choco_frosh: (Default)
OK. So, while it's somewhat fresh in my mind, I should write up a quick review of the play I saw on riday night, namely

LEGBALA IS A RIVER )
"I'd tell you to tell more people to come," the stage manager told the audience at the end of the show, "but our last performance is tomorrow, and we're sold out already." So I will tell you: go see this show when they do it again, in Summer Stock or at Portland Stage or wherever. Badger people to bring it to Boston, to Chicago, to the up-and-coming theater in the suburbs or the new performance space that just opened or the outdoor theater festival. Go see it, when- and wherever it goes up again.
This was an incredible experience.

Footnotes. )
choco_frosh: (Default)
More thoughts, even though I got like five hours of sleep and haven't even thought about job applications:

1) Seriously, when you think about it, one or two of these plays are like Sarah Kane-level creepy. Only without the impossible stage directions. The horror is going to happen after the play ends.

2) The issue of place: Or, the common theme that was not common at all.
These plays all, of course, were built around common set elements (and actually, that was really clever). But they are very different in how they interact with their settings.

Vaguely Normal: "The Wild Hunt" is set both in someone's office and in the desert; but it's not ABOUT the office, and the desert is there only in the characters' memories. "Connection" is in an isolated cabin...but as we learn, it's also an Air B&B, and even aside from that it's a very peculiar example of both types. This is not a play about isolated cabins.

Totally Irrelevant: In "The Thing Carol Saw", we just have two actresses sitting on stools, telling their stories of what happened, with commentary. There is no scene. They could maybe have been on a talk show; they could almost be in counseling; but with brief exceptions, there is no artiface here: they're on stage, talking to the audience. And you could do the whole thing as a radio play.
"Miracles" is more interesting in the irrelevance of the motel room. It's the most realistic setting, perhaps; but this is a play about the life two people lead, so you could have set it in a tent by the side of the road, in a Winnebago, in the actually-decent-for-once hotel room they decided to splurge on, in the house where they're almost never home or in the spare room that they conned someone into letting them use, all without changing the play substantially.

The Setting is the Main Character: Already noted. "Walter Likes Henny Just Fine" is set in a women's restroom, but is also ABOUT women's restrooms; and the laundromat Elwood enters HAS to be a laundromat, and you'd have to alter the play violently for it to be sited anywhere but Tinytown, Hanington County,* Maine.

* If you want to be ruder, you might express this alternatively as "Bumblefuckville, Washingcock County".
choco_frosh: (Default)
So at the last moment, the schedule for my trip to Maine wound up being changed around once again, this time because my brother had come down with some sort of Death Cold. But we DID still make it to this year's Maine Playwright's Festival, for which Dan was serving as artistic director (for the whole shebang) and dramaturge (for all the individual plays.)

So we had six short plays, and they were all awesome.

OK, OK: I'd say all of them were fairly solid, and a couple were incredible. The staging was minimal but effective; the acting was, to use the phrase of one of the characters, top shelf. Here are some quick reviews, so that you can be ready when they (hopefully to inevitably) get reprized everywhere else; and then some more general comments. Quotes taken from the program unless otherwise noted.

Individual Reviews )

Common Themes: )
choco_frosh: (Default)
1. I'm able to post this at this semi-sane hour because they for once sent us all home after eight hours sortin yer pakujes, instead of the usual 11.5-12. Maybe Christmas actually means something?
Nah, they just didn't have that much mail to do. Still, yay actual sleep.


2. My grandfather died last night, not unexpectedly. God keep his soul.
My uncle *did* make it there before Grandpa departed, though since the latter was apparently under a lot of morphine at the time (ouuucchhh...) he presumably didn't know who was holding his hand when.
Mom was less broken up than I'd expected; I gather because one of the things that had been preying on her was the uncertainty of the whole business; and now at last she knows. (That said, she did thoroughly vent/talk my brother's ear off when she called this morning; I guess I should have accepted his offer of being the one to actually pick up the phone.(See #3 and #4 below for explanations.)
The funeral is going to be held in North Andover, date t.b.d. but probably the second week in January. My brother and I may also see about going down for a visit with Grandma (and my Mom) beforehand. There is a possibility, however, that after that Grandpa will end up being buried in Arlington National Cemetery; if so, I may at least look into the feasibility of going down to represent the family.

3. OK, a couple of my brother's friends were just killed in a car crash? Fuckin' hell. December 2014, that's beyond fail-ly, that's ... just plain LOW.

4. I heard about all this because I actually did SOMETHING to celebrate Christmas, in the form of going over to my brother's for a Christmas brunch for the two of us before I went to work. (Incidentally, don't tell him I said this, but I think my adaptation of Bettina's recipe for biscuits produces a superior result to whatever he was using. ([personal profile] tree_and_leaf, feel free to disown me now.) But yeah, tasty, and we talked about whiskey and computer games, and made each other laugh, which we both really did need.

[I also gave him his Christmas present, in the form of tea, some of which we sampled over the second round of scones. He gave me my gift from Mom, in the form of Benjamins,* and also loaded me down with some extra Christmas desserts, which were also very welcome as I haven't managed to do any baking these past weeks. Well, except for baking a Stollen for the PO Xmas party, and I think I finished that at work today.]

5. Anyway, I should sleep, assuming the instant coffee will let me. Yeesh, yeah, it's like 2260 hours. And work out logistics for Christmas shopping, Peter pickup, etc.

* Inevitably leading to a conversation about whether a proper gangsta would carry his around in a wallet; the likelihood of Macklemore doing a rap about opening a bank account; irony; and what the heck the children of hipsters are going to be able to do to rebel. Oh, and R. Kelly.
choco_frosh: (Default)
"Uhhh..." I said to my counselor on Friday. "What the Sam Hill were we talking about last week?"
"..."
"It's been sort of a crazy week. Last...what was it, Thursday?" "Friday." "Right, seems life a really long time ago. I think I told you I was going to have Peter visiting this past weekend?"
"Yeah, how did that go?"
"Uh, pretty well, I mean as Peter visits go."

Which is to say )
choco_frosh: (Default)
Just got back from see Veils at Portland Stage.

Duuuude.

That...that is some heavy $#17.
I will post about it tomorrow, when I'm feeling in a state to give a decent review.
Other than to say, if you get the chance, you should go see it.

ETA: (Also, WHY does this quarter of town have no bars that are open past ten and take credit cards? After a heavy-duty play about culture clash, sexual violence, and Kobayashi Maru problems, followed by getting into yet another imaginary argument with someone en route home, I REALLY want a beer.)
choco_frosh: (Default)
Right, I owe you a writeup about yesterday. First though:

Grr why didn't I realize earlier that my brother's play was closing tonight? #@$^&%^*(&.

Ahem.
So to back up several steps: over the winter a joined a Meetup group dedicated to miscellaneous geekery. This includes (obviously) things like RPGs and board game nights and Diablo III LAN parties, but it also does various other things of varying degrees of geekitude. Somewhere in the middle came yesterday's event: "Wear suits for no reason and go to a museum and eat gelato." It was initially proposed...oo, two months ago or so, originally scheduled for Kalamazoo weekend, ultimately rescheduled for this past Saturday. And then all the people who'd originally planned it had to bail. So it very nearly failed to happen...
...but by the time I found THAT out, I'd already gotten all Mordecai'd up and driven to Portland, and the same was true of several other members, so after we told our Fearless Leader that it was happening with or without him (and then after we waited twenty minutes while he found such minor details as his shoes and actually got his rear end down there, we did that thing.

Results:
Portland Historical Society Museum: kinda missable, if you skip the tour of the Longfellow house. [Touring it with annoying 21-yr-old who resembles Mikle Sullivan without the sense of restraint or the smarts: unforgettable.] We did at least get a group photo:



Then we meandered on down to a place called The Bucket of Blood Gelato Fiasco.

Um.
They have more flavors of gelato than any gelateria or ice cream place I've ever been to. We fortunately talked our Fearless Leader out of ordering the place's eponymous ...thing, (which is of the traditional "umphteenscoops&lotsoftoppings&you'regoingtonreedliketenpeopletoeatitunlessyou'reontheCompetitiveEatingcircuit" type) Instead we shelled out for individual bowls, which was STILL a lot o' gelato. Most of us got some combination of flavours that included "Resurgam," a gimmick flavor that commemorates the city's motto and the fire that in turn inspired it. That it is a gimmick is sad, as salty caramel gelato with chocolate and STUFF=to die for.

And then we wandered about for a bit, and I annoyed my companions by sneaking off to scan my transcripts at Kinko's (long story...). And then we were joined by some fellow members and wound up playing Power Grid in the quasi-food court of the Market House until they kicked us out.
So in conclusion, three of the day's activities I/we have definitely got to do again (viz., wear suits for no reason, patronize Gelato Fiasco, and play Power Grid.) But the museum--eh--and I think that it would be better NOT to combine these activities.
choco_frosh: (Default)
So yeah. Pinter. Bizarre. John especially wanted me to go see it due to the scene that basically recreates the experience of a schizophrenic (despite the fact that he says they didn't really understand schizophrenia at the time it was written.) And that's not even the surreal and depressing part of the play...
Acting was generally good, and if the actress playing Mrs. Ball (sp?) isn't British, she
gets an A for getting Working-class British Housewife down.

Yesterday (once I finally hauled myself out of bed) was mostly spent baking cookies and frantically finishing the Personal Branding module, both in support of my going out to Boardgame Night with the local geek club without feeling guilty. I brought along the secretary from the nonprofit for which my Dad's (working? volunteering? I've lost track); and once we'd verified that we actually had the right address, it was a great deal of fun! Well, aside from the bit where she got into a very loud argument about philosophy and theology and mysticism with the 20-year-old dude in the Coast Guard and the middle-aged black lady (We appear to be a surprisingly diverse group...) while I was trying to learn the rules of Illuminati.
There weren't actually any Board Games played, cometothinkofit.* We played endless Catchword, and this weird rock-stacking game Ruth (the secretary) had brought, and some of us layed half a game of Illuminati; but mostly there was much talking and noshing. Fun, though. We ended the evening at a Local restaurant, it being restaurant week in Portland; I CONSIDERED joinging everyone in the prix fixe, but decided I didn't feel like bleeding money THIS week. Fun evening, tho.

Now I'm off to sit Shiva for Dad's partner's mother, who died last week. Why do I keep winding up saying Kaddish for other people's Jewish grandparents?

* This clearly needs to be rectified. Am tempted to pick a Saturday, invite people to sit on my floor, and offer them a choice of Risk or Catan.

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