Friday, March 6, 2009

Well, I went to see Cuentos de Eva Luna with Lisa (and some HopKids) last night. It was really great - reminded me of how much I love Isabel Allende. I've read Eva Luna, but not the sequel, Stories of Eva Luna, on which the play is based (one of very few Isabel Allende books I actually haven't read - I'm pretty sure I've read all her novels at this point.) Back in high school, and when I was entering college, one of the big things that motivated me to continue taking Spanish to a higher and higher level was so that I could read her books in the original Spanish. Of course, I've totally abandoned that...I haven't taken Spanish since my junior year of high school and therefore have lost almost all of it, but maybe I'll take it up again someday.

It was odd to me to see a play after not actually having been involved with one in so long - because I could imagine the work that went into it, imagine the endless rehearsals and the set designing and the lighting fuckups and the constant line-forgetting, because I've done it before, and at the same time be unable to see it, since I was only seeing the finished product. It felt kind of strange.

I do miss acting occasionally. It was never a passion of mine or anything, but I did really like it in spite of my horrible stage fright which I never got over, no matter how many times I was up in front of an audience. I think I was good at it, at least reasonably. People always told me they could never see my nerves when I was onstage, even though on the inside I always felt like vomiting all over my shoes.

By far and away the best role I ever had (and the most fun I ever had doing a play, which is even more important for my purposes) was as Gwendolen in the Importance of Being Earnest junior year. Part of it was the role and the play itself, which was so funny and so fantastic, but also the fact that Evie was Cecily and we had such a ridiculous amount of fun doing it together. The Gwendolen-Cecily dynamic is fairly accurate for the two of us, too (not that we ever hated each other, but our general characters.) So naturally that made it even more fun.

So in the past 24 hours I've watched 3 Hitchcock movies. Who's surprised? I'm not surprised. I do tend to get obsessive about these things. I was taking advantage of my Netflix's "instant queue" feature, and so I watched Psycho last night (not the best one to choose to watch late in the day, let me tell you), Vertigo earlier this afternoon, and Dial M for Murder later this afternoon. Psycho I found terrifying, Dial M for Murder was entertaining (and, my God, I could watch a whole film of close-ups of Grace Kelly's face - she is absolutely astounding), but Vertigo was the one that really got to me, especially after reading further reviews. The layers of manipulation, of creation and destruction and insanity, was so intense and so affecting. I also thought it interesting (and strange) to read that people had apparently at first criticized Kim Novak's acting as poor and overly stiff, because I thought she was absolutely wonderful. It was certainly one hell of a role, but I thought she was great. (Then again, what do I know? This was certainly my reaction to it, though.)

Psycho definitely fucked with my mind as well, although in a different way. It was so terrifying because so much of what happens in that movie is so simple and so plausible. The characters are ordinary people who get in complicated situations, and one man who, although he is undoubtedly completely criminally insane, is...normal in a way, too. Even after I knew he was a killer I found myself watching with a strange sense of sympathy, because of the obvious way that Hitchcock turned him into the protagonist. Whether you hate him or not, you are inside his head in some way and waiting to see what happens to him. (Also, if by some chance there are film buffs reading this, I apologize. These are the observations of a novice!)

What I really, really want to see is his adaptation of Rebecca. I absolutely love the book, and I'm sure his adaptation is fantastic. However, for some bizarre reason, it is not available on Netflix. What the hell, Netflix? WHY YOU GOTTA LET ME DOWN LIKE THAT? They might have it at the video rental place here, though. They have the craziest things there, so I'm told.

Parting thoughts: a couple of weeks ago, Lisa and I were randomly combing Northampton, going to record stores, used clothing places, and so forth - the usual haunts - and we went to this antique store which had a lot of things I really loved (and I generally strongly dislike antique stores, so that's saying a hell of a lot.) One of the things I came across was an illustrated children's book by Edward Gorey, which I now really wished I'd picked up, especially as it was only 1.25 or somewhere around there. Google image offers the following illustration, among many others:

Maybe I'm showing my 19 years of age and my wannabe gothiness a little too much, but I really, really enjoy his artwork and aesthetic. Dark and childlike and playful. I really wish I'd picked up that book now.

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