Latest TTC course was Shakespeare: The Word and the Action by Peter Saccio. I already did two other courses of his, ( Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, Modern British Drama) so knew what to expect. He takes a different angle on Shakespeare this time, so it's pretty rewarding even after the other one.
As you'd expect, he concentrates on both the use of language, and on-stage action. He doesn't attempt any comprehensive view this time, just taking individual plays and sonnets to illustrate both. It helps that he often takes the less-performed plays as his examples: Cymbeline, Coriolanus, Henry VIII and the Henry VI's.
As an actor, Saccio's particularly good on the implications of Shakespeare's staging. So, he considers the fight scenes, the implications of characters movements and positioning, entrances and exits. The dramatic elements in Shakespeare often seem to be unfairly overlooked by academics who've spent too much time looking at pages and not enough at stages. He even manages a good deal on the significance of "Exit pursued by a bear" (a half-comic, half-tragic bridging point in the play between comedy and tragedy).
Definitely a worthwhile course if you're interested in Shakespeare. I'd recommend the Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies as a better start though: that gives you a broad overview, and then you can jump in deeper with this one.
Rented the DVD of horror spoof Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. Nice concept: it's allegedly a repackaging of an ultra-low-budget Eighties TV series; written, directed and acted by horror novelist Garth Marenghi.
Very well done too: impeccably shoddy in all ways from the wobbling sets, ham acting, clumsy editing, cheesy slow-motion and the ponderous self-satisfaction of Marenghi's addresses to camera.
Might suffer a bit as a DVD rental since you have to watch all six episodes quite close together: could have done with more of a gap.
Definitely a good piece of comedy though, well worth seeing.
Not sure if Marenghi's supposed to be based on anyone in particular: the East London references suggest James Herbert, but the style's more Shaun Hutson, and the multi-media might be Clive Barker. Might just be Eighties horror novelists in general: they got pretty self-indulgent during the brief boom.
Saw the production of Ibsen's "Ghosts" at the Duchess Theatre. Haven't seen any Ibsen before. Performances were very good, especially the mesmerizing Lesley Sharp as the widow Helene Alving.
Was an interesting monent halfway through, light slowly dropped on the stage and the audience were illuminated, as at the end of An Inspector Calls when the audience are expected to address their own culpability. Was pondering the significance when the actor/director Iain Glen broke character and explained they were having lighting problems and would resume in 5 minutes. Things seemed OK after that: he got a gentle round of applause when it happened. Was impressed the way the actors kept concentration after that: very professional recovery.
Not sure what to make of Ibsen though. Melodrama tends to leave me a bit cold: can never really sympathize with characters who obviously just need to pull themselves together and show a bit of common sense for once. Fortunately he doesn't drag out the will-they-won't-they too long on something they obviously need to do. Did like the way the characters and their relationships interlocked so well.
Apparently this play was very controversial in the late Nineteenth Century, but seems very tame now. It's slightly irritating the way the characters go to enormous lengths not to say syphilis. Or possibly it's not even supposed to be certain, it doesn't seem very medically plausible that the son would get his father's syphilis but not the wife or his younger sibling.
Weight has been stable lately. That's more or less by accident: was keeping vaguely to the weight-loss programme on weekdays, but a long weekend with the parents and the usual Whisky Live havoc seem to have averaged it out. I think I'm running out of motivation to lose any more: keep giving in to temptation.
Random. Daily Mash: Intelligence-Boosting Drugs Make Children Question Point Of Exams Unconventional burials. Taiwan love motels (slightly NSFW).
Politics. "The proposal that dog-owners should be forced to buy insurance against their mutt attacking someone encapsulates pretty much all that is most wrong with New Labour."
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