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Aug. 25th, 2014

tardis [doctor who]

once again, I find myself without an icon for the new Doctor

Thoughts on Deep Breath and the State of the WhoCollapse )

Aug. 16th, 2014

bright young thing

Leaky Con- Day 1 and Open at the Close

As previously mentioned, I went to my first LeakyCon this year. In the first post, I talked about the awesomeness of Mark. Now, it's time to start talking about all the REST of my Leaky adventuring. But be warned- this is a giant recap that's mostly for my own benefit, one that I imagine won't be of much interest to anyone but myself. :)

Yer a wizard, Emily!: Day One and Open at the CloseCollapse )
eleven/tardis otp [doctor who]

not the Doctor Who griping you're looking for

I am getting cranky about Doctor Who again. But it's all REACTIONARY crankiness because I'm thinking of all the complaints I hear about the show in recent seasons and I persist in reading it differently.Collapse )

Aug. 10th, 2014


made of flecks of light and dark and parasols

I just stepped out of a solid production of Sunday in the Park with George. It's biggest issue was the lack of the way that Mandy Patinkin says the word "red," which is nobody's fault. (Ok, technically, there were other issues- the actress playing Dot didn't have a lot of power in her voice, and George also had some occasional pitch problems, but that's the sort of thing you know when you've been listening to Mandy and Bernadette since you were a teenager). I was so pleased that a girl I met and will be working with this fall got to go on today as the Nurse- I ran into her in the lobby while waiting to get a rush ticket, and promised her to Woo! during the curtain call.

But that's not what I'm here to say.

I am here to say that my biggest takeaway from Act II (infamous for being the weaker of the two) is that CLEARLY, I AM MEANT TO SHIP GEORGE/DENNIS, Dennis being George's tech collaborator for his chromolumes (here played with scads of nebbish charm). BECAUSE SERIOUSLY. His departure is CLEARLY a parallel to Dot's (they both leave because they need something different than what George can give them, after playing a key role in his art). Dennis loves and understands George's art, and despite moving on (see what I did there?), he supports George unequivocally in whatever he does next. George, of course, has a failed marriage already and while we don't know why they split, it is OBVIOUS, AMIRITE? GEORGE IS COMING TO TERMS WITH HIS GRAND PASSION FOR DENNIS. All the awkwardness when Marie is urging George and his ex to have children and no one is explaining is CLEARLY because neither of them knows how to explain the situation.


Aug. 8th, 2014

loki is a free spirit [thor]

(no subject)

OOOPS. I joined a livestream to play copperbadge's Avengers drinking game and had DELICIOUS pink lemonade + tequila and then MORE WINE and OOPS. DRANK A LOT. IT TURNS OUT. Remember when we all used to drunk post more? THOSE WERE DELIGHTFUL DAYS. Rather than the LJ equivalent of drunk dialing friends, drunk posting on LJ now feels like shouting into the inebriated void.


I still owe a Leaky con post, I know, but I also have a shift in the box office tomororrow so MAYBE THEN???? I had intended to go to the downtown farmers' market tomorrow but LOLZ CLEARLY THAT AIN'T GOING TO HAPPEN NOWWWWW>

In short. I love you all. I drank a LOT but it doesn;t count as drinking alone when you drink with peiple on the internet who are keeping track of the drinking game RULES. RUKES ARE MADE TO BE FOLLOWED. OR SOMETHING. KNEEEEEEEL.

Feb. 26th, 2014


(no subject)

I feel like I'm beating my head against the wall, trying to learn the music for Labor. What I really need is a music coach- someone who can sit with me at a piano and teach me all the weird measures and guide me through the songs until I get a better grasp on them. This person should ideally want to be paid in cookies. Tucker's music is just tremendously hard in unexpected ways and I'm having a devil of a time trying to learn it on my own. Each piece of his I've done has been getting progressively overcomplicated, and it makes me a little sad. I'm trying to not succumb to the demons of despair and OMG I HAVE FORGOTTEN HOW TO MUSIC, but it's tricky and premiering a new piece with an orchestra in a fancy New Orleans venue in two months puts a WEE BIT OF PRESSURE onto the situation.

So instead of going to see the new play we're producing at my theatre tonight, I stayed in and tried to work through the score again. I spent about an hour on two pieces, trying to produce a rehearsal recording of myself singing my part (which, tbh, is the main source of my angst because then you get to hear every damn mistake and note that went flat and ughhhhhhh), so hopefully that will help a little.


I did get to go see STC's lovely production of The Importance of Being Earnest on Sunday night. While part of my heart will always and forever long to have seen the Runyonesque production directed by David Hyde Pierce, there certainly is a lot to be said for stylish, traditionally staged Wilde. My old pal Keith Baxter came back to DC to direct it- and was in the house on Sunday night- as he seems to have struck some sort of secret deal years ago with CMK to direct all of Wilde's major plays.

What really struck me this time around was how gorgeously wrought the play really is- yes, the aphorisms are brilliant, but Wilde is also a master at setting up a joke early on and then really making it pay off an act or two later. Take, for instance, the exchange between Jack and Algernon in Act I:
JACK: I'll bet you anything you like that half an hour after they have met, they will be calling each other sister.
ALGERNON: Women only do that when they have called each other a lot of other things first.”

A quick, tossed-off joke in Act I. But then, well into Act II, Gwendolyn and Cecily are finally on stage together. There's a delicious build-up as the audience watches the shifts back and forth between the women from cordiality to tension to outright ire. The audience always eats it up, as well they should, but the best part is feeling the growing certitude of the audience around you that they feel the build-up, too. Because of course, we reach this exchange:

CECILY [To Gwendolen.]: A gross deception has been practised on both of us.

GWENDOLYN: My poor wounded Cecily!

CECILY: My sweet wronged Gwendolen!

GWENDOLYN [Slowly and seriously.]: You will call me sister, will you not? [They embrace. Jack and Algernon groan and walk up and down.]

Most everyone in the audience can feel it coming in that final pause before Gwendolyn's last line, but there's also always a few people who DON'T see it coming and you can tell from just how delighted they are as they laugh.

Because of COURSE it will get a laugh and that's why Wilde scripts in that tiny pause for Jack and Algernon to react silently until the laugh dies down.

It's a theatrical payoff as exquisitely crafted as any of the aphorisms. I spent most of high school obsessed with Wilde, reading the plays, the essays, the poetry, De Profundis, The Picture of Dorian Gray; my freshman dorm room at Haverford had the Wilde film poster hanging on my wall and the only book I took to my semester at King's was the Complete Works of Wilde. By then, some of the bloom was fading (I found Dorian Gray in particular insufferable), but I've never gotten over that first attachment.

I also couldn't stop giggling before the show about how the defining moment of the entire play comes from one short sentence. Namely (sing it with me)....


*bonus Sue White

This production featured Livia Sian Phillips herself as Lady Bracknell and there was a tiny part of myself that felt like I could have happily gone home after Act I, having seen her HAAAAAANDBAAAAAAAG. It's rather peculiar to me that THAT'S the moment we all cling to in this play- it's not a moment for wit so much as a showcase for good vocal production. 90% of actors even do the same line reading (at least in my experience).

One day, someone is going to do a post-modern Earnest that consists entirely of actors standing downstage, repeating HAAAANDBAAAAAAG over and over again, probably for HOURS.

Feb. 4th, 2014

hal's angels [shakespeare]

I never kid about Prince Hal

Back in 2011, a movie called Thor happened. You've probably heard about it. I was mildly excited about it, as I was really digging Marvel comics movies and my teenage crush on Ken Branagh was looking forward to seeing what he did with something that I had no real prior emotional investment in. I got especially excited when I started hearing good things about it, since the movie opened in the UK before it did here, and one such poster of good things was the ever-brilliant kerrypolka. K said something that intrigued me:

As I said on Twitter, Thor (the character) was like what would happen if some night-tripping fairy actually had exchanged Hotspur for Prince Hal. All of the daddy issues, but also all of the "PUNCH > is problem resolved? if no > PUNCH HARDER!".... Loki was the John of Lancaster of the little planet of Norwegian Plantagenets - his motivation was basically "Lies and genocide will make my father love me more than my stupid older rightful-heir brother! >:D" and he stomped around going "GOD THOR WHY CAN'T YOU STOP BEING SUCH A FUCKUP FOR A CHANGE I AM SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOU >:( >:( >:(" a lot. It was extremely charming... The other great part was that everyone in Asgard seemed to have a really laid-back excellent time. Thor's university friends (Poins, Doll Tearsheet and Gadshill; the characters might actually have different names) seemed to spend all their time high-fiving each other and going on ill-advised raids, and all the actors did great jobs of having ":D?" plastered on their faces as default expressions.

Imagine the Emily of three years ago perking up, her Hal radar pinging in excitement. I went to see the movie and enjoyed the hell out of it, and best of all- EVERYTHING K SAID WAS TRUE. OH MAN. Many discussions were had about the truthiness of her report, and over the years, I just kind of take it for granted that people will understand what I mean when I say, OH THOR'S TOTALLY ALL ABOUT THE HENRIAD, YA KNOW.

Skip ahead to nowabouts. The Shakespeare Theatre is doing a rep of the Henry IV plays to my ABOUNDING pleasure, starting in March. Germane to this discussion is the fact that for the last two seasons, STC has been doing a podcast before each play opens that features discussion between the literary associate, the audience enrichment manager, and other guests. Seeing as how I know both of these folks, I tweeted at them tonight (fresh off an invigorating and frenzied conversation with arcadiaego about the parallels between Hal and Loki) that if their conversation didn't reference the Thor films, I'd be exceedingly disappointed.

I've since been assured that it will be included, with the added bonus that I might lend Drew a list of talking points.


Does anyone want to take a look at those parallels again? I've gotten so used to the shorthand at this point that it's been awhile since I really thought about WHY it works so well.

In which I talk a hell of a lot about character parallels, but could use your insightCollapse )

Dec. 26th, 2013

eleven [doctor who]

on regenerations and the like

So the Eleventh Doctor has exited Doctor Who, and as you can imagine, many people have many things to say about it.

including me (spoilers within)Collapse )

Nov. 12th, 2013


no no no no no

John Tavener has passed away at the age of 69

I found Tavener's work when I was still in high school and fell in love with his simplicity and the incredible grace and power of his music. I've been lucky enough to sing his work on a few occasions: "The Lamb," of course, but CCS commissioned a carol from him about five years ago that I loved, and then just a few years back, Choral Arts sang the Lament for Jerusalem. I've never felt as though singing a piece of music could be (for me) such a sustained, profoundly spiritual act before that piece.

I've loved his music, and I'm so sorry that there won't be more of it yet to come.

Nov. 11th, 2013

wooden o [shakespeare]

improbable fictions

So last week, I ran away to New York and invaded loony_moony's apartment and together, we fangirled MIGHTILY over the two productions over from the Globe- Richard III and Twelfth Night- WHY YES, THE SAME TWELFT NIGHT THAT CHANGED MY LIFE TEN YEARS AGO, HELLO, HOW ARE YOU.

I was more than a little terrified that the production wouldn't hold up- there were a number of cast changes and besides, how possible is it to REcapture lighting so many years on? Turns out, HIGHLY POSSIBLE. Twelfth Night was just as gorgeous this time around, plus there was added Sam Barnett as Viola and Stephen Fry as Malvolio. A and I stagedoored after the show and there was great swoonage.

I also managed to introduce myself to Sam Barnett as, "Hi! I'm the person who was talking about waxing your chest hair on Twitter today!".... which is NOT THE IDEAL WAY TO MEET SOMEONE. Luckily, he is a PEACH and only laughed and immediately reached out to shake my hand, because he is ALARMINGLY CHARMING. The shows only just had their official openings last night and the Times RAVED and I'm just so pleased for them all.

I did quite a lot of ranting today about original practices haters to arcadiaego. At the end of the day, I think original practices is magical when it's done well, and heaven knows, this team of artists can Do It Well.

One of the things E and I talked about today was that no one ever advocates that we ONLY EVER SEE OP SHAKESPEARE; that's just silly. I had meant to write about a production I saw last month at STC here in town- a dark and delicious Measure for Measure that was set in 1930s Berlin and opened with a 20-minute preshow cabaret filled with DELICIOUS transgression and music and dancing and genderfuckery and BDSM leiderhosen and you can't get further from OP than THAT but it was FAB. In fact, their dramaturg ended up convincing me to buy my own copy of one of his favorite research sources: Voluptuous Panic. It looks delicious and I can't wait to read it.

One of my favorite aspects about this production was that it delighted in making things a little more complex than I'm used to seeing. From the start, Vienna was a fascist state. There's a moment in the cabaret when a soldier storm in and everything stops- before the soldier laughs and grabs a beer and starts enjoying the show. When Angelo takes over and starts enforcing the laws, we suddenly really are in a terrifying fascist state with a brutal police force enacting laws that seem unimaginable. But the best thing about this approach was how it changes the audience's perspective on familiar characters. Every single character we like to see as sympathetic is part of this same regime and when the Duke resumes power... well, he never actually changes the law, does he? The best the audience can do is root for him as another man to step in and replace Angelo, and we can only hope the Duke doesn't likewise abuse the terrible power his position gives him. I find this FASCINATING. I love how emphasizing this aspect of the city threw everything for a loop by the end, made everything that little bit more uncomfortable. We're used to Angelo the Villain, but in this world, no one with any power is free from complicity.

I'm not as sold on one big choice the production made, largely because they ended up overselling it by the end. During the cabaret, we see a middle-aged dude come in, take a table, enjoy the show, and start a conversation with one of the waiters. A familiar proposition seems to be taking place, when the man violently changes his mind and throws the waiter down to the floor. He then takes a call... and this is our Duke speaking to Escalus, filled with self-loathing and unable to break free from his own repression. In fact, it seems like the entire reason he wants the crack down from the government is to remove the temptation he faces in the form of Mistress Overdone's club. It's a very interesting spin on the character (and makes his proposal to Isabella that much more selfish), but MAN- the director just kept reminding us by bringing out that damn waiter, reduced to a prison uniform, again and again. By the end I was rolling my eyes every time the poor actor came out.


Final image of the show was Isabella joyfully running to the abbess. ISABELLA DID NOT SIGN UP FOR YOUR SHIT, DUKE. LADY WANTS TO BE A NUN, HOKAY. It's the first Measure I've seen that actually had Isabella turn the Duke down, and I'm so glad to have seen it. It's totally possible for those two crazy kids to make it work, but I think that you do have to work hard for it and provide a lot of extra-textual moments (which is why we go to the theatre, after all). It's nice that, in a production filled with lots of whackadoo add-ons, in this one moment, they went in another direction.

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August 2014


We don't need no education



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