Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow. In WW2 California an actor is hired by the military to don a fire-breathing lizard suit and destroy a model city. The aim is to convince a Japanese delegation to surrender without the need for a land invasion.
Short, fun novel with melancholy overtones. Feels a little inconclusive, but worth a read.
Saw "The Container" in a shipping container outside the Young Vic. Short play about people-trafficking.
A little gimmicky but it works really well. The claustrophobic environment and complete blackouts give it a lot of extra impact. Really good sound design helps too. There are a series of speakers wired up to the outside, and something makes the container vibrate, so when the container's supposed to be moving, you can hear the other traffic "passing" on the road very realistically.
The actors use maglites to illuminate each other and there are a couple of lamps: you don't get a complete view but you can tell what's going on. Good acting with some intense performances.
Script could have been a little stronger. At times the dialogue gets a little bit too preachy and ironic, but on the whole it's powerful stuff.
Some of the critics have complained about the heat and the smell but we lucked out: went to a 9-o'clock show just after some rain, so the temperature inside was comfortable. Didn't really smell bad either, apart from a woody smell from the pallets.
The London run has sold out, but I suspect it will be going on the road. Definitely an interesting experience.
Saw Troilus and Cressida at the Globe. Haven't been there in ages, but wanted to try the groundling experience, standing in the open air in the courtyard like most of Bill's original audience.
First, it's cheap. Only £5, plus £2 delivery if you book online. Now a normal movie ticket is £8 in outer London, £12 in central London, so it's way cheaper than going to the movies.
Also, at least at 5'10'' or over you get a better view than from the galleries, where the pillars mean that the actors drift out of view.
The downside is that while probably better behaved than in Shakespeare's day, we still got 2 ringing mobiles, one person texting with key-beeps switched on, and several groups chatting amongst themselves. At least up high you've got some distance from the scurvy railing knaves.
Play itself was pretty decent, given that it's a tough one: not quite a comedy, not quite a tragedy, but a cynical play where the lofty ancients are thoroughly debased: Helen of Troy a dumb bimbo, Achilles an idle backstabber, Cressida a fickle Trojan strumpet.
The first half is played as a pretty broad comedy, going well beyond the traditional actorly use of the pelvic thrust to indicate each Elizabethan dick-joke. The cheesy love song is played as a broadway number. There's quite a lot of spectacle though: lots of drumming, lots of large-scale fight scenes on stage, and all the warriors are heavily tattooed from some reason. Fight scenes look a bit under-rehearsed at the moment. They're only a week into the run though, so they may yet tighten it up.
For the second half, they move more into tragic mode. It's a little disorienting trying to work out what's drama and what's melodrama: there was some audience laughter when I don't think that's quite what they wanted.
Paul Hunter steals the show as a brilliantly over-the-top ad-libbing Thersites. Matthew Kelly makes a mostly decent fist of proto-pimp Pandarus, though he dissolves a bit at the end.
Overall, pretty good, worth a look.
Galapagos Syndrome: why Japan can't export its advanced cellphones. Is US-style one-handed forking taking over in UK? Look up London restaurants hygeine inspection results. Tom DeMarco: Software Engineering is an idea whose time has come and gone (via).
Socioeconomics. Tory party, Lib Dem finance regulation plans. Invisibility of The Dominant and Salience of the Minority.
|< Delays, delays, delays. | Some kind of meat and vegetable soup >|