22 December 2006

This Is Me, Phoning It In

Sixteen minutes till the best (only) Christmas gift ever - a week off. And this year is like one of those three-paycheck months with five Thursdays, because with Christmas on a Monday, New Year's Day is on a Monday, so it's a week and a day. And that's really, really nice. Because I am really, really lazy. Not that I won't be bringing scripts home with me to read, but I'll be doing that on my bed or at a Starbucks, with some syrupy hot soy beverage, rather than at my desk, in my not-very-comfortable chair, where, since I can't daily treat myself with a $4 non-caffeinated coffee, I treat myself with checking my email a little too often. Gingerbread drinks are much more fun.

I will also be seeing all of the movies that have come out in the last month that I've missed, and literally spending Christmas day with my family seeing a movie and eating Chinese food. I don't even love Chinese food. I need to talk them into sushi.

Last night marked, as far as things are planned, my last theatrical expedition of 2006 - part two of The Coast of Utopia, Shipwreck. (Top ten list coming soon, since I wrote it up at home, and saved it there, and if I were to try to recreate it here, it would inevitably be wrong.) I don't have a ton to say about Shipwreck - my reaction is very similar to how I took part one (scroll down), if last night's curtain call, though staged the same, was less thrilling. I also wasn't in quite as attentive a mental place (or as close-to-the-front a seat), but that couldn't entirely ruin it. Notable differences: Jennifer Ehle was great. And also hot, while pulling off the most tasteful (as in least distracting or uncomfortable-making) nude scene ever. She looks like a painting. "I've seen that in the Met." And speaking of hot and incredibly talented, at the risk of sounding like a total lesbian, there's also Amy Irving. She only has one scene in this part, but she's fantastic. (And looks about 25.) I know her mostly as Mrs. Arvin Sloane, so this transformation was especially impressive.

Other folks of whom we only got glimpses in part one were expectedly wonderful - Jason Butler Harner, BrĂ­an O'Byrne, and, especially, Josh Hamilton. Never enough Billy Crudup, and I'll miss him in Salvage. Sad that there wasn't so much Ethan Hawke, too. The sets continued to be gorgeous, as was the opening. Which we saw twice, after it was stopped for, as the SM said, "technical... difficulties?"

Shipwreck also firmed up my belief that Tom Stoppard is the theatre world's A.S. Byatt. One of my favorite Byatt reading experiences is her Virgin in the Garden quartet, four books that span the life, 15-50 or so, of one woman. It's not a four-part 1500-page book, though - each novel is its own book and, most importantly, has its own style and tone. One is pretty straight realism, one is all crazy and intertextual - it's a little disorienting if, like me, you read them straight through in one month, but it's also just interesting formal work. Stoppard seems to be doing something similar with The Coast of Utopia. Part one was by no means naturalistic, but the theatricality seems heightened here. Moments of tableau and transitions, overlapping scenes - it feels more... theatrical? That's not the right word. I don't know what is. But anyway, there's a shift in tone that I think is really interesting for something that's billed as (I believe) three parts of one play. And I want to know if Byatt and Stoppard are friends. They must at least know each other. When you're that smart, who else is there to be friends with?

If you're planning on being away from a computer for the coming week, let me wish you a happy holiday (or whatever) now. Since I'll be either bored at my mom's house or bored at home, I'll probably be keeping up with whatever sporadic schedule you've come to expect. Enjoy time off, if you're getting some, enjoy holidays if you celebrate them, and enjoy people putting up sparkly lights everywhere no matter what.

3 comments:

Johnny said...

Keep your eyes peeled for Striking 12 on play by play. I don't know that you'd love it - but I'd really love to hear your thoughts on it.

The family literally gathered round the piano and sang carols tonight. I'm not kidding.

Anonymous said...

Chinese food is not negotiable. Just be thankful we're not being forced to see Rocky.

anna said...

my goyisha boyfriend told me he'd "heard something on npr about a pact between jews and chinese restaurants on christmas. is that true?"

me: "are you sure you grew up in nyc?"

then on christmas he made me drive over to the chinese place with him, just to check. yup! open and full of happy jews!


also, ethan hawke and billy crudup in the same show? hot scruffy actor overload! billy crudup blew me away in pillowman. i wish i could catch the stoppard - you know how i feel about him.

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