neadods: (theater)
I've said before that as funny as I find Noises Off, The Play That Goes Wrong is funnier.

Here's almost 10 minutes of why I think that: http://www.sunnyskyz.com/happy-videos/3576/These-Performers-Forget-Their-Lines-And-Keep-Messing-Up-On-Purpose-The-Result-Is-Hilarious-#8H3ofzYiy48HYJVq.01
neadods: (sherdoc)
There's a music video of my hands-down favorite song from Something Rotten: Hard to be the Bard.

Watch for the lyrics or for Christian Borle wearing little more above the waist than a neck ruff. I'm not judging.
neadods: (theater)
Well, not ALL the references, but all of the homages in the showstopper "A Musical." Dozens of times I've listened to this and I've still missed several.

Or just watch the nanosecond of Shakespeare wiggling his black leather codpiece. I'm not judging.
neadods: (sherdoc)
From the Something Rotten CD liner notes (which I bought walking into the place, because hello, they had me at "Original Broadway soundtrack") "Never forget: Shakes wasn't above a dick joke." And indeed, the lusty hand of the clock is now upon the prick of noon. (Romeo and Juliet)

A short fic rec for a long fic, as I would have done that were I doing a weekly wrapup: The Gilded Cage by Beautifulfiction. Unfortunately, the moment I say "Johnlock omegaverse casefic" most of you will stop reading before you see "casefic" and that's a pity because the main drive of the story isn't about sex at all; it's the ramifications of a society where omegas are (in theory) pampered harem members and (in reality) sex slaves. What happens when an omega tries to regain agency and autonomy in a world where they are biologically tied as property to an owner and manumission isn't even a word?

Apparently this is the topic of the latest 3 Patch Podcast too (the fic, not slavery per se) but I haven't listened to it.
neadods: (theater)
Holy crap, Something Rotten is one of the best shows I've seen in my entire life. Take Shakespeare and every musical of the last 50 years, throw them in a blender, and add some brilliant actors and watch them compete for Tonys.

It's the new A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, tone-wise (language wise, it's a definite R; there's a fair amount of swearing.)

And oh, my god, the homages. The Tony award number was only the start of it (and THAT had been cut down a little for the Tonys, too, leaving out Jesus Christ Superstar, Drowsy Chaperone, and Pippin.) I'll need to see it three times just to catch them all; the reaction to "raindrops on Rosencrantz" wiped out the next two lines, for example.

The plot is basically that the Bottom brothers need a hit but Shakespeare is getting all the love and attention and funding (and girls). Christian Borle reminded me of a young Tim Curry; he had such personal magnetism that I'm half surprised the cast didn't stick to him. (Borle himself was obviously aiming for Mick Jagger and hit the target dead center.) In desperation, Nick Bottom goes to Nostramdamus to find out the future of theater. The answer? "Musicals!"

Raindrops on Rosencrantz is the least of what happens next.

The scene that lingers longest, though, is the one where Shakespeare throws a private party for his fans. Watching someone in a black pleather codpiece grind to "Now is the winter of our discontent" is both hilarious and permanently life-scarring.
neadods: (theater)
The Stratford (Ont) theater festival guide arrived yesterday, and for all I was "meh" when someone told me what the plays were last year, now that I know details I'm all "There are five I am GOING TO SEE. Nonnegotiable."

1) Taming of the Shrew. While I honestly don't think any Shew could EVER top the Gregory Doran RSC version that I saw in 2003, the only person who could is the director of last year's amazing gender-bent Midsummer Night's Dream -- and that's who's doing this year's Shrew. Chris Abraham is now a "must fan stalk watch" for me.

2) The Adventures of Pericles. It's being directed by Scott Wentworth, whom I've fangirled over for close to 20 years now. 'Nuf said. I haven't seen a show he's directed in quite some time; it will be interesting to compare it to the earlier work I remember. (His minimalist Christmas Carol was quite something; the stage was awash in fake snow and characters would pull the small props they needed out of it.)

3) The Physicists. The murder mystery plot (which, according to the guidebook "inhabits a space somewhere between Agatha Christie and Tom Stoppard") sounds interesting, but to be honest, I stopped reading after "Seana McKenna, Geraint Wynn Davies, Graham Abbey" because it doesn't matter what comes after that really. "...read the phone book." "...read graffiti off the lavatory wall." "... recite the Bentley's menu."

4) She Stoops to Conquer. Because I like Restoration-style comedy.

5) The Alchemist, because Scott Wentworth is in it. (See #2).

Now I have to find a time to see them that won't use up too much of my vacation, conflict with Gridlock DC, or suck up all my money before the JASNA meeting in October. (Yes, I have first world problems.)
neadods: (theater)
Last night I saw the most uproarious, hilarious, unique version of Midsummer Night's Dream I've ever seen - and I'd only gone because I'd been offered a free ticket and Scott Wentworth was in it!

There were white bouquets on the ends of the aisles, as the conceit was that we were all members of a wedding party watching the entertainment, presented modern times in modern dress. That it turned out to be an interracial gay wedding was the first warning that all the rules were off. As the play went on, Lysander was played by a woman, "Thisbee" was played by a bald man with a foot-long beard, and when the drag queen of the fairies showed up, 5 people in my row walked out.

And just because gender wasn't the only assumption subverted, Egeus was presented as deaf, all his lines signed and all the other actors signing to him (except Theseus-Scott, who made sure to face him closely at all times for lip reading.)

The modern dress, gender twisting, and general hilarity led to changes in the text. Demetrius added a furious "Jeeze!"to the end of his speech to Helena about leaving him alone. "Thisbee" stopped the line at "I have a beard." Puck, presented with a Hermia comfortably ensconced in a pup tent, said "she doth NOT lie on the dank ground..." A drunken Hippolyta turned her line to "I was with Hercules... Literally." (Later, even drunker, she would call to "Let them bring Frisbee forth.") Titantia's song turned into "woodbine, eglantine, you and me all the time..." The abrupt end of the dance at the end was explained by Theseus as "I have neighbors." And the moment when Oberon confronted Puck with (her? Not sure if they were presenting trans or woman in trousers) mistake about juicing the wrong person turned into this dialog (paraphrased, I don't have the text and they did use the original words):

"You said I would know the man by his Athenian weeds!”
"The MAN by HIS..."

Musical selections included Bizarre Love Triangle after the scene where the lovers' dilemma was first presented and Bad Moon Rising for the "ill met" scene.

The fairies tap danced, one of the Rude Mechanicals pulled out a smart phone to check if the moon would shine (the audience laughed at that, but roared and applauded when Quince -- played by Lally Cadeau -- found the answer faster in a printed almanac.) Bottom's suicide as Pyramis was accomplished via light saber -- which he pulled back towards him by the blade to turn off as he died. (Thisbee turned it off on the withdrawal from under his arm, winking at the audience)

There was a lot of character dropping. "I have more lines!" Demetrius wailed as he was swarmed by child fairies. "Stop making me laugh," Oberon finally ordered a grinning Demetrius, who has contorted himself into a ridiculous position to get de-juiced. (This after he'd noticed how stressful the position was, mimed looking at his watch, and moved a bit upstage to see how long it could be held.)

They did not double roles. For a Scott Wentworth fan, that meant less of him, but it meant Jonathan Goad had far more time to chew the scenery with panache. (Goad and Evan Builing switch between Oberon and Titania.) not that there was much left to chew when Mike Shara (Demetrius) and Stephen Ouimette (Bottom) were chewing madly as well.

And if there wasn't riot enough, Goad took the ALS ice bucket challenge, in character, center stage, during the intermission. He gave a speech about how, due to the stage and his costume (the wings had been removed for their safety) the ice water was replaced with a bucket of leaves... and had just enough time to shout "THAT'S NOT LEAVES!" Before the ice water hit him in the chest. "Oh, that's cold," he quavered in falsetto. "Oh, my fairy berries!" He then challenged everyone laughing at him from the orchestra.

Photos of THAT, by the way, have already started hitting twitter. Look for #stratfordfestival.

I really, really hope that this production is chosen a some of,the ones the Festival records and sells. My one great regret of the season otherwise will be that I only saw such brilliance once.
neadods: (theater)
Richard II in 5 words: "The king's a drama queen."
neadods: (theater)
Let me explain why I posted a lot and then dropped offline for over a day. No, is too much; let me sum up:

New York City
Carol Kane
Jim Parsons
Harvey

"That's an old play!" my mother said when I told her where I'd been. And it is, but the sold-out theater was full to the gills of Dr. Sheldon Cooper fans who were having the time of their lives all the same. And frankly, likes like "There's so much you have to learn, Myrtle Mae, and I hope you never learn it," "I've wrestled with reality for 40 years and I'm happy to state that I finally won out over it." or "He'll be a perfectly normal human being and you know what bastards they are!" -- well, lines like that never get stale.

Considering that he's playing an uber-nice guy who's seriously out of touch with everyone around him, it was hard not to pick out the elements of both Jimmy Stewart and Dr. Cooper in Parsons' performance, but that's not to say that he didn't do a superb job in the role. Carole Kane surprised me by taking a cameo role; she could have made an amazing Veta, but she has a single scene as Betty Chumley. (Where she promptly mops the stage with the rest of the cast, Parsons included.)

The show clipped along at a quick pace, three acts having been tightened down to two. The stagecraft showed that simple is often more profound than lots of special effects... although that said, I'm still trying to figure out how they worked the bit with the encyclopedia, where the book was moved from place to place before "Harvey" closed it.

The last time I saw a live production, Harvey got a bow. This time, the set was filled with white rabbits. Mo said the paintings on the wall changed, but I missed that.

We didn't have a large window of time between bus dropoff, play, and bus pickup; most of it was spent either at a leisurely lunch at Bar Boulud (thank you for introducing me to that, [livejournal.com profile] suricattus, or poking through the street fair running up and down Broadway.

And now, I'm exhausted. I've averaged about 5.5 hours of sleep for the last four nights; today's entire chore list reads: Eat. Sleep. Catch up online. Repeat.
neadods: (theater)
I am finally watching the Tate/Tennant Much Ado. (Legally, I hasten to add; M bought the download.)

My original reservations about the time setting still apply; I'm having trouble reconciling the language and the visuals. After that, though, I'm finding it peppered with interpretations that I haven't seen in any of the other productions before (and that's rather saying a lot for this play.)

Oh, and no I'm not going to cut-tag a past production of a 400-year-old play, so onward!

"Will you have me, lady?" Up to the Thompson/Branagh movie, I'd always seen that moment played as a joke; the prince isn't serious. It still sort of throws me that he's serious in the T/B movie and she's serious back. Here is half and half - he's serious, she blows him off thinking he was joking, and then spends the rest of the scene half hysterically trying to either get him to laugh or get herself to stop blurting out what she thinks. It's hard to describe, but it's working.

It's also one of several moments when we are reminded that Catherine Tate is first and foremost a Famous Comedienne - she's doing excellent work, but she's also very much A Famous Comedienne.

The other thing that's surprising me is that it's the first time I've seen Don John not as the main shit-stirrer, but more like the stirring stick. His henchmen are playing him like a fiddle. (No wonder the prince agreed to take him back; he wants to be dangerous but isn't on his own.)

There may be updates - I'm writing this during the Dogberry parts, as I always found him overrated. But I'm surprised to find that there's more here than a novelty setting and stunt casting.
neadods: (universal_roaming)
Nanoseconds back from a long, lovely chat with [livejournal.com profile] wendymr and Spouse, and wish we could have talked all night.

Before the cut, I'll say that Seana was brilliant, but it was a rather strange Richard because they wanted to push the idea of Richard as the continuation of the medieval play character of Vice, and thus Richard wasn't a frustrated king or a politician or even a person, he was an Idea of Evil. And... that didn't particularly work for me.

However! The ending scene made up for everything. And I didn't think that anything could compare to the last RIII I watched here, where Richard was hung up by his knees in a tree, and the last image was a back-lit shape of black (no, I can't spell the s-word and the ipad doesn't have spellcheck), an image of the dying king, his withered arm slowly falling to dangle next to his good one. Brilliant stuff, gave me goosebumps.

Here, cut for major staging spoilers )

And now, alas, I must pack to go home, a trip that will start horrifically early in the morning. When I get home, I'll see what's up with my userpics, half of which seem to have disappeared. I'd rather still be talking with Wendymr & Spouse!
neadods: (theater)
Today was pretty much shopping day, and I bought a lot, because every time I bought food for someone else (like the ice wine smoked salmon at Indigena) I bought some for me too. Good thing I have my entire car to fill up!

Plays:

Merry Wives was loads of fun, although maybe not my Ultimate Favorite Shakespeare Play anymore. Everyone was good, but Ger Wyn Davies was Falstaff, so you know he did his best to mop the floor with everyone else. "His favorite dish is the scenery," Mo said, and he dined well.

He also treated the fourth wall like three gibberish syllables, constantly breaking it in asides to the audience. On lust "making beasts of us all... yes, (pointing) you sir, you know what I mean, I know you do." On a joke that got only one tiny titter, it was just a point and "Thank you."

The audience ate it up.

The Misanthrope... I started out a little disappointed because the after show talk was cancelled "for unforseen circumstances." And then, during the first half... well, aside from thinking that Sara Topham is typecast as The Sprightly Ingenue and that everyone was riding roughshod over the poetry, I found myself profoundly indifferent. At intermission I asked myself if I was having fun (no), if I was comfortable (also no; how can an ass be so fat and so boney at the same time?) and if I wondered what would happen (not much; the playbill spoils the ending).

And so, blasphemously, I didn't go back in when the trumpets sounded.


On the other hand, I have seen swans and even cygnets and ducklings. And also -- there's an app for Stratford. Two, actually. One is more or less the festival visitor's guide in interactive form; the other is for the town and has tours and non-main-drag shopping, etc.
neadods: (theater)
The B&B may be a long walk from city center but right now I'm not only eating a light lunch of cereal, yogurt, OJ, and chocolate poundcake supplied for free, my clothes are in the wash. @ 26 may not have the mega gourmet breakfasts Aspidistra used to give, but the amenities are well worth the walk. (And you can go right by the chocolate stores on your way back and pop 'em right into the fridge so they don't melt.)

Anyway.

NEXT PART CONTAINS AN OPENING SCENE SPOILER FOR CAMELOT. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED FOR THE FIRST 5 MINUTES OF THE SHOW, SKIP DOWN.

Mo came back burbling that she'd seen The. Best. Warning. Sign. Ever. You know how theaters put up the signs: Warning, this play contains strobe, this play contains gunfire, etc. Camelot's reads "This play contains mist, smoke, [blah blah], birds of prey."

"Ha, ha," says Mo to herself. "That's cute."

But even having read it, she wasn't expecting the play to start with Merlin calling a live hawk to his arm.

SPOILER END

In a little bit I have my first play, Merry Wives of Windsor. I adored it and considered it my favorite Shakespeare play when I first saw it in Regent's Park.

... in 1984.

So we'll see how it plays out now. Then tonight, it's The Misanthrope, with a break for fish and chips and chocolate tour sundaes between.

This morning was a Meet the vegetables Festival* with Seana McKenna & her husband/director Miles Potter. (*So called behind the scenes) Highlights:

On doing a one-woman play: SEANA: "The cast parties aren't as fun... but you never miss a cue."

On costuming: SEANA: "I wear two corsets this season. One pushes everything up; the other pushes everything down." She also discussed how she did Richard (no platforms or bindings lest she hurt herself over the run, and building up the costume over the "strong" arm to look masculine, while her own arm would look much weaker in comparison.)

On "Shakespeare's Will" MILES: "It may be a play about an unhappy marriage, but the strains of an acting marriage? Oh, yeah, we could relate."

On a female Richard:

SEANA: Richard's always an other anyway. I'm just taking that one step further.

MILES: He's always compared to animals - the toad, the hog. I think she's doing a bird of prey. (SEANA: "Skree!")

MILES: He's pretending throughout. The gender is one more pretense

SEANA: Although one guy didn't get it. He was complaining that Richard was too effeminate.

on the seduction scene: SEANA: "In Shakespeare's time it was a man to a boy; we're just flipping that dynamic. Also, what does he tell her? 'I did terrible things, but I love you, I won't do them anymore, and you're the only one who can change me.'" (Nods as women in the audience laugh appreciatively.)


Would you believe that I haven't seen any swans yet? I've been by the river.

R
neadods: (theater)
To be honest, as soon as I heard that the Tennant/Tate Much Ado had been shifted to the 1980s, I felt a lot better about the fact that I'll probably never get to see it.

It's not the performances - I'm sure they're brillaint. (He is, after all, a trained Shakespearean actor, she is a comedic actor, they have good chemistry.)

It's not the time shift per se - I've seen amazing productions that have been shifted to a variety of times. The Folger did one set WWI that was just brilliant; Benedict was an American volunteer in the nascent British air force and his hinted previous abandonment of Beatrice was because he'd gone home to America at one point. Fantastic production.

However, past about 1950, timeshifting this particular play just falls all to hell. Massive, integral parts of the plot deal with the concept of Hero's status as an untouched virgin, from the aborted wedding scene through the important and heartwrenching moment when Benedict has to choose between Beatrice ("Kill Claudio!") and his soldier brethren... and he choses her. (I know there are Benedict/Beatrice only versions of the play out there, and how the heck they deal with this moment I can't even imagine. Even the plot against the prince ties back to Hero-as-virgin.)

But once you go past the '50s, the idea of a woman's honor being tied entirely to her virginity in a Western setting is dead and gone, stabbed by the 60s of free love, trampled by the 70s of rising feminism, and kicked entirely into its grave by the 80s when it's simply no longer any kind of a deal, much less a big one, that a woman has taken control of her sexuality.

I don't know if I could be made to laugh hard enough to get over that inherent cognitive dissonance.
neadods: (theater)
Last night I went with a bunch of local Sherlock fans (thank you again for setting that up, [livejournal.com profile] silverotter!) to see the National Theatre broadcast of Frankenstein.

WOW! It's a pity "awesome" has become overused, because I was literally awed by many aspects of the production. It wasn't 100% perfect - I wasn't that impressed by the guy playing Frankenstein's dad and Gretchen the Whore at the beginning was a bit shouty rather than emote-y. But other than that - WOW!

With the exception of a mammoth train made of gears that shows up early in, the staging is extremely bare and minimalist, throwing all the attention onto the acting (where it belongs, IMO.) I was particularly fond of the big bank of bare lightbulbs hung over the stage, that alternated between being scientific equipment, lightening, and a peaceful night sky. I wouldn't have thought that a thousand+ lightbulbs could be that evocative.

Also, I'd been warned that we weren't getting the Full Cumberbatch, as it were, but after watching him flopping and flailing on his stomach for a full 10 minutes trying to figure out how to stand, I'm betting that he was pretty glad of the dance belt that I'm certain was under that abbreviated dhoti. It's not like he could have squawked and adjusted anything that flopped into the wrong place at the wrong time.

Perving aside, I see why everyone is talking about the physicality of the Creature's role and Cumberbatch made an aside about mildly dislocating joints. That was some full-contact acting - it's probably necessary for the two main actors to switch off just to let them recover from the self-inflicted battering every other night!

I also liked the modernization of the dialog. For one thing, it turned Elizabeth from "generic feminine symbol destined for refrigerator" into "actual interesting person (...still destined for refrigerator, though)." Also, she got a much-needed tension-breaking laugh with, "You think your evil creation came to wedding. Did you send it an invitation? It wasn't on the list."

The one fear I really had - aside from something happening to [livejournal.com profile] silverotter and the tickets not being there - was laid to rest almost instantly. You see, I was terrified of the camera work, and not just for the fear that we might not get an eyeful of anything on offer to be seen. In the 90s-mid 2000s, when PBS was filming stage productions for broadcast, there was an appalling fashion for constant jump cuts. The thinking appeared to be that the entire nation had slagged its brain on video games and simply could not be expected to live without "constant visual stimulation" - by which I mean that every five seconds the camera angle drastically changed, unless there was an entire 7 seconds in which the camera was in constant motion.

Shit like that makes me seasick. How can anyone concentrate on a storyline when their attention has to remap and refocus every five fucking seconds? And worse, the viewer wasn't competent to determine their own view, so there were lots and lots of closeups - and in Flashdance, that often meant a 7-second panarama of feet followed by 7 seconds of faces in rictus grins so that the one thing you could NOT do was actually see the dance as a whole, or figure out where on stage anyone was.

So when the camera for Frankenstein focused on a bell, then panned down the bell rope, then slid towards the stage, my thoughts were pretty profane.

And then...

It was perfect. Perfect! Like the staging, the camera people grasped that the idea was to let the people see the acting instead of showing off the camera work. It wasn't the death of a thousand visual cuts; the camera angle pretty much only changed when that change gave the audience a better view of what was happening. (For instance, while the Creature flopped on the floor, the camera was looking straight down, eventually sliding to stage level as the Creature picked himself up.) There were very few tight closeups, which was excellent for two reasons:
1) The audience was deemed competent to choose its own focus in a multi-character scene, and
2) Stage makeup isn't meant to be seen 2 stories tall (it was distracting to see Cumberbatch's skull cap peeling in one scene)

There was even a little "making of" bit at the beginning before the show started. It was hard to concentrate on that - people were still coming in and being seated, turning off their phones, etc - but it gave glimpses of how both actors handled both roles.


Afterwards, I came straight home and to bed, and even so I've felt like crap all day... I can never tell when I'm about to get sick or I've just gotten short of sleep; both mean a sore throat, mild fever, and general blah-ness. I don't care. It was ABSOLUTELY worth it!
neadods: (theater)
The days that The National Theatre lists for their simulcasts of Frankenstein are not the days that Shakespeare DC lists for their showings of Frankenstein, not even when you take international dates into consideration. So how that works, I don't know.

I do know that thanks to the efforts of a local Sherlockian, I'm part of the gang seeing it March 21, which has CumberCreature. Downside: Well, you see the pictures; the makeup's going to make him look like badly shaved monkey's ass. Upside: For 20 minutes *his* ass is going to be butt naked and it's for sure I'm not going to be looking at his face unless the camera people are very cruel.

Turns out that I don't even have to change cities to see it again if I want to see the reversed casting. I probably won't know until I've seen it the once if I want to or not - if I just want to bask in the unsutured Fruminous Cumberbatch, there's plenty of his work on Netflix. On the other hand, if I'm completely and absolutely blown away, I'll probably rush to the box office during the intermission along with most of the rest of the hall, probably.

Even having the choice makes up a teeny tiny bit for not being able to see the Tennant/Tate Much Ado. As will seeing the Seana McKenna Richard III, the show I was most excited about seeing in 2011 until Much Ado and Frankenstein came along.

Also, they just announced a major extension of The Importance of Being Earnest in NYC - without most of the current cast, but still with Brian Bedford's Lady Bracknell, so I may give [livejournal.com profile] suricattus another shout about trying to go up & see it.


Really. With all this fabulous theater, I'm completely calm about not being able to go see Much Ado who do I beg, bribe, or blow to ensure it's filmed? Hamlet was a money tree for RSC, BBC, & PBS, I'm just sayin'...


On a side note, the original novel Frankenstein is a free ebook y'all. I haven't read it in 20 years (it was required reading in a history of science class, of all things) but now I've got a copy I can check out before the show.
neadods: (theater)
I had planned on liveblogging my trip this year, but that was before the ipod touch accepted the B&B network and the netbook didn't. Typing on that teeny screen is Just Not Worth It. (On the other hand, like the palm pilot before it, the Touch went from toy to tool in about 10 minutes; checking weather, keeping my schedule, holding play texts, etc. It certainly was lighter to carry than the netbook and a hardback book - I really see the appeal of ebooks now - and with wireless in the theaters I kinda got into the habit of doing a quick email check at intermission. Perhaps when the rumored smaller ipad comes out, I'll have something that will be better for typing on the fly as well as a better reading screen.)

The trip: We took a new route that was supposed to save 90 minutes. It added 90 minutes. *insert BLEH! icon*

The town: Two things of note for the tourists.

1) The County Food Company is now selling picnic pails. For $25, you get two big sandwiches, three small containers to fill with your pick from the dozen-item salad bar, 2 cans of soda or bottles of water, and a Secret Picnic Map (read: hand-drawn map of the Avon river), all in a bucket. It's a lot of good food, and a reasonable price for two.

2) Downtown businesses have grouped together to form the Chocolate Trail. For $20, you get 8 tickets, which you have 3 days to redeem at your choice of 16 businesses (repeats allowed). The woman at our B&B was giving us all the good hints - "Chocolate Barr only gives you two truffles, while Rheo Thompson gives you a box of 9 mixed cremes and Rocky Mountain gives you your choice of half pounds of fudge." (We chocolate trailed slices of turtle cake at Let Them Eat Cake for Mo's birthday.) Even non-candy stores were getting into the act - P'Lovers gave away chocolate mint bath salts, two tea shops gave away chocolate teas, Fosters gave away chocolate martinis, Kitchen Connoisseur gave away jars of mocha ice cream topping, and Bradshaw's gave away a plastic stemless wine glass with a couple pieces of chocolate and the promise that you could get the glass filled at a restaurant across the street.

The theater: Peter Pan, The Tempest, Two Gentlemen of Verona, & Winter's Tale )

Things are going well for Stratford. After a year of them begging me to renew my membership and a bad exchange rate (from the American point of view), I thought things would be bad for them. Instead, every show was filled to the brim.

On the personal side, I was devastated to discover that the Aspidistra is changing - it is turning into a guest house with no provided meals. As the breakfasts were the biggest draw, I'm looking for new Stratford lodgings.

On the plus side, [livejournal.com profile] wendymr and I had a wonderful long dinner and chat on Saturday. Great to see you again!

Now I have to go back to real life... and figure out why my feet are swelling. I know I've been walking a lot and I've spent the whole summer in the same shoes, but that shouldn't cause edema, should it?

I'll be catching up with LJ and real life tomorrow after work. Good night, all!
neadods: (theater)
The wallpaper paste remover needs 15 minutes to eat through the wall, giving me just enough time to do something I've wanted to do since relistening to the Stratford Medea (Robinson Jeffers adaptation):

MEDEA IN ABOUT 15 MINUTES

NURSE: You know, I wanted Medea to stay at home, marry a nice boy, inherit part of her father's kingdom, but noooooooo, she has to steal her daddy's golden fleece, kill her brother, and run off with Jason. And now she's gotten a little older, he's thrown her over and married the boss' blonde daughter. Medea's not taking it well. )
neadods: (theater)
Conversations I have had:

MOTHER: You're going to spend a day in New York? Are you going to see something?
ME: Yeah, A Steady Rain
MOTHER: Yes, I've seen the weather report. What's the name of the show you're going to see?

When [livejournal.com profile] shawan_7 first said "Let's get tickets to see Hugh Jackman!" of course I was up for it. Who cared what it was? It was Hugh Jackman!

Then I heard more and more about A Steady Rain and had a sinking feeling. This was just about a checklist of Nea's idea of Do Not Want entertainment: nonlinear, sad, about unsympathetic characters. But I said I'd go and what the heck it was short and I'd get dinner in NYC....

It is short. It's also dark, intense, and BRILLIANT. This was tragedy done *right* as it so rarely is, dark and bitter like premium chocolate. It's not a story about someone who couldn't make up his mind to save his life. (I'm looking at you, Hamlet.) While it is about a couple of guys making stupid mistake after stupid mistake, you can see how that arises out of their character and worldview, and their mistakes are not the kind of thing that could have been cleared up with a single honest conversation with other people involved (are you listening Othello?) or a moment's skepticism (paging MacBeth to the cluephone). Nor is it really about piling on trauma after trauma after trauma until over the top isn't traumatic enough anymore (*ahem* Mr. Davies).

It was more like Richard III... only with less aristocracy and more use of the word 'fuck' )


For travel details, [livejournal.com profile] shawan_7, [livejournal.com profile] boogiebabe_smap, [livejournal.com profile] maureen_the_mad & I took the Vamoose Bus (although along the trip we passed both Megabus and Bolt busses). The downside of this is that it takes an hour longer each way and you don't have as many departure choices as the train. The upside is that round trip on the bus costs less than a one-way train ticket. (Another upside is that there's a Starbucks by the DC departure point, which is open early on a Saturday and sells a shelf-stable breakfast good for taking with.)

Due to my writing the address wrong, we didn't have lunch at my beloved Da Roscina (warning, web page plays music). But it's not like you can't find good food on Restaurant Row and Da Roscina doesn't do that amazing salmon fettuccine for lunch anyway. So we ate at Tramonti Ristorante (364 W 46th; I'd link but their website is broken) which was superb.

We had a little time after the show so we walked down to the bead district, where I was looking at charms for stitchmarkers and the others were looking at beads. (I'd also swear that we passed [livejournal.com profile] jigglykat walking uptown on 7th.)

A good day, if a short one, and now I have reviews that must be written. Fortunately, I drafted some of them on the bus.
neadods: (universal_roaming)
The last play I saw was A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. It was supposed to star Bruce Dow, who has been playing the supporting character with the show-stopping song for several years now (for example, his Nicely Nicely Johnson rocked the house with "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat"). So Forum was supposed to finally be his star turn.

First he hurt himself, badly, then he got sick.

The new Pseudolis is one of the swing actors from West Side Story. It rather changes Forum to have Pseudolis be the same age as Hero, although as a piece of broad, crude farce it's impossible to get wrong - it was a total romp! Although if I were the director, I'd be switching roles - the actor playing Hero (my notes are still packed) was very much a young Rowan Atkinson, all charisma, dark curls, big nose, and impeccable sense of comic timing. He'd make a much more impressive lead; I look forward to seeing more plays with him.

M went to see The Importance of Being Earnest that night. She says it was a delightful production, but I was having an equally delightful time hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] wendymr.


And then to home. The border guard on the way up was a theater fan ("You're not seeing West Side Story? I shouldn't let you through!"); the one on the way back sort of grunted politely at us and sent us on our way. (It sucks to get up early to leave... until you fly over the Peace Bridge without a delay!)

On the way up, I'd gone by my notes of previous years' travel on the all-superhighway route. On the way back, we trusted the GPS, which has old maps and at one point was just showing a car in a blank expanse of white, repeating "recalculating... recalculating... recalculating..."

In the end, it gave us a route that wended through many stoplights and town centers (including one that was in the early stages of setting up a fun-looking Italian themed street fair). However, stoplights and all, this route had the triple advantages of showing off the scenery (Pennsylvania is a stunning state), cutting 90 minutes off the travel time, and cutting out all tolls. So I'm thinking I have a new route to Canada.

I've also learned the interesting facts that Cyrano de Bergerac was a real person (I've bought a book about him) and that Forum was based extremely loosely off of three Greek plays, which I will have to look up online.

And so, back to the real world. I have the notes for a 2.5-hour meeting to type up tomorrow...

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