Monday, January 25, 2010

Antigone @Chowdiah

Was seen some time back at the Bangalore habba that was happening. The play itself seemed a bit of a disappointment, realised a bit late that I'd read it in a collection of the 3 Theban plays that I have.

Antigone is the free spirited girl who's determined to bury her brother's body, which her uncle, the king has ordred to be left out to rot. 

I can't say I enjoyed reading them much, I don't think I quite have the appreciative gene for these old tragidies. At any rate the doubly adapted play also didn't seem to make it any more interesting, although there were good performances from Naseer and Ratna.


The entire part before Naseer comes on stage seemed to drag, and although Ratna was exuberant , I couldn't quite see the point of most of that part. Once the dialogue started, it seemed to lift the sagging play, and I thought perhaps there would be something to it after all, however the ending again somehow fizzled out.


Overall a disappointment apart from their individual performances.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

happy days @ rangashankara

A Samuel Becket play. Having heard and read about 'waiting for godot' all these years, and having just missed that one a while back, I was quite keen to catch this.

It was quite interesting. Definitely heavy going, its something called the theatre of the absurd I gather,  but interesting nevertheless. I'm sure it was in no small measure due to the excellant acting.

The performance consists of a strident, hell bent optimism of a woman buried waist down in a sort of sand mound. She fights off the horror of the situation, warding off the depression with straws -rituals,  platitudes, memories and the plaintive cries to her husband, who's somewhere around, and sometimes answers in monosyllables, and sometimes, many times, does not.

Its the sort of play, that leaves you to ponder over your own straitjackets and burdens.  Do we ignore the absudities? Do we 'thank our lucky stars'? Can we really fight , and should we? What is the nature of the relationship with the spouse? How far does the  religious crutch carry us? And is life really empty and meaningless? There was a short discussion after the play with the 2 actors, which was interesting, reminded me a bit of english classes long long ago, ( Luckily I always had good english teachers. )

All in all , worth a watch, but be prepared for the rather heavy going.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Balance

a fine balance
between whats gone and what is to come
between whats taken and what can still be given


a delicate balance
between the error and the correction
between atonement and the hope of redemption


the tortous balance
between the can't that is the hearts cry

and the head  which insists - try

The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins

I'd gone looking for 'the god delusion', but ended up with this one instead.

I can't say I ever understood Darwin's theory of evolution very well, just had a rough idea that he said life evolved from aquatic microbial life through ever more complex organisms , and then we descended from monkeys - the better known and better hated part for the more biblical minded .

Its rather an interesting read, in that it sort of tries to explain the "why" and "how" of the evolution theory. This particular theory takes the approach of defining a gene as a piece of the chromosome as something that lasts for a long time over generations, and then considers this to be a sort of preprogramming unit which is selfishly trying to survive. Sort of a microscopic view as opposed to the rather more commonly layman understanding of a group or herd , or even the individual trying to survive.

I don't think I understand enough to be able to take a stand for or against the theory, but it sure made interesting reading. Some crucial bits still seemed to be glossed over,  eg why the complicated move from molecular to giant lumbering robots as dawkins calls us? or even trickier, why bisexual evolution, when single celled division could've gone great guns? or even the very basic idea of how genes themselves have been defined, seems a little iffy.

Interesting questions, and there are quite a few others to which it seems to give rather convincing explanations. ESS or an evolutionary stable strategy was a particularly neat way of explaining some rather common questions about why this and not that.

Looking for the god delusion even more now!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Park @Rangashankara

Saw this play over the weekend. It was quite decent. 3 people fight over 3 park benches. At a surface level the humourous exchanges were well written, and the comic timing was mostly spot on. Mush laughter ensued.

At a deeper level, the larger questions about space, ownership, identity and subtle human foibles so to speak were invoked, mostly quite well.  Without making it too much in your face, or making it too oblique to catch. I quite enjoyed the fun they made out of the whole "analogy" bit, bringing in some analogies, just in case you were not in a mood to read in deeper into the situation!


However there were a couple of rather jarring bits, almost unexpectedly bad, compared to the rest of the play. Luckily they were few and not too long, but they were a bit surprising. The so called "origin" of the first fellows malady was cringe inducing to say the least. Interludes of the three explaining their backgrounds seemed disconnected and forced. And the 2-3 places which tried to show the struggle and confusion in mime, sans dialogue, didn't seem to quite blend in with the rest of the tempo of the play.


But all said and done, quite an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Avatar

Amazing visuals! A simplified and decently told story ( nothing much new or pathbreaking on that front tho)

Having laid bare our mother earth, the humans now want to mine the super valuable unobtainium ( yes i kid you not!) from another world - Pandora ( yes I still kid you not! ) Unfortunately for the humans, but fortunately for the storyteller, the bulk of the deposits lie right under a central settlement of the natives, a lovely people called the Navi, who're fully in touch with their mother pandora. So humans send in Navi looking, human controlled avatars in to persuade/spy. And I guess  its not hard to guess the  story from there.

However, I don't think would have the same appeal 20 years from now.  There's really nothing beyond the scenic beauty and awesome cinematography, special effects, and the like. Nothing lasting really beneath the surface.  And I can't help wondering , if such effort and money had to be spent, couldn't it have been on something lasting at least? But then perhaps it was a business trade off, a simpler , black and white story would have a more mass appeal.

Well so be it, for now its certainly worth a watch, specially in 3D. Luckily, the movie doesn't use its effects ( 3D, cgi, or anything else for that matter) simply as gimmicks. Within the parameters of story telling, it keeps props as instruments of the story telling, and not a proclamation of "I can so I will" .