Tuesday, April 24

An acquired taste.

Sunday was a liberal arts, culture type day for me. It started with a play at Carthage College. Carthage is just over the border into Wisconsin, right on the shores of Lake Michigan. Talk about lake effect weather; the temperature dropped from 79 to 61 in the span of 10 minutes (and about 5 miles).

Anyway, a friend of ours is a senior there and earned one of the main parts in the play, Uncle Vanya, by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov (1899). So 13 of us took a road trip to see her and the play.

Nicki played Yelena (the pretty, younger wife) and did quite a nice job. It was 2 ½ hours long with four acts. A brief synopsis of the play is below:

Uncle Vanya consists of a series of interchanges showing the disruptive effect of a summer visit by an ailing Professor and his young wife Yelena to the country estate he inherited from his first wife and managed by Sonya, his plain looking daughter from that marriage, and her Uncle Vanya. The social, cultural and romantic repercussions of that visit affect the entire household which, besides Vanya and Sonya, includes Vanya's mother, a tea-pouring and wisdom spouting old Nanny and the doctor called to treat the Professor's gout whose house call lasts until the end of the play.

Since everything seems to be on the Internet, I found the play in its entirety along with the set descriptions that matched the ones that were used at the college.

I don’t expect anyone to read it. This is more for my reference.

(Act three had a nice rant by the Astroff (the doctor) about the environment. He planted trees as a hobby. He felt too many trees in the countryside were being cleared, disrupting the rivers and wildlife. I never would have thought people would have been worried about the same things over 100 years ago. Way to go Astroff.)

I also found out that it was a TV movie with Rebecca Pidgeon playing the part of a Sonya, the plain looking daughter, giving me a chance to post a couple gratuitous pictures of her. (the one below from her album)

She is a favorite of mine; I’ve seen her in Heist, The Spanish Prisoner, Edmond, and a few episodes of The Unit. Not surprisingly, she is David Mamet’s wife (since those are all works of his).

He also wrote the screenplay for a little seen movie based on it,
Vanya on 42nd Street. She wasn’t in it though. I wonder why?

Sunday night, flipping through the dials, I found Masterpiece Theater’s Bleak House, starring Gillian Anderson. (Lucky for me Clint wasn’t home, otherwise it would have been The Family Guy on Fox.)

I think this is the second go around for it. It was on last fall or winter.

There are six episodes with the first showing Sunday. For a period piece, it’s very engaging. I watched for an hour before realizing that was Gillian Anderson, which is a good thing.

Looking for something different to watch this spring? I highly recommend it. It shouldn’t be hard to catch up.

From WTTW – the local public TV station:

Acclaimed writer Andrew Davies turns his talents to one of Charles Dickens' most brilliant novels, arguably the greatest ever depiction of Victorian London -- from its splendid heights to its most wretched depths.

Honored with a Peabody award and ten Emmy nominations, Bleak House features some of the most famous plot twists in literary history, including a case of human spontaneous combustion and an infamous inheritance dispute that is tied up for generations in the dysfunctional English courts.

An epic feast of characters and storylines, Bleak House is Dickens' passionate indictment of the convoluted legal system that is as searingly relevant today as it was in the mid-19th century. The court of Chancery becomes the center of a tangle of relationships at all levels of society and a metaphor for the decay and
corruption at the heart of Victorian England.

Starring Gillian Anderson, Charles Dance, Alun Armstrong, Ian Richardson, Nathaniel Parker, Richard Griffiths, Phil Davis, Joanna David and Carey Mulligan.


Mike Todd said...

Dude, you watched Masterpiece Theater? That automatically makes you the Most Cultured Person on the Internet. Before you, it was the Numa Numa guy.

Toccata said...

I went and saw The Heist when it came out and enjoyed it so much went back two days later and saw it again.

busterp said...

Thanks Mike. I had to look up that guy up; I'm honored? Ha. Somehow he flew under my pop culture radar. (special ";" just for you)

Hi toccata. I've seen Heist a couple times too. And as a bonus(maybe only to me), I like the soundtrack woven through it. It just sounds like movie music - hard to describe. ???

I bet you would like The Spanish Prisoner. It has about the same "mood" to it.

Bunsen said...

If you're a Rebecca Pidgeon fan, you gotta see "State and Main", another Mamet gem!