Sunday, March 29, 2009

More Thoughts On The Winter's Tale

With the disclaimer that I'm no expert on Shakespeare, of course. :)

Feedback from a few sources regarding Sunday night's performance seems much better than the Thursday show I attended, at least in terms of audience response. While I'm a little peeved that my own experience was less than ideal, I am now hopeful that The Bridge Project will make Singapore a regular stop during future tours.

The following is a continuation of my previous entry. Forgive the random skips, as I'm writing this at 4am in the morning, after finally clearing a constant stream of patients who decided to swarm the ER at the exact same time.

1) Interesting interpretation

While my library book, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, states the play was written around 1600-1611, the costumes and sets depict a very different era.

For the 1st half, the wardrobe looks like something circa the 1800s, while the 2nd half is maybe early 1900s.

I'd seen press review pics when the show opened in New York, but since I hadn't read the play at the time, I didn't pay much attention to the discrepancy until a few nights ago.

Far be it from me to make any criticisms. Let's just say it's very different from the Royal Shakespeare Company's King Lear production, which featured the expected corsets, billowy gowns and other medieval wear.

The Winter's Tale definitely trumps King Lear in terms of costume design. The outfits are sleek and flattering to both male and female forms, while I recall those from King Lear as looking rather worn out and ill-fitting.

As was mentioned in the Life! review, the 2nd half which is set in Bohemia is portrayed as an "American idyll", with characters dressed as if they're going for a hay ride ( except for Perdita, who's inexplicably clad in a flowy Greek-style gown ). I couldn't help noticing the clear reference to American patriotism, in the form of red, white and blue balloons. Ahem! :)

One scene I particularly liked is the one where Cleomenes and Dion present the oracle to King Leontes to await its divine verdict. I didn't expect to see a quill - and one that's able to scribble independent of any guiding hand. How on earth did they pull that off? I distinctly saw the actor emerge from backstage and take the quill out of a closed box before placing it on the table to let it do its thing. That little special effect was quite impressive, not to mention a tad creepy as well, haha.

2) The accents

Most of my past experiences with Shakespearean productions ( stage and film ) involve crisp British intonations. Except maybe Romeo + Juliet ( the Leonardo DiCaprio / Claire Danes movie ).

This version proved even more interesting because it mixed English and American twangs. But I also note that the characters who do the most hair-pulling / chest-beating monologues tend to be Brits. Coincidence? Maybe not. :)

Tobias Segal's hillbilly pronunciation proved perfect for his comic role. Whoever came up with that idea deserves a pat on the back!

3) Chemistry between cast members

May have been isolated to Thursday night, but I didn't feel it, other than with Rebecca Hall and Josh Hamilton in the opening scene.

I might be the only person who feels this way. Let me know what you think.

On to the next subject...

Expanded Edition of Jason Mraz's We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.

Finally got my hands on this last Thursday, and I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it is. :)

Am currently blasting Disc 2 - The EPs - in my car ( and driving my mom crazy heh ). It is so bloody terrific!

As always, Jason sounds phenomenal in an "unplugged" setting, stripped of the usual band accompaniment as he plucks at the guitar and lets his extraordinary voice take centrestage.

Comparing this recent recording to earlier ones, there's a discernible difference in his voice - still boyish and crystal clear, but with a huskier tone and a very relaxed delivery, which comes with maturity and confidence gained from numerous tours these past 5 years.

Every track's a gem, but Live High, If It Kills Me, A Beautiful Mess, Make It Mine and Butterfly are huge favourites.

His cover of Bob Dylan's Man Gave Names To All The Animals is a heady combination of bluesy pop / rock arrangement and cheeky lyrics. I haven't heard the original, but don't really want to since JM's version is excellent.

My absolute fave, however, is Mudhouse / Gypsy MC, a number recorded 'live' in Amsterdam that is best appreciated with the volume dial turned WAAAY UP. Almost shattered my car windows on the way to work tonight. :)

Featuring Mr. Mraz solo on his guitar, it's got an infectious rhythm set to a witty rap, topped with an immensely catchy chorus.

Catchphrase of the week ( or month ): 40 ounces... of AWESOMENESS. Listen to the song if you want to know what I mean. :)

There's a Disc 3 - a concert DVD that includes even more bonus songs. Will review that once I find the time to watch it.

April Highlights

On cable!

1) The HBO series True Blood, essentially Twilight with brains.

2) True Colors - a movie from the '80s, starring John Cusack and James Spader at the height of their poster-boy glory. But it's actually a really good film, so make sure you catch it.

3) Damages Season 2 - severely delayed arrival on local TV, but better late than never.

Morning rounds beckon, adios.

1 comment:

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