Tory Party Conference: What Theresa May Must Do to Lay Road for Decade of Conservative Rule

C onservative conference is invariably an expensive, time-consuming and increasingly irrelevant lose-lose event for any leader. Delivera polished, sure-footed gathering that leaves delegates in awe of your strategic brilliance and personal performance and itll be forgotten by the weekend. Mess it up with either a lacklustre speech or, more likely, through the ill-discipline of your colleagues, and youll be reminded of it for years.

The last Tory conference to properly change the political weather took place in Blackpool in 2007 . Then, partly through design and partly through the ineptitude of Gordon Brown , momentum switched from a prime minister seemingly in total control to an opposition who, until that point, had been dismissed by many as unelectable. I n Birmingham on Sunday , Theresa May must convince her party and the media that, nine years on, this conference matters just as much.

Theres a strong argument, despite the lack of a credible opposition, that she can deliver this message with conviction. Over four days our new prime minister has an opportunity to lay the road for a potential decade of Conservative rule. That she will do so with a working majority of 16 is just one indicator of how far the Labour Party has fallen.

So what are the key messages and, as importantly, the impressions that she and her team will be hoping to land? The first has already been well flagged. Through her life chances, agenda and industrial strategies, she aims to sweep up the support of hard-grafting Tory families and send a seductive signal to moderate Labour supporters turned off by Jeremy Corbyn s out-of-touch definition of working Britain.

Mr Corbyns re-election as leader means that door, once just ajar, is now hanging off its hinges. The second aim of this conference is more difficult; to put some meat on the Brexit bone without either a) causing internal rebellion or more importantly b), revealing too much of her hand to those on the other side of the negotiating table. Silence would be strategically preferable on this subject but it is entirely unrealistic to expect Mrs May to navigate her way through a conference so soon after the vote to leave the EU without a significant statement on what happens next.

So her range of shots must now develop beyond a re-working of her "Brexit means Brexit"straight bat . The third objective will be to bring a fractured and emotionally damaged party together. S he should do so if not out of a sense of duty towards the organisation she leads, then out of straightforward self-preservation.

For it is internal fractures and not the walking dead opposition that pose the greatest threat to her new government. Despite the brutal culling of the old guard, Mrs May has shown some signs that she understands this. Appointing George Freeman as Chair of the Prime Ministers Policy Board was a sensible move towards bringing a wider circle of MPs into the decision-making tent.

I would expect more of the same at conference. Theresa May will speak on both Sunday and Wednesday. When she does so, she would do well to brush aside the over-emotional memoirs of previous No10 staffers, and pay proper tribute to her predecessor David Cameron.

Its not only the right thing to do the Conservatives would not be in government were it not for his work its also the most effective way of calming the not insignificant number of Tory MPs already muttering into the Commons tea room china. In short, when it comes to unity, the prime minister must now genuinely reach out to all parts of the Conservative family. This cannot be superficial, shop-front stuff 'division is death must be the mantra.

In Birmingham, Mrs May will get her first proper taste of what it is to employ Boris Johnson. The Foreign Secretary is a master of mischief at conference and never fails to annoy his leader with off-piste comments and unscheduled interventions. Hes been doing it for a decade and if Mrs Mays handlers can keep him in check I, for one, will be full of admiration.

B ut with a new look cabinet that contains a number of those for whom the Brexit result was proof that they did, after all, know best, the baby-sitting of Boris is just one personnel battle No10 must win. An easy-to-predict game for the media will be to ask each member of the cabinet to define exactly what they mean by hard and soft Brexit. I suspect therell be a range of different answers given to what is a basic but somewhat fundamental question.

Pinning the cabinet down to a rigid line to take on this simple question will be a tricky but entirely necessary exercise. But Mrs May must also showcase her team and give them some freedom to demonstrate, for the first time in a number of cases, that they have worthwhile ideas to contribute and that they can work together as an effective team. This is even more important given the backdrop of chatter that suggests the party is now controlled by a small cabal of special advisers led by her chiefs-of- staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill.

Timothy, in particular, has been accused of forcing through his own political agenda. I worked with them both and this theory, I would suggest, is well wide of the mark. The final decision on Hinkley Point demonstrates that his alleged puppet-like control of our PM is overstated.

Instead, the pair deserve credit for having done such a swift and professional job in getting Mrs Mays show on the road. J ust 14 weeks ago neither had the first clue that they were bound for No10 and they have risen to the biggest challenge of their professional lives with admirable grit. They deserve the thanks of their party and not the back-biting sarcasm thats too often directed at special advisers.

The creeping narrative of their influence over policy is a symptom of Mrs Mays laudable but flawed communications strategy to date. A strategy that is more Stuka than submarine. Drop the bomb and then disappear from view has, so far, been the broad approach.

I always admired Mrs Mays inclination to keep her distance from the media when we worked together. Unfortunately the role of a modern PM means that she must engage and explain her thinking a little more often than she might like. Im in no doubt that her team know the honeymoon is coming to an end and that the hard slog of their marriage to the media is about to begin.

I would expect to see them use conference to help us get to know Mrs May and her vision for our country a little better. Since they last came together in Manchester 12 months ago the Conservative party has learnt that British politics can change and change swiftly. Labour is a ship holed below the water line, with a captain who, despite his total lack of navigational nous, continues to fight off mutiny.

With no enemy to fire at, Mrs May must make sure the Conservative Party does not now turn the cannons on itself. Telegraph Media Group Limited 2019 Need help? Visit our adblocking instructions page.

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Enhanced Thylakoid Photoprotection Can Increase Yield and Canopy Radiation Use Efficiency in Rice
High sunlight can raise plant growth rates but can potentially cause cellular damage. The likelihood of deleterious effects is lowered by a sophisticated set of photoprotective mechanisms, one of the most important being the controlled dissipation of energy from chlorophyll within photosystem II (PSII) measured as non-photochemical quenching (NPQ). Although ubiquitous, the role of NPQ in plant productivity remains uncertain because it momentarily reduces the quantum efficiency of photosynthesis. Here we used plants overexpressing the gene encoding a central regulator of NPQ, the protein PsbS, withina major crop species(rice) to assess the effect of photoprotection at the whole canopy scale. We accounted for canopy light interception, to our knowledge for the first timein this context. We show that in comparison to wild-type plants, psbS overexpressors increased canopy radiation use efficiency and grain yield in fluctuating light, demonstrating that photoprotective mechanisms should be altered to improve rice crop productivity.Photosynthetic efficiency is a limitation to achieving gains in crop yield that will meet the needs of global food security in the coming century. However, we still lack a complete understanding of canopy photosynthesis in natural and agricultural environments. For example, plants are commonly exposed to light levels that fluctuate in time and space yet most of our understanding of photosynthesis arises from studies in static conditions.A plethora of mechanisms regulate the amount of energy received by plant leaves and pigment protein complexes. These include plant and chloroplast movement, pigment concentration and acclimation of pigment protein complexes. Over much shorter timescales (seconds and minutes) plants rapidly process excess absorbed light energy at the biochemical level. One such mechanism is the inducible dissipation, or quenching, of excitation energy (measured as non-photochemical quenching, NPQ) within photosystem (PS) II. It is able to respond to sudden increases in radiation quickly and in a regulated way with minimum energetic cost to the plant.Quenching measured as NPQ is engaged during periods of high radiation resulting in the prompt release of chlorophyll excitation energy as heat within PSII. It is thought to help prevent the onset of photoinhibition. NPQ responsiveness over short timescales results from its sensitive regulation via acidification of the thylakoid lumen and the increased pH between lumen and stroma. The rate of formation and the capacity for NPQ is under control of the protein PsbS and the xanthophyll cycle. PsbS was initially thought to be required for formation of the major component of NPQ, termed high-energy state quenching or qE but it has since been shown that NPQ can form in plants where PsbS is absent. It seems likely that PsbS is an important regulator and accelerator of qE formation in the thylakoid membrane. The xanthophyll cycle co-determines kinetics and capacity for qE and consists of the reversible formation (de-epoxidation) of zeaxanthin from violaxanthin in high light.qE dynamic properties are appropriate for rapid changes in the light environment. PsbS-dependent qE can be generated within seconds but the synthesis of zeaxanthin and its reconversion back to violaxanthin in low-light occurs on a timescale of minutes leading to the suggestion that zeaxanthin persistence is a memory of high-light events, enabling a rapid response to a re-occurrence of saturating light. Slower-relaxing components of NPQ include qI or inhibitory quenching which can be formed as a result of damage to PSII and its repair which is a process requiring time, energy and protein synthesis or from the more persistent retention of zeaxanthin.All components of NPQ must result in a reduction in quantum efficiency of PSII electron transport although this is unlikely to be a limiting factor during high-light periods. In particular, the impact of qI or photoinhibition on photosynthesis at whole-plant and ecological scales has been modelled and measured but empirical quantification of its effect on productivity lacks certainty. One of the problems is how to measure and predict the effects caused by changing light conditions. In naturally fluctuating light qE will provide protection at high light but also limit photosynthesis in low light via the lowered quantum yield. In an attempt to quantify this, Zhu et al. used a modelling approach to show that canopy photosynthesis could be substantially reduced by the slow recovery of qI and CO in low light. Similarly, Krah and Logan and Kromdjik et al. showed that qE may limit photosynthesis in fluctuating light in and tobacco. In rice, enhanced qE directly resulted in lower photosynthesis during induction. Chlorophyll fluorescence measurements in rice canopies provide evidence that NPQ results in reduced quantum efficiency at leaf level.Plant canopies are complex three-dimensional objects in which the light can fluctuate over short timescales by solar movement or wind, resulting in highly complex patterns. The operation of photoprotection, therefore, sets up a costbenefit dilemma. qE reduces the likelihood of photoinhibition and photooxidative stress but operation in a plant canopy may reduce photosynthesis in fluctuating light. We can hypothesise that the characteristics of qE should be suited to fluctuating not static light. However most work on qE has been carried out on plants grown in static conditions. Work with plants lacking PsbS has shown that qE is important for fitness of plants in the field, however, it is unclear whether this is directly attributable to a reduction in PSII electron transport. A severely reduced qE may have other signalling and metabolic effects on the plant. The dynamics of both induction and relaxation of qE seem to be important. A recent study using tobacco showed that upregulating PsbS, violaxanthin de-epoxidase and zeaxanthin epoxidase together could enhance NPQ recovery and quantum yield of CO assimilation and this was associated with increased plant biomass and yield.Photoprotection is, therefore, a significant target for crop improvement but it is necessary to understand the tradeoffs with CO assimilation and growth in fluctuating light environments. Improvements in photosynthesis per unit leaf area should result in increased growth and biomass. However, any increase in leaf area will itself enhance light capture and even if initially small can have a substantial effect on growth. To separate the effects of light capture from the altered leaf biochemistry we should measure radiation use efficiency (RUE), which is the amount of biomass produced per unit intercepted radiation. RUE shows a degree of variability in the field but it also responds in a predictable manner according to environmental conditions and is highly dependent on canopy photosynthesis. Canopies with high 3D complexity set-up this dilemma clearly where the frequency of large fluctuations (sunflecks) is high. A high NPQ may lead to impairment of CO assimilation during low-light or high-light induction periods. On the other hand if qE is acting predominantly in a protective manner to reduce photoinhibitory costs then RUE may rise.Here, we show that higher photoprotective capacity (via increased PsbS protein alone) levels results in enhanced biomass, RUE and grain yield in a major crop plant (rice) where biomass production is a major limitation to crop yield under fluctuating light. This is likely due to a reduction in the level of photoinhibition.
2021 05 25
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How to Make London's Roads Safer for Cyclists
L ondon's roads have become better suited to cyclists in recent years but two recent fatalities prove there is much work to be done. As the nights draw in and journeys become more difficult, it's time to look at the measures that cyclists, drivers and mayor Sadiq Khan must all undertake to keep our capital's cyclists safe through winter. Even after all the campaigns encouraging cyclists to make themselves visible, many on the city's roads fail even to abide by the legal requirements for night-time riding. The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations requires cyclists to use front and rear lights at night as well as front and rear reflectors. The rear light must be placed on the saddle stem - and not concealed by clothing - or on the right-hand seat stay, putting it on the same side as traffic. Legally, it should also be positioned between 35cm and 1.5 metres from the ground, though you should aim for the higher end of that range to ensure visibility. The cheapest rear light will emit about 20 lumens but we recommend going at least for a mid-range one of about 50 lumens, to a maximum of 75. If your commute is confined to reasonably well-lit urban streets then purchase one with a brightness of at least 200 lumens, which is the same strength as a typical car's front light. If your journey home sends you into dark, country lanes, however, go for one than can pump out as much as 500 lumens. T here is no legal requirement to wear high-visibility clothing though every good cyclist should know its benefits. As well as hardy perennials such as florescent jackets and Same Browne waistband belts, it is worth considering ankle or spoke reflectors, even if the latter is often anathema to those concerned with bike aesthetics. "Both are brilliant because a car-driver will notice moving lights more than static ones," says Tony Doyle, a former professional cyclist, who frequently rides in the city. The same principle makes flashing lights more visible to drivers, though you need to weigh that up against the fact that a driver is better able to judge distance to a bike with a static light. T he social media site Strava has helped cyclists to connect in ways that was not previously possible and made riding a more rewarding experience by both breaking down the statistics of each journey and comparing riders' times on different segments of roads. The problem is that, for the more reckless riders, Strava has turned cities into a series of time-trial routes in which they constantly try to better their own times and others'. The site allows riders to flag any hazardous' routes that should be exempt from segmentation but those are few and far between, certainly in London, ensuring that the site's affect on road safety remains a source of contention. For while Strava has successfully fought court cases alleging its responsibility for accidents in the United States, it has arguablymade commuting a more competitive activity. "There is more organised bike-racing and bike circuits in the South East than any other part of the country," Doyle says. "If Mamils want to race then they would be far better off going to the Lea Valley Park circuit, to the velodrome at Herne Hill , to Crystal Palace or the road circuit over in Hillingdon , rather than tearing through town. It's crazy. "If we want London to enjoy a cycling culture similar, say, to Copenhagen or Amsterdam, we should be riding our bikes in similar manner to its inhabitants, which means being controlled, calm and respectful of other road users." T he statistics relating to fatal accidents and heavy-goods vehicles in London have reached crisis point. HGVs account for half of cyclist fatalities in the capital and a fifth of pedestrian deaths, hence mayor Sadiq Khan's recently announced plan to ban all dangerous HGVS from the city's roads by 2020. His proposal involves giving all lorries a safety rating between zero to five based on the drivers' level of visibility. By January 2020, those graded zero essentially construction-work lorries with a high cab and tall wheel clearance will be excluded from the city. By 2024, a truck will need a three-star rating to enter the city. C ycling campaign groups welcomed Khan's plan, but a good number had reservations about its ambition. Some felt the timeframe given for it was too long, while others said that HGVs have no place in the city at all, especially during the working day. This argument gathered force with the two recent cyclist fatalities in the city. Filippo Corsini , a young Italian nobleman, and the Italian woman Luciani Ciccolini were both killed after lorries struck them. "I would ban lorries altogether," says Emily Chappell, the author of What Goes Around; A London Cycle Courier's Story . "It's intolerable that we put up with something so dangerous and so inconvenient to other road-users. "Those vehicles that absolutely need to be in the city - say, on construction sites - should be escorted while on the roads and subject to more stringent safety measures than are currently in place. But your standard delivery vehicles could easily stop at depots outside the city centre, say, with their goods decamped into smaller vehicles or cargo bikes. It might be an inconvenience for the drivers and businesses, but this is a question of life and death." T he relationship between car drivers and cyclists has improved with the sport's surge in popularity over the past decade but anyone who rides the city's roads will tell you that mutual hostility still exists, with both tribes believing the other is the most irresponsible with regard to road safety and a hot-tempered confrontation rarely more than one jumped traffic light away. Chappell, for example, insists cyclists are unfairly maligned for not adhering to the Highway Code, insisting that our culture permits car drivers and pedestrians to commit just as many infringements as cyclists without criticism. "I am geek for the Highway Code," she says. "I ostentatiously abide by it, almost to make a point. But it's a myth that cyclists are more reckless with the rules of the road. A lot of pedestrians walkout on the road at zebra crossings, a lot ofcar drivers speed,blastthrough red lights or usetheir phones while driving. But cyclists seem to be the ones who get it in the neck." W hile admitting her bias, Chappell believes this cultural problem stems partly from the misguided belief that cyclists rank below car-drivers in the road hierarchy. "The fact is that cyclists have as much right to be on a B road as a car or any other vehicle," she says. T hat means car drivers should not lose patience with cyclists who slow the traffic and should think very carefully before attempting to overtake them. "The only way to change attitudes and improve people's awareness of the road hierarchy is through campaigning. It will be long, hard process, much like the drink-driving campaigns of the 1980s, but that worked. Culturally it has become unacceptable now. That's the kind of change we need to bring about." A s the numbers of people riding to work continues to grow, it is easy for those returning to the bike after a long time away from it to think that they have nothing left to learn. The truth is, roads are busier now than in decades past, the rules of the road are constantly updated and what we picked up in our youth is easily forgotten. Best, then, to avail of the free adult classes available in most London boroughs, whether through the National Standard for Cycle Training or Bikeability , which has replaced the old cycling proficiency scheme. The latter has three levels but do not think you need to complete the full programme. "Just train to the level you're comfortable with and then go higher if you wish," says Ashok Sinha, chief executive of the London Cycling Campaign . "The important thing is to make a start." S tate authorities could help by making Bikeability a compulsory part of the school curriculum."We believe that every schoolchild should get at least the minimum level of training," Sinha adds. The former major Boris Johnson's foreign policy might have divided the nation but it was hard to argue against the good work he did for cyclists, rolling out the Boris Bikes, while investing in both the Cycle Super Highway and the 100million Mini-Holland cycle path-network programme across three boroughs. I t is important now that Khan makes good on his pledge to build on this legacy and transform London from a city partially suited to cyclists to one that will eventually rank alongside the best in Holland and Denmark, the countries that set the standard for cycling provisions within their urban infrastructure. Specifically, Khan needs to realise his commitment to triple the amount of protected space for cycling in London by the end of his four-year term. That means improving the design of both the 33 worst junctionsidentified by the London Cycling Campaign and the especially busy thoroughfares that the LCC hastargeted as being in need of improvement. These include the stretch of roads running from Old Street roundabout to Oxford Street, carrying thousands of cyclists a day, and Oxford Street itself, which Khan has promised to make motor traffic-free.Several studies have found that such measures significantly cut the number of collisions and injuries to cyclists. "At their best, the Cycle Super Highways match the Dutch standards, in terms of width, physical separation from motor traffic and the quality of the junctions, but this isn't always the case,"says Simon Munk, infrastructure campaigner at LCC. "The ultimate goal is a network of tracks , so that as many people as possible can make door-to-door journeys without encountering significant barriers in between." D rivers in London could learn from Addison Lee, the taxi firm who recently asked LCC for advice on how best to incorporate cycling into their driver-training courses. The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association recommend cycling-awareness training, too, though the law could go further. The LCC believes that lorry-drivers, for one, should be required to take a Safer Urban Driving module as part of their Certificate of Professional Development, while all car-users should be more closely examined on cycling-awareness in the driving test. "We need to make sure drivers stay aware of cyclists and understand the kind of things that might risk collisions," Sinha said. Finally, though being told toensureyour bike is set up properly might sound like elementary advice,scores of commuters use bikes that have not been properly adjusted to fit them. Most frequently, their saddle is set at the wrong height or the handlebar stem is the incorrect length, making for a less comfortable journey and, more importantly, undermining your control of the bike. "In London, I'd say about one in two people on the road haven't had their position set up correctly," Doylesays. "It's incredible, especially when your local bike shop will do a sight-test for customers for free."A frequent commuter could also consider a professional fit, whether a traditional one using a plumbline and gonimeter, to measure angles, or a modern, computerised version that simulates your pedal stroke to model your ideal position on the bike. "You see a lot of people in the city riding flat-footed or with their heel because it's easier or just lazy," Doyle adds. "They should be riding on the balls of their feet, which gives you better control of the bike." R obertDineen's bookKings of the Road; A journey into the heart of British cycling (Aurum Press) is out now. Telegraph Media Group Limited 2019 Need help? Visit our adblocking instructions page.
2021 05 25
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Overview of Concert Stage Lighting - Music
A concert lighting designer's job is to plan and execute lighting effects that convey a specific mood or concept, illuminate the performer, and engage an audience. With access to the best lighting equipment and knowledge of advanced lighting techniques, today's concert lighting design has become very sophisticated. Concert lighting designers must be familiar with a variety of lighting equipment and often take years to master the art of lighting a large production. Below is an overview of some of the lights most commonly used by concert lighting designers. Floodlights & spotlights are the two primary types of stage lights. Floodlights generally produce a wide beam of light that can illuminate large stage areas while spotlights produce and narrow, more focused beam of light. There are several sub-categories of both floodlights and spotlights as well as some lighting equipment that falls in between the two categories. PAR (Parabolic Aluminized Reflector) lights are a type of floodlight often used for rock concerts. This lamp produces a large amount of flat light that comes from a unit that resembles an empty paint can. PAR lights are often used in conjunction with smoke or haze effects. The benefits of these lights are that they are lightweight, portable, and low cost. Strip lights are strips of lighting housing containing many lamps. Typically, strip lights are used to illuminate wide areas of a stage, such as a back curtain. While colors for lighting are often achieved by "gels" or colored plastic that go over a light, strip lights use glass gels, or "roundels" to produce colored light. One of the main advantages of strip lights is that a separate electrical dimmer circuit can control each lamp. LED Lights are another popular concert lighting element. Because this type of light uses light emitting diodes, or LEDs, rather than halogen lamps, they can produce lots of light while consuming less power than traditional stage lights. Popular with concert designers, these lights are able to produce a wide range of vibrant colors to create interesting lighting effects. Spotlights are also essential to concert lighting equipment. They produce an intense beam of light that can illuminate an entire stage. These lights come in several varieties, each with unique properties. Fresnels are smaller light fixtures that produce a pool of light or a concentrated, but soft edged spot. Profile lights are most similar to what people associate with traditional spotlights. Their convex lenses produce a sharp light beam that can be formed into different shapes of an insert called a gobos. Finally, PC's, or Pebble Convex lanterns use convex lenses with a pebbled effect that produce a concentrated spot of light with little "spill" outside the target. An excellent concert lighting designer is familiar all of lighting equipment mentioned here in addition to much more advanced equipment. More importantly, they know how to plan and execute lighting for a 2-3 hour concert with the utmost precision and creativity. Those who excel in the art of concert lighting have the privilege of working with top touring artists such as Motley Crue and Maroon 5. One example of a live concert video production company that is putting their name on the map is Daddy Van Productions, based out of Austin, Texas.
2021 05 25
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Atomistic Structures and Dynamics of Prenucleation Clusters in MOF-2 and MOF-5 Syntheses
Chemical reactions in solution almost always take place via a series of minute intermediates that are often in rapid equilibrium with each other, and hence hardly characterizable at the level of atomistic molecular structures. We found that single-molecule atomic-resolution real-time electron microscopic (SMART-EM) video imaging provides a unique methodology for capturing and analyzing the minute reaction intermediates, as illustrated here for single prenucleation clusters (PNCs) in the reaction mixture of metalorganic frameworks (MOFs). Specifically, we found two different types of PNCs are involved in the formation of MOF-2 and MOF-5 from a mixture of zinc nitrate and benzene dicarboxylates at 95 C and 120 C, respectively. SMART-EM identified a small amount of 1-nm-sized cube and cube-like PNCs in the MOF-5 synthesis, but not in the MOF-2 synthesis. In the latter, we instead found only linear and square PNCs, suggesting that the MOF-2/-5 bifurcation takes place at the PNC stage.Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are porous minerals that consist of nodes comprising metal ions connected by organic linkers. Their diversity in lattice structure, elemental composition and organic linkers offers tremendous opportunities in materials applications. Easy access to diverse structures is an asset of MOF science and technology, but their synthesis often shows hints of mechanistic complexity. As a classic example, MOF-2 having square lattice and MOF-5 having cubic lattice (Fig.) differ only in the conditions of the reaction between zinc nitrate and benzene dicarboxylic acid (HBDC) in dimethylformamide (DMF): heating at 95 C for several hours produces MOF-2 (Zn:BDC = 1:1, isolated in its DMF solvated form), and the mixture becomes acidic (Zn(NO) 2RCOOH = Zn(RCOO) 2HNO). Heating at 120 C produces between 0 and 4 h non-porous precipitates of unknown structure (Zn:BDC = 1: 1, called herein as ), which gradually changes in situ to MOF-5 nanocrystallites as the solution changes from acidic to basic because of thermal decomposition of DMF that generates a formal water dianion (O or ZnO). For a few tens of hours after formation, the nanocrystallites undergo Ostwald ripening to produce MOF-5 cubic polycrystals (Zn:BDC = 4:3). Thus, the system conforms the kinetics and thermodynamics of the reaction intermediates that serve as prenucleation clusters (PNCs) of crystallisation controlled by interface and bulk free energetics (Fig.). Although the MOF-2/-5 bifurcation suggests structural difference among the PNCs leading either MOF-2 or MOF-5 (Fig.), little has been known for PNCs in solution at molecular level. Earlier in situ studies by static light scattering, extended X-ray absorption fine structure, and liquid cell transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed small crystals but not PNCs. PNCs were identified only by mass spectrometry and by computer simulation. In this context, we focused on the MOF-2 and -5 formation through in situ capturing of PNCs and atomistic structural analysis by single-molecule atomic-resolution real-time electron microscopy (SMART-EM).In Fig., we summarise the correlation between the node structures based on reported crystal structures. The mononuclear structure of a digonal node A is ubiquitous among zinc carboxylates and forms linear polymers of Zn-BDC as found commonly in the MOF-2 and -5 synthesis. The dinuclear complex B is simply a dimer of A responsible for the formation of square PNCs, and represents a tetragonal node in MOF-2. The structural relationship between the mononuclear node A and a tetranuclear node D parallels the one between zinc acetate and basic zinc acetate (ZnO(CHCOO)), the latter converted readily to the former upon acidification. The trinuclear node C is an intermediate to D formed by replacement of one RCOO group on B by ZnO . Thus, the formation of D (MOF-5 node) from C requires the addition of one zinc cation and three molecules of BDC, with a considerable entropy loss. This chemical diagram suggests that the linear and square (lower order, LO) PNCs made only of Zn and BDC should form readily under mild conditions, while the cube and cube-like (higher order, HO) clusters requiring nodes C and D should increase in number as DMF decompose upon prolonged heating at 120 C. We verified this hypothesis experimentally by SMART-EM studies of the clusters isolated from the reaction mixture as described below.Here, we report that the MOF-2 synthesis produces square-shaped clusters, while the MOF-5 synthesis produces cube and cube-like clusters as structurally the most complex PNCs (Fig.). Commonly found in both cases were linear clusters of considerable structural flexibility - zinc carboxylate oligomers (Fig. (A)). In the synthesis of iodinated MOF-5 (I-MOF-5) from 2-iodoterephthalic acid (HIBDC), we established the structure of a slowly rotating 1.3-nm-sized cube cluster by determining the spatial locations of all 12 iodine atoms in sequential 2-D video images with approximately 1 precision. The SMART-EM technique recently revealed the feasibility of single-molecule level kinetics, and now allows us to investigate atomistic structures of minute intermediates of chemical reactions.
2021 05 25
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A Whistle in the Dark
The Abbey TheatreWritten by Tom Murphy, directed by Conall Morrison, starring Don Wycherley, Clive Geraghty, Declan Conlon.'A Whistle in the Dark' was Tom Murphy's first full-length play; it premiered in 1961. A violent work, both in word and action, it's a conventionally structured tragedy that speeds inexorably to its terrible conclusion. The fact that it's still unnerving gives an inkling of the impact it had when first performed.Michael Carney is an Irishman living in Coventry with his young wife, Betty. He has given lodgings to his three brothers as they establish themselves there, but far from showing him gratitude for his generosity, he is treated with derision and terrorised in his own home. Declan Conlon gives a fine performance as the quiet, reflective, walking-doormat.The ringleader in this abuse is Harry, a strutting thug, who has never forgiven Michael for whatever perceived slights accumulated over the years. Played by Don Wycherley, Harry drips with menace from equal parts physical and psychological intimidation. It's a strong performance that credibly reveals the resentments behind his anger. Harry goads his host about everything from being a physical coward to being a relative failure in his career, despite the fact that he's the one with the roof over his head.Hugo and 'Iron Man' Iggy Carney are both significantly further down the evolutionary ladder than their leader and follow everything that Harry proposes. This mob mentality, even within one family, is frighteningly conjured in generously understated turns by Gary Lydon (who has to be cast as Brendan Behan some day) and David Herlihy respectively. Phelim Drew provides great comic relief as Mush, the ex-class clown, who has never outgrown his role as nervy, flinching cocker spaniel to Harry's ruthless master.The explosion of these old familial animosities is precipitated by the arrival of Dada Carney escorting the youngest, Des (Barry Ward), a gangly 15-year-old, to his new life in England with his brothers. Clive Geraghty's patriarch is a fascinating creation. He easily convinces as the proud, self-deluding ex-Guard who instigated vicious games of mock-fighting between his boys as children. This early education in violence has led all the brothers bar Michael to embrace this as the way of gaining respect in a land that despises their boorishness.While Dada stokes the flames, it is really the presence of the impressionable Des that provides the flashpoint. He is the innocent soul over which good and evil compete, but when the devil's still got the best tunes, not to mention hair-oil and a cool leather jacket, what hope for the poor kid! Fintan O'Toole has quite rightly pointed out the similarities between Pinter's 'The Homecoming' and this work that predates it. Both are concerned with masculinity in crisis and tension within one family as brothers struggle for dominance. But here, Betty's token female (Cathy Belton) is unable to harness any of the power of Pinter's femme fatale. The men all treat her with contempt, especially by her more 'sensitive', feminised husband.This muscular, confident production from director, Conall Morrison contains shockingly brutal fight scenes ably choreographed by fight director, Donal O'Farrell. My only reservation is with the set. The living room where all the action takes place is a realistic '60s room, yet behind and above stand the cranes on the building sites, where the brothers are presumably working as labourers. Apart from the fact that they look more like a theatre lighting rig that has partially collapsed at the back of the stage, they are completely superfluous to the drama.Firmly reminding Irish audiences of the raw, fresh talent that was unleashed forty years ago, Tom Murphy is deservedly celebrated in this production as part of the six-play revival at the Abbey within this year's Theatre Festival.Nick McGinley
2021 05 25
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Transforming the Las Vegas Strip: New Park, Arena, Restaurants, More
The Las Vegas Strip is getting a new park, but this is not your typical city park - it contains a slew of new restaurants, attractions, and a 20,000 seat state of the art performance venue, the T-Mobile Arena. As I mentioned yesterday, the Arenacontinues a fast growing trend of "musical tourism" in Las Vegas . Itsfirst weekend will see the concert event of the year, the long awaited reunion of the original headliners of Guns N Roses. But long after the back to back concerts (April 8-9) have come and gone, the new Arena and it surrounding Park will play a huge role in the continuing record tourism success of Las Vegas, which shattered previous marks with more than 42 million visitors last year. It also continues a recent trend of focusing on outdoor rather than indoor spaces along the city's main drag. Located between the Monte Carlo and New York-New York casino resorts, The Park, opening in April, is a brand new urban oasis in the prime heart of Las Vegas Boulevard, The Strip. The Park serves as a pedestrian pathway to the new $375 million T-Mobile Arena, and was designed to capture the feel of the surrounding desert landscape. Developer MGM Resorts brought in landscape architects to meld the desert feel with contemporary modern design, using large quantities of meta-quartzite stone from a local quarry and erecting sculpture-like shade structures and dynamic water features, enhanced by theatrical lighting. Desert trees and ground coverings such as acacias and honey mesquites were planted to provide shade, while a wide variety of colorful flowerings plants including pink hesperaloes, yellow damianitas, and purple salvias will bloom year-round, adding visual interest and color. The signature centerpiece is a double 8-foot high water wall a hundred feet long, flanked by casual restaurants and bars with outdoor seating. Todays consumer wants to sample, to experience, to discover - its no longer about visiting one resort and staying there, said Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International (via release). With this in mind, weve created a neighborhood environment that invites our guests to explore many of our resorts on the Strips west side, collecting experiences along the way, with The Park serving as a central gathering space for people to relax, dine and be entertained. The Park has green initiatives throughout, including numerous passive cooling elements, reclamation of existing onsite trees and materials, and the entire restaurant corridor and the Arena have been built to LEED Gold standards. Eateries confirmed for the April opening include outposts of Shake Shack and California Pizza Kitchen, along with Bruxie, a fast-casual, gourmet waffle restaurant from Californias Orange County that uses soft, foldable waffles instead of bread for sandwiches. Sake Rok is a Japanese themed eatery and nightspot with a theatrical twist. The menu for lunch and dinner features sushi and sake, while interactive servers double as entertainers, spontaneously breaking into dance and lip-sync serenades. Sake Rok will also feature a late-night bar/lounge. Perhaps the most interesting addition to the middle of the Strip is Beerhuas, an unpretentious beer garden featuring live music, outdoor games such as bocce, darts and ping pong, sustainably raised farm-to-table meats, and of course beer, in the form of a long regional craft brew list. MGM Resorts recently announced plans to build a new 5,000 seat theater onto the Monte Carlo alongside the Park, scheduled to open before the end of the year. But the main event here is the new 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena, immediately the premier concert venue in a city full of concerts. It is also scheduled to host non-music live events ranging from the Harlem Globetrotters to a Duke/UNLV hoops game to UFC matches to the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough World Finals in November. It is expected that the Arena will host more than 100 events each year. Because it was purpose built from the ground up, the Arena solves many of the traffic flow and access issues affecting older concert venues on the Strip. It should be much easier to get into and out of, and even bathroom access has been carefully planned for maximum guest enjoyment. The Arena is linked via a covered bridge-walkway to the fifth level of the New York-New York parking garage and a section dedicated to premium seating parking with private entrance for VIP guests. Premium ticketed guests also will find additional private entrances on the southeast and northwest sides of the arena. Premium ticket options are very modern and very varied, from a private club with food and drink to bar-style tables on a terrace with a view of the action. There are 50 luxury suites of varied sizes - almost all of which have already been sold - and more than two dozen private loge boxes. For the general public, amenities include plenty of charging ports and state of the art video screens throughout, even at the concession stands to avoid missing a minute of the action. There will be special pre-sale opportunities for various events for M Life members (MGM Resorts frequent guest and player club) and T-Mobile customers, who also enjoy special fast track access into the Arena. Perhaps the most unique amenity is a complete nightclub within the Arena, a very Vegas touch and something few stadiums offer. An outpost of the popular Hyde at Bellagio, the Hyde here will only be open on event days, both during the performances and after, with DJs and bottle service (two viewing platforms extend over the arena seating below). The dining and nightlife in the surrounding Park will be open all the time. Follow Me on Twitter Here @TravelFoodGuy
2021 05 25
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Wedding Videography: 5 Questions to Consider Before Booking a Videographer
This article originally appeared on A Peachy Life Productions' blog The intention of this blog isnt to communicate that videography is necessary.Videography is popular enough so an argument centered on it needing to be a part of a wedding is useless. The point here is to communicate to those who are on the borderline and perhaps are still unfamiliar with what videography is or what the benefits are. Finding a photographer or a videographer that fits your needs and your budget is no easy task. Like all things involving your wedding, it takes a lot of work. It is obvious that you care a great deal about your wedding and you want it to be special and you want something that will help you commemorate the day, but it just doesnt fall into your lap. It is unfortunate that many people look only at the $$$ and pay little attention to the character or response of a videographer or photographer when an inquiry is made. Budget, of course, takes priority over most things, but you never really know what can be achieved if you just reach out and contact someone. How do you choose the right videographer? What is a videographer for anyway? Here are five things to think about when considering investing in a wedding film. 1. Why do I want my wedding filmed? Wedding films date back to before the 1980s, but it was that decade that saw the birth of the first consumer camcorder. Back then it was more of a hassle as it often took away from the aesthetic of the wedding since there was so much equipment required to make it work. Todays industry still sees a good deal of technology at work, but technology has allowed videographers more freedom in movement and it has become less necessary to use static light stands and such which can distract from the real purpose of the day: the wedding. Today, videographers are as agile and fluid as any photographer. Their ability to squeeze into impossibly tight areas and come away with elegant shots and flattering angles has catapulted the concept of a wedding film to astronomic heights. DSLRs have now standardized high definition film, bringing Hollywood-quality filmmaking into the hands of amateurs and semi-pros. This is something a number of people still have no idea about. Take a look at some portfolio work by videographers and see how much more you can get out of a wedding film when in the hands of a videographer, rather than a family member filming from one spot. 2. How much should I spend? This question probably carries the most weight. Theres a lot of consideration that goes into selecting a price for services by videographers as well as photographers. The prices generally have a lot to do with what is included in the packages that are offered. The hours provided usually make the biggest difference, but you have to think carefully about how many hours you need or would like to have filmed. Some couples want to have everything from start to finish, but this requires going towards longer hours which will mean more money. It is also imperative to look at what is included in each package. People tend to make the mistake of thinking that videographers will only provide a DVD with one highlights trailer that appears online, or oftentimes in their portfolio. But many companies have so much more to offer. These features, while they add more cost to your package, are usually designed to make remembering your wedding day an even more unique experience. The lowest-priced packages generally only offer a certain amount of coverage and are tailored towards jouranalizing the wedding experience, rather than capturing special moments that will tell a compelling story. Theres nothing wrong with taking this route, but if you want more bang for your buck, ask the videographer about what other features they have besides the highlights trailer. Its pivotal to be in constant communication with your videographer. If they care at all, they will do their best to get to know you as the more comfortable you both feel before the wedding, the easier it will be to film. It is also worth asking if packages can be customized. Perhaps you don't want your pre-ceremony prep work filmed, can you add more time for cocktail hour? Can you add a Save the Date video or an engagement video and take off a couple of hours of the wedding? 3. What is the difference between videographers? The answer to this question leads to another obvious question, "Which videographer is best?" To put it simply, it is just a matter of taste when it comes to which videographer is best. All videographers are in the business because they have talent to film. The spectrum can divide the n00bs from the Pros, but that gap is not as large as one might think. This is becoming more and more apparent with photographers as well. I'm not really involved in that industry at all, but it does seem like it is becoming harder and harder to break away from the pack and get your stuff recognized. Rather than depending on the quality of your work, there is so much that goes into how you advertise your product. Some argue that it is best to advertise only what YOU love to do and the type of weddings only YOU want to shoot. The flip side is to advertise a variety in your portfolio in order to attract a wide range of clients. Like the aforementioned, videographers have styles of their own. Some like to stay back and journalize the wedding experience, while others like to get in real close and create cinematic pieces of work that may ignore some of the conventional strategies of capturing every moment of the wedding. The best way to tell the difference is to watch their videos. If that doesn't do it for you, then looking at how they sell their product and their correspondence with you is the next best thing. 4. How can I be sure Im going to be happy with what I get? No one can be completely certain of anything in this life. If you do your research and actually watch the body of work of your videographer, you can make an educated guess at how your video will turn out. If the videographer is receptive to your ideas and wants to implement them, you can be sure to be even happier with the end result. If you see a great video by another videographer, don't be afraid to share that with them. Seeing fresh ideas will only help increase the quality of your video. 5. What is the point of having my wedding filmed when I already have a photographer? Theres nothing to take away from photographers or a beautiful photograph, but there are things that a wedding film can provide that a photograph simply cannot (and vice versa). Besides the obvious moving pictures, a wedding film adds the dimension of audio to your wedding experience. Now, in years to come, youll be able to hear the sounds of your wedding. Remember what you sounded like when you gave your vows, remember the toast by your father, your mother or other close relatives and friends. After all the glitz and glamour of the day has dispersed, how would you like to remember everything? It is likely, as bride and groom, that you will miss some moments of your wedding because youll be so busy with a million other things (like dancing, greeting guests, cutting the cake, etc). Your memory will serve as your only source aside from pictures, but how will you remember movement and sounds? The only way to preserve these precious memories is by capturing it on film. Film can capture the moment in real time and preserve it for generations to come. It will outlast you and it will inform future generations of how you approached love. You'll also get a unique view of your wedding, a view that no spectator can capture, a view that not even the bride and groom can see. Follow A Peachy Life on Twitter and 'Like' them on Facebook . Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Weddings on Facebook , Twitter and Pinterest .
2021 05 25
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Surround Sound Made Visible: the New Terrace Theater
Music wants to be democratic; and the Kennedy Center wants to be all things to all people, while signaling a nod to grandeur. Its new Terrace Theater, unveiled this week after a 16-month renovation, manages to carry out this confusing mandate. Where once there was a dizzying descent along sharply raked stairs toward a narrow proscenium, there is now a feeling of spaciousness, with gleaming walls, undulating wood (mimicking the sound waves they reflect), wider aisles and curving balconies swelling from the side walls. "We're 98 percent done," said Deborah Rutter, the Kennedy Center's president, standing in the lobby before the first Fortas Chamber concert in its new home, on Thursday night. How is the new space, with its flexibility a proscenium that can be set up and removed with ease, acoustical curtains behind the paneling that can be drawn to absorb more sound for amplified performances going to affect programming? "It hasn't yet," said Rutter; this season's events were planned while the hall was under construction. "But it will."The prime mandate was "acoustics," says Leora Mirvish, the architect who supervised the Eisenhower Theater renovation in 2008 and now the new Terrace. Whatever its wider uses the opening weekend featured rap and comedy performances its main function remains acoustic music. Jenny Bilfield, president and chief executive of Washington Performing Arts, a frequent renter of the hall, finds that the new Terrace "feels more intimate, elegant, flexible, and has better sightlines and amenities for visitors." That steep descent or ascent to one's seat, though, is still a factor. "We're trying not to be the first casualty in the new Terrace Theater," quipped one woman helping an unsteady man navigate the stairs.Concert halls are reopening all over the place. This weekend, the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian are reopening after an extensive renovation. Its new theater has undergone less a reconfiguration than a facelift, with new carpeting and upholstery, A/V technology, and theatrical lighting. Like the Terrace, the theater is multipurpose; Michael Wilpers, the museums' performing arts programmer, says there are no more than 20 live performances there a year.The Terrace, by contrast, is one of the main small theaters in the city and the Fortas series broke it in lovingly and at considerable length. Patrons got a jolt at the start with two trumpet fanfares (executed with aplomb and agility by Brandon Eubank and Amy McCabe) that demonstrated the hall can be almost too live. The program, called "2-4-6-8," was designed to show the hall in different configurations of instruments, from four-handed piano Joseph Kalichstein and Lisa Emenheiser in enthusiastic Slavonic Dances by Dvorak to the Mendelssohn Octet, with the Emerson and Dover Quartets representing the old and new guards of American chamber music. But the groupings weren't really varied enough no winds, no voices to put the hall fully through its paces, though they added up to almost three hours of energetic music.In general, the space seems more warm and vivid, with a clarity and good sightlines from every corner of the room. It was easy to zero in on the details, from the ping of a broken E string from the Dover's violinist Joel Link in the Brahms G Minor Piano Quartet and the various bobbles of the Emerson's waning violinist Eugene Drucker, sounding a little sour in some romantic passages from Schoenberg's "Verklrte Nacht." None of this mitigated the goodwill in the room, or the impression that the new Terrace Theater remains the Kennedy Center's most pleasant. Washington Performing Arts and the Fortas concerts will jointly present the Sphinx Virtuosi at the Terrace Theater on Sunday afternoon. The Freer and Sackler Galleries are celebrating their reopening with a festival of Asian food and cultures on Saturday and Sunday, including pop-up performances by members of the Silk Road ensemble; there will be one in the new auditorium on Sunday morning.
2021 05 25
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New Apartments in D4, and the Price Is Right From 350,000
The final phase in the popular Fitzwilliam Point apartment development is being launched this week in the south city area at Fitzwilliam Quay in Dublin 4, with substantial price reductions of up to 170,000 per apartment. The units are on view by appointment.Prices are from 350,000 for the two-bedroom apartments (67-78 sqm) reduced from 490,000. There is a one-bed apartment priced at 290,000. The original phase of 85 apartments sold very quickly two years ago.Developer is The Blaney Partnership and the contractor is PJ Walls.Designed by leading architects O'Mahony Pike, the development makes maximum use of natural light. The buildings range from four to five storeys in height and are predominantly comprised of two-bed units in a contemporary style with a very good standard of specification.Fitzwilliam Point is positioned between Fitzwilliam Quay and Fitzwilliam Street in the popular Ringsend Village. There are numerous bus routes stopping close by and the DART stations of Barrow Street and Lansdowne Road are just a short walk away.In recent years there has been a comprehensive regeneration of the south docklands and this has brought new life and activity to the area by day and night.Grand Canal Dock has an abundance of amenities, the highlight being Grand Canal Square, a public plaza designed by Martha Schwartz, which has fountains and public theatrical lighting providing open space for outdoor performances and festivals.The key features of the development are the convenient Dublin 4 location, the central courtyard, the sun balconies, the spacious apartment layouts and very good internal specification and fit-out. The external elevation is impressive.Hooke & MacDonald 01 6318402 are in charge of sales
2021 05 25
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Three Musketeers at Synetic Goes Full Throttle on the Senses
Nearly everything Synetic Theater does could be called Fast and Furious, and the movement-based troupes relentless new The Three Musketeers opens with a tiger pounce as four actors leap out of the darkness toward the audience. Explosive music accompanies the frenzied sword fight; it looks and sounds like a movie trailer for a summer blockbuster.Who are these characters? Doesnt matter. Whirl. Clang. Spin. Punch. Zow! This is how Synetic rolls: The playwright, Ben Cunis (who adapted the famed Alexandre Dumas novel with his brother Peter), not only plays the dashing musketeer Athos, he also does the fight choreography. Thats not vanity. It simply describes the skill set, and the company mind-set. How, they ask, can the story move? Unlike the silent Shakespeare productions (all motion, no speaking) that have won Synetic so much acclaim, Musketeers features plenty of talking, and the Cunis brothers dialogue sometimes manages a kind of cornball charm. Ben Cunis delivers a wry, Kevin Kline-ish performance as the suave but drunken Athos, and Hector Reynosos blustery turn as the plus-sized musketeer Porthos is part of why this light-spirited Musketeers occasionally puts you in mind of The Princess Bride. Director Paata Tsikurishvilis plus-sized production has 16 actors creating crisscrossing mayhem on Synetics Crystal City stage. (Dont even think of going if youre not in the mood for more than two hours of almost manic adventure.) The first swashbuckling act comes off like half-popped popcorn, but you have to giggle at the unapologetic hamminess served up after intermission. If Cunis infectiously enjoys himself as a comic hero, Dan Istrate performs with no less relish as the dastardly, power-grabbing Cardinal Richelieu. The red leather robes and kinky black corset by designer Anastasia R. Simes (who also did the multilevel set thats so ripe for chase scenes) gives Istrate something wicked to live up to, and the actor responds with a creepy turn that pushes the show toward a pulpy edge. But wait theres another villain, and this one dances! Irina Tsikurishvili, as the spidery Milady, tangos with Istrate (Miladys in cahoots with the Cardinal), spins with Cunis (Milady and Athos used to be married long story) and drop-kicks rivals with the aggression of a ticked-off Angelina Jolie. Silly? Yes, but then we havent even come to Robert Bowen Smiths gaudy, low comic vamp as the mincing menace King Louis XIII, resplendent in an all-white, open-collar getup that slightly recalls a latter-day Elvis. None of this is simple, and it rarely looks easy. The actors are in a full sweat mere moments into the show, and while the athleticism is part of what typically impresses with Synetic, so is the discipline. The punches and swordplay are quick, and the tumbling is fearless. Dallas Tolentino is winningly cheerful as the young musketeer-in-training DArtagnan, but the hallmark of his performance and of the show is soaring jumps and nailed landings. The production revs with sensory appeal, from Brittany Dilibertos rock concert lighting design to the sinister/bombastic music by Konstantine Lortkipanidze. This is Synetic at full throttle, although fueled far more by energy than wit. This Musketeers isnt stupid, but its exhausting; while some audiences will be thrilled by the restless propulsion, its fair to wonder if this one-of-a-kind troupe is in danger of getting stuck with its foot on the gas pedal. by Alexandre Dumas. Adapted by Ben and Peter Cunis. Directed by Paata Tsikurishvili. Choreography, Irina Tsikurishvili; sound design, Thomas Sowers. With Matthew Ward, Brittany OGrady, Brynn Tucker, Peter Pereyra, Mitchell Grant, Vato Tsikurishvili, Zana Gankhuyag, Rebecca Hausman, Kathy Gordon and Kathryn Elizabeth Kelly. About 2 1 / 2 hours. Through June 9 at 1800 S. Bell St., Crystal City. Call 800-494-8497 or visit
2021 05 25
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