January 17th, 2011

get critical

Poem for Monday and "John Gabriel Borkman'

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Poem because we saw it from the van (along with the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building, and lots of other landmarks) from the van en route to Brooklyn. I have had a completely awesome day. Drove to New York with my family and dementordelta, watched What a Girl Wants in the car because some of us wanted fluffy Colin Firth in leather pants. (I totally loved the film -- I hadn't seen it because I thought it was an annoying teen dream about a girl finding out she was a British aristocrat, I didn't realize it was the classic fantasy of a child wanting her parents to get back together, though I wish there hadn't been so many Mean Girl stereotypes.) We ate lunch at a Jersey Turnpike rest stop, then drove into Brooklyn, walked around for an hour, and went to the Brooklyn Academy of Music to see John Gabriel Borkman, that lighthearted comedy by Ibsen...just kidding, of course, it's as bleak as anything in Ibsen canon, but with Alan Rickman, Lindsay Duncan, and Fiona Shaw in the lead roles, it still has lots of funny moments and really sharp, powerful performances (I must admit that, while it was Rickman and Duncan whom I had really wanted to see, Shaw was the absolute standout and at the Artists' Talk afterward she was brilliant, witty and hilarious).

My day had only one serious sad moment: when the Woody Allen caricature New Yorkers sitting behind us, having the most pretentious conversation about Theatre I've ever heard, mentioned that Laura Linney's father had died. Romulus Linney was apaulled's and my teacher at Penn and a really great guy. We got to see vimeslady, bethbethbeth, and various other fans both at intermission and at the Artists' Talk (we snuck out to Subway for dinner in between). The questions the moderator asked ranged from esoteric to ridiculous -- piles of pretentious quotes from critics and writers, weird blathering about playing empty characters (at one point he noted that Fiona Shaw would be speaking on Nothingness later in the week and she said very dryly, "I'm practicing now"). The questions from the audience, though, were worse in most cases ("Mr. Rickman, I'd like to impress you with my vocabulary and knowledge not only of your career, but of things you've said about it previously"). We decided to forego the fangirl crush at the stage door, in part so we could get to our hotel over the bridge and watch the Golden Globe Awards so we could see Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush -- I am quite bummed Geoffrey didn't win, but he must be very happy to be Colin's Geisha Girl, as Colin says, and of course I want to congratulate Colin and his "triangle of man-love." At least New York is a happy city tonight because the Jets beat New England, which is just fine with me! I only took a couple of photos and don't have time to post them because we are getting up early on Monday to go see Ellis Island and this: