Loud-mouthed liberal feminist. Anarchist knitter. Tequila-drinking artsy-smartsy fat chick. Bluesy folk-rock singer-songwriter. Rebel with too many causes. Quirky eclectic pagan poet. Paradoxical intuitive smartass. Sarcastic brainiac insomniac. You know, for starters.


Much Ado about Much Ado.

My absolute favorite play ever in the history of plays is Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing," which is why my second cat is named Benedick. I love the characters, the lines, the story, the whole thing is just brilliant and moving and fabulous. "Twelfth Night" comes a close second, but for me, "Much Ado" is the tops.

Last night, I went to a local production where a friend was playing Don John, the bad guy (which he did admirably, beyond the whole scowl-and-goatee standard villain thing). They'd trimmed the play down to fit it all into just over an hour, which left out some really lovely moments...and probably left those who aren't total geeks like myself (thus knew the story well enough to fill in what they cut and rearranged) a little in the dark. They added some choreography, which was....an interesting choice. It was not the best choreography I've ever seen, and especially for a small troupe in a small theatre where half the audience was on the same level as the stage, it seemed somewhat disjointed. Also, while I appreciated the domino effect in parts, it was a little tedious; the dancing wasn't interesting enough to hold my attention on its own, and so I kept wondering when it would get over so they could get on with the play. Frankly, it was apparent that at least half the cast (most of the men on the stage, though I hate to stereotype that way) had little or no dance training, and they didn't look comfortable or graceful...just weird; this was especially true at the end of the show, where they threw in some gratuitous ballet jump-y things (I dunno the technical names, 'cause I'm not really a ballet person, but I recognize the general thing, and they were trying for it last night), and I practically fell out of my seat laughing at the guys jumping around in their heavy boots like military ballerinas. Strange and hilarious.

The acting wasn't bad - the Benedick was pretty good, and nailed a couple of my favorite parts; the Beatrice was about the same. The Claudio made some odd choices in blocking, but he radiated excitement at just the right moments, which was both comical and adorable. Hero was short, cute, and she cried well...which is about all you expect from a Hero. Don Pedro was a hippie-looking dude with ridiculous blue dye/paint/whatever in his beard to try to make him look older, presumably. The Prince was....meh, okay. My friend as Don John was most impressive, of course, and probably the strongest actor there. It was a decent ensemble....not spectacular, but worth watching. The interesting thing, to me, was watching everybody try to avoid modeling after the awesome performances in Kenneth Branagh's film version....it was a current underscoring the whole night - the deliberate and conscious avoidance of picking up the mannerisms and inflections of all of the amazing actors in that version.

God, am I a geek.

I'm gearing up for a gig this weekend, at home in the sticks for this big American Cancer Society fundraiser thing my stepmom gets involved with every year. Tonight is my supply night, meaning I have to stop and stock up on guitar strings and picks (they're not so easy to get in little tiny towns as they are here in Chicago, if you can imagine). I also have to pick out a good selection of songs...I dunno that I'll write out an actual setlist...I may just have a bunch of tunes inmind and fly by the seat of my pants...which is always an adventure, 'cause I generally take an hour thinking about what song to do next. Maybe I should write a setlist out.

The coolest thing about this whole adventure is the hat I bought for the occasion - it's a big, dorky, bright red cowboy hat. It's fabulous! I figure, if I'm running around in the sun all day, I need a hat, and if I have to wear a hat, it might as well be one people aren't going to forget anytime soon. I know it's horrible - I already play acoustic guitar and sing sappy ballads...I might as well wear boots and spurs and complete the cowgirl image, right?

I've been slacking off this week on some of my projects - caught up in certain ones and leaving the others cooling on the back burner...I hope to do a lot of planning and stuff this weekend and get everything going full force forward again. It's an ambitious goal, I know, but there you have it. I'm an ambitious girl.

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