Notes from the South:
Last Saturday, we had our 3rd Die Vögel performance, and it went splendidly until the finale, where the tree is supposed to miraculously light on fire...and didn't. Singing the praise of Zeus when he's done jack scrap to deserve it tests your acting ability, let me tell you. "Oh, wow! The tree that I have worshipped for so long is...not on fire. Yippee."
Sunday I went to see Hazelle Goodman, the second of the monologuists (Mike Daisey was the first, if you recall, and I will also see the third later this week - there's three at the festival.) She did a performance called On Edge which was essentially a series of skits about race relations, as well as general life issues. She put on a completely different character for each skit, and her transformations were amazing - she really had the body language down of a true variety of people. My favorite skit was her ironic "Get out of the Ghetto! symposium, Part III - The New Black Suburbia!" She scolded her audience to straighten their hair, stop talking with "homeboy" bad grammar, pull up their pants, and to stop eating fried chicken, because "Oreos are a very tasty snack!" Some of the skits were very serious - such as when she played Amadou Diallo's mother - but many of them had me laughing extremely hard.
Yesterday I was pretty sick, and since we had the day off, I spent most of the day in bed, and the rest in front of my friend's TV watching more Alias. But I felt better in the evening, and went out to see Mabou Mines Dollhouse. Mabou Mines is a theater company that had put together an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's The Dollhouse. Most of the script was intact, but the staging was incredibly inventive. To highlight the feminist lesson of women being forced to live in a man's world, all the women were over 6 feet tall... and all the men were played by little people (aka midgets, although apparently that term is now considered offensive.) All the actors were great, and although the performance was very stylized and played with the fourth wall (some dialogues were done with stilted dance, some dialogue was done with overly melodramatic gestures, the stagehands came onstage and participated) I still found it to be very intense and effective.
The next few days will be all-Brahms, all the time - a four hour rehearsal tonight, a rehearsal tomorrow, and then a performance of the Brahms Requiem in the evening. Then a Westminster Choir performance on Thursday...but Friday I'll be hitting the theater again!