Thursday, February 22, 2018

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - review

Jack O’Connell and Sienna Miller in
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Photograph: Johan Persson

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is tonight.

Hoping I can make it there and of course am pulling out all of the stops to get there.

Even going for acupuncture in the afternoon so I will be all relaxed and ready to enjoy the show at night.
Review by Michael Billington here.
I noticed in the side link in the review, that when this play originally came to the stage some of the themes were forbidden to the general public and a person had to join a private club to see the show.  Nothing like finding something fascinating in the past!


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Tosca - the Encore

Puccini's Tosca practising her final leap

Todd Heisler/The New York Times 

Today was the encore of Tosca, coming to us via HD Live.

I think the set designer said it best when he mentioned that HD live was a godsend to him.

The camera comes so close that you can even read the message on the notes that Scarpia is making.

So set designer's (John McFarlane) penchant for detail was rewarded in that every detail has to be clear since the viewers can now see it with the camera.

I had a wonderful time.

No need for candy to keep me awake, nor for that little extra bit of alertness that can come from a can of Coke.

The theatre was full of old people -- like us.  Many had brought their picnic lunches since the opera is over three hours long.  I will bet that there were more celiacs, people with diabetes, hearing problems, balance problems or bladder problems than in all of the other theatres in the complex combined.  A mistake to have the show in a theatre that has no bannisters or handrails.

And people don't get out often enough.  Many women had trouble in the rest rooms getting the water in the sinks to run, so there they were with soap all over their hands.  I have to admit that it took me a while to find just the right place for the sensor myself.

If you read the review below, and see that messiness is not just something that plagues ordinary lives, you will miss the wonderful point of this day at the theatre.  I told Wyona I felt as though I had been in Rome.  Just a wonderful day filled with intrigue, beauty, musicality and a thrill for a prairie girl who had no idea she would see such spectacles as can be seen with HD Live.  Just wonderful!

And now for the gossipiest article about backstage troubles which were not reflected at all in the performances.

Michael Cooper fills in the details with a headline of Behind the Scenes of ‘Tosca,’ the Messiest Production in Met History

A great article for behind the scences at the Met.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Two Day Storm

I think all of us were amazed during this winter's worst snowfall.  

Mostly at the fact that the snow just kept falling.

I was taken with the opaque colour of the world.

Being used to looking west and seeing the mountains, there was something eerie about only having opaque and sepia tones in the views around me...and no mountains to see.

This is a picture from the third floor office of my eye doctor.  You are looking at the Bow River, covered now with snow.  At the base of the leafless tree is a small bench where runners can sit and get back their breath.  

No runners on this day.  Everyone still shovelling snow.


Bubble Gum Contests

The colour of the wrappers is overwhelming!
Tonight was the first in what might be daily experiments with our Double Bubble Gum. 

Michael, Alice, Betty and I can rip off the plastic wrapper and undo  difficult comics. 

Even the next step of getting it into our mouths can be a problem, especially for Michael whose front two teeth are now loose and unable to chomp down on the pink cubes of gum. 

“What is a wad of gum?”, Michael asked when I was telling him now to smooth the bubble gum out and get it wrapped around his tongue so that he can start to make a bubble. 

Ha ha.

I had forgotten what a talent I have with gum. I can do single bubbles, double bubbles and make my bubbles pop. 

All of that is pretty impressive.

Warming the gum up is more difficult and takes me a bit of time.

I told Michael that I couldn’t perform many more spectacular bubble tricks, my jaw was aching.

“What is a jaw?”

So much to learn!

I told Richard that my Aunt Mary once sent a box of Double Bubble Gum to our house as a gift. We thought she must be rich. Richard shook his head, not being able to grasp how people could have so little money that having bubble gum was an unheard of luxury.

Richard made a rule before we were allowed to open the gum. No stretching of the gum, out and in, folding, double folding, putting it back in our mouths, pulling it out again. That was forbidden.

So hard to remember that.

As well, no gum was to be touched by our hands, which is very difficult in the early stages of practise. Sometimes we have to get that gum flattened out and then inspect it before trying to blow it into bubbles.

Well, I was surprised myself, how, after a few warm-ups, I could bring back a high level of skill.

Michael and Alice were interested when I showed them that the bigger the bubble, the more likely it is to pop and splat against my face and be glued there until I could wipe the wad across my cheek, picking up most of the gum.

So little time.

So much to learn.


The Lady of the Camellias - at a local theatre

The woman who sat behind me in the ballet today kept taking the words out of my mouth: wow.

I don’t know how many times she said it, but I agreed each time. I think it was more of a gasp than a wow.

Just that first view of 6 balconies taken from the top of the Bolshoi’s home in Moscow was breathtaking.

Katya Novikova kept the interviews going during both intermissions.

Svetlana Zakharova
Edvin Revazov
So sweet.

We heard about the exquisite costuming.

We had a chance to listen to people who had worked with the choreographer, John Neumeier.

The joy of having the pianist right on stage and doing such wonderful Chopin was a thrilled.

And then the painist moved to the pit, or perhaps it was someone else there, but the piano alone and then in concert with the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra was just overpowering.

And this was the first time I have seen modern ballet, since this ballet was only conceived in the early 1970’s. Even watching the prĂ©cis of what was happening in each act, and seeing it come in six different languages was a thrill. I was overwhelmed. Richard had offered to send Michael along with me today. I should have taken him up on the deal. Knowing it was 3 hours of ballet and then an hour on the LRT both ways, I thought he might not make it through. On the other hand, what else is a person to do with their Sunday. Next time, perhaps a little boy will come along with me. Complete with enough treats to last for the afternoon.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Splendor – with Michael

I played Splendor with Michael tonight.

The game started out with Betty and Alice playing along as well, but the practicality of that soon broke down.

Betty was put at the other end of the table with the Nobles whom we didn’t need to have come and visit us.

Those nobles were shuffled interminably by her and they hit the floor many times. Still she thought she was playing Spendor.

And Alice only last a couple of rounds. Soon the cards were gummy from Double Bubble Gum goop on her hands so while Richard washed her hands,  I cleaned the stickiness off of the cards. And then Alice wanted to get out of there and go drive the cat crazy which she is not allowed to do as well.

That left Michael and me fighting to get the first 15 points in the game. When Michael’s dad came by and said when the game ended, Michael would be going to bed, that is when Michael’s game strategy ended. He no longer wanted to get his 15 points. Now the aim of the game was to get as few points as possible, to put off what was the inevitable – hitting the bed at some point.

I had to double my own game plan. Usually I hold back, letting the younger players win. Now I had to put on some speed so that the game would end before midnight. I was one point away from winning when Michael finally reached for a card that would give him the point advantage. I called him on his subterfuge and told him that next game – I am out there to win!


Double Bubble Gum - so many chews

 ... one side larger than ours ...
I can’t remember why the kids next door wanted bubble gum.

They already had some one day when I went over there, but they don’t have the bubble technique yet, that gift of flattening the gum in one’s mouth and then sticking one’s tongue through it, all of the time gently blowing.

What is a grandmother for, if not to practise technique with.

At Costco I bought the 1 kilogram bucket of Double Bubble Gum. 

Each piece is theoretically to be sold for 10 cent.

There are 175 pieces in the bucket. I take out 2 pieces per person each time we practise. Getting three of those little oblongs of pink gum into one’s mouth is just a little too much. In fact, even two is too much for Betty. I think a large portion gets swallowed before it is even softened. I saw her gagging at one point. She does open her mouth and show me that she keeps some of it to the side to chew. The comics which still come wrapped in the gum are a high point of opening each piece. The name of the protagonist in the comic strip is still Pud. I get to read each comic strip and then keep them in my comic strip collection. Tonight Michael asked why so many of the comic strips are the same. I had to tell him that the manufacturer doesn’t expect the same family to be chewing all of the gum. I am taking the gum over morning and night but my bucket doesn’t seem to be going down very fast.