Ok, so its time to play a little catch up - with today's post, I will fill you in on what I did over the weekend - it was a packed weekend. Actually had a chance to see some amazing plays and got a chance to read and write for a good while. So, if you are ready, read on:
Saturday, June 14th - 2 plays!!!
YEP. You saw that right. We had a magnificent time at the theatre on Saturday! We caught a play in the mid morning time and then ended up on the south side of London for a second play. Both plays were quite interesting and bold. We got the chance to see MR. BURNS and WAITING FOR GODOT.
SO to get an idea about the play is about, you have to go see the play (of course) or read the reviews. I am setting one up done 3 days go in the Guardian, HERE. It was written by Anne Washburn
To be clear, the play is set in three different time periods: sometime in the near future, 5 years from then and then 75 years from that - and all moments therein, have a very post-apocalyptic feel. The beginning of the play sets up the totality of what we are in store for - a play based loosely on the series "The Simpsons" and one episode "Cape Feare", which (I am not a big fan of "The Simpsons") is one of the best ones to remember. The first act in the play sets up the summary of the episode (admittedly based on two versions of Cape Fear - one that stared Gregory Peck and a later version starring Robert DeNiro. Here is a quick 60 second review of the episode itself:
60 SECOND SIMPSONS REVIEW - CAPE FEARE
¿Que te parece? Crazy right? So I was able to come to one conclusion about his play - you either love it or you hate it. There is likely no in-between. The writer wrote this and it is based in my youth (the 90's) - and there are both pop culture and theatre references built into the play. For me, I thought they did a damn fine job of playing up the comedic elements and they were able to take liberties with other portions that for me came out well.
Here are some of the references you get in the play from ACT I to ACT II:
Mad Max & the Thunder Dome
Cape Fear (Peck)
Cape Fear (DeNiro)
Heart of Darkness
Joker (Jack Nicholson)
I liked the play, as it made you have to pay attention to the sequence of events as they unfolded. I would also say that you were probably pretty lost, or would get lost if you didn't have any cultural background in areas listed above - It is a play, a bastard child if you will born from the musical movie "THE MOULIN ROUGE" and "ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW". BUT, that's what made it work for me.
The theatre, the ALMEIDA THEATRE was amazing as well (Click on the name to get info on it). I took the liberty of setting up some shots there as well:
So from there, we dashed to the south side of London and went to the ARCOLA THEATRE (click on the name to get more info) to catch WAITING FOR GODOT - and that was an amazing play - Here is brief note on what the play is about:
"Written by Samuel Beckett in 1948, -t story revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone—or something—named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree, inhabiting a drama spun of their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes, and nonsense, which has been interpreted as mankind’s inexhaustible search for meaning. Beckett’s language pioneered an expressionistic minimalism that captured the existential post-World War II Europe. His play remains one of the most magical and beautiful allegories of our time."
They director of this play, here in London, has done away with the bola hats and replaced the costuming with lots of modern day references and ball caps, and I think it works. I was entirely impressed. The characters were lively and the energy quieted down when it needed to and raised when it made sense. It was a haunting play. Here are some of the shots I took at the theatre:
After we finished that play, we made our way back to our humble "flats" and headed back out into the night to partake in "WORLD CUP" festivities -
We got to catch the England v. Italy game!!
Here are the highlights -
And to end the night, we had a few beers, a ton of laughs and a damn good time...
Day two was much 'Lighter"
John and I (fellow ON-LINE MFAer from Grand Rapids, Michigan) decided to hang out and catch a museum and ANOTHER play. It was a cool day.
First we took a walk on the wild side (not really) and made our way to the Tate Modern Art Museum. That place looks different than what I remembered it to be. Click HERE to get more info.
To be honest, we didn't even get to scratch the surface - we took our time to get there, and we had great conversation - politics, social/governmental responsibility, immigration, the need for more people of color to teach MFA and be in MFA programs, we have a lot in common.
While at the Tate, we found two exhibits:
Project Space: A Chronicle of Interventions
Here is a bit on it -
A Chronicle of Interventions explores the multiple histories of intervention that have occurred throughout Central America during the 20th century and displays the work of seven practicing artists who each explore various foreign, economic, political and military interventions which have shaped the region.
Harking back to 1980s New York, the exhibition begins with an archival display of the seminal installation by Group Material, entitled Timeline: A Chronicle of USIntervention in Central and Latin America, the work wasoriginally installed in New York’s PS1 Gallery in 1984, when Central America was in the spotlight of political and economic debate in the West.
Fast forward thirty years and the exhibition returns to this history of intervention and its consequences, through the work of contemporary artists who chronicle related historical episodes, accounts and phenomena."
It was a facinating look - and was actually a conversation we were just having - the idea of what U.S. intervention in places with indigenous peoples looks like and how that affects their futures. It was real neat and definitely insightful.
The other exhibit was - POETRY & DREAM
"The displays in Poetry and Dream show how contemporary art grows from, reconnects with, and can provide fresh insights into the art of the past.
The large room at the heart of the wing is devoted to surrealism, while the surrounding displays look at other artists who, in different ways, have responded to or diverged from surrealism, or explored related themes such as the world of dreams, the unconscious and archetypal myth."
This was a breathe of fresh air mostly due to the fact that the art entirely varied from room to room and artist to artist.
The neatest part was that we could take pictures!!!
Right after the Tate, we had already decided the previous day we wanted to go see another play - so we went and saw "THE COMMITMENTS" - based on the movie of the same name.
Here is the original preview for the movie:
The play was a riot! The singing was spot and the music was entirely well done. The audience was entirely entranced by the music and I was unexpectedly surprised by just how many people there are that are overjoyed to support theatre. It was great.
After we were done there, then we took the walk back, so John could go get ready for his one-on-one check in with our Prof. Chacón. This allowed me a chance to go have something I don't do often enough - ITALIAN FOOD!! - Kimberly (another classmate, this time from Phoenix, AZ) went to dinner at a place called the Speghetti House. It was amazing! So all in all it was a great day.
The take away from the two days :
I think I am beginning to better understand the make up of character, of exposition and of emotive drive in relation to stories (duh). Maybe its much more about the visceral connection to moments and memory I am keying in on - in Godot - the frustrations for the characters came at moments when memory and the mind were key - and in Mr. Burns, the characters wanted to return to some lost era, built up on the memory of pop culture. Even the physical environment in which a character occupies has a way of directing how the performance goes - the actors can play up - and play loud - the 4th wall they can break, reaches up into the balconies and beyond.
Ok, so for now, that is the end of this part - will keep you up to date after tomorrow. Hope your day goes well.