Monthly Archives: November 2013

Waiting For Professor X and Magneto or a Couple of English Guys Sitting Around Talking

I don’t know if this review is strictly kosher. The better-half and I caught a pair of rush tickets and saw a preview of Waiting for Godot on Thursday, November 21st. The play’s official opening was November 24th. I wasn’t planning on blogging about it, but after reading Ben Brantley’s glowing review in Monday’s New York Times, the curmudgeon in me felt obliged to say something.

First, this production, featuring one of my favorite starship captains, and Gandalf, was not terrible. It wasn’t one of those ridiculous star-studded mediocrities that wins awards and are critical darlings even though they Continue reading Waiting For Professor X and Magneto or a Couple of English Guys Sitting Around Talking

Homeland — Recap and Extras

You can read my recap of Season 3, Episode 9, Homeland — One Last Time  over at Happy Time Nice People, Wonkette’s smarter, snarkier, sluttier little sister. You could do me a great favor and comment. Would be awesome to get a discussion going.

Here are some additional thoughts:

Heard a very loud shoe drop Sunday night. Since the season started exactly 58 days after the Langley bombing, and since we weren’t privy to all of Carrie and Saul’s conversations during the interim, I was wondering what Saul knew about Carrie’s missing hours. Had she told him the truth – that she “knew” Brody was innocent and helped get him out of the country? That seemed unlikely, but it could have given Saul the leverage to get her complete cooperation for his larger scheme. It was impossible, not just implausible that he could accept her story – especially with Brody missing, and both of them having been Continue reading Homeland — Recap and Extras

Idiots at the Opera — Die Frau Ohne Schatten

Neither of us had heard of Strauss’ fairytale opera, Die Frau Ohne Schatten before, but Opera Teen called it “the most hotly anticipated event of the season” so we figured, can’t go wrong with that.

Christine Goerke, as the Dyer’s Wife, is a particular standout in a very strong cast of singers, and as Barak, her husband, Johan Reuter brought great humanity and presence. The sets and lighting have received a lot of press. The lighting was amazing. The red feather costume of the falcon glowed like embers. And the emperor’s transformation from stone back to flesh was nothing short of a miracle. However, the set with its large panels which at times were mirrored and at times black, reminded me of Tron. It was showy, but didn’t always draw us into the story. The transformation from the half-spirit world of the Emperor and Empress to the drab home of Barak the Dyer was accomplished via elevating the spirit-world set to reveal the Dyer’s home. The Empress and her nurse descended a spiral staircase down to the Dyer’s. I had some trouble with this, partly because I’d seen that staircase employed in various ways in different productions, and in this case I had to do too much mental work around the “invisible” stairs in the middle of the house. The story of the half-spirit Empress trying to obtain a shadow doesn’t have the heft of myth or the charm of fairytale. Fairytales are for children, but this one seems geared for adults. The darkness of the messenger would probably frighten small children, and the message is not just the shadow as a metaphor for the human soul, but that the ability to reproduce is the true purpose of humanity. It’s all a bit heavy-handed, and silly even for opera.

Musically, the score is brilliant and the orchestra and conductor were up to it. But we didn’t find ourselves emotionally connected. At times the music became epic and melodramatic while there was no singing and little stage action. Some of this may just be characteristic of German opera or maybe of Strauss. We’re idiots; this was our first Strauss and our first opera with a German libretto. So what do we know?

If you want young children to experience enchantment with a classical score, you’d do better to take them to The Nutcracker or maybe Tales of Hoffman. If you’re on the fence about opera, this isn’t the one to start with – you won’t leave humming. However, if you are familiar with the music, and thrilled that it’s being performed, overall it’s a fine production with some great performances, and you won’t be disappointed.

As of this writing, only one performance left — Tuesday, November 26th. Still some decent seats left, including full view family circle, and of course rush tickets is always an option. For more on last minute and cheap tix, you can check out this post.

(Find this helpful? Marion is too proud to accept donations, but you could check out her fiction, including this little novella which has a bit of a fantasy element as well.)

Not the NY Times – Metropolitan Diary

Coming home on the 1 train, a robust gray haired woman got on – along with many others – at 66th Street. I offered her my seat, but she said in a native accent as thick as our own, “No thanks I’ve been sitting for three hours.” She looked at my better-half, “Why don’t you offer it to him?”
I said, “I tried, but he’s been sitting too.”
She noticed his Playbill in hand and asked, “What did you see?”
Me, “Waiting for Godot. Patrick Stewart. Ian McKellan.”
“How was it?”
“It was a preview,” I said diplomatically.
The better half shrugged in agreement.
“I just came from the Met.”
“What opera?”
“Oh, the Vegas Rigoletto.” I said.
She did an eye-roll. She blamed Peter Gelb. As we headed uptown there was conversation about the unfortunate Eugene Onegin, as well as some other new productions under Gelb’s tenure, including the Tosca which she saw and we are going to.  Her theater recommendation was 12th Night with Mark Rylance – so we’re going. She mentioned $26 rush tix. Always a good thing.
God, I love this city.

And btw Godot and No Man’s Land two plays in repetoire have rush tix going for $30 each including facility fee (cash or credit).Tix may be available at TKTS as well, but rush is probably a better deal. They start selling them at 10:00 am day of the performance at the box office.  I got there at around 8, but could have come later as the line never got very long.  As for the opera, that’s another cheap date for the savvy.

(If you find any of these posts useful, or even mildly entertaining, you might want to check out some of Marion’s other work, like her novel or a shorter work.)

Homeland Speculation — What’s Up With That French Guy?

(Spoilers ahead for those not up to date on Homeland. A little harmless speculation as well — with no inside-info.)

My Homeland recaps over on HappyNiceTimePeople are Mystery Science Theater. I watch the show while cracking wise, always trying to keep it upbeat and affectionate. But I’m bothered by this whole Mira/Alan thing, and not just because it’s another distraction that might not lead anywhere.

Let’s go to the calculators. The Langley bombing happened 12/12/12. It’s now around ninety days later – March 2013. Saul and Mira have been married 35 years, since 1978. If Mira is the same age as Sarita Choudhury, the actress who plays her, she would have been twelve when they married. Given that Saul, as far as we know, did not buy her from a village elder, it’s likely that Mira is older than Choudhury, making her around fifty-five.

Sarita Chaudhury is hot. She is smoking hot, and if she were fifty-five and looked exactly as she does now, that wouldn’t detract from her smokiness.

Mira’s French boytoy, Alan Bernard, is played by William Abadie. I can’t find a year of birth for Abadie anywhere on the Internet, and I’m sure that’s not accidental. But as Margo Channing said of her fiance, “He looks thirty-two. He looked it five years ago, he’ll look it twenty years from now. I hate men.” Abadie looks closer to forty, but the statement is otherwise applicable to him.

So what we’ve got is Mira – a woman in her mid-fifties with Alan a younger, very handsome man. He comes to DC, presumably to Continue reading Homeland Speculation — What’s Up With That French Guy?