Saturday, August 20, 2011
A new production opened Thursday at the Soulpepper Theatre Company in Toronto and it was quite the emotional rollercoaster ride. It's the story of Cape Race, played very well by Mike Ross, a young lawyer tending to his sick father at home. Stressed out by his work and his broken marriage, Cape decides to end it all by jumping off a bridge. But just before he falls, the voice of a small, white dog is heard telling him to stop and that his mission to re-unite his divorced parents must be fulfilled. This throws Cape into a spiral of frustrated angst as he struggles with his own feelings surrounding his mother, gagging on the word itself, and reconciling with his ill father whose fears of dying and his regressive memories have driven him crazy. In the mix is the character of Pony, beautifully played by the engaging Micheala Washburn. Pony is an ex-ambulance driver looking for salvation in the big city. At first glance she is the Ying to Cape’s Yang, a happy yet doubtful young woman who comes looking for her dog. (Cape assumes it’s the white one.) But Cape is soon to discover that Pony is not the good omen he thought she was.
Friday, August 19, 2011
The Music Room, which Ray made between the second and third films of his justly acclaimed The Apu Trilogy, may (as critic Pauline Kael once suggested) reflect the same themes of cultural futility as Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. But if that's so, The Music Room is The Cherry Orchard seen through the gothic sensibility of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher." The Music Room (which Criterion has just released this summer in both regular and Blu-ray) is about how a once powerful aristocrat stubbornly clings to the past through his opulent staging of musicales. But, in doing so, he destroys his family and his life.
|Chhabi Biswas as Roy|
Thursday, August 18, 2011
|Oliver Dennis & Karen Rae|
It is not just the King who is dying, so is his kingdom. In his vigorous youth, he lorded over millions of people, successfully battled thousands of enemies, did everything from single-handedly splitting the atom to inventing the car and computer, and he could even control the weather. It would not rain unless he said so. Now, as he is dying, his kingdom is literally vanishing. The people are all gone, his achievements are forgotten, and the land itself is shrinking and shrinking. His castle is a slanted ruin and a gigantic crack is splitting it in half. The irony here? Ionesco was far from dying. He recovered and lived until 1994.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Another Earth, Ballast) acquired upon their subsequent release. In any case, here is the latest entry in a series of disparate movies you really ought to see.
Monday, August 15, 2011
For Stephen Sondheim aficionados, Company is beloved as the watershed musical that established him as a musical-theatre innovator. In a number of his early musicals he supplied the lyrics for the music of older, established composers (Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story, Jule Styne on Gypsy, Richard Rodgers on Do I Hear a Waltz?). His professional debut as a composer-lyricist was A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 1962, but that was an old-fashioned vaudeville along the lines of Rodgers and Hart’s The Boys from Syracuse – and bizarrely, though the score was ingenious, Larry Gelbart and Burt Shevelove’s libretto received all the attention. (His other solo effort, a strained, distinctly sixties satirical farce called Anyone Can Whistle, closed after 11 performances. The Encores! series of concert-style musical revivals at New York’s City Center staged it two seasons ago with a superlative cast, but engaging as the production was you could see exactly why the show had bombed in 1964.)
Sunday, August 14, 2011
My name is Laura and I am a librarian.
Upon revealing my profession to strangers I am almost guaranteed the following reaction: “Oh, but you don’t look like a librarian.” Yes, many have extremely strong, and learned, stereotypes about these professionals and the places they work. Many probably assume that their local librarian is a shy, shushing, anal-retentive, nerdy bookworm who lives with several cats. She probably likes knitting, wears cardigans, collects and categorizes things, and has sensible shoes. (Note: I tend to refer to a librarian as a “she” because the profession does seem to attract the fairer sex. In my library program we outnumbered the dudes about ten to one. I still do not understand why more post-undergraduate straight men don’t take advantage of this opportunity.) With regard to these stereotypes: okay, I’m busted. I’m guilty of most of those characteristics. (With the exception of the cats and the sensible shoes part.) The problem with the librarian and library stereotypes, though, may not be that we do not possess any of these characteristics, but that we possess so much more.
Librarians, in fact, are not-so-quiet, super-interesting, super-educated, and technologically savvy professionals. To practice in most libraries you have to acquire a Masters degree in either Library or Information Management. Many librarians – particularly subject specialists, the innately curious, or the overly ambitious – may have multiple graduate degrees and even PhDs. Yes, these poor folks you see at your local branch are actually hot shit, but, for the love of humanity, they are toiling to service patrons such as yourself.