Entries tagged as theater
- Agggggh I've collapsed. Long Monday (actually it felt short) with a cold :( October 8
- I listened to 5 seconds of the first track on @TheUkes album The Secret of Life and my heart felt soothed. ♥. http://t.co/wsZquPh5 October 7
- @patheuk hiya, I was wondering if you guys have a general enquiries email address? October 7
- Terrified of flagship #Primark about to open on Oxford St. Tottenham Ct Rd will vamp into as much a tourist mess as the one by Marble Arch.. October 7
- Then I googled a phrase from my poem. 119 results came up. Namely an interview w/ singer @bethjhoughton - lovely music! http://t.co/nFJ55YKW October 6
Entries tagged as theater
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Thursday, December 22. 2011
Loved this retro combination of Pepsi-Cola x European streets in Prague!
Our second day in Czech was probably my favorite. We did a day trip to Kutná Hora, 30 minutes from Prague and home to some UNESCO treasures. From the station it's a 40 minute walk to a cute village; on the way we stopped at a cathedral and then the famous Sedlec Ossuary -- a church decorated with thousands of old human remains, which I really didn't like actually. I don't mind the bones. It's the concept of the thing that I dislike. If this were a typical Christian tradition, OK, but I didn't see this as rooted in any sort of respect. Full of tourists, a cemetery right outside, and disrespectful. On the other hand, my friend said she liked it best in the whole town so to each his own, I guess.
But when we actually reached the town - it was lovely! On a Saturday there were almost no tourists at all, early November is not tourist season apparently. The museum dedicated to silver mining, which the town is famous for, was closed (oh well) but it was amazing to just walk around with scenery like this and hardly anyone around:
Right around the corner there was a sweeping view of a valley, with the Jesuit College and St. Barbara Cathedral in the background. Then we went to get lunch at a traditional tavern-type place called Pivnice Dacicky. I was getting used to seeing that all the tourists were Russian - we hardly saw any English people on our trip. And Russian works to communicate when English fails. Very interesting dynamic!
My lunch here was delicious:
Hot pear, seriously, have you ever had hot pear before? Such a good idea!! And the meal was something like pickled camembert cheese topped with onions, olive oil/vinegar and raspberry jam -- apparently usually served as bar food, but it worked just fine as lunch for me. It's called Nakládaný Hermelín and it's so good! Look here for a recipe.
That Saturday there was a festival going on! It was a wine event for St. Martin's Day (a traditional holiday for the celebration of a wine harvest), which fell on 11/11/11 this year. We suddenly stumbled upon a load of real Czech people enjoying their weekend in a small town. I bought a handmade basket for ~$2, asked for honey wine in Russian from a Czech barman, and we saw a gypsy performance in a tent. Pretty cool. We wandered around inside the college, there was tons of food and wine inside and it was set up like an art gallery. It's right near the Cathedral so is very interesting to see.
There were young Czech guys inside preparing feathers for pillow-making (my friend got a demonstration from them and learned how to do it herself, haha), people on stilts (kind of scary!!), a man with the exact same dog as me (I got a photo with him) and all in all it was a great day trip out from Prague. It was fun to see what the countryside is like (even if it's just the suburbs, nothing too crazy). And we walked everywhere because we couldn't figure out the bus system for the life of us. We stopped at an ordinary supermarket on the way back... Pretty cool!
That night we managed to return in time to see a 7 PM showing of Puccini's Madame Butterfly at the State Opera. If you have an NUS card (student discount card) you can get tickets for only 10 euros! The seats were in the back but this opera house is pretty small -- the view was just fine and they even let us switch seats when we saw that our subtitles were blocked by the chandelier.
The performance was well-staged, and quality all the way through, but I didn't feel much for the title character. Cio-Cio's actress, Csilla Boross, just didn't fit my image of her: in my mind she's meant to have a defined sense of filial duty that is stripped from her through her love of Pinkerton. And above all delicate, fresh, young and naive. But this Butterfly was more of a pillar, with oppressive stubbornness and overbearing dignity. She wasn't likable or particularly innocent.
But the staging was good. There was an interesting bit of choreography choice for her final scene: she disappears behind the same dressing screen to die as where she had formerly changed into her wedding night gown. Submitting to die is like submitting herself to another fate, opposed to the fate she chose for herself with her husband, maybe?
But her famous aria was fantastic. I don't understand the technicalities of this kind of music (other than a great course I took at Waseda on opera history) but it was the high point of the performance and was when I actually reacted to the emotions. Plus it was stuck in my head all evening after that! Here it is - she's singing about her love's return. This is a different actress:
So, that was our second day in Czech, more jam-packed than our first. Our final day in Prague coming up.
Posted by Natalie Meyer at 13:42 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, October 9. 2011
I told you I'd do it, and I did! I saw The Playboy of the Western World last night, the one that stars Robert Sheehan of Misfits fame, alongside costar Ruth Negga (also from Misfits!).
Overall experience: worth it! But it's for one reason and pretty much one reason only that my friends and I all gave it a resounding "Wow," and that is because the ending was really, really well done. The cast just blew that final climactic fight scene out of the water. It was chaotic and ironic and bloody fantastic! If not for that, I might have left thinking I'd seen an almost humdrum, low-spirited play: but once it works itself up to the ending, everything fits together and I ended up really enjoying it.
I also enjoyed sitting in the first row for only £12! Under-25s can get heavily discounted tickets at The Old Vic (and indeed many other theaters around London) just by booking over the phone or stopping by the box office.
The Playboy of the Western World will be running at The Old Vic until November 26. If you do go see it, watch out for that great line at the end that Sheehan delivers perfectly (and with such "venom" as my friend put it): "I will [go] then, like a gallant captain with his heathen slave!"
Posted by Natalie Meyer at 17:36 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Defined tags for this entry: theater
Wednesday, September 28. 2011
On Monday night I hosted a theater event that I had been organizing like crazy for the past month. Basically I was able to purchase group tickets for great seats to The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. It was very very very difficult to round up 15 LSE postgrads to actually pay me and then get the tickets, although there were originally over 150 people interested in the event. But when we did, it was WORTH it! We met up for dinner across from the theater and got drinks afterward, and I was surprised that almost everyone was from a different place. And the seats! I have to say these were the best Phantom seats I've ever had. I was right in the middle of the very front row, all for only £38. I'm very satisfied with the evening.
I've seen the London production once before (and I've seen Phantom on stage a total of 11 times now) and this was definitely one of the better ones. I was fascinated by the Christine we saw, played by Katie Hall: most Christines will look visibly shaken and scared when the Phantom's voice first booms out, especially when he takes her off to a scary lair under the Opera. But not this Christine. She looked positively joyful, dreamily joyful I would say, when she finally met her angel of music. By the end she played a Christine who was 100% sure she wanted to get away from him, but I felt like it was more because this Christine realized that she needed sunlight and happiness and she was frustrated and angry at the Phantom for turning it all to darkness and woe! A very interesting rendition.
You can hear her Think of Me here. Her voice is scratchy at times but when she actually reaches the important parts (the operatic bits) she is absolutely spot-on.
The Phantom was Scott Davies, not particularly memorable. He was not the dashing type of Phantom but he did a good job of not letting that disadvantage him. Good vulnerability and hurt, sort of a psycho type, and not the one you would want Christine to end up with! My favorite Phantom is Hugh Panaro - I saw him on Broadway in 2004. I also really want to see John Owen-Jones as Phantom: he's the main actor right now in London and I plan to keep going until I see him! I previously saw him portray an amazing Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.
The Raoul by Killian Donnelly was someone you could see as very privileged and who goes after what he wants, i.e., Christine - sometimes I feel like he's played sort of like a wuss but this one played him with almost brutish self-confidence. And I really liked the addition of a handsome Andre, played by Gareth Snook, who also seemed quite piqued by Madame Giry!
Great show, great night out and I'm so glad it was a success. It's so nice to meet people from other departments at LSE. Some of us are going to go see Les Miserables next!
Posted by Natalie Meyer at 15:57 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, September 8. 2011
Last night I saw a fantastic rendition of Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Jeremy Herrin, at the Globe (the site of Shakespeare's original theater).
The Globe is done in the original style, with a stage butting into the audience, standing-only spots for the masses in what would be considered premium seating today, and no roof. So it's good to go when there is no chance of rain! Even though it did rain during our performance (I luckily had a seat under a roof) the audience went absolutely mad during the curtain call. We all loved this performance, and I think it's really heartening to see people going crazy over Shakespeare!
I read the play beforehand specifically because I wanted to go see this performance. I did this with all the Shakespeare plays I've seen this year, and I've seen a quite a few after taking two early modern lit classes! Probably my other favorite was the winter Folger production of The Comedy of Errors. This Globe production was definitely worth it. It runs until October 1 - go see it if you can.
The highlight of this production was the dynamic between Benedick (played by Broadway/film actor Charles Edwards) and Beatrice (Eve Best, who played the American in The King Speech). Edwards is witty and sarcastic in a dry but almost puppy-dog-like way - just perfect for the role of a man transforming from a protester of marriage to a lover of Beatrice. And his timing is spot-on. If you go see it, note his commentary of "This looks not like a nuptial!" amidst the disaster of Hero's marriage. Hilarious!
Best's transformation into loving Benedick was almost perfect as well: in the scene where Beatrice finally verbalizes (to herself) her love for Benedick, the actress actually leans down off the stage and hugs an audience member with joy! The performance had lots of moments like these, utilizing the unique stage.
They changed around some minor things, such as tactfully replacing the "If I do not love her, I am a Jew" with "a dog." Some cute stage directions: Benedick coughing on Beatrice mockingly as he exits the stage (echoing back to Beatrice's "he is sooner caught than a pestilence"), Benedick falling off a ladder as he listens in on a key conversation, Beatrice ring-ring-ringing a loud bell in his ear to call him for dinner. Also loved her delivery of the line "Kill Claudio" - a moment that really stood out to me when reading it. The character of the constable is fittingly absurd (especially in his choreography), which is a must for long-winded roles that can be hard to understand nowadays. It might have been a little overdone, but his "I am an ass!" bit is splendid. John the Bastard was slightly lackluster, although that seems unavoidable in such a spirited play.
Other than the Beatrice/Benedick relationship, the most striking thing about seeing Much Ado About Nothing on stage is being able to mark the stark contrast in tone of the dark, dark Hero plotline against the lighthearted humor of most of the play.
I had a seat for this performance, but I want to be in the crowd next time!
Posted by Natalie Meyer at 21:57 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, August 16. 2011Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, one of the hotels of the American Express Fine Hotel and Resorts program - available to Platinum AmEx card holders. I had convinced my dad to get this card because of a remarkable 100,000 point Membership Rewards offer this summer - which incidentally has amazing perks including the special hotel program which nets us an upgrade if available, $100 worth of a special amenity, late check-out, and free breakfast every day.
The whole trip went off without a hitch: it started off with a smile by the enthusiastic employees at the car rental company, Enterprise. You could really tell they were trying to beat out Hertz in terms of customer service. The shuttle bus driver was a cheerful Vietnam vet who rattled off a helpful list of things to do in SD. A friendly rep then gave us 30% off a better car, nice start right? We had lunch at Lucha Libre which was apparently just on Man vs. Food which has made it super popular. It was filling Americanized Mexican food.
At the Lodge at Torrey Pines what we were most impressed by was the service. Especially in the restaurants you could tell they were going out of their way to help us. As one example, my dad asked for okra done the way it had been in their upstairs restaurant, and the waiter made a point of calling to find out how it was made - even when we told him it wasn't necessary. We felt confident making requests, which really helped make the stay as nice as it could be. My dad thought the hotel seemed to be striving for character it didn't have, but I think the service more than made up for it.
With the Platinum AmEx, we managed to score:
-an upgrade to an Ocean View Room from a Garden View
-$40 worth of breakfast at The Grill each morning
-stated $85 dinner credit at the A R Valentian; we paid $130 and they ended up crediting it ALL for free!
Great view, nice room (with a fire place), the turn-down service was sweet, with a chocolate/soothing sprays, slippers and a Lord Byron quote. About $310/night before tax.
The dinner was fantastic, a stylish place that really knew their stuff. I told the waiter about my food restrictions and he assured me that the chefs knew exactly how to substitute for gluten/egg problems. Although I had fish, the highlight was the vegetables cooked in savory sauces - pistachio butter beets, buttermilk potatoes, baked carrots etc. They kept bringing out free sample dishes to try: vegetables, sampler dessert plate even when we refused dessert, bread. Each dish was top quality and delicious, and the same was true at The Grill for breakfast (where I tried my first bite of gluten in 4 months with a delicious pecan butter waffle!).
On Saturday night I went to see the Mary Poppins musical for my third time. I had seen a Mary Poppins billboard during the airplane's descent and immediately checked if it was playing in San Diego during our stay. It was! It was a pretty strong production, and we had good seats, although I still prefer the original actors I saw in NYC.
Saturday morning I went to a power yoga class - with my dad, crazily enough, who has recently decided he is an exercise buff and is trying every form of fitness possible... The class was great because no one else from the hotel showed up, so it was one-on-one with a nice Swedish-Russian woman who convinced us to try a (supported!) headstand.
And on Sunday, I got an aromatherapy massage at the spa early in the morning, a fantastic way to start the day. There was almost no one there. All in all a very relaxing weekend.
Traveling without any solid plan worked well. It's a philosophy I like to follow when I can (I even wrote a post about this last year that I haven't published yet). I had no idea what I was going to do in San Diego until I got there, but what I've found is that as long as I set up the framework properly the rest will follow, and this time it all fell into place quickly - the framework being the hotel program with AmEx, because otherwise we probably wouldn't have picked that hotel!