hermionesviolin: image of The Thinker with text "Liberal Arts Major: will ponder for food" (will ponder for food)
The ASP season for next year came out last Wednesday. The Downfall of Despots )


Last night, we saw a broadcast of the RSC's Tempest -- finishing out Shakespeare's jubilee year (2016 was the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death) with Shakespeare's last solo-authored play.

They had a teaser for ROME, and I thought it was just the next play they were doing, so I thought, "Julius Caesar? Or Antony and Cleopatra?"

No, it's the whole next season -- Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Titus Andronicus, Coriolanus. I'm excited. I mean, I'm meh on the first 2 plays, but the RSC has done such amazing productions recently that I'm at least interested to see what they do (if nothing else, we'll get to see them make great use of their visual resources -- they have an amazing stage, and amazing amounts of money, so their productions honestly feel worth watching for that alone), and to see how they comment on our current political moment.

In talking about next season, Gregory Doran (Artistic Director of the RSC) was like, "In this post-Brexit, post-Trump," and he just kinda looked at the ground in sadness as he was talking. (In talking about Lear -- unwise breaking up of the kingdom -- IIRC he said that the Brexit vote happened the first day of rehearsals for the show.)

For their ROME season they're bringing back the director of Othello (I forget for which play, but I'm real excited about that -- they evoked Abu Ghraib in that one, so I look forward to any politically-engaged play under that director) and have a woman director for one of the plays (again, I forget which one, but good on you RSC, and take note Hollywood).

And it feels so Shakespearean to use stories about Italy to talk about England :) (Now I'm curious to see a table of how many Shakespeare plays are set in Italy [or elsewhere] vs. set in England -- esp if we exclude the histories. A quick Google suggests that 1/3 of all Shakespeare's plays are set in Italy. Folgerpedia has a nice sortable table -- which also allows a quick at-a-glance that almost the only plays he sets in England are the histories; the only exception/s being The Merry Wives of Windsor in Shakespeare's modern-day, and King Lear and Cymbeline in mythic pre-Christian Britain.)

Oh, and the latter 2 plays in their ROME season are so great -- Titus being always a trip, and Coriolanus being a lesser-known play I've seen some really great productions of.
hermionesviolin: (glam)
In the melting pot of Venice, trade is God. With its ships plying the globe, the city opens its arms to all—as long as they come prepared to do business and there is profit to be made. When the gold is flowing all is well, but when a contract between Bassanio and Shylock is broken, simmering racial tensions boil over. A wronged father and despised outsider, Shylock looks to exact the ultimate price for a deal sealed in blood.

Polly Findlay directs Shakespeare's uncompromising play, with Makram J. Khoury, one of the most celebrated actors in Israel, in his Royal Shakespeare Company debut as Shylock.

[from ArtsEmerson] [RSC link]
All that glitters is not gold )
hermionesviolin: (tell me a story [lizzieb])
In my writeup of RSC's Love's Labour's Lost, I mentioned that I had never read or seen that play before, which is a rarity at this point with me and Shakespeare.

I hadn't updated my masterlist in a couple years (and haven't managed to consistently write up much of anything in I don't know how many years), but I updated my draft doc so I could check and figured I might as well post it.

There are still Shakespeare plays I can barely remember what happens in them, but it's interesting watching multiple productions of the same play.

I first read Comedy of Errors in Shakespeare elective in 11th grade, and it was Shakespeare's ~first play, and having been in Twelfth Night that very same year I felt like it really showed and ugh Shakespeare you got so much better at this mistaken identity twin stuff in Twelfth Night. When I saw it at Shakespeare on the Common a decade later, I wanted to crawl out of my skin the whole time. But I am committed to ASP so when they put it on another 5 years later I went -- and it was HILARIOUS! We went closing weekend, but I would have watched that production over and over again.

National Theatre Live remains my favorite King Lear, and even though I really only have strong memories of like 2 scenes in it, that's sufficient to totally influence how I think of any other production of it that I see.

When last I posted, I commented that Twelfth Night and Macbeth used to be my favorite plays, but now it was probably Coriolanus and Titus Andronicus. I'm not sure what I would say now. Having seen a two King Lears last year, I think that's the one I'm most interested in at present. I've definitely been aware in seeing many productions of a play that I sometimes get kind of "over" a play I had previously loved -- like I can only return to that story so many times before it starts failing to hold up for me.

Bold the ones you've seen stage productions of, italicize the ones you've seen movies of, and underline the ones you've read or listened to.

[livejournal.com profile] lignota's addition: *asterisk the ones you've performed in or directed. ([livejournal.com profile] angevin2's academically-inclined addition: I'm also marking the ones I've taught or done reasonably serious scholarly work on with a +plus sign. Also I am counting readthroughs as performances, because I am totally into readthroughs.)
list )
hermionesviolin: ((hidden) wisdom)
Last night, Cate and I went to one of the broadcasts of the RSC's Love's Labour's Lost. It was one of the few Shakespeare plays that I had never seen or read (literally, I think at this point we're down to Henry 6, parts 1-3).

Read more... )
hermionesviolin: (glam)
A few weeks ago, Touch Performance Art did a workshop production of "Sexyback: or what you will" at Club Oberon.

The website said 8pm. Doors didn't even open until 8:07, and the show didn't start until ~8:35 (because not only do you have to wait for everyone to get in, but you want everyone to buy drinks). Le sigh -- I forget what Club Oberon shows are like. I saw Sarah V. from feminist sci-fi bookclub in line, and we hung out once we were inside, which was nice (the killing time part is more enjoyable with friends). I was hoping people would be actually dancing during the pre-show, but people were just standing about, alas.

It does with "Twelfth Night" what "The Donkey Show" does with "Midsummer" -- bare bones of narrative with lots of song+performance. Which actually basically worked. spoilers )

FWIW: After the show, they said their plan is to do 3 more workshop shows in July and then 10 full shows in the fall.
hermionesviolin: (dragons)
Someone posted to LJ:
I'm directing a gender swapped production of Taming of the Shrew being done in Arlington on March 22, 28 and 29. We've got the men playing the women's parts and vice versa. Some people view Shrew as a misogynistic, outdated play. The experiment I wanted to try was whether by swapping the roles it becomes simply a love story between two socially maladjusted people. While I expected this to be interesting, I have been fascinated at what swapping the genders has done. In the hope that some of you will come see it, I won't say more so your own experience won't be tainted one way or the other.
I was really intrigued, so Cate and I went last night. [Verse and Vodka's website; tickets to this show via Brown Paper Tickets]

However, (a) they didn't genderswap the opening frame story (which confused me because I was expecting gender-swap); and (b) they kept all the language intact (so it's all, "your sister Bianca," etc.), which I think lessened a lot of the impact of the gender swap.

Given the LJ post, I was expecting the gender swap to do more than I experienced it actually doing. Petruchio was great -- and the genderswap enables some stuff one couldn't do in standard productions (like, I think it was the first wooing scene, Kate is sitting down and Petruchio sits on her lap, straddling her, which I think would have read much differently if it were a male-presenting person on top of a female-presenting person) -- but mostly I felt like I was just watching any other production of Shakespeare (possibly in part because my brain has gotten somewhat used to parsing people as their character even when that is ostensibly at odds with the gender I'm reading them as).

In the frame story (which I always forget exists), they put a guy in a dress, and when the drunk !lord was wanting to hook up with the "woman" and "she" was putting him off, I felt super-uncomfortable because the expectation is that the audience is laughing because they know that if the guy does get under "her" skirt he'll realize she has a penis and won't that be a terrible shock and ha ha ha -- and hey, that's a very real fear that lots and lots of trans women live with every day. I've read lots of trans women pushing back about the "guy in a dress as humor" trope, but I don't think I actually internalized it until that moment.

When I think about this play, I so want to read Petruchio/Kate as a consensual BDSM relationship, and in the first "wooing" scene it feels plausible; but then when Petruchio is keeping her from eating or sleeping it's clear that Kate hasn't consented to this dynamic and while I understand how we're supposed to parse Petruchio's plan, it makes me uncomfortable -- and as it continues with the sun/moon etc. thing on the way back, to think of it as leading up to a consensual BDSM relationship makes me think of lots of sketchy narratives wherein the guy dominates the woman without her consent and she ends up liking it (despite her expectations) and that somehow retroactively makes his boundary-crossing behavior okay.

I also didn't get much sense in this production of Kate herself coming to be sort of in on the joke -- she does during the encounter with the old man after the sun/moon bit, and Petruchio's whispering to her at some point (I forget if it was during that scene or the closing scene), but while I want to read Kate's final speech as her being super over-the-top saying shit she doesn't believe to just piss off all these other women, I didn't really get that sense from this scene.

They don't close out the frame story, and I was thinking about what the (existence of the) frame story suggests about the main play (reversals, illusions, etc.), but I wasn't really coming up with anything -- so I went to Wikipedia, as one does.

Which wasn't helpful for this specifically, but which did quote [RSC] director Conall Morrison:
By the time you get to the last scene all of the men – including her father are saying – it's amazing how you crushed that person. It's amazing how you lobotomised her. And they're betting on the women as though they are dogs in a race or horses. It's reduced to that. And it's all about money and the level of power. [...] It is so self-evidently repellent that I don't believe for a second that Shakespeare is espousing this. And I don't believe for a second that the man who would be interested in Benedict and Cleopatra and Romeo and Juliet and all these strong lovers would have some misogynist aberration. It's very obviously a satire on this male behaviour and a cautionary tale
I found this interesting because I know I didn't even think about the contest from that one-level-back perspective or about the implications of everyone's glee at Kate's having been tamed.

My Riverside Shakespeare (2nd Edition) says:
Northrop Frye once remarked that the Katherina of Act I is not really dissimilar from the Katherina of Act V; at the beginning of the comedy she is persecuting her sister Bianca, and at the end she is engaged in precisely the same activity---except that now she has learned how to do it with social approval on her side. (Anne Barton, p. 139)
the stage convention which allows the actress playing the part to show plainluy in her face that she falls in love with Petruchio the moment she sets eyes on him has much to recommend it. Heartily sick of a single life, not to mention all the adulation showered on Bianca, she is really more than ready to give herself to a man but, imprisoned within a set of aggressive attitudes which have become habitual, has not the fainest idea how to do so. (Ibid)
I think one of my difficulties with Kate's trajectory through the play is that I know so little about her pre-Petruchio. We see her fighting with Bianca, but we know almost nothing about either of them. We're told that Kate is shrewish bladdy blah in a way that suggests she acts like that to everyone and has for a while. Offstage she breaks the lute (of the tutor who's just there to woo her sister, so possibly she's not just being peevish for the sake of being peevish...). We don't really know why she's so upset at Bianca -- when she's asking Bianca which suitor Bianca wants to marry and Bianca's all, "Whichever you want to marry you can have," there's lots of room for Bianca to play that in various ways (is she refusing to answer Kate's question to provoke her? does she really desire Kate's happiness, as a plain reading of the text would suggest?) and this production just played it as a plan reading of the text, so we get no insight into why Kate is so upset with Bianca, and Bianca herself remains flat and uninteresting. (Not that I'm saying you have to stage this scene against the plain reading of the text in order to make sense of Kate's crankiness at Bianca or in order to make Bianca and interesting and/or complex character, just that this scene is one of your only opportunities to do so -- well certainly for the former; admittedly we do see Bianca with the tutors picking a favorite and participating in a ruse, so she's not entirely the flat paragon of passive virtue that the early scenes might suggest.)

My Riverside also says of Petruchio's "taming" of Kate:
he goes on assuring her, despite everything she can do and say to prove the contrary, that she herself is gentle, rational, and loving: exactly the hidden qualities in her that he needs to foster and encourage. Petruchio wins in the end not because of superior force but because he succeeds in showing Katherina both the unloveliness of the false personality she has adopted and the emotional truth of the self she has submerged. (139)
I don't buy that, because whatever he actually believes about her (and I do think he genuinely likes/cares about her), all this rhapsodizing about her is entirely enmeshed with the "taming" such that everything he says to her feels false or cheap or insincere or IDK the exact adjective I'm looking for here.

The Riverside also says of Bianca: "Once married to Lucentio, she ceases to be 'sweet Bianca.' At the wedding feast itself she reveals an unexpected streak of bawdry, willfulness, and arrogance" (140), which I thought was interesting -- I think we tend to have a fairly flat impression of Bianca (because there's not much there there), and we interrogate Kate's closing speech to the exclusion of interrogating anything else about that closing scene (and I include myself in that "we").

more details about the performance )
hermionesviolin: (tell me a story [lizzieb])
At Shakespeare on the Common earlier this week year, Cate and I were talking about getting to see multiple versions of the same play in fairly quick succession (this was our 3rd Two Gentlemen of Verona this season) -- "playstorming," she called it.

I remembered doing that "Shakespeare plays you have read or seen" meme a while back and was curious to pull it up and update it.

Apparently I'd only seen a few ASP shows at the time, so my list has significantly increased, even without this year's ALL The Shakespeare.

Because some of this stuff I don't even remember (apparently I saw Two Gentlemen of Verona for the first time when I was at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2007? oh, wait, my records say "Two Noble Kinsmen," I must have goofed when I did the meme last time), I decided to to back through my Shakepeare tag and link to my writeups of all the plays (though I have been behind on writeups for, oh, years).

In August 2012, I said, "3rd performance of Coriolanus I've seen and I still get excited watching it (which I wasn't sure would be the case). And now I want to read lots of commentary on the play because I have lots of thinky thoughts."

I have known for some time that Twelfth Night and Macbeth, which used to be my favorite Shakespeare plays, I've become less enamoured of on repeated viewings -- but I hadn't really thought much about what I would currently posit for my favorite Shakespeare play(s). I think it is arguably true that Coriolanus is my current favorite.

In going back through these entries, I think Titus Andronicus (baby's first ASP show!) is possibly my second-favorite.

Bold the ones you've seen stage productions of, italicize the ones you've seen movies of, and underline the ones you've read or listened to.

[livejournal.com profile] lignota's addition: *asterisk the ones you've performed in or directed. ([livejournal.com profile] angevin2's academically-inclined addition: I'm also marking the ones I've taught or done reasonably serious scholarly work on with a +plus sign. Also I am counting readthroughs as performances, because I am totally into readthroughs.)
list -- reformatted for readability )
hermionesviolin: (light in the darkness)
Sun. Dec. 2, 2012

Last night I read the d'var Torah that Velveteen Rabbi offered that morning at her shul on this week's parsha, "Vayishlach."

She talks about Jacob wrestling with the angel and says:
Having received a new name, Jacob bestows a new name: he names that place, that bend in the river, Peni'el, literally "the face of God," saying, "For I have seen God face-to-face, yet my life has been spared."
(which is really interesting in and of itself, given the multi-vocality of Scripture on seeing the face of God -- e.g., God to Moses in Exodus 33:20 "you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.") and then talks about Jacob's encounter with Esau, where he says:
No, please, if I have truly found favor in your sight, take the offering from my hand; for to see your face is like seeing the face of God.
She closes with the bit from the Talmud about each individual human being being created in the image of God but each of us are unique -- unlike identical imperial coins each stamped with the mark of the secular leader.

This all seemed quite a lovely connection to Molly's "Light Gets In" Advent theme. But then she closes the post with her 70 Faces Torah poem on this parsha, which ends with such a downer:
For one impossible moment Jacob reached out.
To see your face, he said, is like seeing
the face of God: brother, it is so good!

But when Esau replied, let us journey together
from this day forward as we have never done
and I will proceed at your pace, Jacob demurred.

The children are frail, and the flocks:
you go on ahead, he said, and I will follow
but he did not follow.

Once Esau headed out toward Seir
Jacob went the other way, to Shechem, where
his sons would slaughter an entire village.

And again the possibility
of inhabiting a different kind of story
vanished into the unforgiving air.
The theme for this year’s Advent is Light Gets In. No matter what walls we throw up, what boxes we climb in or that circumstances put us in—Light gets in. Light will have its way.

This Sunday in worship, I’ll be preaching on the walls humans throw up that block out Christ’s light. We’ll begin building an actual wall in the sanctuary, that will grow each week up until Christmas Eve, when the Light will get in. Will you bring cardboard boxes to church anytime you show up, and leave them on the chancel, and help us duct-tape them together to build our Babel-wall up toward heaven and obscure the cross?

-Molly in This Week at First Church
To my mind, Advent is about the light slowly breaking in (we light first one candle and then a second, and so on), so I don't love this theme.

(The Meditation in the bulletin was Robert Frost's "Mending Wall," so of course I was trying to remember what mt said about that poem. Allie?)


Pre-service lectio divina happened in the Parlor, and as a result we could hear the pre-service choir rehearsal. I heard "Emmanuel, Expected Jesus," and fell into Advent.


To my surprise, 9am lectio divina was not just me and the facilitator (Bobby); Tom arrived before I did, and Leigh came a little late.

We did Luke 1:5-25.

I was struck by Gabriel's statement, "I stand in the presence of God."

(The second round, when I read, I was struck by the piece about Zechariah being overcome by fear -- because of Reasons. And the third round, nothing struck me.)


Before service, I picked up a hardcopy of Molly's Advent calendar.
December 2
First Sunday in Advent: Put on your sparkle cream. Glow.
Unison Prayer of Confession


We offer you our repentance.
We replace holy days with holidays.
We hurry past opportunities to give the gifts of kindness and honesty.
We do not listen to angels in our dreams, forgive those dearest to us,
Or welcome into hearts and homes, the poor and the stranger.
If all sin is separation, forgive us for all the walls we throw up, and let your Light in.

-Maren Tirabassi, adapted

Molly preached on Jeremiah 33:14-16 -- and her Advent theme of walls and also touched on the theme of Recovery (it being a first Sunday of the month -- no, I had not realized we were continuing this theme after we'd been through the 12 Steps).

She opened with talking about Israel and Palestine, but also talked about other walls -- the Mexico/USA border, gated communities (Trayvon Martin), and other walls we erect. She talked about healthy boundaries -- "calm contact works better than walls."

She said that contrary to popular belief, prophets don't tell the future -- they tell the present.

She said, "our God is not a safe God," which of course reminded me of "Aslan is not a tame lion."

She said God "doesn't call us to safety but to radical love."


During Prayers of the People, Missy lifted up prayers "for all those who feel restricted by the gender binary." ♥

At Coffee Hour, Jonathan told me about Tufts' Hamlet the Hip Hopera, which Cate and I tragically missed out on in our attend ALL the Shakespeare.

FCS does a thing where you can pick a kid's name out of a hat and buy them a gift. Harold said that one of his friends at another church got a 10-year-old boy and she only daughters, so she asked what 10-year-old boys like. Harold's response: "When I was a ten-year-old boy, I liked Wonder Woman. Hope this helps." ♥ (And it's trufax. I mean, he also liked e.g. dinosaurs, but this makes it no less trufax.)


Jamie facilitated an Advent Devotional Workshop, which I attended.

I was starting to investigate the art supplies when the horde of kids who had been playing war or something all came in and decided to do art (well, Simon was like, "Guys, can't we go back to what we were doing before?" and got ignored by all the kids wrapped up in doing art, so he compromised by making pictures of e.g. ninjas) so I stepped back from the chaos and worked on poetry.

Sue D., to her husband, later: "I was looking for the kids, and I found a craft fair, so I sat down."

Having ~skipped class last week and the next two sessions being review for the final and me being so checked out, I had been undecided about whether I wanted to bother going to the remaining class sessions, and in the Parlor this afternoon I definitely felt like I wanted to go to Art Night.


Brandon asked if I'd seen Tongues United, apropos of World AIDS Day. I had not, but given that we barely acknowledged World AIDS Day at church (though in her sermon, Molly told a story she had recently learned of 25 years ago, when there was still so much fear and unknowing, this church volunteering to be the church to host a healing service) I loved that he brought it up.

He also talked about Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Christmas movie, what? see also: Batman Returns), The Avengers, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (which fandom has been expecting for 5 years).


I really liked the Call to Worship we used at CWM tonight:
[One] How shall we prepare God's house for the coming of the Promised One?
[Many] With fragrant branches of cedar, the tree of excellence and strength.
[One] How shall we prepare God's house for the Christ child?
[Many] With a stable and a manger where in the weeks to come, the mystery of the Advent story will be revealed and where the entire creation will welcome the Promised One.
[One] How shall we prepare God's house for Emmanuel, God with us?
[Many] With garlands of pine and fir, whose leaves are ever living, ever green -- symbols of our faith in the living God.
[One] How shall we prepare God's house for the prophet of Galilee?
[Many] With sprigs of holly and ivy, telling of Jesus' faithfulness, even unto death and resurrection.
[One] How shall we prepare our hearts for this revelation of God?
[Many] By hearing again the words of the prophets, the stories of the ancestors of Jesus, and the promises of God.
[One] For in the story of Jesus we see revealed the transforming power of God, and we are reminded anew of God's vision of wholeness, justice, and peace for all creation.
[Many] Thanks be to God!

Marla preached on Isaiah 11:1-9 and 1 Samuel 16:1-13. I was mostly meh, but she closed with talking about the fact that we ignore the parts of the Biblical stories that don't seem "proper" or "dignified" and inviting us to think about, if Jesus were to come as a baby a second time, what unexpected places that baby might show up in -- and her shocker suggestion was: born to a Wall Street executive (I thought of the Buddha).


At 8-something this morning, it was 32F and a predicted high of 59F. I wore my sparkly purple short-sleeve shirt, because when am I gonna get to wear short sleeves during Advent? Except I basically never took my hoodie off. (Though Jeff B. did ask me whether an email had gone out about wearing purple or if we just knew 'cause Advent. I said I'd worn purple for Advent because I do and it's not like one is required to match the paraments or anything.)

After I left morning church after 1pm, I went to Trader Joe's and it was hazy and still hoodie+gloves weather.

When I left evening church at 6:30 or whatever, it seemed to have rained recently (20% chance of precipitation, this morning's forecast said) and now, hours after sunset, it felt warmer than it had all day.

Weather, what is it?


"Joy Sadhana is a daily practice in the observation of joy."
-[livejournal.com profile] mylittleredgirl [more info]
Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you
Worlds without end depend on you
Bless'd is the one whom you bring forth
Whom no one else can bring
-"Say Yes," Bob Franke
joy sadhana )

free movies

Sep. 4th, 2011 02:24 pm
hermionesviolin: black and white photo of Emma Watson, with text "hermionesviolin" (hermione by oatmilk)
Tufts' Fall 2011 Film Series schedule is up. [More info here.]

Anyone wanna go to any of these with me?

Edit: And while we're on the subject, free outdoor live performance of Shakespeare's As You Like It this coming weekend. (Not my favorite play, but if anyone wanted to go...)
hermionesviolin: black and white photo of Emma Watson, with text "hermionesviolin" (hermione by oatmilk)
Yeah, I know, I've been kinda AWOL.

Two heads up:

(1) Boston LGBT Film Festival starts this weekend. Not a whole lot jumps out at me at first glance, but I do wanna look more closely -- and there is a lesbian vampire movie :D -- We Are The Night: Fri. May 13 @ 9pm @ The Brattle

Okay, so I'm thinking:

Fri. May 6, 2011 - 8:15pm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Sat. May 7, 2011 - 6:00pm, The Brattle Theatre

Sat. May 7, 2011 - 8:30pm, The Brattle Theatre

So Hard to Forget
Wed. May 11, 2011 - 8:15pm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Fri. May 13, 2011 - 6:30pm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

We Are the Night
Fri. May 13, 2011 - 9:00pm, The Brattle Theatre

[maybe] The Purple Sea
Sat. May 14, 2011 - 8:00pm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

And there are probably others I could be talked into.

(2) Shakespeare on the Common this year (July 27 - August 14) is All's Well That Ends Well. I saw a production at UMass Amherst when I was in college and have almost no memory of it...
hermionesviolin: (be brave now)
So, ASP did a Winter Festival this year -- 3 shows, each with a short run.

(1) Shakespeare's Cymbeline -- a pared-down version of a minor play (there's a good review by someone else here)

(2) The Hotel Nepenthe -- a surreal series of interconnected vignettes which I enjoyed more than I was initially expecting

(3) Living in Exile -- an adaptation of a retelling of the Iliad

I cried a number of times in the first act -- which ends right before the Iliad actually begins (which explains why so many of the stories in the first act felt new to me). Early in the second act, I thought I wouldn't like the second act as much as I did the first, since I'm not actually a big fan of the Iliad, but the second act pulled me right along (though it is genuinely shorter than the first act).

When Patroklos begged Achilles for his armor, I wept -- held my hands in front of my face and wept, knowing what would come next. ([livejournal.com profile] musesfool, I thought of you.)

I also wept during Priam in Achilles' tent, though less hard.
hermionesviolin: photoshoot image of Charisma Carpenter (who played Cordelia on the tv shows Buffy and Angel) with animated text "you say / BITCH / as if you think I'd care" (bitch [mys1985])
Community Night: Miss Conduct Tames the Shrew
Thursday, October 15th | 5:45pm to 7:00pm
Upstairs on the Square

Boston Globe blogger, Robin Abrahams, will read from her new book, Mind Over Manner: Master the Slippery Rules of Modern Ethics and Etiquette, and lead a discussion about sex, communication, Petruchio and Kate. In the Zebra Room at Upstairs on the Square, we'll eat, drink and discuss all the Shrew-ness we can handle!
Okay, so it didn't start until like 6pm, and they wrapped it up at like 6:45 (to allow people time to buy her book and stuff, I guess).  There were waitstaff walking around with appetizers -- most of which were actually vegetarian (unlike most of the entrees on the menu) and OMG shot-glass of creamy tomato soup with a tiny grilled cheese sandwich!  However, Cate and I did split an entree 'cause we thought we'd be excessively hungry otherwise.  I knew from having had lunch there during Restaurant Week that their portions are small, but still, wow...  How is this our default restaurant for taking candidates?  Anyway.

Miss Conduct & The Taming of the Shrew -- reading/talk/Q&A )

The house didn't open until 7pm, so we went to Herrell's (which is apparently open through Head of the Charles -- this weekend -- and ambiguous after that).  I got Hazelnut Cream, though I couldn't really taste it what with the hot fudge.

So, the show.

ASP does The Taming of the Shrew )

Hyperion Shakespeare Company is doing an all-female Richard II (10/21-10/24 ... I think I'm going to go Fri. 10/23).
hermionesviolin: 3 saguaro cacti silhouetted against an orange sunset, with the yellow sun setting behind one of them (summer)
It's been just over 5 weeks since I last got my hair cut, but it was feeling too long (hello, summer) plus there were some errant too-long bits.

I got the same hairstylist I had last time -- either a stroke of good luck or a testament to their record-keeping, since when I called earlier this week I totally couldn't remember her name (Lauren).

She complimented me on my hair's natural highlights :)

While I was waiting, I read The Improper Bostonian.  Its entertainment listing included Zero Arrow Theatre's The Donkey Show -- a "disco adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream" (August 21, 2009 - January 2, 2010).

I was going to go to Shakespeare on the Common this past Thursday, but both friends I was going to go with asked to bail for totally legitimate reasons -- and Comedy of Errors is not a Shakespeare play I like all that much, so I wasn't very broken up.

Carolyn had invited me to dinner at a Salvadorian place in JP to be followed by a walk around the Pond, but then she heard about free Shakespeare in the Park, and she likes Comedy of Errors, so we went to a Vietnamese place near Chinatown -- Xinh Xinh (7 Beach Street ... that appeared to be like Pho alley).  Very tasty.  I got tofu stir-fry with vegetables, and it was really light, but really good.  And I got a jackfruit (which I had never heard of before) smoothie, which was also quite tasty.

I was introduced to Comedy of Errors in an elective Shakespeare class I took my junior year in high school (so almost 10 years ago).  I have never been a fan of mistaken identity plots, and I remember literally thinking "Shakespeare, this was before you got good at this like with Twelfth Night" (my love for that play was surely influenced by having been in a production thereof two years prior).

I have not encountered the play since, and oh tonight was PAINFUL.  Everyone is so STUPID.  I can't even say they're clueless because they totally have clues, they're just oblivious and unthinking.  The dance interludes were fun, but oh ... I was really glad the show was only two hours (including a ten-minute intermission).

From the program:
The Setting for CSC's Comedy of Errors
    Just as The Comedy of Errors offers a fun, farcical stage story shaped by a stark, tragic backstory in which a storm tears a family apart, South Beach Miami of the 1930s offers a wild, exciting setting for The Comedy of Errors shaped by a devastating backstory in which a storm tore a city apart.  The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 destroyed much of the waterfront area of South Beach, ending Florida's first real estate bubble and giving the region an early start in the Great Depression.  However, the same storm that wiped out the waterfront in the 1920s left it ripe for redevelopment in the 1930s, a period that saw the creation of many of Miami's signature buildings in the Streamline Modern Art Deco style.  Such rapid redevelopment in a time of economic depression led to the growth of another industry in the region: organized crime, with no less a mobster than Al Capone setting up shop in Coconut Grove at the close of the 1920s.
    And all of this crime and construction happened on top of Miami's ever-present dual-identity as both a vacation destination and an active port: a place through which strangers of many types (merchants, lifeguards, dog walkers, young lovers, jazz musicians, mafia henchmen, etc.) pass for various, overlapping reasons.  In the dumbshows (actions presented by actors onstage without spoken dialogue) that punctuate Shakespeare's acts, we've tried to capture all the energy and characters of South Beach Miami in the '30s and to use them to further Shakespeare's story, but also to present the stories and personalities of this world in as full and as fun a way as possible.
hermionesviolin: (glam)
I spent Saturday with Cate and Allie (not to be confused with -- per one of my coworker's last week when I was talking about my upcoming weekend plans).

Veggie Planet was takeout-only due to The Campfire Festival at Club Passim*, so we ate at Grendel's Den -- yay eating outside :)  I got vegan chili (I forgot that chili means onions :( ) and linguini with pesto (what I was actually given was shells pasta, but since I prefer that to spaghetti-like pasta, I wasn't complaining).

*Looking it up online, Campfire Festival includes Mya Elaine and Brooke Brown Saracino.  Hello people I went to college with.  (Mya was my first year roommate.)

We were a little pressed for time, and as we were heading to the bus, Cate said, "I know Elizabeth has strong feelings about being on time."  She used the "strong feelings" phrasing twice, so then I had to tell the story of Ian and Andy from like a month ago at work.

I successfully paid attention to street signs and read the map I had printed out, so that after we got out at Dudley Station I took in the correct direction to get to the venue.  \o/

We had apparently been issued tickets for the evening performance rather than the matinee (and I didn't even notice on the confirmation email), but they were far from sold-out, so we got our tickets reissued -- same table and everything.


Yeah, I am not big on the comedies.  Read more... )


I didn't look up local ice cream places in advance, so we just took the #1 back to Harvard and got ice cream at Herrell's -- and ate in the vault this time.  I got a coconut chocolate chip, which was good.
hermionesviolin: (light in the darkness)
This afternoon (after I don't know how many messages back and forth these past few days), Ian said,
The Winter's Tale is about.....


That's why i like it.
This I can get on board with.  I don't think it quite saves the play for me, but it does incline me more favorably.
hermionesviolin: (self)
[Poll #1394975]


"Joy Sadhana is a daily practice in the observation of joy."
-[livejournal.com profile] mylittleredgirl [more info]

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.  You wait and watch and work: you don't give up." --Anne Lamott

joy sadhana )
hermionesviolin: image of Glory from Buffy with text "at least I admit this world makes me crazy" (crazy [lavellebelle])
Friday, Cate and Allie and I went to Theatre @ First's production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.  We got dinner at Blue Shirt Cafe and people were making noises about dessert, so we went to Harvard Square to get cupcakes at Sweet [website -- warning: sound], but I wasn't particularly moved, so then we went to Hrerell's and I got an "Elvis' Favorite," which unfortunately I wasn't that taken with (though I did get a coupon for $1 off my next ice cream purchase there).

Over dinner, I mentioned that Ian had said it's Shakespeare's best play.  Allie (the only one of us who has actually read the play) looked at me disbelievingly.  I shrugged, since the only thing I knew about the play was that it contained the stage direction "Exeunt, pursued by a bear."  Watching the play, once the BATSHIT CRAZY hit I understood why she had reacted as she did.

It's a well-done production (see bard_in_boston review, for example), but, yeah.  Read more... )


This was the first time I'd been in Unity Church (inroite?).

In the room the play was in, on the wall was:

...it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
-Luke 12:32

I looked it up when I got home and yeah, not quite as universal salvation-y when you fill in the ellipsis.  Oh well.

In browsing some of the literature outside the sanctuary, I learned that Unity is an actual denomination, though it sounded a lot like Unitarian Universalism (though definitively monotheistic, and they seemed to use some Christian liturgy and do Communion and stuff).


We talked about various theatre goings-on, so for reference:

Spring Awakening
Through May 9
The Boston Center for the Arts (539 Tremont St., Boston)
Through May 24
The Colonial Theatre (106 Boylston St., Boston)

Looking at the Zeitgeist Stage page, apparently Zeitgeist is doing the play that was the inspiration for the musical that's playing at the Colonial (which Jessie saw and hated).

'Tis Pity She's a Whore @ the Loeb Experimental Theater
Show Times:
May 1-3 at 7:30 pm
May 7-9 at 7:30 pm

NYC's Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park is doing Twelfth Night this summer (June 10 - July 12), but Google is not turning up anything for Boston's Shakespeare in the Park for this summer.

Pirates! (Or, Gilbert and Sullivan Plunder'd)
by Gilbert and Sullivan
Directed by Gordon Greenberg
BU Theatre - Mainstage
5/15/2009 – 6/14/2009
hermionesviolin: black and white photo of Emma Watson, with text "hermionesviolin" (hermione by oatmilk)
March 30, 2009, 7pm

Coriolanus Conversations: The Politics of Compromise
Moderated by Director Robert Walsh

Ron Goldman, Cast Member & Psychologist
Diana Henderson, Shakespeare Scholar, MIT
Robert S. Ross, Professor of Political Science, Boston College

With scenes and discussion about the play and its relevance to our times, in our lives, today.
The word compromise was in Shakespeare's vocabulary, but barely, and not, it would seem, very welcome.  In Richard II, King Richard is assailed for having "basely yielded upon compromise" lands and other assets "which his ancestors achieved with blows."  Compromise seems here associated with the slimy parts of politics---talking, not fighting---though that word, in the plural and hence in our modern sense, does not appear in Shakespeare.

In any case, it is odd but interesting to invoke these terms in connection with Coriolanus.  Coriolanus himself is, on the whole absolute---a word that appears four times in the play, twice used by him, sarcastically, of the common people, twice applied to him, as a term of approbation.  He, much more than anyone, has the strongest, clearest set of values.

Absolutism, however, in 1607 or so when Shakespeare presumably wrote this play, was under scrutiny.  King James I was flirting, at least, with the idea of absolute monarchy---the God-given right of a king to rule as he saw best.  He was facing increased resistance from members of his court and especially from the elected members of Parliament, vox populi, the voice of the people.  There seems a strong possibility that Shakespeare chose to dramatize this story from its source in Plutarch precisely because he could see in it the birth of politics in our sense.  He could see the transition, at the very beginning of the Roman republic, from a time when the power of the state was vested in whatever man could claim it by absolute strength of arms, to a time when power was geld to derive from the people, temporarily assigned by them to some strong person to use in their interest.

It is certainly the case that at the core of this play is a call from the people to compromise, and an equally literal call toward the absolute.  How the struggle turns out in the pay you know, if you have seen it.  What's remarkable is how relevant the conflict still seems, 2500 years further on.

-David Evett [Scholar-in-residence]


While waiting for this to start, I was listening to conversations happening with audience members near me.  One woman was attempting to translate the Russian on one of the images projected on the wall, and said she thought it approximated to "everything for the struggle."

I gave up on making full sentences complete with contextualization out of my notes.

Read more... )
hermionesviolin: image of Caleb from Buffy with text "none are righteous" (none are righteous)
Sat, March 21 - Fight Night: Fight Call & Violence Design, 6:30pm
Pre-show talk with Robert Walsh, Director of Coriolanus
I think it was actually the guy who played Aufidius who said the interesting stuff I jotted down.

He said that staged combat is more storytelling than martial art.

He talked about combat as being a way we communicate when words fail.

I think it was in talking about fight choreography that he talked about something (I didn't quite catch what) as Lego blocks, with which we create different physical sentences.


Caius. Martius. Coriolanus.

[Note: Most every performance has a free pre- or post-show talk/reception, schedule listed on this link, plus the pay-what-you-can Conversation.]

spoilers for the play in general and specifically this production of it )


hermionesviolin: an image of Alyson Hannigan (who plays Willow Rosenberg) with animated text "you think you know / what you are / what's to come / you haven't even / BEGUN" (Default)Elizabeth (the delinquent, ecumenical)

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