Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A Very Theatrical Week's End


I arrived at rehearsals about two hours early. So I did the only sensible thing which was to throw off my shoes, lounge on the beautifully comfortable leather couch and start reading the epic play that is “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. The last time I attempted this, it was a chore, and I gave up. This time I was in, understanding the language, understanding the story. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” (Act I Scene V)

And then busy rehearsing “Titus Andronicus” by Little Billy. Titus and the cast exit and I as Marcus, on an empty stage: “O heavens! Can you hear a good man groan, and not relent or not compassion him? Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy, that hath more scars of sorrow in his heart than foemen’s marks upon his batter’d shield; But yet so just that he will not revenge. Revenge, ye heavens, for worn Andronicus!” (Act IV Scene I)


Went with Julian to see a bit of Gilbert and Sullivan. Informed Julian that Lynne said to ensure a St Kilda victory in the AFL Grand Final everyone has to wear their underwear back to front and burn a green candle after rubbing it with sandalwood. Sadly I did none of this.

The first piece on the bill was “Cox and Box” with words by Burnand and music by Sir Arthur Sullivan. I had never seen it before and wouldn’t recommend it. However “HMS Pinafore” never disappoints (by G and S), and to my shock, one of my former work colleagues was in the cast, and did a very good job. The Captain and the Ruler of the Queen’s Navy were very very enjoyable, but sadly the crew was not as sharp or vocal, which I feel makes the performance lose a bit of its appeal. However a number of the jokes and insults were played superbly, much better than I’ve seen any one else do it – and I cracked up when Cousin Hebe whispered what she wanted to do to the Ruler of the Queen’s Navy which made his monocle fall out. Hehehehehe!!!!!

“For he might have been a Roosian, A French, or Turk, or Proosian, Or perhaps Itali-an! But in spite of all temptations To belong to other nations, He remains an Englishman!” (HMS Pinafore)

At the end of the play, Julian checks the footy score, turns around and says, “You should have put your underpants on backwards” which got a very good chuckle from the lovely granny sitting in front of us.

“… We are Geelong; we’re always on the ball. We play the game as it should be played; At home or far away; Our banners fly high, from dawn to dark; Down at Kardinia Park.” (lyrics by John Watts)


More rehearsals for Titus Andronicus, but this time I only arrived fifteen minutes early, and was almost the last to arrive. There is one line which four of us say, and I think Erin, Bree, Julian and Myself all thought that everyone one else would know it, so there would be no pressure to say it. I’m glad we rehearsed that line, and now we all know it, and there wont be just silence where it should be. “No man shed tears for noble Mutius; he lives in fame that died in virtue’s cause.” (Act I)

Afterwards I allowed Erin to convince me to see “The Rise of General Arthur” which is showing as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. ( We walked to the café where it was to be shown and the techie told us that it was cancelled as the manager was sick and couldn’t come to open up doors and whatnot, however the techie thought that she might be able to get another venue. So Nell, Julian, Erin and I had a coffee, two hot chocolates and a honey-lemon-hotwater-drink (photos to follow).

A new venue was located and the actor, Phillip (I believe his name is), was all set to do the show. Using the techie’s script, instead of his own and without props and costumes. The techie using what limited light and sound effects she could use, knowing that another show would start in an hour and that she couldn’t change anything. But Phillip was wearing a groovy T-Shirt so we all knew that it would be fine. The T-Shirt said “I’m trained to use words you’ve never even heard of. You understand? Why, sometimes I use words I’ve never even heard of.”

And the story was, the tale of Pellinore but transported to the Gulf War.

The story was gripping, and the language poetical, painting perfect scene’s within our heads. I was gripped in the story, part of the story, and was transported away… Phillip’s story telling was superb, his emotion divine, his pronunciation clear…

At the start of the session Phillip said: “Six years ago, I formed a company called Maximum Verbosity, out of the belief that words could do damn near anything. Tonight, we're going to put that hypothesis to the test. Normally, this is a show punctuated by visual cues: by costume, props, and carefully-rehearsed changes in lighting and mood. I believe that this story is strong enough to survive without any of those things. It should be: it's already survived for over fifteen hundred years.”
Phillip Low, “The Rise of General Arthur” Maximum Verbosity, Errol Café, 27/09/2009

And it was.

Here is my coffee (photo by me).

You can tell that Erin took these photos as they are in focus.

Julian and Nell drinking hot chocolate. Erin, where is the photo of you? Where for art thou?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Fathers Day

Late Friday night you are told that it is up to you to find a place for Father’s Day Lunch.

Saturday morning I wake up, it is my birthday, and as there is no fun in letting your fingers do the walking, I set out to find a place for Father’s Day Lunch.

I suggested Montrose, as it lays half way between Dad’s house and Brother 2’s house. So down Mt Dandenong Tourist Drive I drove.

I passed a nice looking Chocolate Place, but as Chocolate is not good for lunch I continued driving, up and down the winding road. I passed a few more eateries, but was travelling too fast to stop. And then a helpful lookout sign appeared and I pulled over, hopped out of the car and said “This is where we will eat tomorrow”

And luckily enough there was a café on the other side of the road, or I would have had to organise a picnic.

On Sunday, Dad and I had cappuccinos

My brothers had iced-chocolates

Brother 2 sat too close to the fire the night before and his money melted.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A Storm is Coming

Most of my friends don’t care much about sport, and I don’t either, unless I get caught up in a tipping contest (I think I’ve won this year) or if it is the cricket and perhaps if it looks like Richmond is going to finish ninth.

I put on the radio last night to listen to a program about television, and as I put it on a bit early and caught the end of The Storm Hour. Probably the only hour on radio in Melbourne dedicated to the Rugby League team Melbourne Storm.

The Storm is playing in a final on the weekend and the weather forecast is for a storm, ie hail, rain, thunder, lightning, wind, etc. However the nice Melbourne Storm supporters in Sydney interpreted the weather forecast, not as a forecast for the weather but a forecast of the match, the Melbourne Storm will triumph – which tickled my sense of humour.

Bring your raincoats and good luck.

The AFL grand final is on this Saturday and instead of watching it, I’ll be watching a play – does this mean that I’ll have to move to WA or Tassie? (I dont think I'ld enjoy QLD or SA. And I'm too much of a Victorian to move to NSW)

Monday, 7 September 2009

What is Intelligence?

What is Intelligence?

For a number of people intelligence is perceived to be linked to what you/they have read. Who hasn’t heard someone say: “You haven’t read Niffenegger? What sort of slime have you crawled out of?”

I love lists of books. I love circling the books that I would love to read. My friend Erin sent me this list of 100 books (And most of them are very well known – there are only six that I have not heard of) and I have read 29 of them. That made me feel a bit un-intelligent, also because the ones that I have read are mostly either kid’s books or science-fiction. Then again, I think people should read the types of books that interest them, and not read books just because the book is a “classic”.

Working at a leading educational University I showed the list to an academic and she said “I’ve read ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ and it is an awful book” . Movies on the other hand, any one who hasn’t seen “The Dish” should be deported...

...However, getting back on topic… “The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books” If I only have to admit to reading six, I will choose…

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
I quote it almost every day (well definitely every day that I talk to Stace – thanks for suggesting that I read it, it’s just a shame I didn’t read it for about three years after you suggested it)

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Because of how it relates to Jasper Fforde – and I shouldn’t hide my geekiness (thanks E and S).

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
Amazing book and I like it how list incorporate new books, especially books such as The Curious Incident, which I can imagine will be seen as a classic in ten and fifty and a hundred years time.

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
Because I read most of it to my nephew which was a very nice experience.

I don’t like how the list contains both: “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” and “Hamlet” I have not read Hamlet. I’ve started Hamlet, and I’m sorry to say that I couldn’t get into it and I couldn’t finish it. It just might not be my cup of tea. I’ll give it a rest and have another go in a year or two. But I think the list would be better served by replacing Hamlet with: “The Princess Bride – by William Goldman.” Or something else…

Am I a book snob? I hope not – though I probably am. Anyway I’m not going to let the list get me down. I will use it as motivation (though that is not quite the word I want) and find five books that I would like to read (I leave the fifth book as your suggestion):

1. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
2. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
3. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
4. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
5. ___________________________

Or what books would you like to add to the list????

Anywhoo here is the list, do to it what you wish.

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read. Tag other book nerds---and that would include me. I want to know who's read what.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

Total Read: 7

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (about half of them)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger -
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

Total: 3

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

Total: 3

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

Total: 3

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown -
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

Total: 2

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley -
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Total: 3

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

Total: 0

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt

Total: 2

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

Total: 4

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Total: 2

Grand Total: 29