dorchadas: (In America)
I hadn't listened to the songs at all, originally just because it's not my favorite kind of music. Then it was slight annoyance with the saturation, but after we learned it was coming to Chicago, I told [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd that I wanted to wait to see all the songs in context and not listen to them beforehand. And that's what I did, so last night was the first time I heard any of Hamilton that wasn't quoted by my friends.

Something something the room where it happens:


[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd told me she spent the first part of the musical glancing over to me and thinking that I was going to hate it. And it's true that the early part wasn't to my taste. The choreography was great, but the music I tend to listen to is heavily if not exclusively melody-driven, to the point where probably more than 80% of it is instrumental, or whatever you'd call chiptunes (is "a gameboy" an instrument?). It wasn't really until "Wait For It" that I really started to warm up to it. I mean, that song is a perfect encapsulation of my life philosophy--things are often terrible, much of your circumstances are completely outside of your control, but it is what it is and you have to make the best of it:
Death doesn’t discriminate
Between the sinners
And the saints
It takes and it takes and it takes
And we keep living anyway
It remains my favorite song and really the only one that stuck with me. A lot of the songs I either didn't care for or they just weren't memorable to me.

The other moment that I clearly remember is "Best of Wives, Best of Women" because it's the sort of thing I'd have a very hard time not doing if I were in a similar situation. A problem I had caused that I could fix, which would cause incredible worry in [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd if I told her? It would be extremely tempting to try to fix it and avoid the worry entirely. Not ethical, you understand, but tempting.

It didn't much stay with me, though. I'm not going to be listening to the soundtrack on repeat or thinking about the character interactions. It was pretty good and I can see why other people love it so much. But that's that.

It does make me want to read more founding father biographies, though. Especially after seeing this quote yesterday which seems like an angel of G-d came to Hamilton and granted him prophecy:
The truth unquestionably is, that the only path to a subversion of the republican system of the Country is, by flattering the prejudices of the people, and exciting their jealousies and apprehensions, to throw affairs into confusion, and bring on civil commotion. Tired at length of anarchy, or want of government, they may take shelter in the arms of monarchy for repose and security.

Those then, who resist a confirmation of public order, are the true Artificers of monarchy—not that this is the intention of the generality of them. Yet it would not be difficult to lay the finger upon some of their party who may justly be suspected. When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits—despotic in his ordinary demeanour—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may "ride the storm and direct the whirlwind."
-Alexander Hamilton, Enclosure: [Objections and Answers Respecting the Administration], [18 August 1792]

March Update

2017-Mar-18, Saturday 18:43
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
Just a grab-bag of things that have been happening lately.

I got my yearly bonus and annual raise this week. Higher than average on both, because we managed to exceed our department goals by a respectable amount and I did pretty well. There also wasn't as much pressure to hold down salary increases this year, so I got more of a salary increase and less of a bonus. And I put it all into tax withholding and 401K contributions. Well...that's responsibility. Emoji Dragon Warrior march

Yesterday was also the last day that we're using the old database system, and over the weekend they'll be switching over to the new system that they've spent the last two years working on. And true to software project form, it was a complete mess until the last week, where it was pulled into at least semi-reasonable condition. That also meant that I couldn't do anything involving the database on Friday, and since my work almost entirely involves editing database entries, I had to make work for myself. On a co-worker's suggestion, I did some prep work so that when the new database is up and able to accept new entries, I can go add in all the disciplinary actions to the appropriate physician records without having to scan through state board orders for what the doctors did wrong. Unless the database upgrade doesn't go well, in which case everything will be on fire. Emoji on fire Hopefully it all goes smoothly, but these are computers we're talking about.

Today was the first session of [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's 7th Sea 2e game! I read the book through to make sure I knew the system and I had some misgivings--it's much more loose and narrative-styled than the systems I tend to prefer--but in play it worked out really well! And doing a silly Russian accent and coughing at the republican and revolutionary talk for my Ussuran nobleman was a lot of fun. He's not that great in a fight, but he has magical powers. He's also really rich, which is kind of like a magical power! The star moment was when I called a raven to our jail cell where, we had been treacherously imprisoned for a crime we didn't commit, and asked it to fetch the keys in exchange for a bauble from my nobleman's clothing. I then let everyone out, locked the cells behind us, and left. The legend grows.

I paid our 2016 taxes. Last year we owned an enormous amount because I forgot to take into account [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's new job and thus that our salary was commensurately larger. This year I spent more time modeling our income vs. taxes paid and I came a lot closer--we owed 4% of what we owed last year, in terms of additional payments beyond our normal withholding. I'm not sure how much we'll owe on state taxes, but the state is usually much better at figuring out how much we owe than the federal government is and we rarely get a large refund or have a large deficit, so I'm not that worried. Edit: We owed more on state taxes than federal taxes. Looks like I spoke too soon! Emoji Shaking fist

We're going to see Hamilton on Thursday. I've successfully avoided most news about it, so while of course I know the subject matter and the characters, I haven't listened to a single song all the way through, nor do I know what parts of history the musical covers. I'll probably write about it after I go, but until then, it's a mystery! Emoji tali it is a mystery

Hiroshima: Wednesday

2016-Jul-20, Wednesday 23:50
dorchadas: (Genbaku Park)
We woke up at 7:10 today, and so hopefully this is the last time I have to make note of our wake up time. Maybe it's because we're in Hiroshima, and like I said, it feels like home. Maybe it's the drinks we had before we went to bed calming us down enough that we were able to sleep through. Maybe it's just that all that walking and travel tired us out--I know that [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd basically fell asleep the instant her head hit the pillow, before I had gotten more than a few words into the last writing session on yesterday's blog post.

Or maybe it's because Hotel Active has the most effective blackout curtains I've ever seen. Seriously, it's like being in an oubliette.

Sakura Hotel was a good price, especially for Tokyo lodgings, and double especially after we got that discount. ¥9300 a night. And ¥350 for all-you-can-eat coffee, tea, toast, and soup is nice too. But, Hotel Active cost us ¥8900 a night, breakfast is also all you can eat, it's included in the price, and it's a buffet that looks like this:


Rice and miso soup in the background.

This is actually my second plate of food. They have a full buffet with Western and Japanese breakfast, so I absolutely loaded myself to take advantage of it. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I still hadn't showered, so we went back to do that and everyone lounged around for an hour or so until we were all ready to face the day.

We headed out toward the Peace Park, walking down the covered Hondōri for all of its length and watching the shops start to prepare to open. When we got to the Peace Park, the sun was shining brightly and it was incredibly hot and humid, with absolutely no sign of the storms that were supposed to show up later. Just another Japanese summer.

I don't really like visiting the Peace Memorial Museum. It's not the sort of thing that one likes. I keep going because it's important, and because the museum does a great job of focusing on the horrors of the bombing while not falling to the Japanese tendency to cast themselves as the victims who always suffer at others' hands. The displays admit that Japan invaded Manchuria, for example, which is more than some of their history books do. But of course, there were innocent victims:


Shinichi Tetsutani. Born 1942, died August 6th, 1945.

We went through the museum in silence, and when we were done and people had bought souvenirs, mostly made of recycled paper from the cranes sent in from around the world, we headed out to lunch. Our original choice had a line waiting in the sun, so we walked back down Hondōri to Okonomimura, a multi-story bundling stuffed full of okonomiyaki restaurants. It's not somewhere we often went when we lived here, but that's because our neighborhood had an okonomiyaki restaurant run out of someone's house, so we wanted different food when we came into the city. Here, though, I figured that there'd be at least one restaurant in there that didn't have a line, and I was right. We went to Chichan and stuffed ourselves with okonomiyaki (I got negiyaki, which leaves out the noodles), and then split apart.

One friend went off to Hiroshima-jō to look at the grounds and castle, and [livejournal.com profile] tropicanaomega went back to the hotel. [twitter.com profile] xoDrVenture, [livejournal.com profile] tastee_wheat, and I wanted dessert, so we walked over to the Polar Bear Cafe for gelato. ¥380 for a double, murasaki imo and rum raisin. [livejournal.com profile] tastee_wheat ordered a double after we did but before the workers put any ice cream on ours, so she got a giant stack of matcha and mango. We all ate our gelato together, I surprised a pair of obāchans with how huge I am, and then we went our separate ways.

[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I headed back out to Hondōri, now looking more like I remember:


That covering is really nice right about now.

...and did some shopping. Now that I overhauled my personal style and would actually wear some of the clothes here, I figured that I should look and see if I found anything I liked. And I did. A black button-down shirt with wine-red cuffs but a black collar, so I don't look like a total asshole, and an incredibly pretentious shirt with white birds and vines and swirls of mist that says: "We are born, so to speak, twice. Once into existence, and once into life." It's perfect for me.

We went up and down Hondōri, into Parco and Sunmall, up to the new Andersen's location and down to Bookoff, where I got another Neko Atsume souvenir and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd got a Sailor Moon brooch charm. This was a three hours of shopping, and by this point it was 5:30 and we needed to use the laundry machines at Hotel Active, so as it started to rain, we walked back to the hotel.

Unfortunately, all the laundry machines were full, so we took showers to wash the Japanese humidity off while we waited. Eventually [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd went down to physically wait at the machines while I headed over to the cultural center to check and see if the kagura performance we had gotten a flier for was still on, since it said that it might be canceled due to storms and there was a thunderstorm outside. When I got there, though, the rain had basically died, there were red banners placed all outside the building, and:


The archers confront the demon.

Kagura is one of [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's and my favorite memories of Hiroshima. It's an old art form that's not super common in the rest of the country anymore, though it used to be a thousand years ago when kagura was a ritual form used at shrines--it literally means "god music." Nowadays it's mostly for entertainment (though it still occurs in its original capacity in the Imperial household), and in Hiroshima especially there are kagura performances at most major festivals.

In another bit of serendipity, the specific show they performed tonight was Akkoden, which along with its sequel Sesshoseki was performed almost every time there was an event with kagura in Chiyoda. To happen to be here on a Wednesday, the night of the kagura performances, and then to have the specific performance be this one...

Also, at the end, they invited people up to the stage to take picture with the actors and, well:


Roar.

One other person came with us, and after the performance let out and we had gone out to dinner at an Indian restaurant, we took stock of the situation. It turned out most people wanted to stay in for the night, so our friend went back to the hotel and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went to check out a bar we knew. Unfortunately, it had closed in the meantime and been replaced by one with a ¥500 table charge, so we headed back up Nakimi-dōri toward the hotel and stopped in at a sake bar called いいお酒 一彩 (ii osake issai).

That turned out to be a great idea. It was small, seating maybe a dozen people, with smooth jazz playing on a low volume, and other than us there was no one in there but a single salaryman in the corner. The bartender asked us if we knew Japanese, and then handed us a menu and asked if we wanted oolong tea or beer as our free drink. We both picked tea and looked at the menu before asking the bartender for his recommendation--I couldn't read most of it, and even what I could read didn't mean anything to me because while I like sake a lot, I don't know that much about it.

He gave us a very dry sake that wasn't super strong, at least in taste. It got a bit much toward the end of the glass, but it was delightful before then, and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I drank our sake, ate our complementary fried tofu, listened to the music, and chatted. When our glass was done, we went back to the hotel, waited for our laundry to finish--it took close to five hours for a single load; good thing it was free--and then went to bed.

Steps taken: 21042
dorchadas: (Do Not Want)
I'm always up for a good bout of eating the rich!

On Friday night, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went to the US premier of Posh at the Steep Theatre. I didn't really know anything about it beforehand other than that it was a British play about a thinly-veiled version of an Oxford club for young, overprivileged rich boys--apparently based on the Bullington Club--and that the original dates I wanted to pick were sold out. In fact, it was sold out until the last weekend of its run, at least until the theatre extended it for a month due to overwhelming response. And when we arrived, every single seat was full or reserved and the management had to take a moment to sort out who hadn't sit in their reserved seat and make sure that we had seats.

The play was great! I can see why it's sold out. The actors did an excellent job of portraying people who were used to getting their way in just about everything and never really having been told no in their lives, and thus having no way to deal with disappointment. Minor inconveniences like having a nine-bird roast instead of a ten-bird roast, which fails to provide proper symbolism due to the club having ten members, to the president arriving late, to more serious offenses--at least, from a certain point of view--like the prostitute they hire daring to have a code of conduct she follows and the failure of the pub's proprietor to immediately bow to their every whim slowly escalates the mood until they're ranting about the evils of poor people daring to think that they're the equal of their natural betters. Who are they to put on airs? We built all this for them, and now they're tracking shit all over the floors and furniture, etc. You know, the kind of thing that rich assholes actually say.

On the one hand, you quickly get the idea that you would not like most of these people if you met them. Their "club" is full of empty ritual and ceremony, most of which boil down to an excuse to get blind drunk, condescend to everyone around them if not actively mistreat them, and act like the medieval lords of the manor that they imagine themselves to be. On the other hand, they're not all painted as inveterate villains, though some of them come closer to that than others. One or two even have a streak of noblesse oblige, which, as much as I think rarely actually works in real life, is at least a positive character trait to counterbalance the people who are ranting about sick they are of the poors.

The theatre space was pretty small, with seats set all around a space that's maybe six meters by six meters. I kept expecting to be hit by a thrown object or have a wine glass spilled during the pounding of the table or the trashing of the everything, but the actors knew the limits of their performance space pretty well. It also gave the performance an intensity that I'm not sure it would otherwise have had.

And I liked how most of the stage crewing was done by the actors who were playing the characters of lower social rank. A good way to reinforce the themes.

It looks like there are still performances available, and now it runs through the end of March. I'd definitely recommend it!
dorchadas: (Great Old Ones)
I shall plan my cousin's escape from that Canton mad-house, and together we shall go to marvel-shadowed Innsmouth. We shall swim out to that brooding reef in the sea and dive down through black abysses to Cyclopean and many-columned Y'ha-nthlei, and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever.
-H. P. Lovecraft, The Shadow Over Innsmouth
"The Shadow over Innsmouth" is one of Lovecraft's most famous stories, and it's not that hard to see its pull. A secret family heritage whose ramifications echo down through the ages. Factors beyond one's control that can change the course of one's life forever. Fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers whose deeds that cannot be escaped. A change that becomes increasingly welcome to its subject as time passes, even as others become more and more repulsed.

No wait, that's The Rats in the Walls. "The Shadow over Innsmouth" is literally about the One-Drop Rule. Dammit, Lovecraft.

Anyway, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went to go see Wildclaw Theatre's production of The Shadow over Innsmouth yesterday, and it was great and you should all go see it if you're a fan of horror or Lovecraft. I'm always a bit suspicious of any attempt to adapt Lovecraft to a non-literary format, both because so many previous attempts have been so terrible and because a lot of the greatness of Lovecraft is in the slow, creeping terror and the mindset of the narrator as the revelation comes upon them, but "The Shadow over Innsmouth" is actually a pretty good candidate for a more kinesthetic version--it has an extended chase scene, for example--and on the whole, the quality of the stage adaptation was pretty good.

Obviously there were more characters and dialogue than in the original story, but nearly everyone is taken out of brief mentions from the text and then expanded upon, like the curator of the Newburyport Historical Society, the purveyor at the Innsmouth grocery, or the narrator's cousin. There are a few additions and reshufflings as well, the primary one being that the main character is a woman, though I didn't feel like it had a significant effect on the changes made to the story. In addition, there were a few more characters added in Innsmouth, and a trip to Arkham carried with it a visit to a professor at Miskatonic University. Some of this did feel like padding--I wasn't particularly impressed with any of the conversations with the Marshes in Innsmouth, as it seemed like an attempt at comic relief that mostly fell flat--but stretching out the beginning did allow a much better sense of creeping horror than in the original source.

In the text, the vast majority of the time is spent in the exploration and subsequent escape from Innsmouth, with the body horror aspect only coming in at the end in the last chapter. In the play, the evidence that there is something odd about Olmstead starts quite early, from the brief mention of damage to her lungs in a near-drowning when she was a child and subsequent asmatic fits to the occasional dreams she has to the whisperings she hears when she views the pieces of Innsmouth jewelry held at Miskatonic University and the Newburyport Historical Society. The audience learns early that there's something odd about Olmstead and her cousin, and it is continually reinforced throughout the play. I especially liked the repeated phrase:
"Tell me--do you ever find it...difficult to close your eyes?"
and the way that flashbacks and dreams were added in, though I personally found it somewhat difficult to distinguish the two until about half-way through the course of the play.

I did feel the ending fell somewhat flat, though, about which more later.

The sound design was fantastic. Innsmouth had a constant sound of water, from the crashing of waves when Olmstead was talking to Zadok near the ocean to the sound of rain on the roof when she was staying in the inn. The whispering whenever she saw the odd jewelry was suitably creepy, and the way that the characters from Innsmouth talked... Honestly, I have to give them huge kudos for being able to do all that coughing, hacking, rasping, wheezing, and gurgling night after night. I played a Gangrel in a Vampire LARP once whose bestial deformity was an animalian voice, and as I discovered rather quickly, having to growl and rasp out everything I wanted to say made actually participating in the LARP quite difficult.

I also have to praise the stagehands. The actors did all the moving of props, and as the story went on the props came more and more to be moved by shrouded and shambling figures making disturbing coughing sounds as they worked. It did a great job of adding to the mood.

One of the text's major scenes, the conversation with Zadok Allen and the revelations about the past--and present--of Innsmouth was good, and the actor who played Allen did a good job, but I can't help but feel that some of the growing horror that pervaded the entirety of the play should have been introduced into this monologue. Olmstead treats Allen's conversation with disbelief and scorn--not surprising, considering the content--but Allen remains jovial throughout, and only attains a slight note of seriousness toward the end when he's describing how Obed Marsh took control of the town. Only when Allen sees that the other denizens of Innsmouth have come to punish his transgressions does he really turn serious, and then he gets grabbed and dragged away in a sudden mood whiplash--a few people in the audience even laughed. In the text, Allen starts out laughing, but becomes more and more serious as the conversation goes on until he's not laughing at all. Then he starts ranting and raving and eventually shrieks as he looks over Olmstead's shoulder, causing Olmstead to whip around and stare out to sea, but all he can see is the pounding of the waves. I would have preferred a more gradual build-up of the tension during the monologue. Maybe not to the level of the text, since the over-the-shoulder scene is difficult to do on the stage--though there were several robed and shrouded figures standing among the audience the served as the thing in the water Allen saw--but a bit more than the sudden change.

That's part of my complaint with the ending, and as some changes were made, this part will be spoilered: In the text, Olmstead escapes from Innsmouth by sneaking from street to street and then going along the old, abandoned rail line. In the play, this is suggested by the mortally-wounded grocer, but Olmstead goes back for her cousin. In the depths of the church of the Esoteric Order of Dagon, she finds her cousin tied up on an altar in the depths, meets Obed Marsh, who gives her a monologue about her ancestry and entreats her to join the Deep Ones beneath the waves. Then the shoggoth comes out.

I really didn't like that. Marsh's comics-style villainous ranting completely shattered the tension that had been building up to that point for me, and because of that, I just thought the shoggoth was kind of silly, even though it was pretty well staged. I was much happier with what followed--Olmstead's mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, who had been appearing in her dreams throughout the play, appeared in the flesh to invite her to join them, leading to a coughing fit, Olmstead being dipped in the water, and the final line of the play: the whispered, "I can breathe." It would have been just as effective if Marsh and the shoggoth had been eliminated entirely, and Olmstead had fainted when he cousin was carried away, and then the maternal line had come out. Their enticing whispers to join them were much more effective at conveying the attractiveness of swimming down to Cyclopean and many-columned Y'ha-nthlei than Marsh's raving.

Basically, the text makes this part about a thrilling chase scene and tension of wondering whether Olmstead will escape or not, and then changes gears and switches to body horror and transformation into something inhuman. The play skips the chase almost entirely other than escaping from the hotel and keeps the focus on the Innsmouth Look. That part I liked.


The play took different tactic with the body horror than the text, but I think the tension was actually better in the play, since the "who am I?" aspect is only present in the final chapter of the text. Since turning into an inhuman monster and welcoming it is the horror that moderns take out of the play now that no one worth listening to cares about miscegenation any more, emphasizing that aspect was a good change.

But despite those quibbles I have with it, overall The Shadow over Innsmouth is probably the best adaptation I've ever seen of a Lovecraft story to another format. It is definitely worth your money and your time.

Wyrd Sisters

2013-Jul-27, Saturday 19:35
dorchadas: (For the Horde!)
So, a few months ago while I was poking around Kickstarter, I found a proposal for a production of Terry Pratchet's Wyrd Sisters, put it in my phone's calendar, and stuck it in the back of my mind. A couple months after that, one of my coworkers gave me a flier for a production at the Side Project Theatre Company of a rather familiar play. So last night, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went to see it.

[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd hasn't read any of the Discworld books, despite me trying for literally years to get her to do so, so she went in without knowing anything other than what I had told her and what I mentioned before the play, which was, "I think it's a combo of Hamlet and Macbeth, but I haven't read it in eight years, so I don't know." Despite that, it was easy to follow, and she loved it.

I did too. All of the actresses (it was an all-female production) were good, but whoever was playing Granny Weatherwax was absolutely perfect, getting all the proper poses and facial expressions right. Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick were quite good, too, and the actress playing the Duke managed to get his increasing insanity down--I particularly liked the escalating series of items she scrubbed her hands with to "get the blood out."

I'd say you should go see it, but I'm pretty sure the last day is tomorrow, and when I checked there were only a few tickets left. The theatre itself was not that much larger than our apartment, and there were maybe 35 seats total.

Also, I should reread the Discworld books...
dorchadas: (Slime)
As promised, here are some of the rules that Suzugamine students sign up for when they attend:

  • Obviously, they have to wear uniforms. It's all mandated--skirts, shirts, shoes (two kinds) and even official socks with the school seal of them. Winter and summer versions of the uniform. And yes, some of them do hike their skirt up to Revolutionary Girl Utena levels even though it's an all-girls school. There's also an official schoolbag, and an official sportsbag if you're on a team. The main place for individuality is in the choice of pencilcase, folders, and the charms/stuffed animals they hang off their bags.

  • Wearing the uniform outside of school is encouraged (this is actually a rule). This is because in Japan, a school uniform is considered formal clothing, and you can wear one where you'd wear a suit/nice dress in America (assuming you're high-school age, anyway).

  • Hair cannot be colored, dyed, permed, styled, curled, braided, be-ribboned, or above the top of the head. Any student who naturally has brown or curly hair is required to file a "curly hair report" with the school office, otherwise "there may be difficulties." I am not making this up. The only permitted hairstyles are loose, ponytail, or pigtails. Pigtails are pretty common among high-school students, though when they hit college or their twenties they all switch to dying their hair blond. Kind of like America, actually, though Japanese hair means it turns out more a honey-brown color.

鶴姫伝説 was your standard Japanese love story. Boy, girl, boy meets girl, girl receives a vision from a goddess tellling her to take up the sword to defend her village, boy and girl fall in love, boy is killed delivering a message to a rival daimyo, girl hears from best friend who is now daimyo's servant that he gets blind drunk all the time, girl dresses in boy's armor and leads an army to defeat rival daimyo, girl ascends bodily into heaven leaving her armor behind. You know, typical. More seriously, I thought it was pretty neat, though I'm sure there were subtleties of the story that I didn't really understand. It was also a musical, which caught me by surprise.

The band in my current music is pretty neat. It's Finnish folk metal--you can get a good example of one of their songs is Ryyppäjäiset. It's instrumental, but you can get a nice summary of their musical style. Makes me want to play Unreal World again.

Tomorrow is the Suzugamine Sports Festival. That should be fun.

Mmm...warmth

2007-Feb-12, Monday 23:37
dorchadas: (Zombies together!)
Nothing like sitting underneath a blanket with a heating pad. Except maybe sitting underneath a blanket with someone else, but unfortunately, [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou is already on her way home.

We went to see a theater group perform The Canterbury Tales on Saturday at Fermilab. I was a little leery of what it was going to be like, but it turned out really good. A lot of it was direct quotes from the book though mostly in modernized English. The costumes were odd. Originally, it seemed like they were going to be original, when the nun came out and started her tale, but then when the soldiers she mentioned were dressed in fatigues... It wasn't bad, just a little surprising. The pardoner was appropriately creepy, when he gave his speech at the end about if anyone with anything needed to confess, they should come forth and kiss his relics. All in all, I expected not to like it and was pleasantly surprised.

I think all the commentary on midwest winter weather I need is that when I went outside this morning, with snow on the ground and my breath misting the air, my first thought was "damn, it's warm out here." 30 is a nice change from -3.

My weekend

2006-Jun-14, Wednesday 17:18
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
[livejournal.com profile] softlykarou's post covers most of the highlights, but I just wanted to add some bits of my own.

First of all, the food. I was sad that To Pho Cafe was closed (I really wanted Vietnamese), but I was sadder about dinner. I mean, I know I ordered fish in an Italian restaurant (which as both [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou and [livejournal.com profile] uriany pointed out, is not the best thing do to. However, I thought I would try it. It was just...bland. ALL the food was bland. The appetizer tasted like pepper, the main course's sides were better than the main course and the dessert tasted like nothing. I mean, I know banana isn't a strong flavor, but at least make the dessert taste like banana!

The musical, on the other hand, was awesome. I cried.

Today, I was bribed

2006-Jan-11, Wednesday 21:06
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
Okay, not really. I got an envelope addressed to me that turned out to have theatre tickets in it! Free admission for a guest and I to Accomplice up at Pheasant Run on January 21. There are only two problems with this.

A) Company policy doesn't allow me to accept gifts unless they are work related. A cup of coffee or a bagel during an interview is fine, and the tickets would be fine if I were reviewing the show...but I'm not, so they aren't.

B) I'll be out of town that weekend anyway.

Still, it was nice that I'm important enough to get freebies. ^_^
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
So, last night a bunch of us went to go see the play that UCC's LGB society was putting on, called, "To Sleep, Perchance To Dream," a "retelling" of Hamlet (it wasn't really, but I'll get to that). Before I discuss it, I will explain the plot (and you need to know that Horatio and Hamlet are both female here).

Horatio has a freaky dream where she sees her lover Hamlet being pulled away from her and promised to marry Laertes. It turns out to be true, but Laertes is scarcely there for a moment before he is sent away on a mission elsewhere. He briefly tries to console Hamlet, believing that her grief is due to the death of her father, but obviously fails. Horatio attempts to dissuade Hamlet from marrying Laertes, but Hamlet cites her duty to the state of Denmark and tries to return Horatio's love letters (Hamlet had a freaky dream too, but I don't remember what it was). Meanwhile, Ophelia knows what is going on, and plots with her evil minions Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to have Hamlet and Horatio perform in a play which will force them to reveal their feelings for each other in front of Queen Gertrude. It doesn't work, unfortunately--Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are successful in getting the two to perform the play, but the play reveals nothing. Afterwards, Ophelia reveals the love letter (which Horatio had thrown down in disgust instead of accepting) to Gertrude. Gertrude sees Horatio and Hamlet caught in flagrante delecto, and in despair, hangs herself. Ophelia tells Hamlet of her mother's death, and later in court Hamlet confronts Ophelia. Ophelia pulls a knife and stabs Laertes, then grabs a sword and duels briefly with Hamlet before stabbing her as well. Grief-stricken, Horatio cries for a moment over Hamlet's body before going berserk and killing Ophelia. Everyone is dead except Horatio, curtain falls.

Odd, isn't it?

Personally, I think the Shakespeare references were harmful to the play. Most people who know anything about English drama know the plot of Hamlet, and in this I think case the plot that everyone knows interferes with the ability of the audience to enjoy the story we had (which I thought was pretty good). There were also a couple uses of canned dialogue--such as when Gertrude is about to hang herself--which I really didn't understand.

Personally, I think it would have made a better movie, and it should have been longer. There was great use of music during the play, for example, and all the transitions were knife-edged, which made it hard to figure out what was going on without looking at the playbill or being confused for a few minutes at the beginning of each new scene. If it were a movie, though, I would definitely pay to see it.

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dorchadas

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