Saturday, February 03, 2007


Random roundup


First things first: Lookee! My Secret Pal sent me some really nifty folding scissors, beautiful purple sock yarn, 3 Joe Haldeman novels, a scented candle, some cd's of podcasts I haven't heard, "Spin to Knit" (whoa!), and some nice moisturizer. Thank you so much, Selkie! The parcel arrived Wednesday, but I didn't have a chance to open it until Thursday. Wed. being the day we had lots of kid stuff going on for some reason: emergency haircut, emergency fabric shopping, emergency sewing machine repair. So I missed knitting at Javaroom (boo!) (wan wave).

Last night, I went to see Brittanicus at ART. It was odd. Visually, it's pretty good; conceptually, it's pretty good; the acting, though, drove me crazy. This is one of those productions that highlights the failures of modern American acting technique. Intensively miked, yet we still had lines delivered with no nuance, ever, all at one level, no discrimination or wit--all literal, one-note line readings, mainly shouted. This is what you get when a bunch of actors with just barely enough technique to do Shakespeare (at least from their resumes in the program--giving benefit of the doubt here) try to turn Racine into "how would *I* feel in this situation?" For chrissake, it's Emperor Nero! You have no "life experience" to draw on that will be remotely relevant, we hope! Fuckin' A. I see this time and time again. Either the actors turn some of the most outrageous figures in world literature into contemporary middle class Americans, or they flail around with what clearly they've been directed to try and do with "having lots of circular movement." And because all their technical training is about getting in touch with their sense memory and mining their feelings and other useless crap, they have no technique whatsoever to draw on when they have to do something genuinely imaginative. It is a tragedy of wasted talent, and it was on display in shovelfuls.

The notions of stuff to put in were interesting: one character walks around singing opera, which is quite beautiful. Certainly the text supports the incest idea that gets explored. The set had some nifty video projections. Nero playing electric guitar was a nice touch, as was his opening nude scene, showering while drinking beer; it would have made more sense if he kept on drinking, though. One of the publicity shots is of Nero, Britannicus, and Junia sitting on a bench while Nero sticks his hand up Junia's crotch, which (surprisingly perhaps) is entirely appropriate for the scene and, if anything, should have gone further. And I'm really kind of over the whole "oh let's expose the backstage space" thing; I think it was pretty much done with by 1978, frankly (darlings, we do realize we are in a theatre, really). But it's okay here. The offstage shootings were logical, and one is exquisitely timed. It just didn't seem to gel, somehow; too many bits and pieces.

Oh. I also seem to have broken my finger. Left pinkie; swollen and purple-ish; went and got a finger splint and some tape. That's what I'd end up with anyhow, and I don't think my doctor's office is open on weekends, so Motrin and my own first aid.

It has snowed! It is beautiful. I am delighted. See? Not unmitigated bitchiness! I'm happy about the snow! And my loot! There! And finding the camera doohickey, and taking myself out to dinner (Indian food; good), and not crying in the shower today, and my new tshirt, and all sorts of stuff.

My cousin requested a Christmas stocking for next Christmas. I've pulled some wonderful yarn from the stash, and have some spiffy ideas. Will show when there's something to show. Um, I finished a fun scarf for myself this week--I was cold. Very pleased. Pic:

9 Comments:

Blogger Lucia said...

This is (sort of -- we lack your professional perspective) why Grant and I gave up on ART after one season. I actually find your bitchiness highly amusing, especially when it's mitigated by such a lovely scarf.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay!

Am I still supposed to be anonymous? I think so. Hrm. Not much longer, though!

The Haldeman books, don't know if you noticed, are autographed. Hee. I have an inside connection.

*Loved* your theater critique. I'm so glad to have gotten you as a spoilee; you would be a terrible lot of fun to spend real time with.

-Secret Pal "Selkie"

7:08 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Autographed novels, I am jealous indeed! And the theater critique is fab- I enjoy theater and used to go at least monthly as a kid but hubby and I haven't currently got the budget- miss that. Hope the finger is better most quickly indeed and Indian- was that the newish restaurant in town or someplace else? Love the one in town though the chef there still has a fair bit to learn. I'm sure I couldn't do it myself. The scarf is wondermous!

7:31 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I also enjoyed your critique! (You'd better be careful, soon we'll all be demanding this as a regular feature.) And what yarn did you use on your scarf? I love the colors.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Jena the yarn harpy said...

It's a pity that the production wasn't better. Something's been up with a lot of our local theatre lately and it's not sitting well with me. (I get very angry when I know that my college friends staged better productions in our little theatre out in Fitchburg and are now working in non-theatre jobs because of not getting enough roles.)

We definitely missed you on Wednesday, but kid emergencies being what they are, those all sounded more pressing. Though, what exactly is an emergency haircut? That reminded me of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" and how they are produced by "Urgent Haircut Productions". :)
It's already Monday, so the next Wednesday is rolling around in just a few anyway.

8:31 AM  
Anonymous witchypoo said...

Sorry to hear the finger is broken. I hope it won't impact your knitting activities. We missed you on Wednesday.

I hear there are admin changes going on at the ART so perhaps there will be some improvements soon.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Rosanna said...

That scarf is amazing! It looks perfect for the weather. I hope your finger heals quickly!

12:02 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

@Jena

I'm not entirely certain, but I believe "Urgent Haircut Productions" is a nod to Car Talk, wherein they had a puzzler featuring the concept: http://www.cartalk.com/content/puzzler/transcripts/199849/index.html

12:34 AM  
Anonymous B. Menyet said...

That's a really pretty scarf, although it's not what I set out looking for when I typed "crazed weasel" into Image Search. Still, though. Such nice colors!

6:31 PM  

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