Getting Through It

It’s been almost a year since the world stopped, plans got thrown out the window, and nothing will ever be the same.

Self thought she’d take a moment to celebrate the things that got her through the past year:

Of course, gardening. Her garden has never looked so great. Every day she watches the oxalis in her backyard get higher and higher. And she just loves it.

Second, books, and her fantastic local library and their curbside pick-up system. She’s been using it since June (Before that, she ordered many books from Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, which is equally fantastic). Also, self would like to thank the AUTHORS of these wonderful books. When self needed to be transported to another place and time, these authors delivered:

Self would also like to thank FREE CONCERTS. The week after everything shut down, St. Bride’s in London began streaming everything. And so did St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, which used to hold free noontime concerts every Tuesday.

She would also like to thank Cal Shakes, whose summertime Shakespeare was a high point of her summer, as long as she was home in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Her first Cal Shakes was Romeo and Juliet. ADAM SCOTT PLAYED ROMEO. Sold!!!) A few days ago, she got a message that they would mount ONE live production this summer (Dates to be announced), with appropriate social distancing, of course: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.

Also, FaceTime. Self has actually learned to FaceTime with Dearest Mum. It’s been so great.

And The Economist, which managed to come every week (every two weeks lately, since DeJoy destroyed the USPS)

Finally, she’d like to thank her favorite TV shows, because she’d never have gotten through without them: The Expanse (closing with Season 6), Peaky Blinders (closing with Season 6), The Crown.

A big hand also for Trader Joe’s, for being most sanitary of all the different supermarkets she’s shopped in.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

In Process

Story. Working Title: WOLFEN ATTACKS BOWL

Wolfen enters the chat.

Bowl: So, Wolfen, are you about to kill us?

Wolfen: Who are you?

Bowl: Bowl.

Wolfen: Am I attacking you?

Bowl: No.

Wolfen: Are you attacking me?

Bowl: Yes.

Wolfen: Stop it.

Bowl: lol

Wolfen: lol

ReAction: lol

Aztec Soldier: lol

Anthony Huber, 26, Skateboarder

Grew up in Kenosha, attended Lincoln Middle School.

“He loved skateboarding.” — Tim Kramer, ex-classmate

Became one of two men killed by Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Self is reading an article in the September 5 – 6 issue of wsj. The article, by Chris Kornelis, is about Tony Hawke, skateboarding icon (picture below, she cropped the wsj photo)

In the first reports of the Kenosha shooting, self read that Huber tried to hit Rittenhouse with his skateboard, but was otherwise unarmed. This detail is what fixed the image of Anthony Huber in her mind.

Last year (Self’s doing a lot of sighing over LAST YEAR), self watched an adaptation of Andrea Levy’s Small Island in London’s National Theatre with son, daughter-in-law, and Amy Toland of Miami University Press. After, as the four of us walked towards the Waterloo underground, we passed a skateboarding ramp. It was just before midnight. The skateboarders were out in force. After seeing a play, there is something so mysterious and gripping about the sound of people going up and down a skateboarding ramp — up, down. Up, down. Over and over. The skateboarders’ own private, wordless mantra.

Self remembers finding the sounds almost hypnotic — as expressive, in their own way, as the words she had just been listening to for three hours (It was a long play, she loved every moment)

So there were the four of us, walking. And self remembers being very, very happy in that moment. London is such a great city: who puts a skateboarding ramp next to the National Theatre? Londoners, that’s who!

So she is particularly saddened by the fact that Anthony Huber was a skateboarder. There was no reason for Anthony Huber to go toward the danger of Kyle Rittenhouse. Only something instinctive, maybe a skateboarder’s instinct.

Never forget.

Tony Hawk, 52, Skateboarding Icon (from wsj, Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 5-6, 2020)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: TASTING

  • The topic for this week’s CFFC is Sense of Tasting.  This is all about things you can taste, be it sweet, sour, bitter, comforting, fulfilling, addictions, etc.  If you can drink or eat it, you can usually taste it. — Cee Neuner’s Fun Foto Challenge

These days, self has been searching for comfort food. But, first: NOSTALGIC MEMORIES of her last picnic at Cal Shakes, Orinda:

Second, comfort food during a pandemic: Maggi on Roasted Chicken is the best! And her favorite cookies from childhood, available at Pacific Market in South San Francisco:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tuesday Photo Challenge: FANTASY

Fascinating Tuesday Photo Challenge!

Here are self’s three takes on the theme of FANTASY:

Picture # 1: Waiting for the start of Macbeth in Cal Shakes’ last production of the 2019 season. “When Birnam wood shall come to Dunsinane …” What’s not to love about the Weird Sisters? About the preening ambiton of Lady Macbeth? Self adores Shakespeare.

Picture # 2: Waterstones Oxford celebrates Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth (Vol. 2 of the Book of Dust, which takes Lyra Bellacqua of His Dark Materials and turns her into Lyra Silverstone — self picking up her copy today. So excited!

Picture # 3: London’s Knightsbridge, near Fortnum & Mason. Ready for Christmas, in mid-November. Window-shopping is de rigueur.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Philippa Kelly, Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg, on MACBETH

Never, ever miss a Cal Shakes Grove Talk. Self has been to a few of these, all delivered by Philippa Kelly, and each is enthralling. Kelly is a superb speaker. She ties in history, puts the play in context, and makes the playgoing experience so rich!

Self learned yesterday that Macbeth was written in 1606.

1606

She was reminded that a boy played Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s time. Imagine lines like “Milk my breast” from the lips of a boy! Plus the high voice! Self thought about this while observing Liz Sklar’s performance as Lady Macbeth — that is a powerful role that demands an actor equally powerful. A boy just doesn’t cut it.

This evening, self is reading Kelly’s essay in the program brochure. The essay’s title is Can We Forgive Ourselves?

  • Actions can be imagined; but “if it (is) done when ’tis done,” an action has consequences — and if we are thinking and feeling beings, consequences can’t be ignored.

After listening to Kelly, self saw the play as a true horror story. Macbeth and his wife see ghosts everywhere. At the start of the play, they are young and beautiful. By its end they’ve both been driven round the bend. And it is TRAGIC.

Self realizes she has never, ever seen young Macbeth or Lady Macbeth. Until yesterday. It’s not Romeo and Juliet, but Liz Sklar’s Lady Macbeth is LIT!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens Artists Challenge # 65: PICK A PLACE

  • “Each of us at some point has visited a place that holds special memories.” — Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 65

This was an easy post for self to write. She just got back from attending Cal Shakes’ Macbeth. The Grove Talk by Philippa Kelly, Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg is a Don’t-Miss.

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Philippa Kelly Giving Her Grove Talk, Before MACBETH

Have been watching plays here every summer since 2001 (Romeo and Juliet: Adam Scott played Romeo).

Tonight’s Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were played by a couple who suddenly put everything into a new light. All hail, Rey Lucas and Liz Sklar, for bringing the sexy back to a play first performed in 1606. These two are the youngest actors self has ever seen play Mr. and Mrs. Spot-on, the casting! For the first time, self understood the heat between the two;  she could see the similarities to film noir. In addition, because self and her party were seated third row from the stage, she could see every change of expression on the actors’ faces; it felt so intimate.

Also, for the first time ever, self heard Macbeth call someone a “whey-face.” lol lol lol

Her one complaint might be that The Weird Sisters were not witchy. Or not witchy enough. Of course self got very excited at hearing the immortal lines: Double double, toil and trouble. She just wishes there were an actual cauldron.

She wonders if there was ever a production where The Weird Sisters were replaced by giant hand puppets. During intermission, she eavesdropped on the people behind her who were describing a performance of Macbeth at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “There was a big pool of blood right in the center of the stage. And whenever a character did something bloody, they would supply themselves from the pool.”

That, in self’s humble opinion, sounds gimmicky to the extreme.

Philippa Kelly’s pre-show Grove Talk was fascinating — self wished she took notes. It revolved around the unmasking of identity, and how paradoxical it is that when people remark that “someone has changed” it usually means that the person’s true identity is finally being unmasked and undone.

Gregory also made self aware of the fact that the first actor to play Lady Macbeth was a boy, because back then women were banned from taking roles in the theater.  Women’s parts were played by boys whose voices hadn’t yet broken. Has there even been a modern staging of Macbeth where they use a boy for Lady Macbeth? She thinks not, but it would certainly give the play a whole new spin.

P.S. The Bruns Amphitheater was FREEZING and self needed to rent blankets. Her lips got totally chapped and her hands were frozen. For some reason, all self had on was a denim jacket and a scarf.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: TREES

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is TREES.

This is self’s second photo challenge post today. She spent a long time poring over her photo archive and came up, finally, with these three:

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Early Morning Fog, Mendocino, April 2018

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Cal Shakes Grove, Orinda, CA, September 2018

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Monterey Pines in Fowey, Cornwall, England, May 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature, Day 2

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Fowey: Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Have attended two talks, both of them brilliant. The one this morning was delivered by Kate Aspengren, an American playwright (from Iowa!): Where’s the Fire? A Playwright Considers the Plays of Daphne du Maurier.

Loved knowing about this other aspect of du Maurier. The woman tried her hand at everything: novels, short stories, plays — even poetry!

Aspengren talked about three du Maurier plays:

  • The Years Between (first staged 1944, in Manchester)
  • September Tide (first staged 1948, in Oxford)
  • her own adaptation of Rebecca

Because self has read Tatiana de Rosnay’s Manderley Forever (one of her favorite reads of 2018), she knows of Daphne’s fraught marriage. Her husband was General “Boy” Browning who was mentioned (not flatteringly lol) in the book self just finished reading, Antony Beevor’s Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges, 1944. It was a very strained marriage, exacerbated by long absences. And du Maurier seems to have drawn on that for The Years Between.

As for September Tide, trust du Maurier to come up with this wickedly entertaining plot: A woman falls in love with her daughter’s husband. According to Aspengren, “the mother and son-in-law have an instant attraction to each other” despite an age gap of seven years.

Daphne du Maurier brings it.

Stay tuned.

Preparing, OSSW Day One

Drove up to Mendocino, which as the crow flies is only 200 miles from Redwood City, but always takes self at least FIVE HOURS.

On the way, she stopped by Yorkville Market and had lunch:

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And then she mulled over the writing exercises she should start tomorrow with.

Should she have the students practice writing one very, very, very long, run-on sentence? With points to whoever can come up with the most run-on sentence?

Or, for fun, should she have them write a piece that’s all bad grammar and deliberately wrong spelling? Hamberder, anyone? Smocking guns?

Should she have them write a piece that’s all dialogue?

Should she ask them to capture every nuance of a piece of reality . . . in one sentence?

Should she have them practice writing a conversation that grows from an association of ideas (like a Harold Pinter play?)

Should she have them practice delaying the outcome for as long as possible?

She can’t decide. She’ll have to sleep on it.

BTW, this is one of the plays being presented by the Mendocino Theatre Company in 2019:

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Mendocino Theatre Company, 2019 Season

Stay tuned.

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