Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekend Visitors and Muscle Relaxants

My parents came to town for the weekend, which meant the usual delightful rounds of shopping, adoring the grandchild, eating out, and generally hanging out together. I always look forward to these visits.  Unfortunately, the muscle relaxants the ER doc prescribed kicked in their drowsy side effect about halfway through Saturday morning.   For most of the day I was about as cheerful and loquacious as a zombie, and wound up falling asleep on Rachel's couch.

I stopped taking the pills today in the hopes of being more alert for the planned activities - brunch with the family and a rendezvous with Craig in Boulder.  Happily, I was safe enough to drive, but I discovered the lingering effects of Soma pills when I had to fight to stay awake in a darkened theater.

Craig, for those of you who were not reading my blog way back in 2006, is a fellow drama teacher from Texas I met, befriended, and acted with at the National Institute for Teaching Shakespeare, and we've stayed in touch mostly via emails about how the heck one goes about creating good theater with teenagers.  He's been in Colorado for a few weeks working on his Master's at UNC, and I was thrilled when he asked me to play tour guide at the end of his time here. We met up in Boulder today to see the Colorado Shakespeare Festival's production of The Little Prince, then walked along Pearl Street for a bit before getting a delicious dinner at Salt (thanks, Rachel, for the recommendation!).

Naturally, the only pictures I took today were of the dinner (where, oddly, my order was almost an exact replica of the dinner I had at Brasserie Beck):

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
Green Curry Mussels
The play was nothing special. I tried not to let my bias for the Utah Shakespeare Festival color my opinions for a first viewing of a CSF play, but this show lacked luster and interest.  Mostly I think this is because of the source material - The Little Prince is just awkward as a play. There's very little plot and no mystery to drive the action or to keep the audience's interest. It's a lot of philosophy, really, and a lot of monologing. While scripts like that can work beautifully when they come from the mind of, say, Tom Stoppard, this script stuck firmly to the text of the book.  I love the book, as do many, but its explorations of the different kinds of love and of the acceptance of death are not written to be expounded to a live audience by a man with a mostly-French accent and a boy in a curly blond wig.

The production elements were terribly faithful to the original illustrations, which I liked. The set included three hills that transition from being sand dunes to planets through the lighting design.  The props, including the broken airplane, were all two-dimensional and painted like the book's drawings. They also used a rear-projection on the cyc whenever the Aviator drew something so we could see a silhouetted hand creating the pictures I'm sure the audience all knew from the book. The look of the play was good, but the pacing was slow.

Really, I just don't think this book works as a play. That being said, I do wonder how it would work as a performance art piece. Something really meaty and modern. Ooh! Even better, I think it would make a fabulous Punchdrunk-like children's production. It's not creepy enough for their tastes, I'm sure, but I think if there is a need to bring this particular book to living embodiment, it would work best as an immersive theater experience.

In any case, I'm glad I finally saw a CSF play, and it was fun to see it and talk it over with a fellow theater teacher.  I'm meeting Craig downtown tomorrow to show him Denver.  He asked me to share my favorite things about the city and, since I added a requirement for air-conditioning, that means Tattered Cover, the Art Museum, Sweet Action, and Geeks Who Drink trivia.  There's no DCTC shows on Monday, alas, and I'm assuming he wouldn't be that interested in Fancy Tiger.  Aside from that, though, I think it'll be a thoroughly Amanda-in-Denver afternoon.

It also means I'll be driving again, so I'm off to ice my shoulders.  It turns out you use your neck quite a bit when you drive what with checking your blind spots and all, so I'm a bit sore again.

"Turns out"... get it?

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