Stephen Evans

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Stephen is a playwright and author of The Marriage of True Minds and A Transcendental Journey.

The Angel behind the Window

There is a legend that, when Michelangelo was carving a sculpture of an angel for the Basilica of San Domenico, a small boy asked what he was doing. The artist replied that he saw the angel in the marble and carved till he set him free.

I say legend because I can't find a source for the quote. Though in a letter to fellow Florentine Bennedetto Varchi, Michelangelo explained that the sculptor works by removing what is superfluous. Not as poetic but a similar thought. 

I am working on a new play now, and for me, the dynamic seems slightly different (not that that surprises me). I think of the work, the angel, hidden behind a window covered with ice. Some parts of the ice are thicker than others. In the beginning, nearly all is obscured. I don't have the vision of a Michelangelo. But I can still see through the blurry frame that something interesting might be there. 

As I write, I chip away at the ice. Each draft, a little bit of the ice falls away and a bit more of the work shows through.Though sometimes, when I chip at the ice on one part, another part freezes over again. Other times, what I think is ice is just my breath fogging the cold window. It can be very frustrating. And I never eliminate all the ice and get to see the work as it should be. 

But I keep trying. I know the angel is there behind the window, waiting to be revealed. 

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
What a lovely post. I wish you look in uncovering and discovering your angel.
Saturday, 30 July 2016 20:10
Stephen Evans
Thank you - it tends to be a long process for me but here's hoping!
Sunday, 31 July 2016 00:54
Rosy Cole
This may not be helpful - I'm not a playwright and we all have our own ways of working - but I find it gives clarity and focus to ... Read More
Sunday, 31 July 2016 23:38
867 Hits


Some months ago I took a job with a fairly long commute, about an hour each way. In the morning on the way in to work, I listen to the news (and the traffic reports). In the evening, I turn on WETA – 90.9 FM - the publicly supported classical music station in Washington DC.

I have enjoyed classical music since high school, when my amazing choir teacher Henry  Benedict introduced us to English madrigals, Bach motets, and Palestrina Masses (I wonder how often current students have this opportunity). From there I went on to studying voice and giving the occasional classical recital between more frequent ventures into musical theater. But until my job change, most of my recent forays into classical music were occasional late night explorations of YouTube (a musical treasure trove).

It’s a little different listening to classical music on the radio. The programming consists of drive-time selections (though I have not figured out the selection process), nothing too long, or too bizarre, well-known classical pieces from the 18th and 19th century, heavy one the B’s (Bach, Brahms, Beethoven), interspersed with some well-chosen earlier and later works from Byrd to Bernstein.  And though I am pretty familiar with some of the works, hearing them one after another, day after day, has been enlightening.

I have been struck by a few recent realizations. I am amazed at the extraordinary number of talented musicians from all parts of the world, the brilliant composers I have never heard of, the seemingly inexhaustible variety of composition and tonality.

But over and above the things, I am conscious of how lucky we are to have these works available everyday everywhere.  Three hundred years ago these experiences were reserved for kings and princes (except those you could hear in church). Two hundred years ago, it was usually the wealthy who could afford such performances. One hundred years ago, recordings were few and far between.

But now – who could count the number and variety of performances available in the air and online? Well, maybe Google – there are as I write 220,000,000 hits for the words musical performance. 

When the aliens come back and attempt to determine our greatest achievement as a species, I think music, specifically classical music, may be at the top of the human hit parade. 

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
The aliens are already here! They're running for President! Enough said. (Angels are privy to the Music of the Spheres so they'll ... Read More
Wednesday, 20 July 2016 20:16
Stephen Evans
It really has been a different experience hearing it on the radio. I do like the idea of musical evenings, as long as someone else... Read More
Thursday, 21 July 2016 03:34
Katherine Gregor
Good to see you back! I LOVE the radio! I listen a lot to BBC Radio3, Classic FM when they have the "Full Works" evening concerts... Read More
Thursday, 21 July 2016 13:45
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The Question of the Times

To me, however, the question of the times resolved itself into a practical question of the conduct of life. How shall I live? We are incompetent to solve the times. Our geometry cannot span the huge orbits of the prevailing ideas, behold their return, and reconcile their opposition. We can only obey our own polarity. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Conduct of Life

489 Hits


I have written here before about the resilience of the rose bush behind my apartment ( But between the deer last year and the late freezes this year, I think the rose bush has finally met its match. As you can guess, I am sad about it.

There is an azalea bush next to the rose bush, and, if I recall rightly (always a question these days), it was planted for my mother by my brother Michael nearly fifteen years ago, not long after they moved in here. In all those years to my knowledge it never bloomed. I am no gardener, but I often wondered if it wasn't getting enough sun, or rain. But maybe it was just waiting for the right moment.

Both Mike and Mom are gone now, but I hope they are watching from heaven, because their azalea has bloomed for the first time, two beautiful pink blossoms. I guess you never know what is going to bloom. Or when.

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
As Thomas Gray says in Elegy written in a Country Churchyard (one of my Dad's favourite poems) Full many a flower is born to blu... Read More
Wednesday, 08 June 2016 15:31
Stephen Evans
If obscurity is the measure then I feel quite distinctive ... Read More
Thursday, 09 June 2016 15:05
Ken Hartke
I can't grow azaleas -- they die in a matter of days. I can probably kill my neighbor's azaleas just by my presence nearby. Mayb... Read More
Wednesday, 08 June 2016 20:43
592 Hits

Latest Comments

Stephen Evans Flipping the Omelet
18 January 2018
This is the whole of my philosophy. Via con huevos.
Rosy Cole Flipping the Omelet
18 January 2018
And does this in-depth advice also apply to pancakes? Will it preclude adherence to the overhead lig...
Stephen Evans Going to the Dickens
14 January 2018
Thank you! That sounds just my style
Katherine Gregor Going to the Dickens
14 January 2018
I haven't yet been able to read a Dickens novel in ful (shame on me).May I recommend a wonderful New...
Katherine Gregor Four Wishes
14 January 2018
Amen to this.

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