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March 2007 Archives

March 8, 2007

Trip To the Lighthouse Springs a Leak

Turn Virginia Woolf's 1927 novel To the Lighthouse into a theater piece? My first thought, NO WAY. Each of the book's three sections is written in a different style, and as with most of Ms. Woolf's writing, the story line is slim, the main emphasis on inner states, thoughts, sensory impressions. Still, I was anxious to see how Adele Eding Shank dealt with the problem. She represents each section of the book by a different theatrical style: the first a fairly straightforward narrative (interspersed with an on-stage string quartet), though the actors often speak their inner thoughts directly to the audience; the second run as a pastiche of slide show, stage action without dialog and light show, the string quartet driving the whole: the third as a Philip-Glass-like opera. General consensus has been that the dinner scene in Act I worked best--with 9 dinner guests miming conversation while speaking their inner thoughts about the gathering and each of the other guests. By contrast, the concluding intentionally discordant faux opera, was often marked by downright bad singing, surely the low point of the evening. Long before that, however, before we had even reached the dinner party, the fellow sitting to my right began slow rhythmic breathing. I glanced past him to his companion, hoping she might elbow him back to consciousness. Alas she too had left us. I glanced to my left. The woman sitting there had her head on her shoulder, eyes shut. As I surveyed the rows in front of me, I noticed many nodded heads, closed eyes and slow breathing theatergoers. Surely, not a good sign, I thought, as I let my eyelids flutter down and drifted off.

Rich Yurman

March 25, 2007

Leonard Cohen I'm Your Fan

Now out on DVD, this gem of a film is a must see for the long term Cohen fan as well as a starting point for the newly initiated admirer of the man's work and art. The film flows chronologically through Cohen's life and career beginning with his celebrated Canadian poet days down through his songwriting and performing period and ending with his association with a Buddist monastery. Interspersed with revealing commentary by the man himself are musical performances of his songs interpreted by a fine cast of performers. Rufus Wainwright and family provide several of the numbers. Nick Cave along with the delightful Perla Batalla give a mesmerising rendition of "Suzanne". The Handsome Family provide a stellar performance of "Famous Blue Raincoat". The only down note if there is one in the film is the insistence of Bono of U2 to yet again appear in another documentary about a celebrated literary or musical figure and offer his "unique" commentary. After all, I thought he was too busy saving the world.

Les Marcott

The U.S. vs. John Lennon

Don't look for anything groundbreaking in this documentary now out on dvd. It's been known for quite a while now through the FOI act that Lennon was a target of the Nixon administration due to his political activities. The film details the atmospherics and circumstances surrounding Lennon's and Yoko Ono's deportation proceedings in New York. Not a lot is revealed that we didn't already know. Yoko perhaps unintentionally is portrayed as little more than an elaborate armpiece for Lennon through archival clips rather than the great muse and the woman "who broke up the Beatles". Commenatry is provided by the players of that era as well as by some individuals not even remotely associated with Lennon. G. Gordon Liddy unbelievably comes across as a half way respectable figure as an apologist for the criminality and excesses of the Nixon regime. Go figure. Again perhaps not the intent of the filmmaker. For Lennon fans, the film is soundtracked with his music.

Les Marcott

About March 2007

This page contains all entries posted to QREVIEWS in March 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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