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Review: Stan Shake’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’

The Stanford Shakespeare Company traditionally stages its spring show outdoors, in scenic and visually interesting parts of campus. This year is no exception: The group mounts “Romeo and Juliet” in a small, sunken amphitheatre on the Engineering Quad, with a large tree bathed in violet lights as the centerpiece of the stage. The setting is intimate — the first ring of stone benches is level with the actors — and the players enter and exit from behind the audience.

Vienna Teng, Stanford renaissance woman

A decade ago, Vienna Teng was a Stanford computer science major. She was set to work at Cisco upon graduating and played her songs on dorm pianos for her friends, just for fun. Since then, she’s toured around the world, appeared on Letterman and had multiple albums hit the Amazon bestseller list. In what is undoubtedly an unconventional career move for a successful musician, Teng is currently attending graduate school at the Erb Institute of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan; meanwhile, she’s still writing music and playing the occasional concert, including a performance at TEDxStanford this Saturday. Intermission was fortunate enough to catch up with her and ask a few questions before the show.

Book Critiqua: ‘Space Chronicles’

The astrophysicist and prolific science writer Neil deGrasse Tyson, popularly hailed as the intellectual heir of the late Carl Sagan, has recently published a collection of essays and interviews, entitled “Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier” (W. W. Norton, Feb. 2012). In a style reminiscent of the bestselling “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman,” “Space Chronicles” discusses such varied topics as the history and future of space exploration, the state of science education in the United States and the continued relevance of NASA in today’s political discourse.

Book Critiqua: ‘Daughter’ lacks flourish

In her new release, “The Baker’s Daughter”, Sarah McCoy weaves together the stories of two very different women who, in attempting to outrun their pasts, end up in El Paso, Texas. Reba Adams is a lonely journalist whose latest assignment, a Christmas feature, leads her to Elsie’s German bakery. In researching her piece, she finds a kindred spirit in the proprietress, Elsie Schmidt, whose story began six decades previous in Germany as a teenaged girl under the oppressive rule of the Third Reich.