Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mini-reviews

Belatedly, I offer a few reviews of recent indulgences:

Slade in Flame: We borrowed this from the Boojums after Halloween mostly because we read the back of the DVD and were intrigued. I will admit up front that my primary image of Slade comes from the "Slade in Residence" vignettes on The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, which mostly involve sitcom-like misunderstandings and a lot of Cup-o-Soup. The packaging of the DVD makes the point that while they might have been expected to make a sort of Beatles-esque romp, Slade chose to make a gritty film that shows the darker side of the music biz. And it works -- this was an impressive effort, which captured both the fun and the grind of the climb to the top. Tom Conti, in perhaps his first major film role, plays the slick artist rep who milks the group for all it's worth while the fad lasts. From small town thugs to the modestly talented folks dropped along the way, the film offers a snapshot of the old story with a few new notes. We were really impressed, and even watched the long interview with Noddy that comesas an extra. It hasn't quite put Vic & Bob out of my head, but it was good.



Antigone: We attended a one man performance of Antigone at the Steamer No. 10 Theater right on the edge of the Saint Rose campus. Bertrand Fay plays all the parts with the aid of wooden masks on poles. He modulates his voice for the different parts, so when two characters are conversing you can easily tell them apart. There was a great sense of ritual to the whole performance (turning the masks forward and back as they spoke or departed) which seemed ideal for the material. Unfortunately, Gene and I were both lulled into occasional somnambulance by the sing-song delivery and the tiring week. Worse, the house lights were not low enough, so it probably apprent to the performer that we snoozed. Oh well.

Literally Speaking: Last Saturday we did a lot better at the short story reading sponsored by Lterally Speaking at the Chapel and Cultural Center at Rensselaer. It's a great idea -- short stories read by actors which circumvents the problem of authors who are not the best readers of their own materials. While I like to think I'm one writer who is a pretty good reader (teacher training helps there) it would be wonderful to hear what a talented actor could do with any one of my stories. The two actors were excellent -- one of them had just been called that morning, so he was really working cold. Unfortuntately, there won't be another reading until spring. Waah!

The series is supported by two groups, Theater Voices (who provide the actors) and the Hudson Valley Writers Guild. We went to the biannual meeting of HVWG on Wednesday at Professor Java's Coffee Sanctuary (hmm, that's the second 'sanctuary' I know of in the capital region -- which suggests a kind of hunkered down mentality...). The coffee house is terrific -- Gene was really impressed by the fine coffee aromas. The group seems useful and friendly and I think we'll both be joining. Yay.

All right, that's a lot for now -- off to the Aloha Alcohula tonight, so it's time to pack our jimjams and get on the road soon.

2 comments:

Crispinus said...

Bertrand Fay: I've heard a lot about this guy, but I admit I have yet to see one of his shows. I'm all for the survival of the classics, but it's always worried me that his use of masks seems to fetishize them. I don't think they were as ritualistically significant to the Greeks as they are to us.

K. A. Laity said...

So, Crispinus, master of all late ancient western world, what would be a good general source on Greek drama? I haven't read anything in depth about it -- more in the course of reading histories of drama and ritual. Share the wealth, buddy.

We went on a kind of whim to the show and I liked the idea of it (although the reality unfortunately was we schnoozed). But I'm not against fetishizing...