Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February 9th, 2012 - Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!''

OOOOOOklahoma where the wind comes sweepen' down the plain!

If that song isn't stuck in your head after seeing this musical, then you have no soul.  Rodgers and Hammerstein basically created their own musical brand of crack with this show. You only have to hear five notes and half their songs are stuck with you forever.

Even though this show is being performed somewhere every second of the day, I can see a lot of ways for it to go wrong.

I mean it's a day in the life of a bunch of young hicks who are running amok over girls. The villain, Judd, is not at all dashing, so it's hard to see  why Laurey would ever consent to be alone with him in the first place. The other main couple, Ado Annie and Will, are probably the most annoying couple ever, yet their song "All er Nuthin'" is also stuck in my head for good. And then the hero, Curly, is so damn arrogant and adorable that ....well....nevermind, I can see why she likes him.

Anyway, my point is that there are lots of ways this show should lead me to rolling my eyes and making "Are you serious?" faces, but I really enjoyed the 5th Avenue's performance!

They cast young people for the young roles, which a) yay! new faces! and b) lets the behavior and reactions on stage make a lot more sense. Not to me since I was born 30, but it matches to how I've seen 17/18 year old's interact (you know. stupidly).

They also cast Jud as black. Traditionally, Jud is played by an older, creepy, dirty, white man,  whereas here, he's young and strong, still creepy and dirty, and black... which makes Curly's lines in one of the songs "Pore Judd is Daid" take on all of these racist layers. I may have laughed from the nervous tension, and I wasn't the only one.

I was also really impressed by how they opened the space up to give you an idea of the endless skies of an Oklahoma plain. It was pretty beautiful.

I'm going to see this one again since it makes me smile :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 4th, 2012 - Life of Pi

I liked Life of Pi by Yann Martel much more than I was expecting to. (Sorry, Shauna!)

I tend to shy away from stories where the aim is to "make you believe in God" (an actual line from the book, I swear). But the thing about Pi, is that he believes in God and has a profound respect for religious practice, but he also has the common sense and inner strength to pick and choose what parts of a religion are real to him and follows that diligently.

In other words, if more people practiced religion like he did, I'd probably not be so tense about religion all the time.

This book also doesn't hit you over the head with God and mysticism.  The premise is that a  young man  is stranded on a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan,  and a Bengal Tiger. The boy and the tiger manage to survive each other for 7 months when they only had supplies for at most 2. The way it's told makes their survival sound entirely plausible too. I only had to suspend reality for one part towards the very end, when they encounter a cannibalistic plant.

I came away feeling like the varying efforts at survival and grief (not that it's sad)  in this book says more about human nature then most stories, which I wasn't expecting.

I'm glad I read it, although my thoughts about God haven't really changed.

Next up, House on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Oklahoma!