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.

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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.

 

 

Cal Shakes’ THE WAR OF THE ROSES: FIERCE

Oh, kudos, Cal Shakes. Kudos for everything. For the chart showing the House of Lancaster and the House of York, for the jumbotron messages above the stage (BOO! and RICHARD IS DEAD! were so on point!)

It was a lovely way to spend a late summer afternoon.

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In choosing the seats, self noticed most of the tickets taken were on the LEFT side of the amphitheatre (Section E). She figured that must be because of the sun. When it strikes directly, and you’re sitting there for four hours (yes, the play was four hours: it passes quickly), it is not fun. So she snagged the last three tickets on the left side, which were in the next to last row.

She’s never before sat so far from the stage, but it worked out perfect because this was a large-cast production, with a lot of comings and goings, and from higher up you can really appreciate how every inch of that stage is put to good use.

Self’s only regret was that she did not spring for a button saying, THOU TOAD! ‘Twas only $3.

Both she and son forked up cash for the donation bucket. (This year’s fundraising goal is $150,000)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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The set for The War of The Roses was amazing, as were the costumes. Kudos to Scenic Designer Nina Ball and Costume Designer Anna R. Oliver.

 

Cee Neuner: Flower of the Day, 12 October 2017

For Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day photo prompt:

A shot of the Orinda Hills, last month, as self was leaving Bruns Amphitheatre after watching Measure for Measure:

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Flowers in the photograph are teensy. She thinks those are penstemons.

Pray the California wildfires cease.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Layered: Orinda and New York City

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Bruins Amphitheatre, Orinda

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Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City: The squares are on the ground level, the woman taking the picture is on the 4th? 5th? Floor.

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New York City, View from the Chelsea District

Treat: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is Halloween-themed!

Here are self’s ideas of TREATS:

Hot Chocolate and Peanut Butter & Jelly Square, Joaquin Torres, Broadway & 72nd

Hot Chocolate and Peanut Butter & Jelly Square, Jacques Torres Chocolates, Broadway & 72nd

Being surrounded by books: such a treat! Extraordinary. The best form of indulgence:

Borderlands, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Bookstore, Valencia Street, San Francisco

Borderlands, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Bookstore, Valencia Street, San Francisco

Finally, watching plays is such a treat. On the same level of pleasure as reading a good book.

Here’s one of her favorite venues: the Bruns Amphitheatre in Orinda, where Cal Shakes presents Shakespeare through the warm months of summer and early fall. The last play she saw here was “King Lear,” with Anthony Heald. Superb!

Bruns Amphitheatre, Orinda, California

Bruns Amphitheatre, Orinda, California

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

On Top 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

As the week wears on, WordPress bloggers invariably start getting creative with the photo challenge.

Here are a few bloggers’ interpretations of this week’s theme:  ON TOP

Niece G lived and taught in San Francisco for five years.  She moved back to New York City last year. This was the last time self visited her at her apartment on Folsom Street.  Self really misses her.

Niece G lived and taught in San Francisco for five years. She moved back to New York City last year. On the day self took this picture, her niece was in the process of packing up her things. Self really misses her.

One of self's fondest memories of Summer 2013 was the picnic before the Cal Shakes production of "Romeo and Juliet." It was her birthday, July 14. Son spent his first summer home in almost 10 years.

One of self’s fondest memories of Summer 2013 was the picnic before the Cal Shakes production of “Romeo and Juliet.” It was her birthday, July 14. Son spent his first summer home in almost 10 years.  This year, she wants to see at least two Cal Shakes plays.

Wall Frieze Over a Door in the Daku Balay, Bacolod City

Wall Frieze Over a Door in the Daku Balay, Burgos Street Bacolod City.  Dear Departed Dad grew up in the Daku Balay (Literal Trans. “Big House”). At the time of the house’s construction (in the 1930s), it was the tallest structure in the whole of Bacolod City.

Tomorrow is a busy, busy day, as self will be traveling.  But she will have her laptop wherever she goes, so she’ll keep blogging.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Threes: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The prompt this week from the WordPress Daily Post is THREES.

Threes meaning: “three-picture stories.” Meaning, narrative.

QED, self thinks. After all, self has often thought that most of her pictures function better as a sequence.  Each photo like a still of a silent film.

But when she finally sat down this afternoon to select her three-picture sequence, she ended up choosing three pictures she took of a site (the Bruns Amphitheater in Orinda) that don’t seem to tell much of a story. Shrug. Self will keep posting. Even when she’s in Seattle, attending the AWP annual conference for the first time in something like six years.

Below are pictures she took last summer, when she indulged in two Cal Shakes performancesRomeo and Juliet, on her birthday, with son and The Man and Jessika and Pepe and a small group of son’s high school classmates (Self still finds it hard to believe that Margarita Donnelly, who ended up publishing self’s first book, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila, was a graduate of that same school, Sacred Heart in Atherton, CA.  Back when it used to be an all-girls school!)

She saw another Cal Shakes production in August, this time with just one other person, Jessika Remolona (who’s expecting a baby this June! Woot Woot!): Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. Jessika and self brought enough bottles of wine to carry us through almost three hours (They let you take the wine inside the theater. You can actually drink during the performance. Which makes self feel like she is in the Golden Globes or something)

Bruns Amphitheater, Orinda, July 2013

Bruns Amphitheater, Orinda, Summer 2013

Close-up of the Theater Lights

Close-up of the Theater Lights

The grounds outside the amphitheater have very unexpected artwork.  Part of the fun of the whole Cal Shakes experience is having a picnic just before the start of the performance.

The grounds outside the amphitheater have very unexpected artwork. Part of the fun of the whole Cal Shakes experience is having a picnic just before the start of the performance.

Self loves Shakespeare.  She loves Shakespeare outside.

After she saw her first Cal Shakes play (Romeo and Juliet with Adam Scott playing Romeo.  Adam Scott) she could never watch Shakespeare in any other guise than outdoors.  In the summer.  With a bottle of wine.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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