Michael Corrigan

Michael Corrigan

Michael Corrigan

As cases of the coronavirus rise and Dr. Anthony Fauci warns Americans to avoid crowds or wear a mask if we must be in a crowd, the country shows signs of reopening. That feeling of limbo, however, remains; we are in the middle of a pandemic crisis and yet, maybe the real crisis has passed, as our president suggests. I prefer to face a pending disaster head-on or have a secure peace to carry out normal business rather than waiting for that other “shoe to drop,” to coin a phrase. The governor may shut down Southeastern Idaho if cases continue to rise, though we are clear, for now.

Locally, Revive@5 will open on July 1, though the band hasn’t been announced yet. I have missed this summer concert series.

At Westside Players, they are opening Lanford Wilson’s romantic comedy, "Talley’s Folly," which got the Pulitzer Prize in 1980. The play is a long one-act with no intermission and takes place in a boathouse on the Talley farm in Missouri on July 4, 1944. The play also uses direct address to the audience, much like "Our Town."

The theatre will have strict social distancing and CDC guidelines in place.

The plot is simple: "Talley's Folly" depicts one night in the lives of two unlikely sweethearts, Matt Friedman and Sally Talley. While on vacation in Lebanon, Missouri, the previous summer, Matt met Sally and has sent her a letter every day since. Though Sally’s single reply gave him no hope for romantic encouragement, he has returned to ask her to marry him.

At Westside, this two-character play will feature the husband-and-wife team of Ted and Trina Bonman. It promises to be a great vehicle for these two talented actors. It is directed by Jackie Czerepinski and opens on July 10.

I hope it opens, and like your favorite masked man, I will do a review if it does, but that virus is lurking everywhere.

Recently, a friend who regularly attends theatre and concerts — rock and classical — said, “I didn’t survive two wars, Vietnam and Desert Storm, to die of a virus while attending a public event.”

He has a valid point. It is also true that we can’t quarantine in place forever. If bleach isn’t a reasonable treatment, a vaccine for the coronavirus is promised by the beginning of next year.

I have some suggestions for those who continue staying at home.

Tana French’s six-book series, "Dublin Murder Squad," is a superb collection of murder mysteries set in Ireland, each book with strong characters and complex plots. French, a former actress, casts her detectives like the director of a repertory theater: a minor detective in one book is the main detective in the next. French is a brilliant writer, far superior to most writers of genre crime fiction. I would suggest one reads them in order though the novels are self-contained. Don’t read these suggestive novels at night without the lights on.

Bob Dylan’s new album, "Rough and Rowdy Ways," may be listed eventually with "Blood on the Tracks" from 1975 as an album to take if one is joining a colony on Mars. It is brilliant and evocative, with Dylan’s combination of singing and speaking expressive and compelling. It is a rich portrait of Bob Dylan’s America, an artistic musical achievement not unlike what Walt Whitman did with "Leaves of Grass." One song, “Murder Most Foul,” has already been reviewed. Another song, “Mother of the Muses,” has Dylan confronting his — and our — mortality. This ballad has a Shakespearean feel and is heartbreakingly beautiful.

Whether you stay indoors or attend public events, enjoy and be careful.

Michael Corrigan of Pocatello is a San Francisco native and a retired Idaho State University English and speech communication instructor. He studied screenwriting at the American Film Institute and has authored seven books, many about the Irish American experience.