

RYAN'S QUERY


On Dec 18 2006, 1:06 am, "
wrote:

CHANGE OF PACE

Instead of all the petty bickering and mindless character
assassination that often takes place on this forum, it's a pleasure to
find something real about chess history for a change.

"This play premiered last November at The Players' Ring in Portsmouth,
New Hampshire, and the full text is presented with the author's
permission. It spans Morphy'striumphant trip to Europe, the sad and
often funny details of his unplayed match with Howard Staunton, the
rift with his biographer and his demise in a bathtub. "The Pride and
Sorrow of Chess" was a Creole aristocrat in New Orleans fluent in
several languages who could not escape the curse of his own genius. He
ended his days as a paranoid recluse, an eerie echo of Bobby Fischer
who also walked out at the height of his fame.The play received
critical acclaim and deserves a wide audience." -- GM Larry Evans

In a message dated 12/5/2009 10:14:04 AM Pacific Standard Time,
writes:

Hello,

I saw your post on this newsgroup about a play on morphy (i had read a
review of the play elsewhere) and wondered if the original text still
exists somewhere online? The links provided here are understandably
expired being three years old now. Thanks for any help you can
provide.

....ryan

The full text was cited in Evans On Chess in 2006 on the World Chess
Network which no longer exists. Suggest you contact the author

who possibly will send it via email to interested parties. Here is the
cast of characters and a sample of the opening scene.

Paul Morphy. A chess prodigy and lawyer.

Charles Maurian. His childhood friend.

Alonzo Morphy. His father.

Thelcide Charpentier Morphy. His mother.

Frederick Edge. His biographer and companion.

Howard Staunton. Noted English chess player and writer.

Caspar. Mr. Stauntonís servant.

Scene 1. April, 1856. The infirmary at Spring Hill College, Mobile,
Alabama. Blackout.

MAURIAN
(Off.)

I remember when Paul taught me to play chess. We were at school
together and both of us were very sick and very bored. He said the
chessmen were like parts of his body. It was always so
straightforward to him. It held no mystery. I tried to help him,
when he came back.

(Lights up on MORPHY and MAURIAN, lying in beds.)

MORPHY

First you bring the goat over. Then. Wait, letís see.

MAURIAN

So, youíve brought the goat over.

MORPHY

Yes. You have to bring the goat over first, because the goat canít be
left alone with the fox or the cabbage. You drop the goat off.
Return. I donít see how itís possible. Whichever I get Iíll have to
leave with the goat when I go back for the last trip, and then
something gets eaten.

MAURIAN

Thereís a trick to it.

MORPHY

Itís not some trick of language is it? Or something I couldnít
possibly know? The fox has a muzzle? The cabbage is a false
cabbage? The goat can swim? I donít like riddles like that.

MAURIAN

Itís entirely logical, Paul.

MORPHY

You have to build a second boat, and tow the fox behind you.

MAURIAN

No. Itís not just about the order you bring them over.


MORPHY

Donít give me any clues unless I ask for them. I will solve it. It
seems simple. There are six ways to do it. Iím missing something.
Iím not thinking clearly.

MAURIAN

Do you want the answer?

MORPHY

No. I will solve it, I know I will.

MAURIAN

Howís the stomach?

MORPHY

I canít even keep water down. Charles, what are we going to do?

MAURIAN

You havenít solved my riddle yet.

MORPHY

No more riddles. We need a different game.


MAURIAN

Teach me chess.

MORPHY

Really?

MAURIAN

I want to know whatís so fun about pushing pieces of wood across the
board for hours on end.

MORPHY

All right. Keep in mind you must use the pieces together. The pieces
are all connected. They are extensions of one body. The pieces are
part of me, like my fingers, my hands, my legs. Theyíre much stronger
when you use them together. So Iím never thinking of marching a
single piece across the board to die in isolation, no, it must be a
coordinated attack. I am thinking of how best to arrange the many
parts of this one body, making it capable of striking anywhere. Itís
always several attacks, or sometimes just threats of attacks, all at
once, thatís how I win the game.

MAURIAN

You should start with a definition of what winning is.

MORPHY

Sorry. You know, if I teach now, then youíll want to continue playing
after we get better. And there wonít be time.





wrote:
PLAY ABOUT MORPHY

Here is a review of a play about Paul Morphy that premiered in 2006 at
Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

THE CHESS KING

By Noah Sheola
534 State St. #2
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Copyright 2006
All rights reserved



If care isn't given, the words "lovely" and "touching" could be over
used and lose their meaning. But so much about "Paul Morphy," which
premiered last weekend, is just that, entire scenes, a turn of a
phrase, transitions, and notably its lead actor, Eliot Johnston as
Morphy.

It's quickly clear area playwright Noah Sheola has great respect, and
a fondness for his subject. When he's done with you, you'll feel the
same. Morphy, an American, was a chess prodigy in the mid 1800s. He is
considered one of the greatest players of all time, the first ever
American to be given this distinction.

It's a tragic story of a man who most likely found his talent trivial,
perhaps simply unchallenging. After all, it's reported by the age of
10 he was doing university level math. Believed to have a photographic
memory, Morphy's interest tended more toward the law, art and opera
then chess. All that's interesting, but Sheola's telling of the story
is more. His portrayal of the man is subtle yet deeply moving.

"Morphy," is an incredibly clean premiering script, needing little
more than a touch of the pen for refinement. Its dialogue is clear, at
times approaches poetic -- without the side of syrup. There's also a
lot of humor, both sweet and broad, giving balance to the angst,
insecurity, and sadness. Sheola uses interesting conventions, offstage
setups that foretell the next scene's direction or melding one scene
into another as the acts are physically changed. In the end what the
audience comes away with is a very moving human story.

There's no doubt that Eliot Johnston as Morphy is a large reason this
show seeps into the skin. He truly embodies the vulnerable, lost,
lovely person. A soul would need to be stone to remain unmoved by
Johnston's Morphy, from his early submissive days through the later
years of paranoia and rage. This performance, like the play, is, yes,
lovely and touching.

In a role quite differently endearing, Chris Bujold plays Caspar, the
servant of Mr. Staunton, Morphy's would-be opponent. Bujold is the man
of the formidable comic face. He is so utterly hilarious while
reacting to Staunton's rants it's hard to keep track of the latter's
dialogue. It's certainly not for a lack of skill on actor Kevin
Barringer's part. He gives a fine performance as Staunton. It's simply
that Bujold is brilliant, as his face telegraphs his thoughts in
reaction to his master's pontification. What a knock out bit.

The rest of the cast varies. Kudos to John Herman who gives a lovely
performance as Morphy's friend Charles. Brian Morrison gives an uneven
performance as Morphy's companion/secretary. At times he gives clear
delivery but often appears unsure of character and line, and shuffles
his feet to the point of distraction. Betsy Kimball offers a solid
portrayal as Morphy's mom. Finally, Chuck Galle seems lost as Morphy's
dad. He moves about quite naturally, but his vocal delivery seems
separate from anything being said. It's laced with an odd accent and
while quite animated, the inflections are often incongruous with the
words delivered.

But it's a show where the strong elements outweigh all, where you come
out feeling moved and enriched, thanks to a fine script and some solid
to exceptional performances. It's immaterial if you have an interest
in chess or not. It isn't really what the show is about. It's about
choices, obligations, expectations, love and foibles. This Sheola
shines.




ryan wrote:
My name is Ryan Dunn (for those who care, I am about a 1650-1700
player on chess.com, no clue what my over the board score would be, as
I am not a club player, and I consider myself somewhere between novice
and adept in the game of chess).

First time poster, but I am currently researching the life of Paul
Morphy, and have thus far found the discourse here nothing if not
fascinating.

Anyways, I wanted to hop in with a couple of thoughts/points/questions
regarding Paul's perception by his peers, family and otherwise,
including but not limited to the much debated question of his
sexuality.

First of all, it seems to be no secret that Morphy was a man small of
stature, a nattily dressed dandy, a well-primped fop, and a more than
a little bit delicate/boyish in his looks. Just about every biography
I've read about him from Buck to LŲwenthal to Queyrouze to Edge and
onward describes the man thusly.

With that said, is it possible that at least half of the speculation
as to Morphy's sexual orientation might be a product of his physical
appearance? The term effeminate may be useful in this context. I have
not read description of Morphy's speech patterns, other than he was
quiet, humble, modest, and extremely well-mannered and cordial.

Surely the fact that there has been no documented/proven evidence of
him having any sort of intimate relationships in his life besides
family, education, law and chess (which is its own slippery slope
indeed), female or otherwise, is another factor to this debate. It is
well and good to ponder whether he died a virgin, but sexual
orientation would likely be a larger factor to a man's persona,
especially if it were true that he were homosexual, no?

As a novice to this group, what is the general perception of Buck's
biography, namely his proclamation in his booklet regarding the woman
who rejected Morphy? I know there is a preface to his biography by
Will H. Lyons citing the research Buck underwent, but have these
sources been verified? FWIW, this is the citation I am referring to:

"An incident may here be related as showing how Morphy was often
crucified on the cross of his fame. He became enamored of a wealthy
and handsome young lady in New Orleans and informed a mutual friend of
the fact, who broached the subject to the lady, but she scorned the
idea of marrying a "mere chess player". Small wonder that he became
morbid and abjured the practice of chess."
- C.A. Buck "Paul Morphy: His Later Life" ©1902

Moving on, and as a bit of an aside, I am surprised by those of you
who don't think this point of Morphy's sexuality is worth exploring/
investigating. For a man whose later years are so enshrouded in
mystery, including the irrefutable mania he suffered in the years
leading up to his untimely death, it would seem any and every morsel
which may have ostracized/defined this man from/in his society would
be worthy of debate and discussion. I know it is a fascinating topic
for me to learn and read about (amongst myriad other Morphy-isms).

With regards to the LOVER, BROTHER, MOTHER debate, and the etymology
of the phrase "lover" in the late 1800's, I came across a couple of
interesting notes. First of all, the term "make love" seems to
originate in 1590, wherefore it meant to "pay amorous attention to."
This term did not become its modern euphemism until the 1950's. Also,
in researching the use of "lover" I came across the word amateur,
which not only meant "non-professional" or "dabbler" but also was used
with regards to its latin root "amatorem" which quite literally means
"lover".

All of that leads me to believe (again not concrete fact, just a
contextual deduction, with sensitivity for the time of its writing)
that Edge was using the term "lover" as an "extreme admirer of" or a
"lover of" Morphy. We cannot refuse the magnetism Morphy exuded to
most all whom came into contact with him. Not just using Edge's memoir
as proof of this, but also the speeches from Holmes and others, all of
whom go out of their way to describe Morphy's personality as just as
much a reason to admire the man as his chess play (and for someone
thought to be the "world champion" of chess, that must have been
saying something!).

I will close with a simple sentiment, and that is how the true tragedy
in the life of Paul Morphy is that his notoriety scarcely reaches
beyond the realm of chess players nowadays, and sometimes not even
that far. I am working on a project about Morphy which (if I do my job
right) will reach well beyond this microcosm of chess enthusiasts, and
so I look forward to reading more and more banter on this board in an
attempt to mine for information in support of my current endeavor.

See you soon, and thank you for loving/hating eachother
(metaphorically speaking of course)!



...ryan

  #3   Report Post  
Old December 6th 09, 02:53 PM posted to rec.games.chess.misc,rec.games.chess.politics
external usenet poster
 
First recorded activity by ChessBanter: Dec 2009
Posts: 2
Default Paul Morphy

I'd be happy to send a PDF of the entire script to anyone who is
interested. It's fun to see the people are still talking about my
play.
- Noah
On Dec 5, 8:31*pm, " wrote:
RYAN'S QUERY

On Dec 18 2006, 1:06 am, "
wrote:

CHANGE OF PACE

Instead of all the petty bickering and mindless character
assassination that often takes place on this forum, it's a pleasure to
find something real about chess history for a change.

"This play premiered last November at The Players' Ring in Portsmouth,
New Hampshire, and the full text is presented with the author's
permission. It spans Morphy'striumphant trip to Europe, the sad and
often funny details of his unplayed match with Howard Staunton, the
rift with his biographer and his demise in a bathtub. "The Pride and
Sorrow of Chess" was a Creole aristocrat in New Orleans fluent in
several languages who could not escape the curse of his own genius. He
ended his days as a paranoid recluse, an eerie echo of Bobby Fischer
who also walked out at the height of his fame.The play received
critical acclaim and deserves a wide audience." -- GM Larry Evans

In a message dated 12/5/2009 10:14:04 AM Pacific Standard Time,

writes:

Hello,

I saw your post on this newsgroup about a play on morphy (i had read a
review of the play elsewhere) and wondered if the original text still
exists somewhere online? The links provided here are understandably
expired being three years old now. Thanks for any help you can
provide.

...ryan

The full text was cited in Evans On Chess in 2006 on the World Chess
Network which no longer exists. Suggest you contact the author

who possibly will send it via email to interested parties. Here is the
cast of characters and a sample of the opening scene.

Paul Morphy. *A chess prodigy and lawyer.

Charles Maurian. *His childhood friend.

Alonzo Morphy. *His father.

Thelcide Charpentier Morphy. *His mother.

Frederick Edge. *His biographer and companion.

Howard Staunton. *Noted English chess player and writer.

Caspar. *Mr. Stauntonís servant.

Scene 1. *April, 1856. *The infirmary at Spring Hill College, Mobile,
Alabama. *Blackout.

MAURIAN
(Off.)

I remember when Paul taught me to play chess. *We were at school
together and both of us were very sick and very bored. *He said the
chessmen were like parts of his body. *It was always so
straightforward to him. *It held no mystery. * I tried to help him,
when he came back.

(Lights up on MORPHY and MAURIAN, lying in beds.)

MORPHY

First you bring the goat over. *Then. *Wait, letís see.

MAURIAN

So, youíve brought the goat over.

MORPHY

Yes. *You have to bring the goat over first, because the goat canít be
left alone with the fox or the cabbage. *You drop the goat off.
Return. *I donít see how itís possible. *Whichever I get Iíll have to
leave with the goat when I go back for the last trip, and then
something gets eaten.

MAURIAN

Thereís a trick to it.

MORPHY

Itís not some trick of language is it? *Or something I couldnít
possibly know? *The fox has a muzzle? *The cabbage is a false
cabbage? *The goat can swim? *I donít like riddles like that.

MAURIAN

Itís entirely logical, Paul.

MORPHY

You have to build a second boat, and tow the fox behind you.

MAURIAN

No. *Itís not just about the order you bring them over.

MORPHY

Donít give me any clues unless I ask for them. *I will solve it. *It
seems simple. *There are six ways to do it. *Iím missing something.
Iím not thinking clearly.

MAURIAN

Do you want the answer?

MORPHY

No. *I will solve it, I know I will.

MAURIAN

Howís the stomach?

MORPHY

I canít even keep water down. *Charles, what are we going to do?

MAURIAN

You havenít solved my riddle yet.

MORPHY

No more riddles. *We need a different game.

MAURIAN

Teach me chess.

MORPHY

Really?

MAURIAN

I want to know whatís so fun about pushing pieces of wood across the
board for hours on end.

MORPHY

All right. *Keep in mind you must use the pieces together. *The pieces
are all connected. *They are extensions of one body. *The pieces are
part of me, like my fingers, my hands, my legs. *Theyíre much stronger
when you use them together. *So Iím never thinking of marching a
single piece across the board to die in isolation, no, it must be a
coordinated attack. *I am thinking of how best to arrange the many
parts of this one body, making it capable of striking anywhere. *Itís
always several attacks, or sometimes just threats of attacks, all at
once, thatís how I win the game.

MAURIAN

You should start with a definition of what winning is.

MORPHY

Sorry. *You know, if I teach now, then youíll want to continue playing
after we get better. *And there wonít be time.

wrote:
PLAY ABOUT MORPHY


Here is a review of a play about Paul Morphy that premiered in 2006 at
Portsmouth, New Hampshire.


THE CHESS KING


By Noah Sheola
534 State St. #2
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Copyright 2006
All rights reserved


If care isn't given, the words "lovely" and "touching" could be over
used and lose their meaning. But so much about "Paul Morphy," which
premiered last weekend, is just that, entire scenes, a turn of a
phrase, transitions, and notably its lead actor, Eliot Johnston as
Morphy.


It's quickly clear area playwright Noah Sheola has great respect, and
a fondness for his subject. When he's done with you, you'll feel the
same. Morphy, an American, was a chess prodigy in the mid 1800s. He is
considered one of the greatest players of all time, the first ever
American to be given this distinction.


It's a tragic story of a man who most likely found his talent trivial,
perhaps simply unchallenging. After all, it's reported by the age of
10 he was doing university level math. Believed to have a photographic
memory, Morphy's interest tended more toward the law, art and opera
then chess. All that's interesting, but Sheola's telling of the story
is more. His portrayal of the man is subtle yet deeply moving.


"Morphy," is an incredibly clean premiering script, needing little
more than a touch of the pen for refinement. Its dialogue is clear, at
times approaches poetic -- without the side of syrup. There's also a
lot of humor, both sweet and broad, giving balance to the angst,
insecurity, and sadness. Sheola uses interesting conventions, offstage
setups that foretell the next scene's direction or melding one scene
into another as the acts are physically changed. In the end what the
audience comes away with is a very moving human story.


There's no doubt that Eliot Johnston as Morphy is a large reason this
show seeps into the skin. He truly embodies the vulnerable, lost,
lovely person. A soul would need to be stone to remain unmoved by
Johnston's Morphy, from his early submissive days through the later
years of paranoia and rage. This performance, like the play, is, yes,
lovely and touching.


In a role quite differently endearing, Chris Bujold plays Caspar, the
servant of Mr. Staunton, Morphy's would-be opponent. Bujold is the man
of the formidable comic face. He is so utterly hilarious while
reacting to Staunton's rants it's hard to keep track of the latter's
dialogue. It's certainly not for a lack of skill on actor Kevin
Barringer's part. He gives a fine performance as Staunton. It's simply
that Bujold is brilliant, as his face telegraphs his thoughts in
reaction to his master's pontification. What a knock out bit.


The rest of the cast varies. Kudos to John Herman who gives a lovely
performance as Morphy's friend Charles. Brian Morrison gives an uneven
performance as Morphy's companion/secretary. At times he gives clear
delivery but often appears unsure of character and line, and shuffles
his feet to the point of distraction. Betsy Kimball offers a solid
portrayal as Morphy's mom. Finally, Chuck Galle seems lost as Morphy's
dad. He moves about quite naturally, but his vocal delivery seems
separate from anything being said. It's laced with an odd accent and
while quite animated, the inflections are often incongruous with the
words delivered.


But it's a show where the strong elements outweigh all, where you come
out feeling moved and enriched, thanks to a fine script and some solid
to exceptional performances. It's immaterial if you have an interest
in chess or not. It isn't really what the show is about. It's about
choices, obligations, expectations, love and foibles. This Sheola
shines.


ryan wrote:
My name is Ryan Dunn (for those who care, I am about a *1650-1700
player on chess.com, no clue what my over the board score would be, as
I am not a club player, and I consider myself somewhere between novice
and adept in the game of chess).


First time poster, but I am currently researching the life of Paul
Morphy, and have thus far found the discourse here nothing if not
fascinating.


Anyways, I wanted to hop in with a couple of thoughts/points/questions
regarding Paul's perception by his peers, family and otherwise,
including but not limited to the much debated question of his
sexuality.


First of all, it seems to be no secret that Morphy was a man small of
stature, a nattily dressed dandy, a well-primped fop, and a more than
a little bit delicate/boyish in his looks. Just about every biography
I've read about him from Buck to LŲwenthal to Queyrouze to Edge and
onward describes the man thusly.


With that said, is it possible that at least half of the speculation
as to Morphy's sexual orientation might be a product of his physical
appearance? The term effeminate may be useful in this context. I have
not read description of Morphy's speech patterns, other than he was
quiet, humble, modest, and extremely well-mannered and cordial.


Surely the fact that there has been no documented/proven evidence of
him having any sort of intimate relationships in his life besides
family,


...

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