Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Elements of Style / Unfangled

Famished: Zombie musical, or malamute state-of-being?

Event #7: The Elements of Style

This is a high-school workshop production of a play by John Walch that calls itself "Alice Threw the Looking Glass: A Parody of the Elements of Style". If you will, a theatrical presentation of Strunk & White's little manual presented in a manner of Lewis Carroll meets Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth) meets the wardrobe department of a children's television variety show.

This production fails to deliver much of anything required by the ambitious aims of the piece. The complex word-play is often undercut by poor articulation (dropped syllables and yelling) and when the playwright couldn't illustrate a particular point, the script is padded with pointless zaniness. I felt that half the cast were bored, tired, or simply under-equipped to tackle the work.
If one examines the production using the principles espoused by the play's central characters, then : 1) "Alice Threw the Looking Glass" makes no sense: it's a pun without any correspondence to the plot (there's an Alice, but no Looking Glass, entered or thrown); 2) It's not a parody. A surreal exposition perhaps, but it neither imitates nor lampoons the original text. 3) If one should be wary of nouns turned into verbs, then the phrase "Assistant produced by" (on the program) should send one screaming for cover behind the nearest parse tree.

Event #8: Dan Clark: Unfangled

This stand-up comedy show deals with the problem of "how does the newfangled world of communication - myspace, facebook, texting, emails - affect our relationships. And why is it just as hard to date, even though it's easier to contact people?" Dan deals with all of this in his blokey metrosexual manner, but for the most part, his approach didn't rise to a level above mildly witty dinner conversation.

Leith street art

As my bus rolled down Leith Walk this afternoon, and I noticed the sign proclaiming that Leith had been "Twinned with Rio de Janeiro". This improbable fact, actually a newspaper prank stimulated me to contrast the "River of January" with the "Water(s) of Leith", the small river that runs through Edinburgh to the Firth of Forth. The twinning should be celebrated with a local version of Jobim's "Águas De Março / Waters of March". Jackie Leven, anyone ...?

Chewbacca?; Come Thane or come Shine (Bouncy Castle Macbeth, or, the Inflatable Scottish Play)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:26 am

    I must say that as an avid viewer and theater connaisseur I throughly believe that the Elements of Stlye is an incredible production. I was not only so impressed with work of this beautiful young cast BUT ALSO the talent of the most stunning Alice was beyond any comprehension. To top it off the young girl who played several of the most challenging roles including But Also and Effect was brilliant. I cannot wait to see what this upcoming stars bring to Edinburgh next year.