Thursday, 20 December 2012

A Reflection: A Christmas Carol

Let's face it -- how many times have we heard, watched or listened to this story. Some may say one to many; however how many of us have actually sat down a read the original A Christmas Carol?  My guess is not enough. I am incredibly impressed by Soulpeppers' Word Festival which included  Miriam Margolyes  performing her  award winning Dickens' Women, a holiday production of A Christmas Carol and a marathon reading of some of Dickens’ best work—all in honor of his 200th birthday. Although I was unable to attend, the mere fact that we had a theatre celebrating a writer who wrote some timeless classics is a wonderful thing, especially when it is thought that reading is a dying art.

Is reading a dying art? I am not sure that I have the answer to that question (because I usually have the answers to all questions I ask :P ). One would argue that even in 1840’s when Dickens wrote this story many people couldn't read, however those who could read were reading a lot more (maybe?). Now a good number of people are literate but they don't read nearly as much as we used to. Perhaps this balances itself out. Yet, I see a lot of people riding the subway reading a novel or from their Kobo (or whatever other device that we own). I believe that reading from a book will, in fact, be dying out. Sure, this is incredibly sad for us "traditional book lovers" who love the smell of both very old or a bran-spankin’-new books that we just can't wait to dig into. The feel of the book in our hands as we can visually see how close to the end we are getting influencing us to read faster or slower depending on how we cling to characters. I hope that reading is not a dying art as “people” are saying, much like I hope that theatre is not a dying art (as I think that they are linked very closely). But alas, perhaps I am just a romantic -- the kind who clings to each character and laughs aloud on the subway or tears up on the couch devouring every word of a novel.

As for Dickens, I very much enjoyed reading this story which I know so well. To hear his words the way he wrote them and his own voice popping up now and then throughout the narrative. If you have not yet had the privilege, listen to Miriam Margolyes  interview with Jian Ghomeshi on Q, you should take the time to listen, as it is very entertaining and unveils a woman who has a great relationship with Dickens. (Although I am not fully sure how one can support reading so much but then admit that she never read any of the Harry Potter novels even though she played Professor Sprout in the movies). She describes Dickens as a mischievous writer who has a great voice that can be spotted in the characters he creates. From this, I like to think that I am getting to know Dickens one novel at a time, and although Great Expectations was not my favorite, I loved A Christmas Carol and cannot wait to sink my teeth into A Tale of Two Cities.

This story is a must read and I think almost everyone (except the unchanged Scrooge) would enjoy it. Yes, it does take place on Christmas Eve and I realize that not everyone celebrates this holiday -- but the lesson that it teaches the joy it brings and the smile on the readers face as they recognize and love the characters should not be overlooked. It is a quaint lovely story and would make an amazing Christmas gift for any young reader (if you are still looking)!

Up Next (most likely): Madame Bovary

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A Reflection: The Da Vinci Code

Well, it has been a long time since I have reflected on a translation, it has been a long time since I have finished a book. I have felt the need to bounce around and feel out different novels, "testing the waters" if you will. Reading a lot of reaalllyyy lonnnnggg novels got me in the mood for something different and perhaps a little more recent, which lead me to The Da Vinci Code

I have previously read Dan Brown's first book in the series Angels and Daemons which I did enjoy. I must say that I didn't find the Da Vinci code that much different. Obviously it surrounds a different mystery but has the same theme of art and the same leading man (whom I do like), It is a fast-paced read and if you can figure out parts of the mystery along the way it becomes quiet fun. I find the Robert Langdon character interesting -- his temperament and definition in very much like Indian Jones in his profession and dress. However, he is a ladies’ man much like James Bond, and appears to jump from one woman to the next. I think this is a clever mix to captivate both male and female readers. Actually, I think this novel is quiet clever because it engages the reader in both the subjects of art and religion and makes us (at least me) want to learn more about Da Vinci and the Church. I realize that this is a fictional novel where the facts are not all true (obviously) but it makes us interested in something more than just the novel. Brown infuses both actual historical evidence and fictional made up evidence so well that it is difficult for the uneducated reader to decipher between what exists in our reality and what is simply something in the reality in which these characters live in. This is more of a compliment than a criticism, although this may create confusion in some readers mind (at least those who believe that this novel is all real, and do not have any intention of doing any reasearch themself).

This novel is not the greatest piece of literature ever written-- but it does provide a wonderful adventure and escape for those willing to mix up their own reality and definition of the Holy Grail.
Up Next: A Christmas Carol (it is that time of year!)

Monday, 10 December 2012

An Actor's Chistmas List

It has come to my attention that there are a few holidays upon us that would require you to purchase a gift for other individuals, and there is a chance that one of those individuals may be an actor. So, I have devised a Christmas list in order to help any individual shopping for an actor.

1. A Job.-- But since this can't be bought...(welll....not quite true) this item is somewhat negated.

2. Ink and Paper. For printing off thousands of resume's.

3. A book on acting (because they haven't gotten any jobs that maybe they need a tune up?)

(Actual book ideas that I have found helpful)
   - Audition by Michael Shurtleff
   - Acting for the Camera by Tony Barr
   - How to Stop Acting by Harold Guskin

4. Their favourite movie (maybe they get inspiration from that?)

5. Cable (because they can't afford it but need it in order to know what shows are current)

6. A Class (once again because they need to tune up on some stuff)

(Actual classes that I have found helpful)
   - Second City
   - Pro Actors Lab
   - Metro Movement Card
   - Vocal Classes

7. A book on "back up plans" -- because we need one...

8. A Cook book -- to remind us to eat once in a while

9. Grocery Gift Certificate -- Once we are reminded to eat

10. A Dress up box -- obviously for all of the costumes we wear in all of the shows we star in!

11. A pack of red bull-- because none of us ever sleep.

12. A Day planner with your Skype date already scheduled in -- otherwise we will not see you in 2013

13. The next door neighbor's internet password --seriously if you could get that we may not spend as much money at Starbucks)

14. Starbucks Gift Certificates -- because if we don't already work there, then we live there trying to be cool/be an individual like everyone else/ Steal their internet

15. Make up -- I don't care what gender you are...H.D. Calls for it!

16. Alcohol -- I think this is self explanatory...we are talking about actors.

Well I hope this helps dealing with at least one tricky person on your Christmas list this year. And if all else fails just cook up some meals for them to take home and put in the least that way you gave them something from the heart annnd you know they will have some food this month!