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Posts tagged as “plays”

Fine Culture vs. Mighty Fine Culture


This past week has been chock-full of city-excursions.

Rene Magritte at the MOMA

"Magritte: Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938" was located all the way up on the sixth floor of the MOMA, and was extensive. I have always liked Rene Magritte and the crispness and accessibility of his more well known images, such as "The Son of Man" (man/apple/bowler hat) or "Time Transfixed(train floating out of a fireplace.)

This exhibit was phenomenal. It was fascinating to examine the integration of Magritte's obsessions with both each other and contemporary philosophy. One example was his use of captions of labels. However, sometimes his label would seem completely unrelated to the image he paired it with. Other times the word would exist in place of an image. Without a doubt, it frequently reminded me of Saussure's concepts of sign/signifier/signified.

[caption id="attachment_113" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Rene Magritte: "Ceci n'est pas une pipe".[/caption]

The placard next to this piece said that even though this obviously appears to be a pipe, "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" (this is not a pipe) because it is only a rendering; one cannot actually use this to perform the action of smoking.

Betrayal on Broadway

[caption id="attachment_143" align="aligncenter" width="537"]Photo by Brigitte Lacombe/ via Spall, Weisz, and Craig. Photo by Brigitte Lacombe/ via[/caption]

After the MOMA, I was lucky enough to get to see Betrayal on Broadway. Even though it is still in previews, Betrayal has been a "hot ticket" due, in part, to the cast which consists of Daniel Craig, Rachael Weisz, and Rafe Spall. However, the real selling point for me was the fact that this is a Pinter play, and I am a HUGE Harold Pinter fan. Ever since I saw a production of The Homecoming, (which featured an incredible Raul Esparza), I have been in complete awe of Pinter.

It was fantastic. Craig and Spall were consistently strong. Rachael Weisz I was really torn about. Some scenes she moved effortlessly between subtle and chilling, while other times I found her stilted and using a sort of "theater-y" voice (maybe it was an attempt at a specific accent?). Either way. My other criticism, which was really best articulated in another review I read, was the lack of Pinter Pauses. One of the my favorite parts of Pinter's work is really sweating it out and when the pauses are properly set between dialogue, you get the full effect of the nerve-racking scenes he composes. Overall, the production was so strong that things I perceived as occasional missteps did not spoil it in anyway for me.

Richard III on Broadway

This week, my uncle, the Mister, and I went to a matinee of Richard III from Shakespeare's Globe Theater.

[caption id="attachment_145" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Mark Rylance and Samuel Barnett. Photo by Alastair Muir via Mark Rylance and Samuel Barnett. Photo by Alastair Muir via The Telegraph[/caption]

As you may, or may not have noticed, this featured an all male cast (hearkening back to original Shakespearean productions). Interestingly enough, this production took great pains to be as hyper accurate as possible, going so far, for example, as to have costumes and shoes handmade using only materials that would have been available over 400 years ago.

I loved this production. Mark Rylance, who played Richard the III, was incredible. I would even say that I liked him better than Kevin Spacey's Richard III that I saw a year or two ago at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).

Did I mention that we sat on the stage? We did and it was cra-zy. As per the company's hyper-authenticity, they had constructed two tiered seating boxes that were squared on the right and left sides of the stage. Dozens of candles contributing for "lighting?" Check. End a classic tragedy with some dancing? Check.

All in all, Richard III was tons of fun.

Franz Ferdinand at the Hammerstein Ballroom

Maybe not "fine culture" in the traditional sense, but mighty fine culture? Absolutely!

[caption id="attachment_139" align="aligncenter" width="528"]Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand, Tuesday Night at the Hammerstein Ballroom[/caption]

Franz Ferdinand was, for me, one of the first bands that I found outside of the limited top 40 I was exposed to on the radio. The year was 2004, it was 3:30 in the morning, I was listening to Vh1's Insomniac Music Theater, the song was "Take Me Out," and the rest was history. I am, and have always been, a huge Franz Ferdinand fan.

It featured:

  • a great venue. (we had seats! that we could see from while sitting!)
  • mellow crowd
  • enthusiastic, yet awesomely bad crowd dancing (the best combination possible)
  • great performance by Franz Ferdinand; technically, musically, and otherwise

In other words, spot. on. And tons of fun, for which, all of the credit goes to The Mister who surprised me with our tickets.