Improbable Phrases

Who says that?


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Dinner and a Show

I went to see Wicked yesterday at the Oriental Theater with relatives. The whole thing was beautifully done, with a dragon above the curtain line, gears and wheels not just to move set pieces, but also as set pieces, lighting effects of all sorts, well choreographed dances and so on.  The music was fun, and the story was well told. I was a bit surprised that it ended with things so happy and perfect, but happy rather than sad is a good thing. 

The other part of the evening that was just as fun in a different way was the restuarant beforehand. We shared food and talked, and the girls made origami hats out of the second set of clean napkins that were brought out. They wore them for a picture. It was nice to catch up with them. 

So, yay for theater and for family.

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Sing for me, Christine

I went to see the Phantom of the Opera on Tuesday night. It was well done, the seats were good, and cheap too. But, I have to say that I am genuinely ambivalent about the play.

PROS:
I love live theater
It had amazing pyrotechnics, moving stage pieces….etc.
The costumes were so wild and colorful (I wanted one of Carlotta’s skirts, it would have gone perfectly with a white shirt/dress I bought with birthday money.)
The singers were very, very good
The dancers were also very, very good

CONS:
The story

Let’s be serious, folks. The main character is being emotionally manipulated, bordering on sexual abuse, by a man twice her age. Basically, what I am saying here is that the good people did a fabulous job with a play that I have content issues with. The thought of what it would be like (personally) to be harangued in such a fashion by someone in their 50’s made it impossible to swoon over this play. I was genuinely nervous through parts of it. I felt the same way when I went to see the movie version in a Goshen theater. (Anna? Was it you I hung onto whenever the Phantom popped up around corners to threaten Miss Daae?) It’s just  unsettling. Friggin’ evil  “angel of music.”

That said, what was the DEAL with French writers?!? This book that became the play was written around 1910,  the Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1831, and the oldest written version of Beauty and the Beast in 1740.  Basically 200 years of this creepy plot trope: shut-in deformed man and beautiful young virgin. Yes, clearly they go together. Like ham and eggs. Thank you for asking.

Sigh.

To my family: I am so excited to see you at the end of the week. Can we play Parcheesi when I come home?

I read:
Grab On to Me Tightly as If I Knew the Way by Bryan Charles (teen angst)
Passarola Rising by Azhar Abidi (first inventors of a flying machine, 1400’s)
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian (midwife may have killed her patient)
Book of Earth and Book of Water by Marjorie B. Kellogg (fantasy, dragons, etc., kind of slow)


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Pulling It Together

I think maybe I’m just tired, but honestly I feel like I haven’t done anything right in days. I’m really looking forward to having several days off from work. If I can sleep in, regroup and do some fun things, I think it’ll help.

High on my list of new, notable, or odd is:

1. My supervisor at Community Literacy is taking vacation right now. She only works Tuesday and Friday from November 12-December 3.  It only took two Mondays to figure this out. Why ON EARTH she’s doing that, I don’t know.

2. I went to see the Crucible at Steppenwolf.  I love live theater and I was so impressed by the performance. The line, “Salem is no different from before. We’re just like we’ve always been, only we’re naked now. And the wind is beginning to blow,”  was so amazingly delivered and then followed by immediate extinguishing of the lights and creepy music. Perfect execution. Did I mention I love live theater?

3. I found a place that sells vintage buttons with no holes, but shafts in the back, for 60 cents apiece. These are amazing for jewelry, especially bracelets. Now I just need to buy elastic to make the bracelets.

And then on the multilingual front:

1. I’m going to have to study Spanish in order to do anything of value in my intercambio sessions. He took 11 years of English and speaks it all day. I took two semesters of Spanish, spent three months in the DR, and can sometimes respond correctly to direct questions. Sometimes. Usually I just look frightened while he uses the subjunctive tense with the plural informal pronoun “vosotros.” For those who don’t speak Spanish, that’s not a normal way to conjugate things. It only exists in Spain. Why he uses it so much, I can only guess. Showing off, maybe? He knows I don’t recognize verbs when they have an  “-éis” ending on them. 

2. Adam was very excited yesterday when he realized that he could rhyme in direct translation. We have had a lot of bread donated to us over the last month, and despite the fact that we try to keep after it, sometimes it molds before we eat it. Jenny was throwing some more of it out and I made mentioned that it was sad that “the bread was dead.” Adam thought for a minute and then cackled and announced “Das Brot es tot! That’s so cool!” Jenny and I were not nearly as excited as he was, but oh well.

I read:

The Folded World by Amity Gaige (Life of a social worker)
The Septembers of  Shiraz by Dalia Sofer (Iranian Jew imprisoned for no reason right after the fall of the shah in the early 80’s)
Self-Storage by Gayle Brandeis (woman who helps out a Arabic lady and changes her own life. Way too far-fetched.)

(I wrote this over my lunch break but couldn’t get it to post. Hopefully it will go now.)


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Experimental Theater

There is little to report, but I update anyhow.
We went out last night for an experimental theater thing. It was called “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” or “TMLMTBGB.”  Catchy acronym, right? I enjoyed it, but I felt like it was all just a little too fast. 30 plays in 60 minutes? And all the yelling in between to pick the next play….I dunno. I guess I like things more low key. But, that said, they were fantastic actors and some of the plays were great little vignettes. And then there were the pointlessly vulgar ones. Done by men. Yippee.

There is a certain vulnerability to allowing the audience to set the show by voting for the order of the plays which I thought was a really fun gimmick. Somehow, based just on titles, we picked the four plays with the most water and other liquids first. So the stage was wet the whole way through. Which made it more fun for us to watch, perhaps a little more dangerous for them. Some plays were really elaborate, some more simple. The simplest one was by far my favorite. It was called “Identity Theft” and involved an actor getting an audience member to look the other way and then they stole the girl’s name tag and walked off the stage. Quick little piece of high school style humor.  Lovely.

Tomorrow I’ll be 23.

I read:
Saving the World by Julia Alvarez (fictionalized tale of the process of bringing the smallpox vaccine to the Americas)
The Wedding by Imraan Coovadia (weird story about a pointlessly bickery marriage, blech)