July 25th, 2005

[REVIEW] Much Ado About Nothing

I joined my ex, V., and his friends at High Park this afternoon and evening for a picnic and the well-reviewed CanStage performance of Much Ado about Nothing starting at 8 o'clock tonight, recommended donation of $C15. The picnic went well, though the performance was interrupted in Act 4 by the onset of rain. After twenty minutes' pause, the play continued to a triumphant conclusion.

The High Park amphitheatre, rows of earthen steps surrounding the triangular stage on one side, is a superb arena for public theatre performances like Much Ado About Nothing. This version of the play was set in a Jazz Age Italy that never could have existed, owing to Italian fascism's disdain for the softer things in life, like romance, or jazz music, or mixed-race couples. (There's a uchronic thought for you.) The performance was superb. I admit that it helped that they were able to project their voices so well, also that I could see their facial expression with my new glasses. Jacklyn Francis' langourously acerbic Beatrice deserves particular praise for her casual destruction and salvation of Benedick.

The problem was with the script. Mercurial shifts from love to hate to love? Purely destructive characters? A pitifully thin back story? The play has promise, I admit, but Shakespeare needs some work. Much Ado About Nothing works, but only so long as you don't stare too closely.

[BRIEF NOTE] On the Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes

I find myself reluctantly agreeing with Abiola Lapite's thoughts.

[A] day after 4 suicide bombers got away after failing to carry out their mission, a man dressed in summer in the typical garb of a wannabe-shaheed - bulky clothing ideal for covering up a vest packed with nails and explosives - emerged from an apartment complex which had been under the eye of plainclothes policemen. Upon emerging, he then began to make his way towards the tube, further arousing police suspicions. After entering the tube station, he was approached by up to 20 plainclothes officers who presumably identified themselves to him; rather than stopping to answer their questions or even just screaming "Help" or "What do you want?" to attract the attention of tube staff, he decided to run down the escalator, knowing armed policemen were pursuing him, and ignoring all commands to halt, he leaps over a turnstile right into a Tube carriage, acting for all the world as if he were a terrorist whose cover has been blown, and who is desperate to accomplish his mission regardless. Having done everything within his power to arouse the suspicions of policemen who are aware that there are still any number of suicide bombers out on the loose, he is promptly shot 5 times in the head, exactly in compliance with official police policy for dealing with suicide bombers who could otherwise set off their explosive charges even after being apprehended.

But then, sandor_baci's observation also rings true.

"A bomb belt with wires coming out" -- and the "Asian-looking" man, running from plainclothes policemen, is shot dead on the tube platform.

1) If you're Asian-looking and persons not identified as policemen express an interest in altering the course of your day, don't run. If they are racialist thugs and you stand still they may kill you, yes. But if they are plainclothes policemen and you run, they WILL kill you.

2) Leave your iPod at home.

[LINK] The Globus Cassus Project

It's amazing what one finds on Wikipedia.

Globus Cassus is a utopian project for the transformation of Planet Earth into a much bigger, hollow, artificial world with an ecosphere on its inner surface. Sunlight would enter through two large windows, gravity would be provided by centrifugal force. Humans would live on two vast regions that face each other and that are connected through the empty center.

Being the Earth/World's antipode in many aspects, Globus Cassus acts as a philosophical model for the opposite-based description of the Earth/World and as a tool to understand the World's real functioning processes.

Globus Cassus was proposed by architect and artist Christian Waldvogel and presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2004. It consists of a meticulous description of the transformation process, a narrative of its construction as well as of suggestions on the organizational workings on Globus Cassus. It is also the subject of a book.
  • Current Mood

[LINK] Crystal Meth

Over at his blog, Pearsall Helms writes about the crystal meth epidemic that has managed to become pandemic across large swathes of the United States. His essay, a very competent survey, becomes especially acute when he examines the question of why more people aren't talking about crystal meth.

[I]f poor urban blacks are feared, then poor rural whites are ignored, except for when they serve an unconnected political purpose, whether that is being sneered at by liberals for being backwards and racist, or lionized by conservatives for being the Realest of Real Americans. Drug-related crime and violence just isn't part of the prism through which they are viewed in America, and I think this shows in how little meth has broken through from real life into popular culture.
  • Current Mood

[POLL] Do you think that Shakespeare is overrated?

Poll #539585 Do you think that Shakespeare is overrated?

Do you think that Shakespeare is overrated?

Yes. There are so many better poets and playwrights out there.
Yes. Shakespeare has talent, but he also has flaws.
No. Shakespeare has his rough edges, but they're still Shakespeare.
No. He is the greatest thing that ever happened to Anglophone literature.
The canon is the worst thing that ever happened to literature.