Monday, August 24, 2009

Shakespeare & Company

Okay, I've left Jeff up there long enough. I think all 5 of you have gotten a chance to see it.

Onward, then, to a whole bunch of stuff about me, and what I've been doing.
Mr. Cate and I went out to the woods to see Shakespeare, and eat scones and coffee and wine in a big, fluffy white hotel bed. In other words, a snobby adult weekend. ("adult" in this instance meaning "without juice box fights, whining about the bathroom, and kicking of the back of your seat the entire drive")
Don't feel bad for little Cate Junior. He went to the county fair, a pool party, and a Day Out With Thomas, so, he was covered.

The play was "The Winter's Tale", not the most loved Shakespeare, but I figured, when else are we going to get to see this one? It's not done that often. This one was fantastic, especially in the 4th and 5th acts, when the heavy royal Athenian pretext is generally dropped in favor of very Elizabethan comic characters. The three actors playing Autolycus, the Shepherd and the Clown were perfect. One of the actors also happened to be a guy I performed with in high school theater. Of course, he was great as well.

If you're into Shakespeare, or classic theater in general, try to hit APT at some point. Really. Mr. Cate isn't much of a theater guy, and by the end of the weekend, he was talking about getting season tickets for next year, and spending our anniversary watching Henry V.

We also got to see Inglorious Basterds this weekend. Nice little bookending, wasn't it? Some Tarantino to open, some Shakespeare to close. Actually, I might draw some parallels here. Both of them added wildly comic elements to what could have been strictly dark and gruesome stories. Both of them took tremendous liberties with known history, or in the Bard's case, a previous literary work. Both of them hit the mark about 60% of the time.
The only "problem" with Winter's Tale, is that it seems almost too airy and slight for such a heavy story- one of Othellolike suspicions and Oedipal level misunderstandings, although Shakespeare skirts the ickiest bits in favor of brilliant comic relief.

Tarantino, on the other hand, takes every scene and makes it at least a minute too long. The amount of tension by the end is almost unbearable. You know what's about to happen, and then there's 20 minutes of misdirection and stonewalling before the payoff. Then add the brutal, gory violence, which Tarantino glosses over with his own brilliant comic relief. (much the same way Oliver Stone was nailed to the wall for doing in Natural Born Killers all those years ago. But Tarantino's picture is set in wartime, so fair play, I suppose. If you want to get away with multiple closeups of guys getting scalped, set your story in WWII, not a coffee shop in Nevada)

And both of these stories have "happy" endings. Shakespeare's is weird and almost sappy, Tarantino's is shocking and absurd.

The end of my weekend? I bought three new books, so, score.

Friday, August 14, 2009