Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Short Updates

Busy, busy. Between working forty hours a week and going to events and whatever else, I haven't had time to write about events. I'm hoping to publish shorter, more casual updates more often, so I'm not always recommending a play that closed two weeks ago.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

See This: The Hunchback Variations Opera

Near the end of Act Two of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, the characters sit 'thoughtfully' in a quiet field, surrounded by poplars and an orchard and some gravestones. Here Chekhov inserts an enigmatic stage direction: Suddenly a distant sound is heard as if from the sky, the sound of a breaking string, which dies away sadly. Later, at the very end of the play, Checkov the strange sound returns: The distant sound is heard, as if from the sky, of a breaking string, dying away sadly. This difficult cue has long perplexed stage directors, who have struggled to create such a perplexing effect. So now imagine that famed composer Ludwig van Beethoven and Quasimodo, the fictional protagonist of Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre-Dame collaborated in an effort to produce this impossible sound ... and failed miserably. And that they are now holding a series of panel discussions attempting to explain their failure. This is the premise of The Hunchback Variations, a play written by Mickle Maher and staged by Theater Oobleck in 2001.

Catching Up with Movies

Well, my recovery from the flu sent me into a dizzying events spree. I haven't updated this blog in ages because I've been too busy catching up with things. Mostly game after game of Hero Academy. But also there's been the Gene Siskel Film Center's ongoing Robert Bresson series, Julie Delpy's 2 Days in New York at Music Box, part of the Sundance Film Festival USA program; Riccardo Muti's intense and spectacular Carmina Burana with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and, of course, new releases. A quick rundown of the non-Bresson titles: