Things to Do

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Debby Ware's next book, "Baby Beasties," will be published in August.

Looking to improve your knitting skills or try a new project? Don’t miss local knitter extraordinaire Debby Ware’s workshop on baby hat knitting at the West Tisbury library this Sunday, March 29. Ms. Ware began selling her one-of-a-kind knitted baby items when she previously owned Rainy Day and Alley’s General Store, and has since gone on to share her crafts nationwide.

Ms. Ware has been knitting for more than 50 years, and “like most women my age,” she said in an email to The Times, “I was taught by my mother.” With nearly a dozen published books on the subject, Ms. Ware knows a thing or two. Her pattern and knitting-kit business, which features her unique designs, began when her first book, Too Cute, was published in 2002. Her latest book, Holiday Hats for Babies, was released last fall, and her next one, Baby Beasties, features patterns for items inspired by monsters, lions, sharks, and serpents, and will be published in August.

Ms. Ware has been conducting knitting-for-baby workshops all over the country “where I have taught many tricks of the trade that are fun and creative, not only when knitting for babies, but for all knitting projects,” she said in an email to The Times.

“The West Tisbury library asked if I would do a workshop, and I was happy to. Usually my workshops are a long-weekend event, where participants can learn to design and create their own one-of-a-kind creation. This workshop will be only 4 hours, but that will give me plenty of time to show a number of fun and unusual techniques.”

Knitting with Debby Ware, Sunday, March 29, at 1 pm at the West Tisbury library. The supply fee of $20 includes enough DK weight 100% mercerized cotton yarn to create your one-of-a-kind baby hat. Participants need to bring their own needles and other supplies. All welcome; no limit on the number of participants, though participants must know how to knit and how to use circular needles. Please preregister and prepay at the front desk. For additional information, contact the West Tisbury library at 508-693-3366 or Ms. Ware will also be hosting a three-day workshop event in the fall at the Hob Knob Hotel in Edgartown. Her books are available for purchase at

MV Times file photo

Join Tim Boland, executive director at Polly Hill Arboretum, on Saturday, March 28, at the West Tisbury library at 2:30 pm for the first in a four-part series of talks, beginning with “Healing Fragmented Landscapes with Native Plants.” Due to increases in development and landscape alterations, the Island is becoming more and more segmented. How can we use native plants to heal fragmented landscapes? In this talk Mr. Boland will outline more than 30 plants that can add value in your home landscape. The talk is free. For more information, contact 508-693-3366 or


Photo by Angela Prout

On Tuesday, March 24, the Edgartown library will host its second DIY Upcycled Jewelry Workshop with resident trashionista Rachael Convery at 6 pm. Reuse, restyle, repurpose, and chic up your unwanted or unworn jewelry in this free workshop. Rachael will demonstrate basic jewelry-making techniques and assist in helping you create your own pieces. Bring jewelry you would like to restyle, or use the library’s supply of materials. Space is limited, so call library to sign up for this adult program at 774-563-0951, or email Sponsored by Friends of Edgartown Library.


Photo courtesy Facebook

All members of the business community, creative economy, and general public are invited to attend the annual meeting of Arts Martha’s Vineyard on Monday, March 30, from 4:30 to 6 pm at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center. Guest panelists Cathy Edwards of the New England Foundation for the Arts and E. San San Wong of the Barr Foundation will be joining David White, artistic and executive director of The Yard, as moderator, with the theme of supporting today’s artists and making room for artistic risk taking and innovation. Arts Martha’s Vineyard increases awareness of Martha’s Vineyard as a year-round, arts-rich community. Free. For additional information, contact or call 508-693-1850.

MV Times File Photo

This weekend the FARM Institute is helping you get prepared for the upcoming growing season with a workshop on Saturday, March 21, from 9:30 to 11:30 am. Learn how to start your own seeds and plan for your garden. Topics include: planning the garden; choosing varieties; creating a seed plant; soils, pots and getting started; transplanting and hardening off; companion planting; and crop rotation. Admission is $10 per participant, and each participant will go home with four six-packs of seedlings. Preregistration is encouraged; contact 508-627-7007 or

The Peter H. Luce Playreaders bring courtroom drama to the Vineyard Playhouse.

Jurors (Ellie Beth, Mike Adell, Gaston Vadasz, and Nora Nevin) take a vote on who among them finds the defendant guilty. – Photo by Maria Thibodeau

One by one, more than two dozen people walked onstage in front of the audience at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse last Thursday evening. It looked like the theater was about to set the record for the largest cast to ever grace their stage — this time for a performance of Twelve Angry Jurors. However, and as would have been the case with a real-life jury, the majority of the group were excused, leaving just 13 Peter H. Luce Playreaders to take their seats at a long table.

Twelve Angry Jurors is a non-gender-specific version of Twelve Angry Men, the basis of the classic 1957 movie starring Henry Fonda. The adapted version includes parts for women, but none of the dialogue — aside from the appropriate pronouns — was changed from the original.

The show, directed by Leslie J. Stark, represented a first outing at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse for the 20-year-old Peter H. Luce Playreaders, and it was an excellent choice for a staged reading. The drama (which was originally performed as a television play in 1954) requires very few theatrical elements in terms of sets and blocking, and the limited action could be easily executed without the aid of stage directions.

The gripping drama also gave the audience an opportunity to witness the talents of a number of the regular Playreaders. And with the play’s themes of racism, the flaws in our legal system, and the perils of misconceptions and prejudices, it was certainly a timely choice.

The play takes place entirely during the first (and only) day of jury deliberations in a homicide trial. Twelve very different men and women (the 13th role is the bailiff) make up the jury, yet all but one agree on a guilty verdict during the initial vote. The one dissenter then works at trying, not so much to sway the others, as to force them to discuss the evidence and make an informed and just decision in a case with a mandatory death sentence.

Juror 8 (John Brannen) contemplates the evidence.  – Photo by Maria Thibodeau
Juror 8 (John Brannen) contemplates the evidence. – Photo by Maria Thibodeau

It’s a taut, emotional and inspiring story that holds its own against the great cinema courtroom dramas — ones that actually take place in the courtroom and include a cast of more than just a sequestered jury. We get a true backward glance at the trial itself, and an inside look at how a defendant’s fate may hang on the whims and prejudices of a jury of his “peers.”

For many in the audience, this was a first glimpse of what the Peter H. Luce Playreaders have been doing weekly for the past two decades. The group is named after one of the early members, who ran the show for many years, selecting the plays, casting, and directing. Since Mr. Luce’s passing, the group has become more of a democracy, with the various duties shared by the members.

Every Wednesday from 9 am to 12 noon, the Playreaders gather at the Tisbury Senior Center to present a reading. The choices range from Greek tragedies to Shakespeare, to the classics of the theater, to cutting-edge contemporary material.

The Wednesday performances represent the first time that the actors have read the script as a unit, but there’s always a lot of preparation prior to the public reading.

Actor and director Leslie J. Stark and his wife Myra were offered the helm when Mr. Luce passed away many years ago. However, Mr. Stark turned down the position, opting for a more inclusive approach. Every two months, two members are designated as “producers,” and select the themes and appoint directors. The directors pick the plays, do the casting, and research the material so they can offer an informative introduction to the play. The cast has one week to prepare for their roles. After the readings, the group discusses the material.

The readings offer much more than just entertainment. It’s an opportunity for the members to acquaint themselves with a variety of plays and learn more about the theater. “The group’s dynamic is such that the members have become much more knowledgeable,” says Mr. Stark; “they tend to read plays on their own and go the theater — here or off-Island — whenever possible.”

Juror 3 (Mike Adell) feigns stabbing Juror 8 (John Brannen) to prove his point. – Photo by  Maria Thibodeau
Juror 3 (Mike Adell) feigns stabbing Juror 8 (John Brannen) to prove his point. – Photo by Maria Thibodeau

The core members number about 25 in the off-season, increasing to around 35 in the summer. Newcomers are always welcome, either to stop in at any time or to become more involved. “We have an unofficial rule,” says Mr. Stark; “if you come three times, at the end of your third visit someone’s going to hand you a script and offer you a chance to read.”

Among the members are a few professional actors. Mr. Stark himself has a long history working in the theater. Before moving to the Vineyard, he worked full-time as an actor and director in regional, summer stock and off-Broadway productions. On-Island, Mr. Stark is well-known for his involvement with a variety of theater groups, including the Vineyard Playhouse, the Island Theater Workshop (ITW), and Shakespeare for the Masses. By his own estimation, Mr. Stark has performed in, and/or directed, 50 productions on-Island.

Mr. Stark can next be seen in a series of play readings at Pathways at the Chilmark Tavern on Tuesday, March 17. His next outing as director will be with ITW’s Short Play festival at the end of March.

The Playreaders have performed at three of the local libraries, the Featherstone Center for the Arts, the Chilmark Community Center, and the Federated Church of Edgartown. Last week’s performance at the Playhouse was very well received by a captivated audience that filled a majority of the theater.

On Wednesday March 18, the Peter H. Luce Playreaders will kick off a month of Edward Albee plays with two short plays Zoo Story and The Sandbox directed by Myra Stark. Readings are weekly from 9 am to 12 pm noon at the Tilbury Senior Center. All are welcome. Free.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with "The Cornelius," including whiskey, crème de menthe, and whipped cream. —Photo by Gavin Smith

St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching. If you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate the green occasion at home, and you’re up for trying a new recipe, you’re in luck —the luck of the Irish, that is. Sip on “The Cornelius,” a custom cocktail brought to us by Sean Moriarty and Gavin Smith, bartenders at Edgartown’s Rockfish, and named after Sean’s grandfather.

The Cornelius

1 lemon wedge

2-3 mint leaves

dash of honey

dash bitters

1½ oz of Paddy Irish whiskey

whipped cream

crème de menthe


Muddle lemon, mint, honey, and bitters in a glass.

Add whiskey, and shake.

Top with whipped cream and drizzle crème de menthe on top.

Serve in a rocks glass.

A group at the West Tisbury library practiced single rubber-stamp embossing as part of the library's adult crafting program. – Photo by Michael Cummo

“Libraries are increasingly becoming specialized community centers,” said Nelia Decker, children’s librarian of West Tisbury library, “offering classes and events focused on social and intellectual engagement for children and adult patrons alike.” The library’s event calendar reflects this progressive vision, enriching the community through a myriad of activities. This weekend was a prime example, with Family Crafting on Saturday morning, Tween Book-Making in the afternoon, and an adult Rubber-Stamp Workshop offered on Sunday by stamping aficionado and educator Martha Flanders.

“What I love most,” Ms. Flanders said after her Velvet Embossing class earlier this winter, “is to see how, with the same collection of stamps, and the same pieces of velvet, every participant comes up with something unique.” Ms. Flanders, librarian, crafter, and former owner of Good Ideas, a rubber-stamp shop in Vineyard Haven, taught the gentle, yet precise, technique of heat-embossed stamping on velvet in December. After a hiatus from teaching of nearly 10 years, her Velvet Embossing workshop was her first, and clearly her finesse for creative instruction has not faded.

Last Sunday afternoon, Ms. Flanders offered her second class in the series of rubber-stamp arts. Nearly a dozen local crafters gathered in the bright meeting room of the West Tisbury library to work on the simple and relaxing craft of rubber-stamp techniques. The participants practiced single rubber-stamp embossing, heat embossing, using various dyes and pigments for cards, scrapbooking, and memory-book making. Ms. Flanders generously offered her expertise in the entire process, and proved that when one looks for new ways to express creativity, local talent is one of our greatest community assets.

“We hope to offer more adult crafting workshops,” she told the class, “and we are open to suggestions from the community, as well as seeing if there is enough interest to offer more of these types of afternoons.”

To join the crafting mailing list, email the West Tisbury library at, or visit the web site to view upcoming events at

Voters went to the polls at the Chilmark Community Center Wednesday.

Join Slow Food Martha’s Vineyard for their annual Farmers’ Brunch this Sunday, March 15, from 9 am to noon at the Chilmark Community Center. Four speakers, including Eric Glasgow of Grey Barn​, Jan Buhrman of Kitchen Porch, Carol Koury of SowTrue Seed, and Martin Dagoberto of MA Right to Know [what is in your food] will address the topic, “Negotiating the Complexity of GMOs — Sourcing Seeds, Feeds & Foods.” Learn the difference between GMO-free and organic, grass- vs. grain-fed beef and poultry, the real cost of eggs, and the latest on GMO labeling efforts. Menu includes Mermaid Farm yogurt, frittata, sautéed organic greens, waffles, and apple crisp. Tickets are available at and at the door: $10 members, $12 nonmembers.


Join Featherstone on Sunday, March 15, from 4 to 6 pm, for the opening reception for their latest exhibit, one that celebrates everyone’s favorite furniture: “The Chair.” We all have them — they live in our homes, offices, on the porch, and at the beach. So many of us on-Island use repurposed materials and structures to create warm, comfortable spaces. The show will feature how Island artists can find inspiration in the often-overlooked daily object. Reception is free; light refreshments will be served. The gallery will be open daily from noon to 4 pm through Wednesday, April 8. For additional information, contact Featherstone at or 508-693-1850.