Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Metatheatricality and Perils of Creation

"Ganesh Verses the Third Reich"
Apparently trains are the transport of choice of Hindu gods

"Sunday in the Park with George" is my favorite musical, the reason because it has the song which has served as the testament to how frustrating and alienating, and essential, the process of making art is. Yes, I am talking about "Finish the Hat," and "watching the world from the window while you finish the hat."

The song came to me as I was in the audience for two pieces this winter. One was "We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915" (whew!) by Jackie Sibblies Drury at Soho Rep in November, and the other was "Ganesh verses the Third Reich," from Back to Back Theatre in Australia, as part of the Under the Radar Festival this month.

And two other works I saw in January, as part of the P.S. 122 COIL festival, "Inflatable Frankenstein" and "Seagull (Thinking of you)" had the same quality to them as well. It was all meta-theatrical, or, works about artists making work, about the questions, frustrations, egos, emotions and (in the case of "Frankenstein" since there was pink goo involved) the messiness of creation.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Don't Date Because I Tweet

On HBO's "Girls," a hook-up turns into a relationship.
Which almost never happens in real life.

I was looking through the most popular article on the "New York Times" (because I have a subscription and I like to make the most of it) and one came up which was: "The End of Courtship?" The article posits that texting and Facebook has turned dating and courtship into "hangouts and hook-ups."

Instead of dinner-and-a-movie, which seems as obsolete as a rotary phone, [millennials] rendezvous over phone texts, Facebook posts, instant messages and other “non-dates” that are leaving a generation confused about how to land a boyfriend or girlfriend. 

Another day, another article talking about how millennials such as myself are ruining courtship and making the good ol' days of wining and dining as dead as the dodo. And another article using the TV show "Girls" as an example of how millennials date, even though that show is only representative of a very narrow, very specific slice of 20-somethings (aka trust fund babies with artistic ambitions who live in Brooklyn).

I'd also recently read an "Atlantic" piece which claimed that dating sites, such as OKCupid, threatened monogamy. It followed one man, Jacob, who blames his lack of commitment on the binders full on women on display online. But you only needed to read the opening of the article to get a clue into why Jacob is still single:

“I’ve never been able to make a girl feel like she was the most important thing in my life,” he says. “It’s always ‘I wish I was as important as the basketball game or the concert.’ ” An only child, Jacob tended to make plans by negotiation: if his girlfriend would watch the game with him, he’d go hiking with her. He was passive in their arguments, hoping to avoid confrontation.I'm sure his inability to have a real relationship doesn't stem from him "not putting his girlfriend's needs first."

Jeez ladies, why wouldn't you want a gem like that? So it's not Jacob's infantile behavior that's the cause of his dating woes. Nope, it's all the Internet's fault. You hear that love? We don't need you anymore! We have Facebook...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Les Mehserables

"Don't worry Anne, you're gonna win the Oscar."

If I was to characterize a theme for December, besides as "the month I spent way too much money", it would be, "the month I was let down by movies I was really excited for." The first was "The Hobbit," which I vented about here, and the other was "Les Miserables."

But before I say another word, readers, listen to me! There is something I must do! I must confess that I've never seen a musical production of "Les Miz" (I use a z because it has more glitz, Broadway glitz). My only exposure to it was through the 10th Anniversary Concert (Judy Kuhn! Lea Salonga!) and the 25th Anniversary Concert (Lea Salonga again! Norm Lewis!), both of which I enjoy for different reasons, none of them being Nick Jonas. But from reading the synopsis of the musical, I got the idea of what was happening in-between musical numbers. And truthfully, I have a theory that you can either be a "Les Miz" fan or a "Phantom of the Opera" fan. Loving too many bombastic, 80's musicals will make your head explode. And I was more of a "Phantom" girl (what can I say? I love my doomed love stories).

We're like Romeo and Juliet! Except British! I mean, French!

So being a relative "Les Miz" virgin, I was excited for the film version. This was not going to be like Joel Schumacher's "Phantom" movie where the Phantom of the opera couldn't hold a note without growling and Christine cheated the cadenza. No, this had Hugh Jackman (who I had seen on Broadway before), Anne Hathaway, Samantha Barks and Aaron Tveit, people who have proved that they could sing to the back of the house. And if the various "Les Miz" concerts have taught me anything, it's that "Les Miz" is a showcase for beautiful voices singing with every single instrument in the orchestra, while waving revolutionary banners. This would be a transcendent experience, not just with beautiful voices, but with gorgeous scenery, sweeping shots of Paris and crowds rising up and fighting while singing!