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Last night, I dragged [livejournal.com profile] neotoma to Shakespeare Theatre to see Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge. I admit, I'm not a huge fan of Miller. Who I am a huge (rabid?) fan of is Mark Strong who was playing Eddie.

The production was directed by Ivo van Hove who, with his production designer, stripped the play to its bare bones. It also stripped it to its bare feet. Shoes are only worn twice: once by Catherine, the 17 year old who is trying to impress a boy, and the lawyer who narrates wears them until he becomes a character in the play. Among other things, this facilitates characters entering quietly without the other characters seeing them; it also emphasizes the domesticity of this particular tragedy.

Filmed plays can be a problem. I'm enjoying the NTLive productions, but I always feel a slight distance. The greatest actors I've seen live (Alan Cumming in his one-man MacBeth, Kenneth Branagh in just about anything, Derek Jacobi as Cyrano de Bergerac, Vanessa Redgrave in just about anything, Tom Wilkinson in An Enemy of the People) are able to make a nearly physical connection with the audience. The audience dynamic becomes part of the experience and on some nights creates a wave of emotion (remember, I'm an NF. I'm big on the feels.) which sweep through and leave the inner person bare -- even if just for a moment. I can recognize how bloody good Cumberbatch was in Frankenstein, but I can't grab the connection the same way.

This particular filmed play made an interesting choice, not one I've seen with the other NTLive productions. In several instances, rather than having the camera focus on the character or characters speaking, the camera focused on the character affected by either the actions or the dialogue. In many cases, that character was Eddie, but it wasn't exclusively him (it was a star turn, but not because of the camera work). This made it far more like the way I tend to watch plays. The speaker is important, but the person spoken to -- or overhearing the dialogue -- can be the person whose reaction matters to the overall scheme of the play. By making this focus choice, I felt at several points like I could almost touch the connection I craved.

Nicola Walker -- an actress I've found bland when I've seen her in TV series -- was excellent. Her character can come across as either shrewish or beaten down, but Walker gave her presence and warmth. Michael Gould played the lawyer, Alfieri, and, other than an occasionally wandering accent (Brooklyn by way of Golders Green), provided quiet insight and commentary on the action, even when he wasn't speaking. The two brothers from Sicily, Emun Elliot (Marco) and Luke Norris (Rudolpho), could have underplayed a little more; each at different times came across a little over the top. The weakest actor for me was Phoebe Fox who played Catherine, partially due to wandering accent, partially because she lacked the sense of presence the other actors had.

Mark Strong won this year's Olivier Award for Best Actor. He used stillness beautifully. (Legend has it that Noel Coward once told a young Method actor "Don't just do something: stand there.") It pulled the audience toward him and made Eddie more sympathetic in spite of the flaws which make him the tragic protagonist. Eddie is definitely a character who doesn't know himself, doesn't comprehend his own emotions or motivations, and through that ignorance brings down hell.

This was wonderful.
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I haven't been around LJ much lately because I was having trouble getting to it on my home computer. It's doing fine right now, so I don't know what was up or where the fault lay.

I also haven't been around because I saw Kingsman: The Secret Service. Multiple times. I loved the movie on so very many levels, but especially all the shout outs from Michael Caine once again wearing Harry Palmer's glasses to entering through a tailor shop a la Man from UNCLE to referencing individual Bond films and Get Smart.

And I sort of got sucked into the fandom. How sucked in? I've written a fanfic series in under two months (begun on 2/23) which has more words than The Great Gatsby. *shakes head* The last time I wrote something that length -- actually, 20,000 words shorter than I've hit to date -- it took me six months of sweat.

And because I'm writing mental backstories for characters, I've been trying to determine what kinds of music they listen to. One of them is a jazz aficionado, and I've been trying to include some of the jazz he would have heard on British radio in the 1970s which led me to Dudley Moore.

In the early 1980s, I started listening to his music from the 1960s and 70s including pieces he'd written (Sooz Blooz is one of my favorites). My folks told me about seeing him in Play it Again, Sam in the West End when we were living in London and going to hear his trio at a club.

He went to Oxford on an organ scholarship and earned his spending money by playing with Johnny Dankworth's group backing Cleo Laine. I can't imagine being proficient enough at 18 to play with one of the premier jazz men Britain's produced and one of the greatest jazz singers of all time. I do remember hitting a shop in Dupont Circle which carried foreign magazines and vinyl records (before there was anything besides vinyl). As I was buying my Manchester Guardian Weekly and a copy of Marie Claire (which was exclusively a French publication at that juncture), I saw a new album being promoted called Smilin' Through and bought it on the spot. Dudley Moore and Cleo Laine recording together for the first time. It's a lovely album with some real high spots.

At the same time, Jonathan Miller had a series on PBS called The Body in Question. I'd developed a completely separate crush on Dr. Miller when I caught a Canadian series on Cities. People who'd been born and reared in a great city, talked about the changes they'd seen, the social context of their background and how it was reflected in the city, and showed off the gems that most people, especially tourists, don't hear about. The four episodes I managed to see were Dr. Miller on London, Germaine Greer on Sydney, Hildegard Knef on Berlin (still a divided city when it was filmed, and she'd been a teen there during WWII), and R.D. Laing on Glasgow. It got me reading Greer and Laing. Miller's episode introduced me to Sir John Soane's Museum, one of my favorite places in London.

Anyway, in the episode of The Body in Question dealing with the nervous system, Miller used Dudley Moore playing classical music to explain how we are able to memorize things physically. I found it today on YouTube, so I wanted to share.


Also, Dudley Moore playing with his trio on Australian Television in the early 1970s.


PS if anyone ever finds a link to the Cities series (or a way to buy it), please share. I've long wanted to see the other episodes.

Interesting

Feb. 9th, 2015 05:06 pm
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At brunch yesterday, someone suggested I read up on "The Ray Wars" in Due South fandom at the Fanlore wiki. While I was there, I began to rummage through articles on other fandoms or fanfiction sites, especially ones that I've been involved in. There was less about the UCSL in the Buffy fandom than I'd expected, but I got about what I thought I would regarding Smallville.

It was Stargate SG-1 which surprised me. Several of my stories -- all but one of them gen -- have been linked directly in the articles about the 'zines in which they originally appeared. My Chaplain series is one of the stories listed under "Christianity and Fandom." By no means are mine the only stories linked, but it never occurred to me that "Time Was" (one of my weirder stories), "Teal'c's Thanksgiving," and "Campfire Stories" would be, for lack of a better term, important enough to be linked. It's not like every story mentioned in the 'zine lists has a link, either.

Not all of my stories in the fandom have been linked (even the gen ones) by any means, but this is the only one of my fandoms where I have a direct association -- and I know I didn't do it.
fabrisse: (YuletideCandle)
My assignment:

I was matched up with Jenett again on Lammas Night, but she also had Agora as a possibility. I had the movie, watched it, fell in love, and wrote The Beauty of Philosophy. However, the original match kept haunting me, so, for the first time, I wrote a treat. It's in Lammas Night and called The Early Days.

I also did quite a bit of pinch-hitting. There were two which couldn't be directly assigned:

Halloween in the Bewitched fandom, and Little Miracles in Crossing Jordan.

One pinch-hit ended up assigned doubly which made my entry in Anne of Green Gables a treat, too. The story is called Patty's Place on a Wintery Friday Evening once again proving that I'm terrible at titles.

And here are my assigned pinch hits:
Women and Men and Beds in Kill Your Darlings (the only Explicit story this year)

An Evening In in Enchanted

To Write a Sermon in Mansfield Park

A Week Later in Twelfth Night (the first of three Shakespeare assignments)

The following were written after the December 20 deadline passed.
Preparation in Hamlet

Pride in Coriolanus

Planning the Future in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

The Last Night in Kings (not Explicit, but definitely Mature)

All in all, it was a lovely Yuletide.

The BBC...

Oct. 12th, 2014 11:46 am
fabrisse: (Doctor Twelve)
is apparently making its own fanvids now.

This is the song from last night's Doctor Who. It's a slow version of Queen's Don't Stop Me Now by a singer called Foxes.

fabrisse: (yuletideHolly)
I have Mondays December 24 and 31 off, which was just vouchsafed me today!

Also, I have fulfilled my assignment for [livejournal.com profile] yuletide and completed all six seven eight of my pinch-hits. I think it will be a good year.
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I have my ticket for July 19 for all three films back-to-back-to-back.

I'm thrilled at the potential political, psychological, and philosophical exegeses that will be coming out of this movie.

I want to slap some kid on YouTube (just saw the "Behind the Scenes" video there) who said no middle aged people are going to want to see it. *hmmmph*

Anyone else claiming July 20 as a religious holiday?

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