Tuesday, July 27, 2010

thoughts: Rimers of Eldritch - characters

** Disclaimer! Before I get into this, I should just mention that these are my thoughts only. Well, not really. I've gotten ideas from others, but what I want to get across is that they are only thoughts of an individual. I am NOT trying to imply that my way is the right way for everyone. I will also admit that I can be wrong - and more often than not, I am. So - just keep that in mind.
The way I will be going about this is by character, but I will also insert group bits as well as characters who do not make an appearance in the show, but are mentioned.

Robert "Driver Junior" Conklin - 18 years old. A boy on the doorstep of life. He just graduated from high school, and he doesn't know what he is going to do, if he is going to go or stay. Robert has lived in his brother's (Driver) shadow all of his life - and now that he is grown up, he is feeling the pressure of peoples' expectations for him. He's kinda quiet, shy with people, and socially a little awkward. There is a frustration in him that makes an appearence every now and again, which leads you to believe he is a little repressed. However, he is sensible, smart, and practical. He finds comfort in his strange friendship with Eva.

"Driver" Conklin - Robert's deceased brother. He was 12 years older than Robert and the exact opposite. He was outgoing, popular, and utterly confident. He used to drive in car races, and was very good. It is those races that a lot of people remember fondly - a highlight in their lives. But he had a darker side too. He was dating Betty Atkins before his death, and it was not a good relationship. He was a little wild and he did some vandalism. He died in an accident at the races. It is unclear exactly how Robert and Driver got along. Robert never went to his races, which can say one of many different things: either he didn't like his brother or he resented all the attention he got, or he was scared of the races, but adored his brother; or any level of medium between the two. My pet thought is that there was some admiration and a bit of resentment.

Eva Jackson - 14 - Crippled girl. The script doesn't exactly say what is wrong with her - just that she is not like others, that she gets fatigued easily. I don't know where I got this idea, but there is the thought that she has one leg shorter than the other, or she has some trouble with one of her legs. I also think it is also due to over-protection from her mother. She is a little bit of an outcast because of her limitations, but also because she doesn't fit into the crowd. She's a bit of a dreamer. Eva is young, but she wants so badly to grow up. She is at that awkward stage, trying so hard to be so grown up. The best way I can describe it is "Spring Awakening"

Robert and Eva - they have a very strange relationship. No one really understands it, and I think that includes them. They take comfort in each other. Robert can be just himself with Eva, with no pressure - and Robert is the one person who doesn't baby Eva, and she is drawn to that. Also, Robert is almost the only male in Eva's life and I think Eva sees him as all the different men she is missing: father, brother, son, boyfriend. But as much as they get along, they also don't. They always seem to be on the edge of getting on each other's nerves. They teeter that line throughout the play and it changes so quickly that you hardly ever know exactly how they feel about each other at any given moment.

More to come later, and the more I think about these characters, I will probably be editing this as well.

Monday, July 26, 2010

thoughts: Rimers of Eldritch - set-up, setting, and plot.

I have to get all of these thoughts out anyways, so why not blog it?
Here's the jist: 'Rimers of Eldritch' is a play by Lanford Wilson. Barry had me read it a couple years ago, and I fell in love with it. Now it has become something that I HAVE to work on. Well, not just work on, it is something I have to do. I have a ton of director's notes, I know the story backwards and forwards, I even have set design, lights, sound, and costume ideas as well as general blocking figured out. I had a reading of the play a little while ago - simply because I needed to hear it outside of my head. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone was impressed.
To be fair though, this is not something I think a lot of people can understand with just one reading. The script is rather complicated. It jumps back and forth in time without much indication of timeline. I do think this play is better after you've studied it awhile.
I have, and I have a lot of thoughts on this - especially on the characters. So this blog entry - probably will be a long one - will be an attempt to get some of these story and character thoughts out in the open. If anyone cares to comment, I welcome other opinions!

Basic Setting: The play takes place at various times during the Spring, Summer, and Fall of a year in and around the town of Eldritch somewhere in the midwest. There are several references to Des Moines, Chicago, St. Louis, and since the author was from Missouri, people generally tend to place it there. It is usually played in the late 1950s, early 1960s. Eldritch was once a bustling coal mining town, but since the coal ran out, has been reduced down to almost a ghost town. The general feeling the script gives you about the town is that almost everything is either closed, or in disrepair. The people living there seem kind of stuck, and are worn out from life.

Basic Plot: Like I said before, the play kind of travels back and forth around this one event. Although, its not life you see a scene before the event, then a scene after, then before, then after, with the powerful event in the middle. There is no logic, it seems, to the showing of what happens when. Often, you don't really know when a scene takes place - mostly because you don't really know exactly what the main event is until near the end of the play. But this play is about more than just this event. It is a portrait of this town, and the people in it. It is unflinchingly accurate with some of its cruelty, but there is also great beauty in the script. Wilson takes the ordinary and makes it poetry without losing an authentic feel; kind of a common man's Shakespeare - and that is a compliment. PLOT SPOILER - basically, the event is the almost rape of a young girl, and the death of an innocent man. But like it said, it is also so much more than that. This is as scaled down a plot as I can muster. Because so much of this story is about the town, and only has some connection to this event. You'd have to read it to understand what I mean by that, but trust me, which that event is the center of the plot, it is not the center of the overall story.

More to come later - will start with character descriptions next. :D

Saturday, July 24, 2010

review: Way Down East

Apparently this movie is a 1935 remake of an earlier, silent film by DW Griffith. This is one of those "lost treasure unknowns" It's sweet, sad, and melodramatic.

But it is still good. This is one of, if not the earliest leading roles Fonda had - and he is wonderful.

Story: a young woman turns up at a small town farm looking for work. Despite some reservations, the family takes her on as a houseworker. Slowly but surely the son falls in love with the girl. But she has a dark past - and it is haunting her.

I was surprised by the seriousness of some of the issues in this film. Overall, it was a little corny - kinda sentimental (but in my world, that is not a bad thing) - still it did make its moral views known. A little too plainly. The forgiveness lesson was almost too much for me, but it made a point, and I could never fault a movie (or anything) for making such an important point.

The acting was okay - again, a little on the corny side at times, but oh well. Some of the photography was nice, but nothing spectacular.

Overall, a nice little film.

3 and 1/2 stars

review: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Interesting. Not the best movie I have ever seen - but not the worst. I guess I am easy to please sometimes, but I did like this movie a lot. Maybe it was the company. But I do think this movie can stand on its own.

Yes, there were some"Really?" moments, all movies are bound to have some. But it was entertaining, and I needed something I didn't have to analyze too much.

Best parts: (PLOT SPOILER a little) The use of the original Sorcerer's Apprentice music and concept from Fantasia. I was going to be incredibly disappointed if that was not used - and not used well. The other great moment was realizing that the Morganians was Abigale Williams. BRILLIANT!

It's fun, its Nicholas Cage, its a little corny, it's magical, its sweet, and it's Disney. Everything you would expect is in those words.

One thing I will say about Cage: even though he has become a type, he is a type well. He's a good enough actor to not take everything too seriously, and therefore, he will take some of these kinda corny roles and throw his persona into it. He's legit and I totally respect him. Not to mention, that even if his movies can be a little corny, they, again, are entertaining.

3 and 1/2 stars.

review: Capote

If ever there was a movie whose reputation definately proceeded it - this is one. For me at least. At least, I remember this movie being such a big deal.
I was not disappointed.
It's good. Really good. My only regret is that I didn't read the book 'In Cold Blood' first. You don't have to read it to get the story or anything like that, but I imagine it would help with the epicness of the tale. So much is made of the book - how important, how gorundbreaking, how consuming it is to Capote - and not having read it, I think, put me at a disadvantage.
Still and all, it was a great movie. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, I bow to you. Well done sir. I know everyone makes such a big hype over him, and you know what? They should. Have you seen his roles before he was famous? Still pretty amazing - and he doesn't play a type. He is incredibly talented.
I did get mad at the movie, but it had to do with the story. Which is a good thing. I just wanted to slap Capote a couple of times. He's all: woe is me - and you have to stop and think: you got yourself into this! And then you come as a beacon of hope to one of these guys and suddenly, in preparation for their hour of need, you withdrew your support. And he lied to them. Oh! I got so mad about that. So, it was good.
While part of me wanted to sympathize with the criminals, I just couldn't because no matter how you feel about it, these men killed 4 people. IN THE FACE! I couldn't feel too sorry for the men. Although, I do think this movie helped me be less of a fan of the death penalty. The interesting thing is: I wanted these men to get punished terribly, and I think the death penalty was appropriate for their crimes - but I still didn't like it. Conflicted, yes - makes for a good movie experience. I wish they would have shown the darker side of Perry Smith though. Granted, that must not have been something that Capote ever really saw, but it would have helped support his sister's statement about him being a fake sympathetic.
Wonderful movie.
4 and 1/2 stars

Thursday, July 22, 2010

review: Sullivan's Travels

I'll start with the rating and go from there.
4 stars.
Included in the National Film Registry as well as 3 AFI lists.
Respectable, I would say. I liked this movie a lot. But for the life of me, the last thought I had about this movie is: so why is Veronica Lake such a big deal?
Not her acting - she is a fine actress in this movie. I just don't get why the iconic image of this film (not the one I posted, obviously) is a line drawing of her. She's a big character, but not that big, and certainly not central. The moral of the story is almost overshadowed by the fact that everyone made such a big deal about her.
That aside - I really did enjoy this movie. Good story, funny, good acting, and some truly touching moments. The scene in the country church was inspiring. Very inspiring. If only more people used religion that way. To remind us of our humanity.
What I wrote above aside, I really liked Miss Lake. She played the role quite well and brought a real girl next door kind of feel to her character, when she could have easily let her beauty overshadow everything. Joel McCrea was wonderful as well. I really want to see what else he is in. He looked familiar.
All in all, a delightful film which I recommend that people see. But don't judge a movie by its poster.
(I would like to mention that I like the poster, I just think the marketing guys were too busy trading on Miss Lake's good looks to premote the story)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Let's Play: "What's My Problem?"

Figured it out. Well, not "It" - but at least a portion of the puzzle of "It"
"It" is simply what my Problem is. There have been a lot of theories, and I guess a fair portion of them are a part of the Problem. I don't think it is any one single, large thing, so much as a lot of little annoyances that culminate into the big Problem.
What I am focusing on tonight is this: I'm just scared.
I am so nervous/worried/frightened of ... so many things - not your normal fears - but strange things.
I think what it boils down to is fear of inconveniencing, bothering, annoying, frustrating, angering, or disappointing others.
This fear rules my life. It is the reason for the apologizing, for the jumping out of the way, for the way I try to be cautious about everything I say, think, or do (although most often I fail there).
What makes this worse is that I have a wonderful playback memory when it comes to my faults. I can see those things quite clearly. Or at least, I think I do - but they aren't always clear enough for me to heed the "danger" warnings in my head. Which I proved tonight.
I won't go into it.
The problem is, I am stuck with the knowledge of what I do and what I say - and I have to live that down. I am my own worst enemy here. I know people get frustrated with me, but that is normally only a fraction of what I feel towards myself. I have always been that socially awkward girl. The person who just doesn't get it. The one who, for some reason, can't catch on quick enough. It makes me dumb, it makes me boring, it makes me scared.
Tonight I talked to a friend about things that didn't need to be talked about - things that should have been left unshared. I knew it would be bad going in, so why did I continue? Because I felt I had to apologize - and I couldn't apologize without an explanation. And there was a part of me that was sure that saying these things would help me to feel better.
They didn't.
And now I feel so bad. I know I annoyed them because of my inabilities. I can't express myself well - my linguistics are pathetic, really, and I know how important it is to choose your words carefully. So, I try and do that - but instead I just end up fumbling and mumbling and making an idiot out of myself. Which tends to lead people to believe that I am not sincere. I wish they could FEEL what I do in those moments. If I could just translate what I am feeling into what I am saying to these people, they would now how much it means to me. And the worst part is that I can't apologize for this, because that would only annoy them more.
The people around me here are so important to me because, somehow - despite these faults - they still care about me. I don't want to sound like I am assuming too much, but I do like to think that some of them even love me. I don't understand why they do or why they would - because someone who is as terribly stupid as I can often be, is worth little and is often more trouble than their little worth. And I am scared that one day they are going to realize that.
I can not express, in any way, how much their friendship and their love means to me. Someone else might have the words, the ability to do this, but I fail. And I am scared of this failure. What happens if I can't ever find a way to tell them how much I love them in return properly? I can try to tell them, but, I would make a mistake and find someway that this expression of my feelings might be misconstrued.
And the fear takes over again.
I am so tired of this fear.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

review: In the Heat of the Night

Wow! Good film! Won a slew of Academy Awards, is on 4 AFI list (one of course for the famous "They call me Mister Tibbs!" line), and even without those things, this film is amazing. I don't need an organization to tell it to me.
Its about a Philedelphia Homicide Detective who gets caught up in a small town murder in the south. The racist south. It's not a happy story - it's dark, its complex, its disturbing. The people are ... less than good.
What really gets to me is the incredible racism in this film - all the different kinds, I mean. There is the subtle "we're just not used to blacks" uncomfortable kind of racism, and then there is the plain, outright, almost KKK kind of racism - and every kind inbetween. Which makes for some wonderful acting ... the range, I mean, not the racism. And Poitier is brilliant. Strangely enough, the only time I did not like him is in that classic line. Maybe it was just that I have seen it out of context so many times that it just seems like a strange shift in context. But still, he's a powerful actor in the moment with a powerful voice making a powerful statement. So I don't mind if the delivery seems a little over the top.
I'm not going to say too much more on this subject.
Great acting, great directing, wonderful story. See it!
4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars!

review: Sunrise

I will say this: it is a gorgeous film. Gorgeous in its simplicity and in the beautiful sweetness of the story. That being said - this film would never be able to be made in this day and age.
This 1927 Silent film is a little gem. It is one of the movies listed on AFI's Top 100 list, as well as winning Oscars at the very first Academy Awards ceremony ever presented, and is on the National Film Registry and adopted into the Library of Congress collection. The only sad part is that the true original film is lost to us. The original was destroyed in a nitrate fire in 1937 - so what is presented today is only a piecing together of something close to the original. It works still, but you have to wonder what the differences are.
The story revolves around a man and his wife. The man is cheating on his wife with this vixen from the city, who proposes that he drown his wife - and of course, men being the way they are - he sets the plan in motion. However, at the critical moment, he can not do it. The wife runs away, and catches a trian to the city. He follows her. They make amends, spend a glorious day in the city, rekindling their old, fun-loving romance, and head back. I stop here, so as not to ruin the movie completely for you.
Like I said, the story just would not work. A man tries to kill you, and then an hour later, you're getting your portraits taken together? Wouldn't work in this day and age. But somehow, it just does in the movie. The poor wife is the sweetest thing, and of course, she looks like an angel - so why he is unhappy at home never really gets explained. The vixen is obvious enough - a typical 1920s vamp flapper with dark bob and eyeliner to match.
The music, the design, and the lighting work together so well. The director was a German and very much influenced by German Expressionism. And you can see that - without being beaten over the head with it. The only room that looks a little misconfigured in the beginning is the bedroom. Other design aspects are in place, but you don't really notice them unless you are looking for it. Look for the forced perspective in the city scenes. Almost flawlessly done. It's just gorgeous, reaally. It really does seem like a visual song of the life of these two humans. It's sweet. Might be too sweet for some, but it is definately worth a watch - if for nothing else than to think back to a different time.
4 out of 5 stars

Don't Read Unless You Want to get an Earful

In the context of a blog, 'earful' doesn't work, but the meaning is still there.
Just got back from the bar and ... I don't really know why I am so pissed off. It was a fine evening, but I am fairly on my way to being tipsy, so I guess alchohol does just amplify your mood, because on any normal night I would just be a little miffed. But tonight, I just want to scream at the world. I h0ld a lot of this kind of thing in, so in this moment, I figure I have a right to let it out at the top of my typing voice. Ask me tomorrow, and I will feel bad about it, but I won't delete this blog because, secretly, I will be glad I wrote this.

I am so sick of men following thier dicks. They get so fucking stupid about everything when you combine a pretty girl with some liquid courage. Hell, she doesn't even have to be pretty. Any girl, any girl who is even a little willing. I'll admit, I have, at times, taken advantage of men like this. It's not some of my proudest moments, and its not some of their proudest moments either. Like I said - she doesn't even have to be pretty. Call me a hypocrit, because I am in this situation, but it just pisses me off.
Being in the bar tonight was like watching a bunch of fucking hormone driven teenagers at a middle school dance. But not like the school dances we all had as kids (you know, enough room for Jesus in the middle, kids!), school dances now. With all the floating tension in that room tonight, all I have to say is that someone, ANYONE, had better be getting laid. Otherwise, the whole evening was a wasted torture device. Except for maybe some of the dart players - at least the ones who were focused on the game.

Who knows? Maybe I am just being a prude. In fact, I know I am. I am a lonely prude. Maybe it is jelaousy -probably is too - because with all the objects of desire being lusted after by all the men, the number of people to have a real conversation with kept going down. There are a lot of interesting people in the crowd, and any one of them I would have loved to have struck up a sustained conversation with - but you can't really do that when they are focused on matters below the waist. Thank God for some people.
Of course, I can't just blame it on the girls, who are asking for it, or the men, who want it in their groins. I have to blame myself. This is what makes me so mad: that it bothers me. I don't know why I watch a man grope all over not 1, not 2, but 3 girls, and get mad. Its none of my business. And the girls don't mind, so why should I? Again, jelaousy probably.
But this is more than that. It's just another incident in a series of disappointments with the human race. Lately I seem to be reminded of the lower levels of human interaction. A couple dear friends of mine disappointed me the other day (something I never thought they could do - I looked up to them for so long), and then another friend was being so damn indifferent to me after a couple days of pure friendship bliss. Things with the job have been less than good, and I have been dealing with non-stop Inconsiderates and a couple of Assholes. And top everything off with sleep/health problems.
I need to just shut up and get some sleep - but now would be a really bad time to get addicted to sleeping pills. Wish I had a boxing bag in my room right now.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

review: The Ringer

I will admit, I expected to hate this movie. And I did at first. Johnny Knoxville is not exactly a person I admire on principal - and it takes a little while to get to the good parts of the movie. So, my best advice is just to stick it out. You'll be kinda glad you did.

The story is far fetched, but most comedies are. Knoxville plays a man named Steve who desperately needs to make some money. He enters somewhat reluctantly into a hairbrained scheme with his crazy uncle to fix the Special Olympics. Pretending to be "Johnny" he enters the compitition. Long story made short: there is a girl, a counselor of sorts, he is found out by some of his other competitors, and they decide to help him.

You don't watch this movie for the romance, the acting, or the meaning. You watch it because of the writing. There are some hilarious one liners in there. Its one of those incredibly quotable movies - "Ice Cream? When the f*^#k did we get Ice Cream?"
I give it a solid 3 and 1/2 stars.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Say a little prayer

We are entering changeover from 'Picasso at the Lapin Agile' (which, by the way, has become the second best selling non-musical play at the PBP!) to 'Dracula'
It's not our souls that we are worried about (we have given up on that long ago)
It's our sanity.
This show is HUGE. Huge in the sense that we have at least 120 light cues, I don't know how many sound cues, underscoring cues, fog cues; we have a monstrously amazing set; 9 actors in multiple period costumes; and blood.
Anyone who has ever worked on this show at all knows that this is not an easy thing to do. And we have 3 days in which to do it.
So, do us all a favor, will you, and pray to the Theatre God in the catwalks of Theater Heaven, and ask Him to just hold our sanity, keep us from major bodily harm and dismemberment as we embark on this transitional period in our lives. We're not asking for everything to go smoothly and perfectly, but we are asking for no power outages during Tech rehearsal, not having to revert to Plan J, and no more than one all nighter. May the blood of our actors and technicians be fake, the patience unending, the water plentiful & refreshing, the support ever present, and the drinks at the bar flowing at the Afterglow.