Book # 2: Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre

Libretto for Peter Grimes, by Benjamin Britten:

  • Women’s Chorus

O when you pray you shut your eyes
And then can’t tell the truth from lies.

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Yesterday (9 March 2017), Unit # 1

  • Auntie

Loud man. I never did have time
For the kind of creature who spits in his
wine.
A joke’s a joke and fun is fun.
But say your grace and be polite for all that
we have done.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Story of the Twins: AMERICAN GODS

It’s a very long fable that gets dropped in on p. 252, and it is one of self’s favorite sections, so far.

The events unfold in 1778 (How does self know? Because Gaiman puts the date right before the beginning of the fable, lol). The twins are born, captured by slave traders, and separated at auction. This part is so horrific, but Gaiman’s voice is at its most mesmerizing:

Their uncle was a fat and lazy man. If he had owned more cattle, perhaps he would have given up one of his cattle instead of the children, but he did not. He sold the twins. Enough of him: he shall not enter further into this narrative. We follow the twins.

In addition, today, self watched Fences. She hasn’t seen the original play, but the first third or so of the movie is very play-iike. The action is mostly limited to the confines of a house, and there’s a whole lot of braggadocio from Denzel’s character, Troy. About a third of the way in, however, the story takes a very interesting turn, and self was never less than absorbed.

She does feel, however, that the movie should have closed with the image of Troy swinging futilely away at a baseball attached by a frayed rope to a tree branch. Troy’s face as the camera zooms in — riveting. Instead, we’re given a kind of epilogue. It’s nice to see what happens to Troy’s son, Cory, though.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sally Potter’s YES (Potter Wrote the Entire Thing In Iambic Pentameter)

Self’s favorite scene in the movie is when SHE (played by Joan Allen) goes to visit her dying aunt in a hospital in Belfast.

Aunt:

The thing is, no-one told
Me I’d have all this time, but far too late
To use it for the things I dreamed of. Fate
Delivers upside down and back to front.
I’ve more to say than ever, but they shunt
Me back and forth all day from bed to chair
And back to bed again; it isn’t fair.
All this experience I’d like to share.
Not that it all adds up. Not that you care.
I’d better stop — it’s time for you to go
Already, isn’t it? Five minutes — oh,
Well maybe ten . . . you see, I never know
When you’ll be here again. It’s such a blow
Each time you leave, it’s hardly worth your while
To come at all. I mean it! Don’t you smile
Like that! Oh, you’ll be sorry when I’m dead.
I’m only joking, dear. I only said
That for a laugh. Although of course it’s true.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Most Amazing

The London Review Bookshop has a film club. Once a month, they show a film, and bring in the director for Q & A. When self was there, earlier this year, she caught a showing of Sally Potter’s Yes.

The entire film is told in iambic pentameter. Self gets goosebumps just remembering. She asked Sally Potter at the reception: “Is the screenplay available?” When Sally said yes, self wanted to do cartwheels. As soon as she could, she ordered a copy of the screenplay.

The heart of the movie is a woman played by a luminous Joan Allen. She visits a dying aunt in Belfast. The SHE in the excerpt below is Joan Allen’s character. The setting is a hospital:

Aunt:

You’re late again. Don’t worry. Never mind.
I know you’re busy. It’s the kind
Of life you lead. But then you chose it, so
I guess you want it. Always to and fro,
You never stop.

SHE tiptoes into the ward and stands looking down at her aunt who lies immobile, her eyes closed, in the bed.

Aunt (cont’d):

Unlike myself. I’m here
To stay. For just how long, who knows. I fear
It could be ages. It creeps up on you,
This funny business. First a creak or two,
Your knees, perhaps, and — bingo! — then you’re old
And in a bed.

SHE kisses her aunt’s forehead gently, pulls up a chair and sits down by the bed.

She (whispering):

Oh, auntie . . .

When you’re watching the film, you’re aware of the rhyme, but instead of distracting you, it helps you concentrate. Amaaaaazing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What Is Life But a Bowl of Cherries

  • Let’s celebrate the cherries on top! — Michelle W., The Daily Post

The good news: self was back in London in the spring. The Cherry on Top? She was there during the week of the annual Chelsea Flower Show. Just look at the fresh flowers framing the entrance to the Bloomsbury Hotel!

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The Bloomsbury Hotel, London: May 2016

The good news was: Self was in Philo, CA. She found a small market that sold delicious potato salad. And the cherry on top? The ceiling lights were things of beauty. From a glass studio in Fort Bragg, the checkout lady told self:

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Ceiling Light, Lemon’s Philo Market, California

The good news was: self was spending another winter in Mendocino, CA. The cherry on top is that she got to see “Quills,” a play about Marquis de Sade, performed by members of the local community (It was a very entertaining production!)

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“Quills,” a drama about Marquis de Sade

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

WIND: Sylvain Landry – Week 46

Saw “The Taming of the Shrew” at the Globe this evening, accompanied by Joan McGavin.

What. A. Fantastic. Production. Self can’t even.

The setting was modernized to Ireland, 1916, and the Irish music was so lively and helped keep up the tempo of the production.

The actress who usually plays the lead was “indisposed,” so the role of Catherine/Kat was played by the understudy. Who was terrific.

At the intermission, self went outside to look at the view.

There was a stiff wind.

Good thing she remembered the Sylvain Landry Photo prompt this week: WIND.

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View From Behind the Globe Theatre: 1 June 2016. Self and Joan McGavin watched “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

SPARE: Daily Post Photo Challenge, 27 May 2016

Spare landscapes are often quite beautiful in their minimalism (if you choose to look)

— Krista, The Daily Post

Below are a few pictures that struck me as evocative of this week’s theme, SPARE:

Self took a walking tour of Oxford, day before yesterday. The quadrangles in front of the main buildings are surprisingly spare: free of fountains and monuments. Pristine.

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The building used to house Oxford University Press.

The India House was of course a very important building, especially during the days of the British Empire. With true British understatement, there are no signs indicating the building’s historice function: only the elephant on the weathervane:

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Weathervane on top of India House, Oxford, UK

Finally, the Weston Library is a moden structure directly across the street from the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Oxford. The facade is spare, with one banner announcing the current exhibit (in honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death): Shakespeare’s Dead:

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A banner announces the Weston Library’s current exhibit.

Hope these are suitable examples of SPARE.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death (3 May 1616)

It is also the 400th Anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes’s death, what a coincidence!

Seriously mind-blowing.

Self is in Oxford. She went racing to Victoria Bus Station two days ago, lugging the Mother of All Suitcases, only to find that the bus she had tickets for had left at 1:30 a.m. She got in line at the ticket booth (30 minutes wait) and then explained to the lady that she was from America, she made a terrible mistake, she was aiming for 1:30 p.m., not 1:30 a.m. The woman was so kind, and put self on the 1 p.m. bus. She also booked self’s return trip: 15:30. “That’s 3:30 p.m.,” she said. “All right?”

Yes! Yes! Yes! Sorry to be such a stupid American!

The last time self was in Oxford was to attend the Saboteur Awards, which were held in a tavern. That was a fun time. She was a finalist in the novella category.

That was two years ago. How quickly time flies! Of course, she did not win, but it was such an honor just to be a finalist.

Yesterday, self went to a fabulous open-air market on Gloucester Green, and then she caught the last showing of Captain America: Civil War at the Odeon. What a great movie. Sorry, but Marvel cornered all the sass: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Don Cheadle,. The women are great actresses: Scarjo, Ellen Van Kamp, Elizabeth Olsen. (Not that J-Law isn’t. Self loves J-Law. And also Sophie Turner).

After seeing Captain America: Civil War, though, she thinks that Fox should really do their utmost to hang on to Evan Peters(Quicksilver), as he is the only element in their whole Brit-actors-chewing-scenery cinematic universe who is capable of delivering sass on the level of, say, Robert Downey, Jr. And Lord knows, the X-Men could do with a bit more sass.

Now, where was she?

Oh, right, Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary! So, she has determined that she must see at least one thing today that is connected to Shakespeare. As it would be pretty lame of to leave Oxford having only seen Captain America: Civil War.

She does a little internet search and finds that there are quite a number of Shakespeare exhibits in Oxford, operating concurrently. Mama Mia! What an absolute plethora of riches!

She’s going to spend the entire day rushing from one exhalted library to another.

Starting with the Weston. Because the Weston has, in addition to an exhibit on Shakespeare, a map of Middle Earth, annotated by Tolkien himself.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Quote of the Day 2: Sir Tyrone Guthrie Himself

Self owes so much to the dear fellow, who passed away in 1971.

She learned he was an only child, he used to spend childhood summers right here in Annaghmakerrig (His mother was a grand-daughter of Tyrone Power, Hollywood matinee idol). His paternal great-grandfather was Dr. Thomas Guthrie of Edinburgh.

While rooting around in the bookcase in her unit (Self loves how there is always a different collection of books. She thinks her first time to visit the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, she was in Unit #3. Last year, she was in Unit # 2. This year, she’s in Unit # 1), she discovered:

TOP OF THE LADDER

A Play

by Tyrone Guthrie

The main character is a man. His name is Bertie. He is not much described in the stage notes. Surprisingly, much more time is devoted to the women characters. For instance, this is said about Katie, Bertie’s wife (Excerpt from the stage directions):

Of the women, Katie is the most difficult part because she covers far the widest emotional range. Some of her scenes are rather satirically written, but the actress must be careful to present a brief for, and not against, her character. She must be silly, but an endearing silly, and not an irritating one.

Then there is Mookie, Bertie’s old nurse:

Mookie embodies some such personification of Nursehood as Mother Earth or Dame Nature: her work with scissors and thread is intended to relate her to the Three Fates.

Fascinating, wouldn’t you agree?

Stay tuned.

New York: Highline and Chelsea

Still looking for landscapes.

Here are pictures self took during a memorable walk on New York City’s Highline, December 2015:

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Near the Start of the Highline, on a cold December Day

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Still Near the Start of the Highline

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Near the Start of the Highline, on a cold December Day

And here are things she loved about New York during her Fall 2015 sojourn:

  • The Asian American Writers Workshop
  • The Whitney
  • The Highline
  • Therese Raquin with Keira Knightley
  • Seeing Penny
  • Seeing Luis and Midori
  • Seeing the Picasso exhibit in the MOMA
  • Catching a concert of Trio Solisti at Carnegie Hall
  • Watching Mamie Gummer’s scorching performan in Ugly to the Bone
  • Seeing nephew Chris Blackett and watching movies with him and reading his novel-in-progress
  • Eating Cuban in Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Walking around Central Park
  • Mockingjay 2 in the Lincoln Center Cinema
  • Losing self’s wallet twice and having it returned to her twice — nothing missing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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