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December 10, 2016
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The time machine

The River Reporter offered visitors to Pumpkin Fest in Barryville the chance to appear in the Upper Delaware River Valley’s version of “American Gothic.”
Photos by Jonathan Fox

There is nothing quite like first love, and my nursery school valentine, Judith, emerged from the shadows (via Facebook) years ago. We have stayed in contact ever since. Although we had not seen each other in more than 40 years, it’s been fun to catch up, see pics of the kids and discover that our dogs ( have Facebook pages of their own. Back then, she was “Judy” and I was “that Jon Fox,” and although much has evolved in our lives, as it turns out, some things never change. When Judith informed that she would be in Big Indian, NY ( for a family wedding, we set about figuring out the logistics of getting together while she was visiting the Catskills. Excited at the prospect, I was unsure that I could do it, since my dance card was full (as usual) with events to attend all across the Upper Delaware Valley. As my mind reeled with memories of Judith, elementary school and puppy love, I pulled into the lot at CAS ( and immersed myself in the world of legendary artist Mark Rothko, courtesy of Liberty Free Theatre’s Paul Austin, CAS’s Bradley Diuguid and their reading of the play “Red,” which focuses on a year in the life of a complicated, egomaniacal and influential man whose abstract expressionistic paintings sparked controversy and set the art world on its ear. Austin ( and Diuguid brought the play vividly to life, without sets, costumes, or props, simply by their strong acting skills, and I was impressed. I’m not a fan of Rothko himself and his paintings never moved me, but the story of his life and relationship with his assistant (played by Diuguid) was (IMHO) riveting theatre, and I plan to revisit his work now that I know more about his past. In the near future (October 26) others will have the opportunity to experience “Red” at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance ( in Narrowsburg, NY and demand has been high (two encore performances) for this theatrical experience, so reservations are highly recommended.