Vulcan’s Peak

Archive for the 'theater' category

“A More Perfect Union” …and other links

March 21, 2008 7:44 pm

I’ve finally gotten a chance to take a good look at Obama’s speech about race that has been in the news since Tuesday. I’m very impressed.

Watch it here: the Tube of You.
Or read it here: the NY Times.

Or hear the puppets from Avenue Q deliver the same message (well, roughly, with added cheese!). I did get to go see Avenue Q on Tuesday — the house was packed, and it was huge fun. Knowing the soundtrack meant that I knew about 75% of the show, but it’s still funny and watching the puppets is a lot of fun. See? (YouTube again.)

Moving back to the campaign for a moment, I’ve been amused by these for the last few weeks: The original Obama version and the parody, a McCain version.

As long as we’re wandering around, let’s add the 10 Most Historically Inaccurate Movies. Ending with…2001??? Heh. Am also amused that Mel Gibson makes up almost a third of the list. Though of course some of these are really good movies (but I’ll never understand the appeal of 2001. Sorry, Sir Arthur. Be at peace).

To end on a totally random note, here are two photos that aren’t mine:
Everyone is Irish. No, really. Everyone. (I was not at this parade, but this is hilarious.)
And I just love the angle on this one. You can picture me here…all the time.

Romeo, Juliet, and Benvatio

March 1, 2008 7:39 pm

The Boston Ballet has been doing Romeo & Juliet since Valentine’s Day (Yes. Gag.), and despite my sometime aversion to the play, I really wanted to see it, so my roommate and I went this afternoon. Though we had some nitpicks (because of costuming choices, it took us a while to distinguish between Romeo, Benvolio, and Mercutio; also, at the end, Romeo stabbed himself rather than taking poison), on the whole, we really enjoyed it! I love the music.

As we walked to the subway afterwards, C. admitted to sometimes confusing Benvolio and Horatio (from Hamlet). In the end, we decided that they might be the same person. Out of grief, Benvolio left Verona, changed his name, and enrolled in the university at Wittenberg, where he met Hamlet. After all, isn’t Horatio a very Italian-sounding name for the northern-Europe world of Hamlet?

I think he might have become King Lear’s Fool in later life.

Now, for something completely different.

January 16, 2008 11:56 pm

Spamalot! So much fun.

The strength and challenge of this show is that it is so closely based on the cult-favorite film. The very mention of swallows and the first hint of a French accent got huge laughs long before a punchline was even suggested. But though some scenes are almost verbatim from Holy Grail, the story has been slightly restructured so that it can be a musical! (jazz hands!) Scenes from the movie that feature Random Person #53 become scenes about the knights — Lancelot and Robin are in the “bring out yer dead” scene (and then go off to enlist as Arthur’s knights), and the “help, help I’m being oppressed” peasant is transformed by the Lady of the Lake into Sir Galahad.

The Lady of the Lake turns out to be (A) everywhere, (B) Guinevere, and (C) a huge ham! Most of her songs are very meta-theatrical — she has three versions of “The Song That Goes Like This,” in which she explains that it is time for the lover’s duet that ends with a kiss or the torchy ballad or what have you. And naturally she marries Arthur at the end to fulfill that box on the formula checklist (no ambiguous semi-ending this time!)

Of course the Camelot dance sequence is still there, but much bigger! …And Camelot is basically Vegas. Best use of coconuts: Arthur joins a row of tap-dancing knights, but instead of dancing, he just sticks out a foot and Patsy does the taps! Clever.

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Weekend with the Pug

October 11, 2007 12:13 am

My boy was here for the weekend!

I took him to a poetry reading his first evening here. The readings are a regular thing, and the graduate students from both the publishing program that I’m in and the more traditional MFA program can sign up to read for about fifteen minutes. It’s held at the school, and the audience is mostly made up of the same pool of grad students. Anyway, I’d let myself be talked into being one of the readers for that night. It went really well! There were maybe fewer people than there might have been because of some subway problems that evening, but there was still a decent crowd, including a bunch of my poetry and publishing classmates to introduce Pug to. I read five or six poems, and the audience was appreciative.

The other big event was that we went to see Wicked on Sunday night! It’s a great spectacle show with a few especially hummable tunes, and we really enjoyed it! Compared to the book, the show restructures the plot entirely (and twists the ending to make it much lighter), but in general it does manage to stay true to the characters.

And of course in between, we had a great time wandering around the city, hanging out with my roommate and her boyfriend and being out usual silly selves.

On the job front, I’ve heard a resounding silence from one place, but the medical journal had me go out to their corporate office and interview with HR last Thursday. So now they’re doing background check-y sorts of things, ferreting out the deep dark secrets in my past… Right. Last I heard, the process is going smoothly — and I actually got a pleasant note from one of my references after they called him.

Another happy: my roommate and I decorated for Halloween this evening. Life is good.

Because Liz told me to. With good reason, too.

September 26, 2007 1:24 am

Wait. I last posted when, now? Really? Wow.

Well, when last heard from, I was with the family, nose deep in Harry Potter. Since then, I’m back in the city, back in school, and on the hunt for the elusive full-time job.

In the last month, I’ve interviewed for four positions, and the first two have already given me the “thanks, but no thanks.” The other two were both last week, so I’m waiting to hear back from those. One is a company that publishes books on religion (especially Buddhism and Hinduism), Eastern philosophies and also some fiction, poetry, and history. I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at the other one (a very well-respected medical journal), but I’m especially excited about the first one.

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LotR dancing across the London stage

August 21, 2007 12:00 am

If you’ve been watching Slashdot more closely than I have, you might have noticed this blurb. Or this one. Or even this one.

I didn’t, though, so I only just tonight ran across the home page for London’s musical theater production of Lord of the Rings.

It looks amazing in terms of production design and pure spectacle, and the video clips are worth a gawk or two. I have to wonder, though, how LotR is being staged without turning into a nine hour production, a la Wagner.

(Not an inappropriate comparison, come to think of it. In fact, a Slashdotter notes, “Just watch, LOTR, the musical, will be released in Germany under the title ‘Das Rheingold’. I think most of the adaptation work has been done on the German version by some guy named Wagner.”)

From what you can hear on the show’s website, though, I’m not sold on the music. I’m too much in love with Howard Shore’s soundtracks for the LotR movies, and this music is a re-imagining more along the lines of Le Miz or Wicked. And I like the music from those shows, but each of them has a very different atmosphere from what I associate with LotR. There’s a clash of styles.

…but if I were in London right now, I’d go anyway. See the note on the show’s page that says it looks great from the 15 pound seats way up in the balcony? That would be me.

(Actually, I think LotR is currently in the theater where I saw The Producers. Which was awesome from the balcony.)

Actor sighting

May 10, 2007 12:24 am

People who have no interest in the RSC and the BBC should probably not bother with this post unless they just want to hear me blather.

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Teddy bear. Hot air balloon.

December 8, 2006 12:58 am

Yes, those were the highlights of my night at the Boston Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. There was a dancing teddy bear and Clara flew out in a hot air balloon!

I almost had tall-person-in-front-of-me problems, but the seat next to me was empty, so I helped myself and had a great view! There was one back corner I couldn’t see because I was so far to the side, but that’s what I paid for and my gamble was good.

From a technical standpoint, the highlight of the show was the hot air balloon that took Clara and Drosselmeier to and from the Land of Sweets — the Opera House is big, ornate, and gorgeous, so it was neat that they were able to use the verticality of the stage to fly in a balloon! (Well, not a real balloon, per se, but a big cut-out balloon shape with a basket beneath it.)

Having realio, trulio little boys in the party scene was nice. They didn’t have to wear caps! Mother Ginger’s “little boys” still had their hair tucked into their hats, though.

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Local Shakespeare: free & outdoors

May 29, 2006 12:05 am

Tonight I made one of those “why did I figure this out right before I leave town?” discoveries. Event of the evening was the Upstate Shakespeare Festival‘s production of Macbeth.

They perform in an amphitheatre (there’s that word again…once again, we really mean “outdoor theatre”) in a gorgeous park right on the Reedy River in downtown Greenville. The weather was great tonight, so the setting was a huge plus. And as the title suggests, the price was pretty sweet, too, though it’s considered polite to offer a donation.

The show itself was well done — in general, Greenville seems to do very well by the arts for a city of its size. Though definately amateur actors, by and large, they were good amateur actors. (I don’t mean to sound snobby when I say that. Keep in mind that the other Macbeths I’ve seen have been a the ASF and the RSC; I would love to be in this sort of production at some point.)

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Not dead yet!

May 21, 2006 12:10 am

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

Reports of my graduation are still premature. (I have three more days of class. I get my piece of paper on June 3.)

So hello again! Carmen can stop frothing (geez, get a rabies shot!) and perhaps my rabid fans will be appeased.

Charlie Brown went off pretty well. Out first performance was out in the amphitheatre as planned — the forecast had been scaring us all week, but the only possible back-up location was already booked that first night. But the show went on! In fact, it did drizzle a little during the first act, but it cleared up after five or ten minutes and then it was lovely. Miraculously, the crowd didn’t leave!

Since we did have McAlister reserved for Friday and Saturday, we went ahead and moved to the auditorium Friday afternoon — and it did rain off and on all weekend, so we were glad we did. The show went better inside anyway (depite the fact that we were thoroughly turned around at first), so that was good. And there it was, my exit from Pauper Players. Sort of…I had set up a couple of video cameras during the last show, so I’ve been editing and burning copies of the video ever since. Finally got the last of those done this afternoon.

I also sang with Furman’s oratorio chorus (basically all the choruses combine to do a major work at Christmas and again in May) for the last time. I hadn’t been in women’s chorale since sophomore year (partly time constraints, partly personalities), so it was fun to be in a big chorus again. The performance was the day Pug arrived up here after his exams, so he got to come!

It was great fun to have my boy up here for a week, and he insists that he had a good time, despite the fact that he had to entertain himself while I went to class, worked at the CCLC, and wrote a research paper. I guess I even believe him, since after all I had a lovely time, despite going to class, working, and writing a research paper…

Some Linkages:

The Plains of Abraham: There is a Canadian classicist whose specialty is the performance aspect of Homeric poetry. So what does he do but write his own epic in the Homeric style about an event in Canadian history. And he goes around and performs it! He came to Furman the week between Charlie Brown and the oratorio — really cool!

NY Times on Da Vinci: Whatever you think about The Da Vinci Code, book or movie, check out this movie review from the New York Times. Harsh — but very funny! I thought the book was a good read and want to see the movie sooner or later, but it might wait for video. We shall see.

Speaking of movies, the group that brings films to Furman has been doing well this spring after performing way sub par for most of the year — they spent about two months advertising Saw 2 this winter. Ewww!! But now I’ve seen nearly everything I kinda wanted to see over Christmas but didn’t get around to:
Pride & Prejudice: pretty good; worth seeing for cheap; hated the final scene they wrote in.
Brokeback Mountain: I like it. And I think it’s really cool that they can make a tasteful movie about gay cowboys. Really cool.
The Producers: good funny! Though some scenes feel constrained, as though the blocking was pulled straight from the stage version and the camera angle is too narrow.
Good Night and Good Luck: I love black and white. Required viewing for anyone who thinks the Constitution is being trampled on. It doesn’t actively draw parallels between McCarthy and anything modern, but its very presence suggests them. Possibly just me. Also really neat to see the movie and then see a clip of the real 1950’s newscaster who is the main character of the film.

Those of you who remember a certain tenth grade English project may be amused to know that my Shakespeare class is doing something very similar! This time, though, we have to stick to the plot as given, though we may pull from multiple scene or overlay bits to make a point, provided that the point is substantiated by the text in the first place. My group is doing Richard III, a play I didn’t know much about until a few weeks ago. (However, now I can tell you if you don’t already know that the film of Richard III from about ten years ago starring Ian McKellen is phenomenal and you should all see it. So creepy!!) Anyway, I was experimenting with costume bits for this, and then I started playing with my camera and the mirror…ending up with this, which is kind of fun…
Odette casts magic missile.