Friday, May 14, 2021

Friday at Kalamazoo

The day didn't begin well. I was up in time for an early session I was passingly interested in, but then my browser crashed, I lost all my tabs, and by the time I dug out the proper link to the conference and got logged in again, I had missed most of the session.

But I did see the entirety of the Tolkien session later in the day. John D. Rateliff uncovered more of the dilemmas Tolkien created for himself when he tried to turn his mythology into something scientifically plausible; Jeremy Byrum compared Sauron with Thanos (a character I only heard of when Josh Brolin appeared on Stephen Colbert and read Trump tweets in his Thanos voice, the way Andy Serkis had read them in his Gollum voice); Perry Neil Harrison found tremendous echoes between Túrin and Robin Hood; and Luke Shelton attempted to analyze how different people's images of Tolkien's work are by asking a bunch of kids which of several photos they thought looked most like Lothlórien, a question I doubt I could answer.

More Zoom came my way in the evening when a local theater company put on a Zoom production of Lauren Gunderson's play The Revolutionists. I'd liked her The Book of Will onstage, but found this dramedy about women in the French Revolution rather tiresome, overlong, repetitious, and overly self-referential. (One of the characters is writing a play, apparently the one that you're watching, and constantly fretting about it. This ought to be funny, but is just annoying.) Frequent momentary popouts and freezes in the Zoom feed did not help. The presenters recommended watching this on gallery view so you could see all the performers who were "onstage" at the same time, which was a good idea, except that there were also several dozen of us watching muted and with cameras off, and it took me about ten minutes to find Zoom's "Hide Non-Video Participants" button, which was not where they said it was.

No comments:

Post a Comment