Dianne WiestšŸŽ­ as 'Ember' in Easter

Acclaimed and award-winning actress, Dianne Wiest, will play District Attorney Emerita Ember Libitina in my opera, Easter™.

Actress Dianne Wiest will play Ember in the opera, Easter.

In the storyline, Ember Libitina is a hold-over from the Frank Rizzo era in Philadelphia; a direct characterization of District Attorney Lynn Abraham (after whom she was modeled). Now in her eighth decade of life, she sees this special election in which she is running as the culmination of all of her works and possibly her last chance at holding office. It's a credible longshot, but being the Mayor of Philadelphia would cap the efforts of a distinguished legal career and satisfy her public ambition. Ember seeks to re-assert the 'natural order of things' throughout and around the town. Her campaign is based on adjectives such as reform, gentrification, safety, and progress. She is definitely "in it to win it".

"Ultimately, strength prevails. -- There is no balance of power. Equality is just a stranger's myth." - Ember

In real life, Abraham is/was known as a deadly prosecutor who regularly sought the death penalty for those convicted. Even though on paper, she was a liberal democrat (having voted for Barack Obama), her stat sheet reads that her heart is actually rather conservative.

Frank Rizzo's tenure as both Chief of Police first and then mayor, was marked as being full of strife and animosity towards Philly's African-American demographic. It may be difficult to gauge his impact today considering the national political climate after the Obama presidency and so forth, but he remains a towering figure that may have set a precendent on how to 'handle' crime and criminals in large American cities.

I actually couldn't tell this story without Ember. One, the incumbent mayor, Curran, needs a worthy challenger in the runoff election that's taking place, and two, in order to keep things from spiraling out-of-control, Maundy's overbearing authority has to be challenged by an adversary from the political sphere. It just does. This situation (the distribution of Mr. Alphabet's intra-city investment) lends itself perfectly to a winner-takes-all 'Battle for Philadelphia' that nobody can actually win. The ever-so-sharp Ember shows us that people's migrant behavior is recycled from patterns of economic health [ie. roughly every two (2) decades or every other generation, the wealthier class relocates back into the city for jobs+employment before saving their money and moving to the suburbs]. This is an important note and plot point, as we see that residential stagnation is a detriment and impossibility where there exists youth.

"I've lived a long, normal life. Like you, I used to be overwhelmed with sadness when people died. Stay in law enforcement long enough, and we all come to the same satisfying conclusion: criminals make it easy to see that not everyone wants or deserves to live." - Ember Libitina

To get this point across, a small sample of actors were considered, but Ms. Wiest made the cut based on her work in Little Man Tate. I love how she (as Jane Grierson) switched it up in that, going from kind psychologist, to fierce and controlling headmaster in such a short frame. That's pretty much what happens here; given enough time and resources, we see that the true nature of the beast is to rule. Wiest also had mentioned* in past interviews that she wanted to assume more aggressive roles where she perhaps played a cruel woman, not unlike roles that went to Glenn Close. Now, as Ember Libitina opposite Close's Maundy, she'll get that chance.Exact quote: "I'd like to play a real cold, mean mass murderer. Some cruel, hard-bitten women, like the roles Glenn Close gets, just to show that I am capable of not being vulnerable and not being fragile on screen."