Thursday, September 29, 2016

Looking back (to August)

I really have not gotten as far as I wanted on several posts, some of which have been left as draft for a few weeks.  The ones that are more general or that are reviews, it doesn't matter so much.  However, for posts that are tied to what I did and especially to travel, then it gets to the point where I just don't feel up to filling in the gaps.  I think I will go ahead and write just a bit about what I was up to in August, though I will certainly post fewer pictures and try to be a lot more concise.

In this post, I'll write just a bit about my Stratford trip and then lay out 3 upcoming posts, covering my trip to New York and Chicago at the tail end of August.  I'm going to have one post cover the New York leg, but then a special breakout post on the Stuart Davis exhibit at the Whitney (which was largely the reason for the trip in the first place) and wrap up with a post on Chicago.

Apparently, the Stuart Davis exhibit closed this past weekend (though it was scheduled to be there until mid October), and I am sorry to not have gotten into more detail about it, though I know I mentioned it a couple of times.  The exhibit moves to the National Gallery in DC right before Thanksgiving and will be on view through March.  I'm hoping I will make it in January, but only if I have a paper accepted to a major transportation conference.  The Moholy-Nagy: Future Present exhibit at the Guggenheim has also closed, though it will be moving to the Art Institute of Chicago this weekend and running to early January.  It was an interesting exhibit, though not one I feel I need to see twice.  And in what is a recurring theme, the Kerry James Marshall exhibit has closed at the MCA (Chicago) but will be moving soon to the Met Breuer (NYC), and then to MOCA in Los Angeles in the spring of 2017.  This is definitely worth checking out, and it gave me a better appreciation of his work to see so much in one place.

Anyway, this year I only saw one play at Stratford (in 2017 I might go as high as 4, but it will most likely just be 2).  I wanted to see Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman.

The trip down on the bus was fine.  I've started taking more photos of the parts of town away from the theatre for a project that I am considering tackling.

I was a little surprised that the 2nd Thai place was closed on Sundays (More Thai above), but I went to the original Thai place.

I had a bit of time to wander around and took a look at the art fair and the swans of course.  It helped that the weather was really nice that day.


While the acting was quite good, I have to admit that the play was a bit of a stinker.  I agree with this review, which made it clear that the stakes just never felt particularly high, and beyond that the audience just couldn't relate to Borkman or his wife or his sister-in-law.  The son was pretty callow and not a particularly interesting character.  I was a bit more interested in the older widow he was pursuing, but she had almost no lines.  There were several times that Borkman would say something outrageous (like he impartially tried himself and found himself innocent) that made the audience laugh, but not really in a good way.  I don't think Ibsen really wanted the audience to dismiss Borkman as a deluded meglomaniac, but that is how he came across.  I did have slightly more sympathy (certainly than the reviewer) for Borkman's companion, Vilhalm (who has deluded himself that he is a great writer).  Vilhalm is so willing to see the good in any situation that he seems perfectly content to have nearly been run over by a sleigh, since it contains his daughter who is escaping to continental Europe for musical training and a better life than he could offer her.  I don't regret going, since you almost never have the opportunity to see this play, but it is not one that resonates particularly well today.  That basically wraps up my Stratford trip.  The play was so short that I went over to the Shoppers and did a bit of shopping while waiting for the return bus.  I'll try to get to the other posts soon.

Edit (10/8): I forgot that I had specifically gone looking to see if they had any DVDs of Brian Bedford.  Apparently, they really do not, which is a shame, and I suppose if they do have anything recorded they didn't clear the rights.  I did pick up a spoken word CD that Bedford did a few years back (recorded at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto in fact) with various monologues from Shakespeare.  I saw a somewhat interesting DVD of Christopher Plummer in the Tempest (which the library has) and Elizabeth Rex, though that was a bit disappointing.

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