Monday, June 15, 2020

things seen

Busy morning. Both cats want individualized attention, Maia to have her head scritched and Tybalt to play with his current favorite toy, a knitted jellyfish (yes, we have one of these) on a stick. But Maia will only be scritched where Tybalt is not, so that he won't interfere. She climbed on top of a dresser for her ministrations, only to have Tybalt climb up after her. He batted at her. She ran away. He chased her downstairs. This is how these things usually end.

I've seen the following:

Emma, the new movie version. Not bad. Not as delightfully wry as the Paltrow version, and rather brittle in the performance, with the characters talking past each other more than conversing. But clever and witty withal, and with particularly good use of music: the actors actually play Mozart and Beethoven on the piano, and for transition scenes there were acappella folk songs in which I was stunned to recognize the distinct tones of the Watersons and of Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band.

Just Mercy, the movie about African-Americans everyone's supposed to see, so it's been made free on all platforms this month. I've seen this story in movies before: idealistic lawyer manages after much struggle to free innocent client from Death Row. Only this time the lawyer (Michael B. Jordan) as well as the client (Jamie Foxx) is Black. With those names in the cast, you'll expect, and get, some pretty high-powered acting, but the film as a whole is rather subdued considering its topic, and victory or defeat in court is predicated entirely on the unpredictable decisions of the white judges whether to be racist pigs or not.

Macbeth, Folger Theatre production that was praised wildly by Terry Teachout. The setting was certainly gruesome - more Titus Andronicus than Macbeth - and there were lots of clever directorial touches in the performance, but the acting seemed rather bland. Mackers didn't fill the role, and Lady M began by sleepwalking through her part instead of ending that way.

After that, I thought better of the Shakespeare's Globe Macbeth, which gives off the air of a goofball amateur production and as little air of the spooky as it can get away with. But the acting is pretty good.

Quick view lively:
I'd intended to see in April a new production of Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha, which I'd never seen before at all. Now I've seen parts of it online, and find an effective melodrama interspersed with lively dance numbers, which are the best part. Especially the finale, the most ragtime-influenced piece in the show. Here it is, with Carmen Balthrop in the lead, from a 1980s stage performance. If the lyrics are hard to make out, they're all about how to perform the dance that they're doing, which is called the "real slow drag." I thought this was very catchy.

Quick view serious:
Clarinetist Anthony McGill reflects on current events as a musician, by playing "America the Beautiful" in the minor mode, and then taking two knees.

No comments:

Post a Comment