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Posts Tagged ‘Theatre’

The Theater of the Absurd is less than half full.
The presenter of tonight’s show walks onto the stage – a rotund gentleman of uneasy gait.

‘Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to our cold, heartless theater and the new show. We have an impressive group of artists to perform for you tonight, I hope you’ll agree.’ (more…)

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So, Obama’s accepted his Nobel War Prize. Oh I know it’s not being called that specifically, but the word ‘war’ is a synonymous with the word ‘peace’ these days apparently.
If one is peaceful, Mr. President, then one doesn’t continue to find excuses to invade other countries to protect and further the interests of the military/industrial complex.
The war in Afghanistan is being fought against the local tribes whose members don’t appreciate American colonialism forcing democracy down their throats. What are the invading nations getting out of it? Well, there are the oil and heroin riches, of course, which one doesn’t hear much about, and the military commanders do get to test their weaponry on real human flesh and people’s homes for a change instead of replicas.
The only role for the military in a peaceful society is to protect one’s borders against external aggression, Mr. President.
The fact that waging expensive colonial wars abroad is not only killing many young soldiers and local innocents, but also bringing further hardship to those back home who are already suffering from the devastating effects of the continuing financial debacles, doesn’t seem to bother the politicians much.
Well, that’s my opinion for what it’s worth.
On the bright side, the sun keeps coming up every day even if it is often grayed out by wintry clouds and occasional drizzle. Even Nature seems to be holding her breath in expectation of the outcome if the Copenhagen Conference. Well, we’ll soon know whether the conspiracy theorists are right. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you’ve probably just returned from a long holiday in the Himalayas. If you’re one of those self sufficient types then maybe I’ll be envying you before long.
I’ve been watching the monologues of Alan Bennet, an English writer of repute, that have been screened on the BBC TV this week. They fall under the general title of ‘Talking Heads’ and feature various lonely woman, in mediocre marriages, discussing their lives. Though it all sounds rather depressing the dialogs are brilliant, containing much dry humor, and the actresses involved were excellent.
I liked the observation of an English woman being forced by her husband’s circumstances to live in Marbella, Spain which she obviously doesn’t enjoy. It has come to her attention that there are a few people in the area who, for various reasons, are there to escape British justice. She remarks dryly that they are perhaps just sitting out their sentences there.
In personal readings from his works, Bennet tells at one point of a rather well proportioned woman who was having some difficulty getting on a bus. I cannot remember the exact words but it went something like this:
The driver says, ’Why don’t you try getting in sideways madam.’
She looks at him tiredly and says, ‘Young man, I don’t have a sideways.’

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I wish you a Happy Easter, whatever your persuasion.
Yesterday we went to a performance of J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in a beautiful church with, as was revealed, great acoustics. It was a beautiful spring day: the sun shone, the thermometer rose to exceptional heights and a light breeze played its invaluable part.

This is for us a yearly occurrence. Oh we’ve got a digital copy at home, but a live rendering has something special that no dvd, cd, blue-ray or whatever can convey to the senses. It’s what I call a fourth dimension, well perhaps a fifth. Concert-goers of whatever fraternity know what I mean.

Of course it is classical music and not to everyone’s taste I know, but one ought to try it before casting an opinion even if it perhaps could cause some resentment. This piece always brings me to tears of what could, I suppose, be called euphoria, or the feeling that all animals get when the day’s is just about all one could wish a day to be, whether as potential food or as predator. One doesn’t care; in that moment of recognition all is as it should be. In these sobering times an afternoon of release from worldly paranoia in whatever form is more than welcome.

The church was fully packed with devotees crammed into pews where six or at a push seven could sit. They had thoughtfully provided cushions to avoid the worse agitation from the hard bare wood. Worshipers don’t have to be comfortable in the presence of the Almighty.
We sat quite near the orchestra which brings one into a rather intimate contact with the musicians and singers. They seemed on the whole to be rather unemotionally involved though perhaps they’ve just learned to concentrate on the piece at hand; too much emotional involvement could cause a frog in the throat or a misplaced finger at the wrong moment. Anyway they’ve done it all before, probably hundreds of times, so their level of personal involvement may also be a tad reduced by the sandpaper of time.

I won’t go into details though there are marvelous choral passages, magical musical interludes, and exquisite passages painted on the canvas of the mind by the brush strokes of solo instrument and voice. Then there’s the heart rending climax which makes one believe that Bach really knew what God was all about. He’s still telling us.

As far as we were concerned it was a magnificent performance and we didn’t stay around for a third opinion. Wiping our eyes we headed for the nearest café terrace for an unearned beverage to restore our somewhat shaken and stirred inner beings.

Now Vangelis is oozing from the loudspeakers with his El Greco, which I find to be about the only music that is tolerable while writing, and for me a definite stimulant.

Well I hear the outside world calling again, so I’ll have to leave it here probably at just the right moment.

Have a good one.

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The puppet is dancing to popular tunes
With a permanent smile on its face
But those holding the strings
Thinking of other things
Just look down with their usual grimace.

The crowds that were flocking are thinning each day
As they see that the show’s nothing new
The players all have new names
But the well announced claims
Now appear to have been most untrue.

More people are watching the show right next door
Where no puppets but people are seen
Telling how life must be
If one wants to be free
And one feels what they say they all mean.

Who does one believe at the end of the day
When the voices are no longer heard?
When the pictures recede
One is forced to concede
All play in theaters of the absurd.

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An evening at the theatre

Yesterday evening we went to see and listen to a stand-up comedienne. I normally dislike hearing others ranting and joking about things that are really always serious to someone sitting listening. After all, they’re just mirrors reflecting our own prejudices and fears.
But she was different, refreshing, at least for once.
We had been handed a kazoo (a musical tooter – don’t blow but toot!) at the entrance, which gave everyone waiting something to talk about other than the daily grind.
When we finally took our seats we saw before us on the curtain, which would shortly reveal everything, a text and two lines of musical notes, asking us to play the tune on our kazoos when the lights dimmed for the performance. Unfortunately, she had omitted to name the piece, which was for most people a mild cause for concern.
However, when the time came, and because one couldn’t just do nothing, there were hundreds of individual rasping tunes echoing round the auditorium.
Then lights suddenly shone down and she came on to loud, expectant applause, pulling up the curtain to appear before it. After peering rather bemused at it for some seconds she admitted her mistake, intended or not, and after a short rehearsal everyone was invited to start again and we, nearly all, tooted the refrain of “Land of Hope and Glory” from Elgar’s ‘Pomp and Circumstance March’ with moderate success, I might add. It later became evident why she had chosen this particular piece.
After some preliminary comments about the traumatizing uncertainties of modern life and her intention of providing an evening of word and song to a strict agenda in order to bring to our tattered souls two hours of an old fashioned, clean, regimented, comfortingly rounded whole.
She introduced herself as a student of society, who hoped to bring a positive note into our lives through discussions of all our actual discomforts.
She had made a list of all the threats to people living in today’s western society, although, come to think of it, I suppose her comments would apply anywhere in the present era. They were all there from terrorists to bird-flue and beyond. The theatre was unpleasantly silent except for a few odd titters of disbelief. They were waiting to laugh.
She summed up the old fashioned certainties in life that were now mostly dissolved in the acid of hypocrisy. Although God found his just place as number one, and she did hint at some uncertainty concerning his roll in people’s lives, He was further left alone, especially as she realized that religion is something one doesn’t play around with in our neck of the woods.
She then summed up the differences between the generations and the primarily conclusion was that those who are now forty to fifty years old had the most problems and had also had the greatest influence over modern society, in a negative sense.
One amusing unselfish idea was to go into an old folk’s home and take one out for the day, anyone, though willingly of course. In view of the general disorder in many such establishments this seems quite easy to accomplish, and brings a welcome unexpected thrill to many whose life has become too boringly simple, albeit with the best of intentions. She did advise bringing them back to the same establishment afterwards, even if under protest.
I won’t dig further into her intelligent and witty dialogue, which did bring a lot of laughs, surprisingly quickly really; undoubtedly relieving a lot of inner tension though replacing it, for many of the audience, with newly discovered items I should imagine. But, what the hell, we were there to laugh and we did.
The end result of her public introspection was, as the Beatles so aptly worded it, “All you need is Love”. Funny how when we want to pin down something solid in our lives, we pick on something no one understands; and even when they think they’ve got it, they don’t know what it is, and cannot put it to any useful purpose without eventually catalyzing hate and distrust.
I don’t think I’d make a very good ‘stand-up’.

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