Saturday, April 15, 2006

Quick! Breathe fast!

It's my Spring Break right now, which means I'm getting a quick breather from classes, rehearsal, teaching and work. Well, all but work, anyway.

Henry V is going reasonably well. It's had about as much superfluous drama as you might expect (college theatre is only one step away from high school theatre, after all) but there are quite a few quite nice moments to be had and some of the actors -- the actual, real world, professional actors we have in to fill the ranks -- are a joy to work with. It's the thought of work with people like them again that makes it worth going through, really, although there is some joy to be had watching young actors discovering their own thing. Even if it is a bit malicious, nine times out of ten they discover things like that when they do what I suggest...

Because of the undergraduate desire to skip out on rehearsal, we're about a week off from my ideal. If there were no Spring Break, we'd be absolutely on target, but as it is we'll be missing about a week of time we need. It's funny: despite the fact I'm a trained and (somewhat) experienced director, my producer won't believe me when I say we're behind. Granted, we may just be ready for opening night, but part of directing is a) working with gut feeling and b) being able to realistically judge what's going on with your production. Both of these tell me we won't be where we should be for opening night. We have a week of rehearsals left, but these are all dress/tech rehearsals where the actors get use to costumes/lights/sets/props -- not so much a chance for them to work their acting skills. My job should be done by now; it isn't.
Still and all, I can't completely blame myself for what hasn't been done, and feel like I've given a decent shake with what I have done. And as all people in the theatre know -- and as Philip Henslowe said in the lovely film Shakespeare in Love -- "the magic of the theatre" will prevail. I hope.

Other than the play -- and it's a bit hard to get past that for me right now -- life is pretty good. I read a lot, or as much as I can. I've been going through a bit of a Sarah Vowell phase. I've read her first two collections, Take the Cannoli and The Partly Cloudy Patriot. I'd be reading her last one, Assasination Vacation, had some guy not loaned it out to some errant associate at his job weeks ago.
If she weren't a girl, I'd probably be madly in love with her. Her take on life is vaguely similar to mine (we have vaguely similar histories) but she has what I think is a very unique and modern voice. I'd be happy for people to say -- and they have -- that she speaks for my generation. Interestingly, the title of her fist books takes the same root as a Gilmore Girls gag.
I plan to spend the next week away from school and reading. Since my last post, I've finished reading all the books mentioned and am now on to:

Good King Henry: another life of Henry V -- emotionally well rendered and very engaging, but lapses into the old mistake of using 'thee's and 'thou's to prove its characters are from a few centuries ago.

The Empire of Glass: a Doctor Who story featuring Shakespeare, Marlowe, Galileo and the Doctor's... vaguely defined relative. Fairly fun, til you realize the plot hinges on a poorly-researched Roanoke colony plot line. Especially galling when you've spent as much time on Roanoke Island as I have... the number of colonists is wrong, it suggests that Marlowe -- Kit Marlowe -- went there with them, and worst of all, that there are cliffs on the Island!
Right, pedantry all and not worth counting, but it does have Marlowe falling for Stephen "Blue Peter" Taylor. As if.

The Messianic Legacy: what with all the excitement about the Da Vinci Code film, why not go back to its (legally determined) source? The sequel to the Holy Blood, Holy Grail book whose first 25 pages provide all the plot of Dan Brown's "book", this work tells you all the secrets the of Super Secret Sectet Society, The Priory of Sion. While parts of it are quite well researched, one of the authors /was/ a writer for Doctor Who. Go fig which bits are fake, but when the blood line of the aliens from Sirius gets metioned, have a care.

Rescripting Shakespeare: Written by a professor at Carolina with no practical theatrical background, this is a book about modern productions of Shakespeare that alter the text from the "standard" texts and the trade-offs directors incur. I'm only on page 12, but there seems to be a lot to be said about this from an actual, practical director.

The Crying of Lot 49: I've felt far too smart of late. I bought this book this week to cure that. I'm only on Chapter Two, but I do want to go 'round saying "I've got a penchant for Pynchon."

In the meantime, I'm playing this ridiculous and frustating game called Kingdom Hearts, the bastard offspring of Walt Disney and Final Fantasy... Any help?

And remember, Series Two of Doctor Who begins tomorrow night with "The New World". Whoot!

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