Review: The Other Place, PAL Theatre, until July 5

The Other Place, until July 5, at PAL Theatre

The harrowing suspense of “The Other Place” is palpable and almost visible. As the lead character, a neuroscientist named Juliana, slips into dementia, we are brought along with her on this terrifying ride. 

This subject has been dealt with in film, such as in “Away From Her”, with Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent. But, my memory of that film is of a gentle slope into loss. In contrast, this play captures the sheer fear that arises as one’s mind slips away from her. The effects that this loss of intellect, judgment, and restraint has on others is unsparing. 

Lead actor Chilton Crane, who plays Juliana, so well embodies the role that it can be difficult to hang on. The play captures the ambiguity that can arise as one wonders–isn’t it normal to forget now and then, isn’t it reasonable that would upset her? Daryl Shuttleworth captures the exasperated and desperate husband very well. The Woman, who may or may not be Juliana’s daughter and may or may not be real, is played by Avery Crane. Nick Hunnings plays a male nurse-caregiver (how often do we think of a man in this role?) who professionally and mindfully cares for his patient. 

Unfortunately, probably just about everyone has at least a second-degree experience with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia with their loved ones. Although the play does not focus on the horrific physical effects that occur with advanced-stage brain diseases, what we see is clear enough. 

The set is relatively minimal, but with a few clever staging tricks moves easily between the Caribbean, Cape Cod, and the family home (in an unspecified location). As I have mentioned before, i was curious to see if everyone involved could achieve a convincing psychological thriller with such an intimate environment while relying almost exclusively on the acting to do so, and they have succeeded very well. 

Dancing on the Edge Festival opens July 3

Contemporary dance, or interpretative dance, or modern dance, or experimental dance, can be a challenging performance medium. If you are watching a performance, what does a particular action mean? What is the message that the dancer and choreographer are sending? I’m happy to say that my comfort level with understanding dance has improved as I continue to enjoy innovative performances by many of Vancouver’s dance artists. Just as with music, the “meaning” of a dance performance can slide under whatever words you might use to express it, and find resonance at a level that is not verbally expressible. Dance is a language that is not my mother tongue, and maybe not yours either, but we can all enjoy movement. 

If the lack of certainty troubles you, take a look at the tips given here: http://www.artsalive.ca/en/dan/understand/appreciate/appreciate.asp

You do not have to be an expert to enjoy dance, and you don’t have to be correct either. Just relax and enjoy. 

You will have a golden opportunity to enjoy and learn in the Dancing on the Edge Festival, which opens July 3 at the Firehall. You will have a choice of 70 artists, 30 productions, and 10 days to enjoy them, in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. Take a look:
http://www.dancingontheedge.org/

 

The Other Place, PAL Theatre, until July 5

With other obligations, I’ve been on a slight theatrical hiatus. But I’m thrilled to be attending “The Other Place” on Saturday, June 28.

http://www.theotherplacevancouver.ca/

Take a look at the trailer:

Thrills and suspense are often hard to accomplish in an intimate theatrical setting, although I’ve attended plays which did those very well. I’m very curious to see what transpires. A brief description follows:

JUST AS JULIANA SMITHTON’S RESEARCH LEADS TO A POTENTIAL BREAKTHROUGH, HER LIFE TAKES A DISORIENTING TURN

During a lecture to colleagues at an exclusive beach resort, she glimpses an enigmatic young woman in a yellow bikini amidst the crowd of business suits. One step at a time, a mystery unravels as contradictory evidence, blurred truth and fragmented memories collide in a cottage on the windswept shores of Cape Cod.

PAL (Performing Arts Lodges), which houses the PAL Theatre, has its own interesting story; it serves as a home for retired and disabled creative professionals. It’s in a lovely location in Coal Harbour, and it’s always fun to visit in that area. There are other PAL residences across Canada too.

Müzewest Concerts: 2014-2015 season

My first try at using Reblog in WordPress. As you can see, this looks like an exciting concert lineup from Müzewest Concerts.

Müzewest Concerts

muzewest_logo

September 2014 – “Songs My Mother Taught Me”
David Bergeron, piano and Lambroula Pappas, soprano
(Brahms, Clara Schumann, Hugo Wolf, Schubert, Dvorak, Beach)

November 2014 – Sergei Saratovsky, piano
(Scarlatti, Liszt, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky)

January 2015 – Naomi Woo, piano
(Bach, Liszt, Benjamin Woo)

March 2015 – Ariel Barnes, cello
(Sokolovic, Cassado, Milton Barnes, Britten)

April 2015 – Spring ChamberFest!

Friday, April 9, 2015 – The Busch Ensemble
Piano Trio(Haydn, Mendelssohn)
Saturday, April 10, 2015 – Virya Duo
Violin and piano duo (Debussy, Ysaye, Ravel, A. Cheung, Franck)

May 2015 – Ewald Cheung, violin and Jennifer West, piano
(Ysaye, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Bach, Kreisler)

View original post

Leaving numbers to the bros, and lots of great journal articles

Amber A’Lee Frost writes in Bro Bash in Jacobin about a disturbing tendency to leave quantitative analysis to the “bros”.

Whatever the dubious populist cultural trends might suggest, radicals, especially feminist radicals, should not be eschewing quantitative scholarship. We should be engaging with it, critiquing it, and expropriating it from the broterie.

In Limits of the Locavore in Dissent, L. V. Anderson decries unfair labor practices related to harvesting the gorgeous organic, local food that you see at farmer’s markets; Anderson argues the workers’ conditions are worse than on large-scale industrial farms. (I happened to have purchased the magazine, but only a blurb is available for free online.)

These are just two thought-provoking articles of the dozens and hundreds published regularly in various semi-obscure journals (undoubtedly to those in certain Brooklyn communities, the semi-obscure label would seem ridiculous, but I think most people have scarcely heard of these publications).

The Atlantic, Harpers, The New Yorker, NY Times Review of Books–these are all publications we know (and probably less often read). But there are a host of other lovingly constructed magazines with thought-provoking articles that simply do not get the attention they deserve. Slate, Salon, Gawker, Jezebel–these publications aim for clickbait headlines and facile, puerile analysis (with many notable exceptions, but the trend is unfortunately clear).

Give yourself a break, and enjoy some articles from the following magazines and journals, whether you get an online or print copy. Although the two examples above are political, literature, art, music, and culture are worth exploring in much more detail too.

  • Jacobin
  • Dissent
  • Lapham’s Quarterly
  • n+1
  • World Literature Today
  • Monocle

These are better known, but still worth considering:

  • The Nation
  • The Walrus

And among my not-so-guilty pleasures, I include The Economist. Definitely not obscure, tending towards or perhaps embodying establishmentarianism in its most centrist form, but with fascinating articles about subjects that you do not think to think about, until you see a trenchant analysis right in front of you.

What journals do you like?

I have to include a few online publications which have a model of gems among the rough. These include Longreads, Longform, and Medium. Lots of great writing taking place there too.

 

 

Cultural mashup: “The Dead” by James Joyce, and “Cold Cold Heart” by Hank Williams

Remixing is a common enough idea. Why not combine a work of literature and a work of music, which have surprisingly overlapping themes?

When you think of James Joyce, you might think of the stream-of-consciousness prose of Ulysses and (particularly) Finnegan’s Wake. But Joyce’s short stories in the Dubliners collection, and “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”, use conventional prose, and have their own (if more conventional) artistic merit.

I won’t provide any spoilers for “The Dead”; just read it.

And it’s hard to provide spoilers for a song, but surprisingly some people still discriminate against music that is classified as “country”, even when it comes from an amazingly rich tradition. Hank Williams used to save up money from his manual labor jobs to pay for guitar lessons from blues guitarists. Alabama has some elements of the Louisiana French traditions as well (Alabama was a French territory for a long time too). And it’s hard to argue with the spirit and feeling Hank Williams puts into his songs.

I reread “The Dead” while also listening to “Cold Cold Heart” by Hank Williams, jumping back and forth between screens to see the video. Enjoy!

“The Dead”, by James Joyce