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Eugie · Foster's · Self-Indulgent · Musings


Much Ado and Fifth Element

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Went to the Shakespeare Tavern last night to see Much Ado About Nothing. Again, I'm awed by the excellent directing and interpretation these folks manage to pull off. It was the best Much Ado I've ever seen, and I'm a vociferous fan of the Kenneth Branagh movie version. I laughed so hard I got a side cramp.

I really needed that. Good fun.

Then came home and watched The Fifth Element courtesy NetFlix. It seems to be a movie that holds up better to repeat viewing. Chris Tucker's character didn't annoy me as much as the first time I saw the movie. And Milla Jovovich continues to be an orange-hued hottie.

Had weird dreams involving zombies which resulted in not-very-restful sleep. I've got a sort of jittery, red-eyed feeling going on. Not the most relaxing of weekends.

Also picked up my new glasses yesterday. My eyes are getting progressively worse. It's such a relief being able to see clearly again, but I'm worried that I've needed a stronger prescription every year. Can't write (or program) without my eyes. Wish there was a way to input and output information in a manner that didn't cause eye strain.
I'm feeling:
apathetic apathetic
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On September 26th, 2004 07:39 am (UTC), terracinque commented:
Have you never seen a show at Georgia Shakespeare Festival?
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On September 26th, 2004 07:47 am (UTC), eugie replied:
That's the one at Oglethorpe, isn't it?. If so, then yes. It was years ago, though. As I recall, I thought they did a nice production, but nothing spectacular. Whereas I was utterly blown away by the Shakespeare Tavern folks in comparison.
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On September 26th, 2004 07:58 am (UTC), terracinque replied:
That's really interesting to read, because most theater-types (in Atlanta and beyond) have great respect for the Festival, but think of the Tavern as little better than community theater.

They do have an amazing venue, though.
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On September 26th, 2004 08:27 am (UTC), eugie replied:
Matthew and I have seen a LOT of Shakespeare. Both of us are terribly unimpressed by interpretations of it that are full of self-important soliloquies that drip ostentatious pomp with each iambic pentameter. Shakespeare wasn't meant to be ponderous and academic. It's entertaining! Good Shakespeare should be fun, scary, and/or heartendingly poignant. It should make you howl with laughter, cringe with terror, or bring tears of sorrow to your eyes. It should never be dull and pompous. Too many productions of Shakespeare are far too occupied with it being Shakespeare, and not the excellent entertainment it was intended to be.

The best Shakespeare companies, like the Tavern, don't take themselves so seriously. Ole Bill was terribly commercial. His stories appealed to the lowest common denominator with slapstick and ribald humor, but with beautiful prose--an elegant and unparalleled use of the English Language. But the language should never overshadow the play--something that more Shakespeare Companies should and yet don't understand.

In the end, it's up to the play-goer. The Tavern puts together a lively, fast-paced, authentic, and frequently bawdy season--consistently delightful. The directorial vision is enlightened and authentic to the original, with lightning-quick pacing and an obviously studied understanding of the text; the actors are professionals of the craft, most classically trained in Shakespearean productions; and the food's great!

The Oglethorpe show we went to was largely unmemorable, blending into the bulk of Shakespeare we've seen. A decent production, nothing spectacular. They might have changed directorial vision since we went to see them, but from the sampling we had, I'll cast my vote (and my money) behind the Tavern every time.
On September 26th, 2004 08:37 am (UTC), greenlight711 replied:
I was jacked when Chicago opened their Shakespeare Theater, taking on a similar structural form of the Globe, but barely made it through a production. Husband fell asleep and I was just about too. Can't even remember the production. Hope it's gotten better over the years.

Just bought Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing on DVD last week! Love it!
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On September 26th, 2004 08:47 am (UTC), eugie replied:
Shakespeare should never be boring. When folks start nodding and yawning, you know there's a problem. I've never felt the urge to study the insides of my eyelids at a Shakespeare Tavern production, whereas I have certainly experienced my share of sleepy-face at others.

Branagh's Much Ado is fabu! I love Emma Thompson as Beatrice. I'm quite bummed those two broke up. They did great Shakespeare together. Have you seen Branagh's Henry V?
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On September 26th, 2004 09:09 am (UTC), terracinque replied:
Both of us are terribly unimpressed by interpretations of it that are full of self-important soliloquies that drip ostentatious pomp with each iambic pentameter...The best Shakespeare companies...don't take themselves so seriously.

Uhh, Eugie, I haven't say a word contrary to any of that. And I don't think anyone at the Festival would either.
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On September 26th, 2004 09:22 am (UTC), eugie replied:
*pat pat pat* I didn't say you had. I was just waxing effusive. I do that about Shakespeare. Can't help it.
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On September 26th, 2004 11:49 am (UTC), amokk commented:
Me Fifth Element. Me protect you.


How can one not love that movie?
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On September 26th, 2004 12:30 pm (UTC), cantstopthedawn commented:
The Fifth Element made me fall in love with Gary Oldman. I wish my VCR was working just so I could watch it again. Also so I could watch the non-über-special-edition tapes of the Star Wars trilogy without (%^#*&$^%($ing Hayden Christiansen at the end.
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On September 26th, 2004 11:08 pm (UTC), bpeace commented:
Branagh's Much Ado is much of the good. I saw the same play at Theater in the Square in Marietta on Thursday with maiaijou. It was awesome.
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On September 27th, 2004 06:42 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Re" zombies
"Brains!" ;-)

Joel
waywriter.blogspot.com
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