Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘theater’

So last night I went to the theater with my father.  It was an awesome night-50 One Minute Plays.  And they meant it!  Your emotions went everywhere and it truly demanded of the audience a willing suspension of disbelief, a lot of attention, and an open mind to how the plays were grouped together to create these vignettes of life in Jersey at this moment.  My mom watched the boys and Hubby sadly was working because I know he would have loved the show.

The preshow music was carefully selected and truly set the tone for the 50 one minute plays we were about to watch, but how many of you have had to listen to “I Touch Myself” sitting next to your dear old dad?  There were a number of songs with less than wholesome lyrics, and while neither of us are prudes,  I really could have lived my entire life without hearing “I don’t want anybody else/when I think about you/I touch myself” while talking to my dad about my sons.  This is the plot line to a Greek tragedy.

It is amazing what you can fit into one minute.  Some of the plays were amazingly verbose for only a minute.  Others had no dialogue, just crying or gestures or movements that told the whole story.  Many were raunchy-somehow it’s easier to watch than simply hear “raunchy” with your dad.  I suppose because the audience mode took over.  Some were political, some were theological, some were just plain funny.

If the festival comes near you, do attend it.  It will be different plays than I saw, but I am sure they would be just as full of talent as last night’s theater.

Just promise me you won’t touch yourself.

 

Check out more info about the festival here:

http://www.passagetheatre.org/ or http://www.oneminuteplayfestival.com/2013/01/16/3rd-annual-nj-ompf/

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I was planning on auditioning for a show in the next week or two, but I am having serious second thoughts.  First, while it would be a fun show, it’s not one that was on my “list” of shows I’d like to do before I die.  I guess one could call it an actor’s bucket list.  I really enjoyed working with the group, so that’s not the issue.  I’ve been looking at the time I would need to spend on the role (presuming I were cast) and as I added it up, I began to think…hmmmm, do I want to do that?  Now?

I would actually have more conflicts than I had thought before thinking to myself that I could easily do a show.  I had remembered the conflict with a wedding I’ll be attending but hadn’t thought of eight or nine or ten other commitments that are not moveable.  That’s almost a dozen conflicts which is about a quarter to a third of the rehearsals.  (Don’t ask me to be more specific, I’m not a math person and I’m really not a fraction person, unless I’m baking and then fractions make sense.)  The other commitments are too important to try to shift or move, but I also do not like being the type who gets a part and then lists a slew of rehearsals I’ll miss.  It happens, I get it, but I don’t like to do it.

Would the person directing the show work around it?  Possibly, probably, maybe.  I don’t really know and that’s not what’s important.  I wouldn’t feel right.  Knowing I had intentionally double-booked myself and forced one or the other to work around my inability to be there would lessen my enjoyment of whichever one I did attend.

Putting all of that aside however, I realize that the main deterrent is the time I wouldn’t get to spend with my family.  Yes I like to indulge my interests and keep myself fresh and excited by doing things I like to do.  But this is the first summer in a decade when we’re not on too many boards (I’m only on one and it doesn’t meet during the summer).  The classes I’m teaching will be over by the end of June, right around the time the boys finish school.

I could feasibly take advantage of the summer hours at work and spend some lazy summer evenings with my family.  I could work on my yard. I could do scrapbooking or beading or sewing or reading or nothing.  Imagine working on my sons’ scrapbooks.  Imagine sitting and having deep conversations about the exoskeleton of cicada with my sons.  Imagine reading a book in one sitting.  Imagine not feeling the pressure of extra, self-inflicted deadlines.  This is the first summer when I don’t have any externally imposed deadlines on my plate.

Do I want to put one on my plate?  Or would that be like putting a big helping of beets on the plate?  I would imagine it could begin to leave a bitter taste in my mouth and I don’t want to do that.  I also feel like hubby should do the next show.  He probably won’t do a show because he always comes up with a reason not to do a show.  But I don’t think I want to do a show.  I think I want to not do stuff that doesn’t have a direct positive impact on my whole family and not just me.  This summer I think I want to be selfish and spend all my spare time with my family.

The boys and I started making the presents for their teachers tonight.  We came up with the idea of giving their teachers a small, hand-painted wooden box personalized with either an initial or a picture of something each teacher likes.  We had a blast working on the boxes tonight.  I want more of that.  I looked at my sons this evening, painting and smiling, and they looked so much older than I expected them to look.  Oldest son doesn’t like me to hug or kiss him in front of people.  Youngest son can’t be too far behind.  At this moment, they still like spending time with me and I’m still relatively cool.  That won’t last and I know it.  It’ll come back another day, but it’s going to change soon and last for quite some time.  While I pray daily for the blessing of a long life, spending time with my sons is always on my bucket list.  Spending time with hubby is always on my bucket list.  I don’t want to take that for granted.  Ever.

At the beginning of this post I had not yet decided the fate of the audition nor did I think I would figure it out today or tomorrow.  And yet I’ve clearly made my decision.  I didn’t go through my normal long and drawn-out process.  Well, there’s one to take off the bucket list.

Read Full Post »

Each day offers moments that will become memories.  Some days are more loaded than others.  Today is one of those days.  Last night I raced from class to see the last half of older son’s last ball game of the regular season.  This morning I saw my dad at his induction into the Olde Guard at his alma mater (also my alma mater).  I’m off to “Spring into Poetry” for younger son.  Tonight hubby and I are going to a dinner dance for the theater company with which I played “Vera” in Mame.  But the neatest moment today is that ten years ago my hubby became my hubby.  Ten years filled with laughter, love, tears, loss, happiness, craziness, Addams Family-ness, and the two greatest sons any two parents could ever hope to have.  Happy anniversary to the world’s greatest hubby!

Read Full Post »

 

I’ve had two discussions this week about plots, or more specifically remakes that use the same exact plot and why do we need them in the world?  It’s a fun topic and in the end, every show has been a rerun since the theater of the ancient Greeks.  The roots of every story, play, movie, or television show can be found in Greek theater.

But I still love a good debate so…

For me, plays are meant to be a unique event each time because they are performed live and each performance will have slight variations due to a different audience and another day of life experience for the actors adding new dimensions to the performance, subtle though they may be.  I look at film versions of plays in a similar manner.  Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet is unique from Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet and from Ethan Hawke’s Hamlet.  (I don’t even consider Mel Gibson’s in the conversation as I did not care for it at all).  Each is approached from the roots of theater yet captured on film.  Each film includes distinct performances by the actors and a distinct interpretation by the director, as well as very intentional scenic and musical choices.  I glean something different from each one.

I think that You’ve Got Mail is a unique film from The Shop Around the Corner, the film that inspired the adaptation.  It also acknowledges the original, gives a tip of the hat if you will, within the film.  The sign on the Fox Bookstore building says “just around the corner” and they make references to mail…letters.  If you know the film The Shop Around the Corner, you’ll pick up on these wink wink, nudge nudge references.  If you don’t, they don’t stick out as out of place.

I don’t understand the need for remakes (I don’t care what you call them) if they only are a remaking of an original film without bringing anything new to the table.  The shot by shot remake of Psycho…why did we need that?  Hitchcock’s is perfect, no need to redo it.  I remembered how perfect on Mother’s Day when Encore Suspense treated us to a 24 hour marathon of it.

Arthur, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, why do we need to remake them when the originals were fabulous?  Give me a new twist at least.  And changing the gender of a character doesn’t count…just changes pronouns.  Scream could have been just another slasher flick in the tradition of the classics that changed the genre in the late 70s and early 80s, but it did something new in acknowledging the pedigree that bore it.  That made it original.

Another recent revamp was made by two of my favorites, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.  But Willy Wonka will always be visualized in my mind as Gene Wilder in a fabulous purple velvet coat.  I have a brown velvet coat that I call my Willy Wonka coat.  🙂  I will watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and embrace it as an individual movie because of my love of Tim and Johnny, but Gene Wilder will always be  Willy Wonka.  Their latest, Dark Shadows, has yet to be seen, so I cannot comment yet.

Are these amazingly fine lines to be drawing in the sand?  Yep.  I wonder though as I reflect if I haven’t noticed a wee bit of a trend.  When a film is adapted from a book or play, I’m far more open to seeing a new version of it.  Perhaps because for me I always approach a film version of a book or play with some skepticism since I’ve already got my own version of it in my mind’s eye.  It don’t expect it to live up to my expectations and so I am sometimes pleasantly surprised.  A remake of a story that was originally intended for film I am less flexible about because if it was written for film, it was intended to be a finite and finished product.  A play is meant to be produced over and over just as a book can be read over and over.

Now some might ask me what I think about The Three Stooges movie.  I’m fine with it-I haven’t seen it yet but my hubby and sons did and they gave it their own Three Stooges approval.  First, it incorporated the concept of short films, another wink wink, nudge nudge example.  Second, even with the original Three Stooges, there were four different groupings of them (Moe and Larry with Curly, Shemp, Joe, or Curly Joe and the original trio was Larry, Moe and Shemp to begin with but without the name Three Stooges).  They were always the same characters but in different short films, a different situation.

In the end, we keep repeating and remaking these stories on stage or screen because we will never finish exploring the human condition and the human existence.  We are egotistical by nature.  We also are a social creature and we feel better after sitting in a dark room together with a bunch of strangers watching ourselves and examining how we handle this thing called life, reruns and all.

 

Read Full Post »

What a difference a day makes.  Also walking away from the problem offers such wonderful perspective.  That and a few friends commenting on fb that they know exactly how I feel.  And chocolate.  I can’t forget the chocolate.

But you know what the best thing I reflected on today was?  I ate supper with my family yet again this week.  We’ve been rocking the dinner time lately.  Doesn’t matter what the dinner is, it’s the time together.  My sons have finally gotten the swing of sharing something fun about their days.  And I’m going to admit it…write on virtual paper…we use the convenience stuff to make dinner.  Yes, there are fresh veggies (asparagus at the moment since it’s in season-though I don’t eat it).  But the main entrée was one of those skillet dinners.  If I didn’t have to work, I’d be cooking home-made stuff.  Ah, well…do the best you can with what you have where you are.  Teddy Roosevelt, not me.  I wish I could write something as pithy as that.

Perspective comes in many ways.  You just have to be open to it coming in and opening your eyes.  Be open to the other side of things and examining the issue with other eyes.  Turn it over and over.  Challenge it, question it.  Pray on it.  Focus on simplicity and grace to rise above the feeling of mediocrity.

So what am I going to be when I grow up?  I have no idea and realized today that part of the reason I feel like I’m floating and looking for my thing is that I refuse to grow up.  I still love learning and have a thirst for new experiences.  If a particular experience, idea, or goal doesn’t materialize, no biggie.  There will be another.

And until another shows itself, I have buckled down and examined what is on my plate and what I can do with it.  How I can do each project.  Why I am doing each project.  I asked myself if I still feel each one is fun.  Theater had become not fun, but when I gave it a whirl this past fall, it was a blast.  Why?  Because I was just an actor.  So I now know I’ll never be on a theater board again.  Takes the fun right out of it.

A very fun project coming up in the summer are the dino digs we’ll be going on for fossil hunting.  I think I may be more excited than the boys.  Older son still wants to find more substantial fossils than what we should find on these digs, but we’ve been talking about the fact that you need to start where you’re at and grow from each experience.  We talked about how he needs to learn how to dig and these three trips will help him do that.

I’m sewing again.  Other than Halloween costumes, I haven’t done that for a while.  It’s a costume for a friend who is going to a film-fan convention.  So far it seems to be going well.  I enjoyed making the patterns and they are working nicely.  We’re having a fitting this Saturday.

Of course, I’m in VBS prep mode.  We’re going to Babylon this year.  Oh yes, there will be a hanging garden.  I’ve been working on that for the past month.

Prayer, meditation, studying my Shakespeare and Grimm, reading some Uncle Stevie, it’s all good.  Just need to get off my arse and work out the issues in my legs.  This week’s been a less than stellar week, but it is still so much better than it had been for the past few years.

And it’s almost summer.  Now I do not do the beach thing.  There is sand at a beach and I don’t do sand.  We will go to the lake, and yes, there is sand there, but it’s not overly crowded.  There are pools we’ll go to and the boys will do a lot of swimming.  Maybe they’ll teach their mom.

I do attempt the garden thing, but have been horrible with it the past few years.  However, sons and I have already weeded and cleaned out two of them and are working on a third.  But I really need to trim the bloody holly trees.  They are a mess again.

What most of these have in common are my family.  Which reminded me that I’m not doing that bad if we’re doing all these somethings and even some days of nothings together.

Salieri, if only you had known to step away.  To reflect and take inventory.  To count your blessings.  And to not take it all so seriously.

Read Full Post »

During the fifth course, I would be quite full but I would persevere, for Kenneth’s sake.  The conversation would weave its way to Hamlet.  Not that I could ever cover this subject in a lunch or even a life time.  I humbly study this work of theater and will never even scratch the surface.  But we would focus on a specific scene.  Act III scene iv.  This scene from Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet makes me weep even when I simply think about it.

Hamlet Act III scene iv

(I am hopeful that I have successfully embedded the scene courtesy of tediousoldfools’ upload.  I adore tediousoldfools and all the wonderful uploads that I enjoy during the rare lunch breaks that I take.  I pop on a little Shakespeare & Kenny and my day becomes brighter.  So thank you to tediousoldfools.)

But the scene is the point of tonight’s blog.  Last night I treated myself to watching the movie again.    Once the ghost appears, Hamlet completely reverts to a small boy trying to please his father.  The fact that he just killed someone completely disappears as he looks at this ghost.  I love the voice of the ghost…his whispers are horrifying and filled with love at the same time.  He says to Hamlet,

“But, look, amazement on thy mother sits:
O, step between her and her fighting soul:
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works:
Speak to her, Hamlet.”

And he immediately obeys.  This is a moment of tenderness and concern between Hamlet and Gertrude, one that for me seems to be sincere concern from her.  As he says “On him…on him” he simply becomes filled with sadness, respect, and longing for his father.  Kenneth’s face changes and the tears well up as he struggles to please his father all the while trying to grasp that his mother doesn’t see the ghost.  The levels of emotion that course through his being in these two minutes of film are outstanding.

The scene makes me feel the wonder of what it would be like to see someone that you loved one more time.  It makes me think about unresolved matters and the desire to set things right within a family.  I think that Hamlet stands the test of time because every family has betrayal within it.  Hopefully not as horrific of a betrayal as in Hamlet, but on some level everyone deals with betrayal and a destruction of trust.  And as in this story, not everyone gets a chance to resolve things before being separated by death.  In some cases, a person may choose to separate from a particular person because of a betrayal of trust and this perhaps helps to avoid it ending the same way Hamlet does.  Bloodshed seems to be never ending in this group.

But in this scene, you just see a boy missing his dad.  Wishing for more time.  Hoping to please him one more time.  To defend his honor.  To gaze on him, on him one more time.

In case you’d enjoy reading it, here is the text of the scene:

Shakespeare’s Hamlet Act III scene iv

HAMLET

A king of shreds and patches—(Enter Ghost.)

Save me, and hover o’er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN GERTRUDE

Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET

Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
The important acting of your dread command? O, say!

GHOST

Do not forget: this visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But, look, amazement on thy mother sits:
O, step between her and her fighting soul:
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works:
Speak to her, Hamlet.

HAMLET

How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN GERTRUDE

Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with the incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep;
And, as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
Starts up, and stands on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?

HAMLET

On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares!
His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable. Do not look upon me;
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects: then what I have to do
Will want true colour; tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN GERTRUDE

To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET

Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN GERTRUDE

Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.

HAMLET

Nor did you nothing hear?

QUEEN GERTRUDE

No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET

Why, look you there! look, how it steals away!
My father, in his habit as he lived!
Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal! (Exit Ghost.)

Read Full Post »

Have you ever noticed that some actors are terrible at phone acting?  They are supposed to be on the phone and they have a blank look on their faces and it seems as if they are counting sheep until they say their next line.  I hate that.  You don’t sit on the phone with a blank look on your face.  You are reacting as you do when talking face to face.  In general, sit-com actors are terrible at phone acting–not all, but most.  Some film actors do it well.  Dustin Hoffman.  He can pull off phone acting.  Meryl Streep.  My dear Kenneth Branagh.  Julia Roberts on occasion.  When an actor is bad at it, it completely breaks the suspension of disbelief for the audience.  It smacks you back into reality and you realize there is no one else on the other line.  How hard is it to be engaged in a conversation?  Imagine what the lines would be if the other character were on the other end of the line.  It’s not that difficult.  Think about when you are on the phone.  You gesture, you make faces, you multi-task and do other things.  Community theater actors are typically not good at this, I am sad to say.  This should be required in all acting classes as far as I am concerned.  That’s just my opinion.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »