standing Westerly Library

Have you had a chance to check out this year’s Shakespeare in the Park, presented by the Colonial Theatre of Westerly? If not, there is still time! This year, they are performing Samuel Beckett’s iconic tragicomedy “Waiting for Godot,” and you can catch it in Wilcox Park on Wednesday through Sunday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. until Aug. 13!

If you’re not familiar with the play, “Waiting for Godot” is quite simple: two men are waiting for a third man who (spoiler alert) never arrives, and they engage in a variety of discussions as they wait. Many, including the artistic director, Marion Markham, have noted that the play is rather fitting today, in the COVID era. Time is an illusion, little seems to actually happen, and we’re all just waiting for the elusive and possibly fictitious “new normal” to arrive. The subtitle of the play refers to it as a “tragicomedy” — a genre that contains elements of both comedy and tragedy — which also sounds a bit like the last two years of life. If you’ve been using humor as a coping mechanism to get through, there are a number of other “tragicomedies” available at the library that may appeal to you.

For a classic, try “The Cherry Orchard” by Anton Chekhov, in which aristocratic Madame Ranevsky returns to her family estate just before it is auctioned off to pay her debts. The “tragic” elements are obvious, but Chekhov swore it was a comedy and a farce, so I guess we should believe him! Another is “The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare, in which a merchant takes out a loan with pretty sinister conditions if he defaults on it (which, of course, he does). If you prefer to become better acclimated with “Waiting for Godot,” we have several copies of it available, as well as the Cliff Notes version for those of you who prefer to go that route!

There are plenty of modern tragicomedies, as well. If you have a great deal of time and patience, you could try David Foster Wallace’s 1996 magnum opus, “Infinite Jest,” an unconventional 1,000-plus-page encyclopedic novel that was inspired (in part) by Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Let me know how it goes ... I never managed to finish it myself. Personally I gravitate toward tragicomedies in the form of movies/TV. If you haven’t already watched it, I highly recommend “Fleabag,” a TV series created and written by (and starring!) Phoebe Waller-Bridge. I also love the 2004 cult classic “Sideways,” a film about two forty-something men who embark on a wine-tasting road trip before one of the men gets married. A few other modern tragicomedies are “Russian Doll” starring Natasha Lyonne, and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” starring George Clooney. Whether you’re laughing or crying, at least you’ll be passing the time.

Top requested books

1. “The Hotel Nantucket” by Elin Hilderbrand

2. “The It Girl” by Ruth Ware

3. “The House Across the Lake” by Riley Sager

4. “The 6:20 Man” by David Baldacci

5. “The Summer Place” by Jennifer Weiner

6. “It Ends with Us” by Colleen Hoover

7. “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus

8. “The Lost Summers of Newport” by Beatriz Williams

9. “Book Lovers” by Emily Henry

10. “Fly Girl” by Ann Hood

Top requested DVDs

1. “The Lost City”

2. “Downton Abbey: A New Era”

3. “The Beatles: Get Back”

4. “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

5. “Memory”

6. “CODA”

7. “The Northman”

8. “The Bad Guys”

9. “Father Stu”

10. “Let Them All Talk”

This week

MONDAY — 10:30-11:30 a.m., Zumba in the Park – A free Zumba class with Yvonne Brown and Tina Pagliusi; 2-2:30 p.m., Toddler Paint Party – Registration through our website is required; 5-5:30 p.m., Paint Party – Best for kids ages 6-12, and registration is required.

TUESDAY — 9-10 a.m., Yoga in the Park with Chelsea Hauck – Join us behind the pond in Wilcox Park for an all levels yoga practice; 10-11 a.m., Parents as Teachers – Join us for activities, interactive songs, games and so much more! For more information, or to register, contact Maria Camarena at mcamarena@westerly.k12.ri.us; 2-3:30 p.m., Virtual Tech Social – We meet on Zoom to address your tech questions. Preregistration is required; 4-5 p.m., Weekly Summer Dungeons and Dragons – A teen-led Dungeons & Dragons campaign! Registration is required; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Knit and Crochet Club – The group meets on the 2nd floor of the library.

WEDNESDAY — 9:30-10:00 a.m., Essentrics Stretch in the Park – Bring a mat, bath towel, and water; 10-10:30 a.m., Summer Family Storytime – A family storytime, geared towards ages birth through 11 years when accompanied by a caregiver; 2-3:30 p.m., Animation Nation – Our exciting LEGO stop-motion movie making program takes place weekly all summer long; 5-7 p.m., Friends at 50 Exhibit | Opening Night – Please join the Friends of Westerly Library and Wilcox Park in the Hoxie Gallery for the opening night of their exhibit, commemorating 50 years of support and contributions. The exhibit can be viewed through the month of August during library hours; 7:30-9:30 p.m., Colonial Theatre in the Park | Waiting for Godot – Tickets are free with registration! This performance runs through Sunday, and again next week.

THURSDAY — 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Friends Pop-up Book Sale – Every Thursday over the summer, the Friends of the Library will host a Pop-up Book Sale on the library esplanade; 4-5 p.m., Teen Cyanotype Print Workshop – We will meet in Teen Space before going outside to create beautiful blue silhouettes using found objects; 5:30-6:30 p.m., Zumba in the Park – Enjoy a free Zumba class in Wilcox Park; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Chess Club – Players of all skill levels are welcome.

FRIDAY — 9-10 a.m., Yoga in the Park with Michael Dotolo – Join us on the back side of the pond; 10-10:30 a.m., Kids Gardening – The seedlings you planted earlier in the summer are big and beautiful! Pick up your flowers today. Registration is required.

SATURDAY — 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Teen Take & Make | Pinhole Camera – Pick up a craft from the teen space! Supplies are limited, one per teen please; 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Kids Take & Make | Sunflower – Pick up a bag of supplies for the Kids room! Supplies are limited, one per child please; 10:30-11:30 a.m., Zumba in the Park – Enjoy a free Zumba class in Wilcox Park.

Cassie Skobrak is the adult services librarian at the Westerly Library & Wilcox Park.

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