Enjoyed Land of our Fathers at Live Theatre (this Saturday) which tells the tale of 6 Welsh miners trapped some 1,000 or thereabouts feet below surface in 1979. The date gives context to their discussions chatter and song as they awaited efforts to save them. Mining has a particularly strong legacy here in North East England too as besides being an inherently dangerous occupation it provided a multi century battleground between work and safety legislation of a long rooted common sense type. There was no safety legislation in early days and most concessions came from bitter disputes with only a few proactive mine owners.
The play is very good but in my opinion misses from being excellent due to poor script at the beginning of the 2nd half. The first half pre break is excellent in itself. But from the start of the 2nd half the subjects as raised by miners are more like a checklist of subjects one would expect but their sequence seems random and contrived. Rescued by an excellent final quarter from the miners.
“The Big Short” is a very funny movie about the banking crisis of 2008 from a USA perspective but as many British banks and building societies bought the same fraudulent stocks it has resonance here too. The narrative pace is fast and funny and the movie takes time to explain in an easy to understand way some of the tools of the trade of these crooks and opportunists. We are also reminded several times that there is and was a major impact on human beings and that this was not a victim free crime. Having called it a crime, it is sad to note that few went to jail that a fine from the employing organisation settled most but that there were many innocent victims and also some who should have known better. The childhood fairy-tale about the Emperors clothes, having none came to mind.
The “Assassin” will need a cinema-return by me to work out the subplots although I did understand the main plot. It is beautifully filmed with great scenery and acting. The title implies violence and there is some and so don’t go if you expecting a martial arts movie in human killing. The dialogue is frequently fast and trying to follow the new characters as they are introduced when a Chinese speaker can focus on the picture rather than sub titles makes this a must re-do as I hope to crack the tales and sub plots.
The Danish Girl tackles the earliest reported tale on surgical intervention for a transgendered person in this case a Danish artist who underwent several pioneering surgeries to achieve her true self. It’s a lot to squeeze into 2 hours and more so when the Director incorporates specifics of the particular case which serve as red herrings to someone who might be watching this movie with little prior understanding of transgenderism. As a movie it is fairly well done and could have been better if simplified. The movie attracted criticism from many transgendered for not using a transgendered person to star. Named and famed actors seem to be preferred by Directors but I do wish that Directors would be bolder in casting of other similar movies.
Lecture this week
“Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” was the topic of this week’s music class from Explore looking at Shostakovich 1934 opera. It’s a great lively bawdy opera whose contemporary tale is in tune with much that is offered these days in soap operas. Of course the music and singing is a distinguishing characteristic with the soap opera but the plots and subplots are at home with our humanity.
This opera toured successfully in Russia for about 2 years until Stalin went to see it, condemned the morality and send Shostakovich into an uncertain limbo for several years.
Have 2 interviews planned for next week plus 2 from last week to be rescheduled. All 4 are for Permanent roles and are for organisations I’d be happy to work with and for. Long term solution to a long term past and current problem.
Next week's plans include
Rambert Dance at Theatre Royal
Presumption at Northern Stage also "Big girl blouse"
Movies: Room (hopefully) and Assassin maybeLectures from Explore (Music series), Lit & Phil (education) and Neas (archaeology)