Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More Macbeth, neuro, and stuff. A lot more.

I've finally nailed the neurotransmitter receptor subtypes and agonists and antagonists that I need to know (including the delightful tweedledum and tweedledee of Baclofen and Phaclofen) (and I will just guess that we are all pleased the first one isn't called Buclofen). I think I've got a fairly clear idea of the g-protein cascades, apart from a slight fuzziness over exactly what the guanosine triphosphate runs off and plays with. Exam tonight--bring it on. The professor said he expects none of us to get 100% on this thing--alas, them's fightin' words, for at least 25% of the class, I suspect. Some of us have been hearing "but you shouldn't be able to do that!" our entire lives. So I hope the guy in the front row (who reminds me of my high school chem lab partner) and I aren't traumatized if we (gulp) get something wrong.

Now, to continue with Macbeth at the RSC in Stratford-on-Avon: Lady Macbeth is one of those classical roles that is nearly impossible to pull off. She's got this problematic "unsex me now!" speech, and she's so bloodthirsty, that it's really hard for any actress to be both plausible and faithful to the text. This actress (Derbhle Crotty) manages to do it. Another wonderful thing is the relationship Macbeth (Patrick O'Kane) and his Lady get across - the audience can see the attraction between them (at one point I thought they were about to have sex in the middle of the scene), the balancing between frustration with each other and love, the pain of not having kids/heirs when they do want them - so that when Macbeth has his "she should have died hereafter" speech, you really understand that he is grief-stricken. I'd forgotten that speech was in this play, but once the cue line came ("the queen, my lord, is dead."), the actor was sort of bracing himself, and there was one of those weird moments in theatre where you know every word the actor is about to say, and most of the rest of the audience does, too, and the actor knows you all know, and we all entered into a shared savoring of the speech completely separate from the context of the scene. Then we got back to the play. Very odd.

Patrick O'Kane looks physically very powerful (reminded me of a leopard or a panther), and his Macbeth is essentially a formidable predator who's very conscious of his own strength. His cockiness in the final duel with Macduff is a thing of beauty; even after he finds out he's vulnerable, he's also still one hell of a warrior, and at this point in the play, has nothing to lose, so he doesn't give a crap if he's killed. Great, great stuff.

This is what it looked like from the doorway of our rented house at ten pm last Thursday. I never get used to how short the nights are in the summer in the UK.

A more typical view, with sheep (in the village of Loxley) (yes, as in Robin Hood) (and no, no Robin Hood dude in evidence at present, just the sheep):

No, Lorena, I didn't get any yarn. Shocking. It was strange. I was freaked out by the driving. And I had no internet (with which to locate great yarn shops) for most of the trip. I did grocery shopping, and managed to get us to where we were staying and a couple of outings, and that was it (well, I was studying every day, too). We watched tv, which is always fun - Big Brother UK is a summer thing that I've followed for several years now, and the news is a distinct pleasure, as it's real news.

We saw baby swans:

And we hung out in the pedestrian-only town centre in Stratford:

That's extremely cool and fabulous Jill in the foreground, and our various teenaged children behind her. Also random tourists.

More random thoughts: The guy ahead of me in the security line at Heathrow decided to chat me up, which was oddly nice--I felt like part of the human race again. It's hard to put into words, but I've felt very much apart for months and months most of the time.

Lately, I've felt like I'm re-taking ownership of my own body--okay, that sounds really strange, but I spent nearly 14 years married and in a very physical way belonging to my husband, as he belonged to me, so owning myself is new. I like it. I might get a tattoo.

'Til next time...


Blogger Jena the yarn harpy said...

If you had seen Jonas Armstrong in Loxley, I would hope that you put aside all grief and threw yourself upon his mercy. ;)

I'm glad to read that last paragraph. It sounds like a very good realization. And tattoos can be fabulous - just look at our Tattoo Queen! :)
(I am giggling at the thought of you having "Knittas 4 Life" tattooed across your bicep.)

10:02 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

I saw Derek Jacobi in Much Ado About Nothing at the RSC, and it was amazing ... he took the audience for the same kind of ride over very familiar turf that he made seem fresh and exciting. I remember in one speech he just crooked his eyebrow in a way that had us all on the floor.

What kind of tattoo?

10:05 AM  

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