Thursday, July 31, 2008

Some Little Things

I'm still recovering from the suddenness of arriving for a performance of The Comedy of Errors at one in the afternoon on a Saturday, and then not realizing until after the curtain call that ... there wouldn't be another the next day or the next weekend. Of course, it all wasn't officially over until the cast party, and even now... I just miss it. I feel like I won't ever get over that. But I may get to be in The Music Man with my cousins and Hannah this fall, and the woman who played Adriana in Comedy wants to start a Shakespearean acting class for children, and there's most likely going to be some musical theatre involved, so I feel consoled.

I attended the last show of You Can't Take It With You on Sunday. Despite some obvious fumbling (well, obvious to me at any rate: I had already seen the show twice before) it was a fantastic show, and the cast received a standing ovation. I was so proud of them all. And sad that I'd never get to see them as those characters again. Ooh, it was sad indeed.

But I really am quite WELL! and to quote Kolenkov from "Can't," "Life is chasing inside of me like a ... squirrel!" I'm happy. Some things that are making me happy:

1. The audio book of The Goose Girl. *SPOILERS* Ani's voice is good. Selia's is good. Geric's is sort of... too... um... I can't think of a word. But he doesn't sound right - he doesn't sound earnest and boyish and sweet, while still sounding strong and noble. He just sounds mostly strong and noble. I'm not crazy about the narrator's voice - the words seem more beautiful when I'm reading them in my head, with my own voice. I just finished listening to the scene where Ani is talking to Falada's head. It was beautiful on paper, and beautiful in audio. However, I did have it imagined so clearly in my mind that it fell a little short. I imagined it all more desperate. When Ani said Falada's name in her mind, the sound of it echoed through my mind for pages afterward when I first read it. I never imagined any line of diologue in any book as clearly as I did that. It was an imaginary cry to an imaginary character, heart-broken, echoing in an imaginary cold, and I heard it and felt it so clearly it still makes me shiver. But even so, in the audio book, that scene was amazing. *END SPOILERS*

2. Guitar: I never realized how good I had become at playing guitar until I tried to learn to play with my right hand. I'm a leftie, playing on a left-handed guitar, but since my dad plays and collects guitars, there is certainly no shortage of normal guitars. So I picked up my dad's acoustic-electric Taylor that he won in some drawing that he randomly entered (although I'd rather play his Gibson Southern Jumbo - but alas, it's out of tune and rather collectible) and decided to learn to play the "right" way. Ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch, painful! My fingers have felt like they're on fire, and all the frustration of my first months as a student of guitaritry (new word!) are coming back. I'm recalling how hard it was - is! - to make each string make a sound in a chord like D minor, which is now so simple for me, almost like a habit (on a left-handed guitar, that is). So that's making me happy. The thought that I can pick up my guitar and play a few chords quickly and cleanly, do a few hammer-ons, slides, and play the beginning of a George Gershwin song - that makes me very happy.

3. Arsenic And Old Lace. I watched the movie twice this past week, once with my sister and once with my father, and I put the play on hold at the library (I'm looking forward to seeing how different it is from the movie). It's SO fun! And quotable. And morbid, and hilarious. When the play arrives from the library, I shall write up a blogpost full of funny quotes from it.

4. The Shakespeare Authorship Controversy. My dad and I stayed up late a few nights ago talking about it. Someday I'll post about it on The Shakespeare Journal, and where my father and I stand, but first I have to do a lot more research. That's just the way I am, you know.

5. The trailer for Harry Potter 6. Time flies. Seems like just yesterday we were at 4, and I was on the way to the theater thinking that I hoped to goodness that they would play a trailer for The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe. They did, as we were walking up to the top seats. I practically had to be dragged up the stairs. I was a silly little Narnia-fangurl back then. Very silly. Hopefully I've matured in my love for the series and following of the movies and their production. (Says the girl who burst into tears at the end of Prince Caspian) But yes, about that trailer: I like it. There's nothing about it that I like in particular (well... Young Tom Riddle is pretty awesome), but I'm just so glad it's HERE.

And I guess that's about all I wanted to say. Except for this:

Noah: Mommy, I'm Plumpy. (Referring to a character in the game of Candyland)
Mom: Okay. I'm Queen Frostine. (Referring to another character in the game)
Noah: ... No. You're Plumpy's mommy.
Mom: I am? Why can't I be someone more -
Noah: (Interrupting) You're Plumpy's mommy.

Poor Plumpy's mommy. ;)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fond Remembrances of April Foolery

I was just thinking today of the very funny conversation I had with a few girls from a forum I frequent and help moderate. It was on April 1st. These two girls will be given new names for this blogpost, though they might come upon this and reveal their identity, because really I don't think they'd mind if I told you who they were...are... but the conversation is just a tad bit embarrassing for three book-loving, good-spelling young ladies such as we. ;)

I started it by writing in my signature, an April Fool's Joke: "Fownder of the Almost-Illiterate Teens Club!! Join 2day!!!1!1"

Girl #1: *snickers* Ooh! can i like, join ur club??!

Me: yah, im tryng to recrooit (sp????) more members.

Girl #1: *feels the need to use some large and intelligent-sounding words to make up for the ghastly chatspeak she used above, but of course cannot think of anything decent*

Me: Grandiloquent
Xenophobia (fear or hatred of strangers...)
Meshugga (Yiddish/Hebrew or something. Means crazy or stupid. Love that word.)
Brodingnagian (Of gigantic size. WHOA!)
Tinctumutation (change of colour)

Girl #2: Ooooooh, can i like join the club, [Girl #1] and delany?? it souns lyk my kinda thing totally!!!

Girl #2: of corse!!! And I'm sure that [Girl #3] will want to join too. its her type of club for shore.

(Man...I'm really not good at this grammar-killing stuff...)

Me: OMG, now we have like, 3 mmbers totul!


Girl #3: o i like wanna b in yr club like let me joyn i wanna like so so bad. [Here she posted numerous smiley faces and emoticons] omg like boks r so last year like i think mk-up is like so kewl

(This is fun!)

Girl #2: You are a natural!

Girl #1: Ack! Don't insult her!

did u here about Zac Ephron being cast as Youstance (sp???) So awesem, i loved hsm.

*is tired already, and wonders how genuine chatspeakers manage it*

We all got pretty tired of it at that point. It really is sort of exhausting, and we did need those words like "brobdingnagian" and "tinctumutation" to feel that not all of our brain cells had died. ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Roman Mysteries

Long have I awaited the arrival of the Roman Mysteries tv series to DVD! And finally... here is season one, in my very own house!

My sister and I expected that we would be cracking jokes all the way through, but I liked 'most everything about it more than I expected I would.

This post is the fulfillment of a promise to Rebekah and Alyosha, who knew that we had pre-ordered the DVD, and requested such a report. It will be organized by "scroll" (as in the first two-part episode, and the next, and so on) and then by character. I was going to rewatch all of the episodes and take notes, but that would have taken too long, and I just didn't "feel like it" today.

The Secrets of Vesuvius I was never very nervous about this one, because I knew it combined the first two books in the series, The Thieves of Ostia and The Secrets of Vesuvius, which are perhaps my least favorite books in the series. The first moments of the series were odd, to say the least, involving Flavia Gemina running for her life from someone she's never seen before, and Jonathan ben Mordecai saving her with his slingshot. The filming there was wiggly and confusing, but it had calmed down by the time Flavia and Jonathan were having their first conversation. That was where my sister and I were first pleasantly surprise, when Jonathan said, "You must be Flavia. I hear your mother all the time, 'Flavia, slow down! Flavia, stop that!'"

The adaptation on this one was only so-so, very rushed (my, my, those children certainly do have many adventures!), but the episode itself was pretty good. Mount Vesuvius pretty much looked like a painting, though.

The Pirates of Pompeii Not much to say about this, except that I loved (er... loved to hate) Pulchra and disliked Felix and most traces of Flavia's disturbing fancy for Felix were gone, thankfully.

The Assassins of Rome Susannah's Other Jonathan subplot was also done away with, but Rizpah and her kitten were in this! More about Rizpah below...

The Dolphins of Laurentum Adaption-wise, this one is the best. It's quite close to the book (even though Aristo isn't in it).

The Enemies of Jupiter It was pretty good, as I recall. The story in this one was probably the farthest from the book of all the episodes in season one. *SPOILERS* Instead of giving his mother a drink to make her appear dead, Susannah is poisoned by Berenice. And then - horror of horrors! - Jonathan goes home. *wail* No! I'm sorry, but I simply adore that cliff-hanger in the book. Gone. Gone, alas.

The series has a happy ending at Miriam's wedding. Captain Geminus informs Flavia that it's time she think about getting married (in the TV show, she's 13 instead of 11), and although Flavia is rather distressed about it, her father loves her, Jonathan is funny, and one shouldn't have a frown at a wedding. Flavia catches Miriam's bouquet and frantically tosses it to Nubia. Haha.

Now, onto the interesting part: Characters!

Flavia Gemina: Francesca Isherwood did a very good job as Flavia. She's bossy and cute. She's not nearly as annoying as Flavia is in the book.

Jonathan ben Mordecai: I just love his curls! ;) He was very funny in his own way, but just not the Jonathan I love in the books, though a lot of his funny lines made it into the show ("Wait, how do you know what camel dung tastes - no, don't answer that")

Nubia: Rather perfect and peaceful but still very human, and a very great lover of animals. Rebekah Brookes-Murrell's Nubia was very close to the book-Nubia.

Lupus: In a word, perfect. I am a firm Harry Stott fan. I wonder if it's harder or easier to play a character who doesn't talk? At any rate, Harry did a wonderful job. He got Lupus's fire and energy just right.

Dr. Mordecai: Excellent! He looked exactly how I imagined him and acted very well. I have no complaints.

Pliny: Ditto! He was fabulous.

Pliny the Younger: Oh, Mark Wells (older Edmund in LWW) was the perfect choice for Pliny's nephew! He's awkward and nerdy and lovable. In The Secrets of Vesuvius when Flavia bursts into their home to tell Admiral Pliny about the volcano, Pliny's first reaction is to shout, "Assassins!"

Rizpah: She was ok... She didn't look at all like the description in the book, but I suppose that would be have been very difficult. But at least she was THERE, is what I say.

Miriam: Very good.

Gaius/Captain Geminus: Very good.

Let us just assume that everyone else is very good unless I mention their names.

Felix: I didn't care for him much... his eyes were Felix-eyes. But his hair... Hmm.

The rest, all jumbled together: Pulchra was marvelous, but she and Flavia look rather alike. Titus was just fine, Berenice was great, Susannah looked better in the picture on Caroline Lawrence's site, Venalicius was great (and Dolphins of Laurentum was GREAT, and did I mention that Lupus was fabulous?)

Ok... that's most of my thoughts about it. Anything else that you'd like to ask me, Aly, I'll be happy to answer. ;)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm Weak - And Back Early

I couldn't stay away 10 whole days. *shrug* Oh, well. I did stay away from blogging for eight days, so now to make up for it, you're getting a double update. Maybe even a triple. I FINALLY wrote something on The Shakespeare Journal - I'm sorry it took so long! My thoughts were all jumbled and it took a long time to get them all typed down - sort of like closing a suitcase with too many clothes inside of it. Anyhow, the post is on Miranda from The Tempest. Not scholarly or terribly interesting, but so what? ;)

When the play begins, she’s lived on an island with only her father and their hideous slave, Caliban since she was three years old. This naturally makes her relationship with her father very different from the relationship many girls have with their father. She confides in him openly, though she is rather a reserved girl, as a rule. Prospero is Miranda’s world, until Ferdinand comes along, much like Cosette and Valjean in Les Miserables. But unlike Cosette, Miranda still has room in her heart to love her father as before, while Cosette pretty nearly forgot Valjean. (Selfish girl. Grr.)

And I also hope to do a post on Books and Windows. Maybe. I'm not promising anything. *sigh*

The Roman Mysteries series one arrived in the mail! EEK! :D I'll do a post on that, as I promised to Alyosha and Rebekah. :)

I'm re-reading The Man Who Was Thursday. The other day I was overcome by an urge to read Gabriel Syme's speech to the anarchists out loud. It's rather over-the-top, because he's only pretending to be an anarchist himself, but it was fun to read out loud.

I went to see You Can't Take It With You, put on by the Shakespeare Festival I'm doing Comedy of Errors with. Twice, actually. It's such a hilarious play! I was so proud. I kept thinking, "This is my town. Some of these people are people I know." It was so great.

Speaking of The Comedy of Errors, our out-of-town director stopped coming to all our shows, so the director of Can't, Peter, (he runs the Shakespeare Festival) has taken over CoE. It's going to be so much funnier now. I also get to be in another scene, jeering at Egeon, the condemned Syracusian with some other townsfolk. Fun. :P We have a performance tonight. I'm excited - really, really excited. You would think I was the director.

In other theatrical news, we're going to see Wicked in August. Unless something happens that prevents us.

Well... that's all for now, I guess.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

When I picked up Rebecca I was expecting a suspenseful mystery novel, from all the things I had read about it. It's not exactly a mystery novel, but it is suspenseful. I really liked it.

There were three things that struck me the most about the book:

1) The main character - her name is never given. I could relate to her very well, as her imagination and mine tend to work in similar patterns. I'm still astounded that a writer can get away with telling a story from the perspective of a believable character without giving away their first name.

2) The writing. It's so FULL and delicious and rich, from descriptions of the gardens at Manderley to an account of afternoon tea.

3) The story. It seemed rather dreary after the marriage of the main character and Mr. de Winter, but now I realize that I should have seen that twist coming.

A lovely, melancholy book, worthy of all the good things I ever heard about it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Leaving For A While

Ok. Life is just a little too much right now. I still have schoolwork to finish, and a room to clean thoroughly, and I'm having a very difficult time. I'm going to back off from the internet for a week or so and see how it goes then. I'll see you all in about 10 days, maybe a few more. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bonita Granville as Nancy Drew

Today I'm going to talk about the Nancy Drew movies. Not that new Emma Roberts movie that came out last year: that was cute, but nothing near so cute as Bonita Granville.

Isn't she adorable? When my grandpa got out the Nancy Drew movies from the 30's that he had taped, I was an 11-year-old Nancy Drew book purist. "That's Nancy!?" I exclaimed, "It can't be! She's bouncy and... blonde!" And adorable! It's been a long time since I've said that I love the Nancy Drew books, but I do love these Nancy Drew movies. I even love the changes they made (changing Ned Nickerson to Ted Nickerson, for instance. Ned sounds oily.)

One of the movies shares a title and part of a plot with the book Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, and the movie Nancy Drew, Detective is based off the Nancy Drew book Password to Larkspur Lane. Today I have, off of YouTube, one of the four movies: Nancy Drew, Reporter. It's not my favorite, but it was all I could find. If you have Netflix, look for all four movies in a two-disc set. My favorite is Nancy Drew, Troubleshooter. You don't have to like it, or even watch it. If you like 30's movies, 30's dialogue, costumes, etc. you'll probably like it. :)

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

Part Five:

Part Six:

Part Seven:

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Opening Night

Last night was the opening night for The Comedy of Errors. My very first opening night. I'm sort of sick right now, so I felt a little queasy during the performance; it might have been stage fright but I'm not so sure. I still feel the same way right now. Maybe I'll never know.

Our Dromios (D. of Ephesus and D. of Syracuse) were both played by girls, and wore fake mustaches. Ha! D. of Syracuse came into the girl's dressing room after trimming her mustache and said in a Jaq-Clousseau accent, "Believe it or not, I do belong in here!"

Our nine-year-old duke (pardon me: nine and a half!) had a mild case of stage fright just before the show. But she did so wonderfully. She didn't fidget too much, she stood nice and tall, and spoke loudly.

Some people fumbled of course, but the audience seemed to really enjoy the play. When they first laughed (probably at D. of Syracuse - she was GREAT!) GiGi, the lady playing Dr. Pinch, said, "Ooh, that's good!" When they laughed a second time she said, "Isn't that a beautiful sound?" It was. It really was. It made me want to laugh too. I practically had the play memorized but I smiled and chuckled along with the audience.

I did fine, if you're wondering. I play Luce, a servant. I had some snappy, scornful lines in Act III, and a frantic speech as a messenger in Act V. That was lots of fun. I didn't have so many lines to memorize that it was stressful for me. I went out without my glasses which was... alright, I suppose. I could see everyone on stage well enough. Though with the lights and without my glasses, our Antipholus of Syracuse looked like he had a blurry halo over his head which is funny for two reasons: the first being that the Syracusian boys are supposed to be more innocent and naive than the Ephesian boys. The second reason was that A. of Syracuse was showing people how to make the Sign of the Cross backstage before the show. Hehe!

I almost forgot to mention the turn-out: 100 people! I know it doesn't seem like a lot, but keep in mind that we were performing in a small town in a gazebo. We ran out of seats!

We had another show today. It was very hot, but all together I think everyone did better. Next week is the opening of You Can't Take It With You. I really can't wait to see it. Now I'm already wondering what play the Shakespeare Festival up here will do next year...