Friday, January 02, 2004

Hey all you Fall R1A Theater and Games folks... this blog is now, for all intents and purposes, dead... (alas)... A new blogs worth checking out: Spring R1B: Performance and Play at www.performanceandplay.blogspot.com and

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

"Existential despair" hits the movie theaters...
Hey guys! if you're still checking the blog (yay) here's something I stumbled upon today and couldn't resist posting. My favorite film critic, A.O. Scott (who reviews for the New York Times), always has a little bit of fun at the end of his reviews where he has to explain the particular ratings (PG, PG-13, R, etc.) for each film. For Mystic River, the widely acclaimed Clint Eastwood/Sean Penn flick which I'm FINALLY seeing tonight, he has this to say about the R rating:

"''Mystic River'' is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It has profanity, abundant violence and existential despair."

Existential despair! Woo hoo! I wonder, however, if Scott is misapplying the term... as we have learned, existentialism is not just about despair... has anyone else seen the movie yet? Thoughts?

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Okay, Becket-philes...
Good news for those of you itching to see some of Beckett's work on film. Our campus video center has a ridiculously extensive collection, which you can go watch anytime you want in the viewing lab, including six different productions of Waiting for Godot (including a doc on the San Quentin one we read about) and yes, Minghella's film adaptation of Play. Have fun!

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Bring it...
If you've got a request for what I can bring on Friday (Krispy Kremes? Orange juice?) or want to bring something yourself (greatly appreciated, but not required) post it here... also, we've got (heads down, thumbs up, let's play...) 7-Up on the agenda and Four Corners (which now that I think about it, I might actually vaguely recall playing)... anyone other old-school school games you've got in mind? Or any other appropriately celebratory/playful things to do together?

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Play and games go to the movies... online!
Your film essays are now online! I encourage you to check out each other's, and I'll keep you posted as to the traffic the essays are receiving (they'll be google-able in about a week.) A few of the links you guys sent to screen stills were timed out, so I had to grab alternate shots (apologies to those of you who may have lost a favorite shot)... also, if I haven't received your RTF files for the essays yet, you're not online. (Four of you, I think... send 'em if you want to go up!)
Great work guys. I really enjoyed reading all of the papers.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Open letters
Although you'll be writing more academically-oriented open letters as your final writing assignment, I think some links to traditional open letters will help you get a sense of the style and tone of the genre. Notice that these open letters all make an argument and present evidence or multiple supporting arguments to get their point across. Some are serious, some are sarcastic, some are personal, some are full of questions, others are full of criticism. It's a fun genre that you should feel free to be playful with, as long as you are 1) making a clear argument 2) actually interested in the points you are raising 3) presenting your best, most polished writing. So here are some links. Read the "blinking cursor" one first to get some much-needed (I'm sure) comic relief and sympathy on writer's block:
Open letter to the Blinking Cursor
An open letter to CBS TV
An open letter to Britney Spears
An open letter to the UC Berkeley community
An open letter to President Bush (by Michael Moore)
An open letter to Bill Gates
Open letter to my college roommate
Open letter to an Angry Apartment Dweller
An open letter to Music Pirates Everywhere (this is satire, by the way, a spoof of an actual open letter written by the RIAA)
An open letter to Fletcher Students: Why You Shouldn't Work for Philip Morris Co.
And finally, one that you can't miss if you liked Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and have a bit of a romantic side... An open letter to a moment of coincidence

What is Spiel?
Just as we tried to figure out some interesting interpretations of Ionesco's title for Killing Game, now it's time to unpack the title of Play, or its original German title, Spiel. To help us out, here's a link to a page with the many meanings of spiel in German, including "play", "game", "execution", and "gamble". as well as some common phrases that use spiel: replay, to kill all joy, to grin and bear it.... See anything that catches your eye with reference to Beckett's work?

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Picturing Beckett's Play
If you're having trouble picturing what Beckett's Play might look or sound like performed, visit this site with director's notes, photos and video clips from Anthony Minghella's short film of Play, starring Alan Rickman and Kristin Scott Thomas. (Mighella also directed The English Patient and The Talented Mr. Ripley)

The production I saw of Play in the Bay Area several years ago actually looked and sounded quite a bit like the Minghella film-- to my knowledge, it's a standard interpretation of Beckett's text. Is it how you imagined?

Here are some more photos of Play, this time of a recent German production.

Also helpful: a short history of the text with some interpretation. The critic notes: "Play is Beckett at play: it is almost silly, what with the clownish, guilty hiccups, the cattiness of insults like "her photographs were kind to her," the bourgeois fascination with the Riviera and green tea. Only almost, however, for there is something sadistic at work here. The urns are ghastly, morbid confinements, the spotlight is an interrogator's lamp (the stage directions refer to its 'victims'), and the title of the show is a stark command. The love in this play is in the past, forever examined despite the wishes for "mercy" and "peace" and a way out of the routine."

What do YOU make fo the title "Play"? Where is the play in Play?

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