Friday, January 9, 2015

catching up with reading

so during the time between the holidays when things were relatively quiet I caught up with a bit of reading- when I wasn't finishing my blog from the latest trip or doing the massive photo scanning project. so I have some book reports to give-

I last posted in August about my desire to finally get around to reading the paper books in my home- in this blog entry-

and just as we headed off to Italy I had finished the fluffy but fun Rococo-

and I brought a few book-books (as opposed to e-books- LOL) down with me- and have plenty more - some of which I may consider shipping next year as this does seem to be a way to whittle away at that goal... but since I have been south I have read the lengthy but excellent (took me three weeks to do it) Girls Like Us.  A fabulous work about the early feminist era and three iconic women songwriters. Recommended for all and HIGHLY recommended for those of you who may be fans of one or more of these women....

then I turned my attention to two books my reading friend Mick passed along - they were both by Nancy Mitford and originally published decades ago- I found the first one The Pursuit of Love mildly amusing and decided to go along and do the second, Love in a Cold Climate as well.  I am so happy I did because I can HIGHLY recommend Love in a Cold Climate- it is a little gem of black humor and satire that should not be missed! It was absolutely perfect... and I loved reading it.

then I went on to Crazy in the Kitchen, one of the ones I sent down and which has been sitting on my shelf in Chicago so long I don't even remember why I bought it. But I am happy I did- a memoir- about the author's growing up with immigrant grandparents and an exploration of how their history ultimately became her history... with an emphasis on the part food (or lack of food) played such a major role in shaping several generations lives.  Extremely well written and very very touching. Also recommended.

and now I am on to - A Perfect Red (from the shelf at home) - not sure how this one will be but I do remember I bought it because it was well reviewed...

so I will get back to you on that later- however since classes start next week and I am taking 3 this term I may not read this one in a just a few days as I did the last two... but if it is good- it won't take long...

Thursday, January 8, 2015

full employment

for student actors... that must be the reason- last night's production of As You Like It stage was littered with people... kind of like Little League - everyone got a part...LOL

let's start with the thumbnail review- I found it entertaining - if problematic and Phil found it a catastrophe/disaster/abomination (I believe he used all of the words)

a few flaws were mere annoyances - the drifting accent of one shepherd which moved across the south to some bizarre Cajun-like rendition of the phrases Shakespeare wrote for cadences that were so at variance with what we heard last night as to make it unrecognizable as Shakespeare in all but a few scenes and characters... The hip hop versions of some scenes were disconcerting, but nothing like the Robin Williams-esque riff that overtook the clown/jester character in a far too long and contrived monologue-

one who pulled off some of the beauty of Shakespeare's metered phrasing was the character of Rosalind while disguised as Ganymede. She was thoroughly entertaining.

however- the distractions frequently overtook the potential clarity of the rather (of course) complex story line... throughout the entire evening people were climbing up and down on giant ribbons- while an interesting gymnastic feat, it was less than pertinent to the narrative or setting but for a few short scenes where the characters were to be up in trees in the forest...

of course- this is a student production and they have none of the commercial worries a theater troupe might have so can take chances and be avant-garde... nevertheless one would have hoped for a bit more finesse with the Bard's prose...

our Rosalind/Ganymede- the strongest of the troupe when it came to the cadences of Shakespearian meter-

the rest of the cast members- as I said the stage was littered with characters- not all of whom were essential to the tale and some good editing might have been a worthy endeavor...

so perhaps not the best evening of theater we have seen but the edgy production did bring plenty to like (or not like)  -