“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
― Pablo Picasso
1. The Tale of Orpheus (and Eurydice his Quene) by Claudio Monteverdi
I was invited to this musical by a friend I made in my breadth subject from last semester, Sports Coaching, and I brought my sister with me. This friend’s name is Michael Padgett, and he is one of the most talented dancers I’ve ever gotten the chance to know and now watch dance. He performed in this musical, and boy what a stunning performance it was, not only by him but by the entire cast. (Watch some of the videos I took here.)
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The story of Orpheus and Eurydice is the ultimate tragic love story — a story of two lovers who lost the chance to enjoy their love. In brief, Orpheus had lost his wife to a snake bite, the grief that came with her death engulfed him, and that made him go to the underworld, where…
“The voice of Orpheus was so moving that Hades promised to this desperate man that Eurydice would follow him to the Upper World, the world of the living. However, he warned Orpheus that for no reason must he look back while his wife was still in the dark, for that would undo everything he hoped for. He should wait for Eurydice to get into the light before he looked at her. With great faith in his heart and joy in his song, Orpheus began his journey out of the underworld, joyful that he would once again be reunited with his love. As Orpheus was reaching the exit of the Underworld, he could hear the footfalls of his wife approaching him. He wanted to turn around and hug her immediately but managed to control his feelings. As his was approaching the exit, his heart was beating faster and faster. The moment he stepped on the world of the living, he turned his head to hug his wife. Unfortunately, he got only a glimpse of Eurydice before she was once again drawn back into the underworld. When Orpheus turned his head, Eurydice was still in the dark, she hadn’t seen the sun and, as Hades had warned Orpheus, his sweet wife was drowned back to the dark world of the dead. Waves of anguish and despair swept over him and shuddering with grief he approached the Underworld again but this time, he was denied entry, the gates were standing shut and god Hermes, sent by Zeus, wouldn’t let him in.”
Read more here.
Probably one of my favourite lines of the play —
“Opportunity is a fleeting flower of time,
which must be plucked at the right moment.”
2. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
If it hadn’t been for Facebook or the messages I got from friends who knew of my excitement around anything Shakespeare, I probably wouldn’t have heard of the Pop-Up Globe. It is the world’s first full-scale temporary working replica of the second Globe, which was the theatre Shakespeare and his company built and opened in 1614 after the first Globe theatre burned to the ground.
Pop-up Globe founder and artistic director Dr Miles Gregory believes Shakespeare’s work performed in the space it is written for is a completely unique and transformative experience.
“Our audiences are blown away by the immersive experience of seeing Shakespeare performed in the space for which it was written. The relationship between actor and audience, the spectacular space itself, together with the power of Shakespeare’s incredible work, means attending plays at Pop-up Globe is totally different from anything you’ve seen before,” says Gregory.
“This isn’t dusty Shakespeare. This is now. Alive. Like a party,” adds Gregory.
Read more here.
Imagine how thrilled I was to find out one of my favourite plays of all time, Much Ado About Nothing, was one of the four shows being performed at the Pop-Up Globe — absolutely and unapologetically!
Sheryel, Proud, and I bought the cheapest tickets — Groundling (aka. Yard) — for A$10 (if my memory doesn’t fail me), which meant that we were to stand for the entire duration (~ 150 – 180 minutes) of the play, braving physical discomfort and weather conditions (both rain and sunshine) (for there is no roof in the middle section of the Globe) as we did. Frankly speaking, though, other than the few times I had to put up my hoodie to shield myself from the slight drizzles, I was too busy being engrossed in the play to notice that I had stood for almost 3 hours. Plus, I do believe us Groundling-ers had the best view of the entire audience. 😉
As is in The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing went a little like this: “The women in Shakespeare’s romances can be uppity until the last act, when everybody gets married and the natural order is restored so they can live happily ever after.” The play, brimming with Shakespeare’s usuals — comedy, irony, and language play, was truly incredible. A work of great art. Not only because Shakespeare had worded and pieced everything together so intelligently, but also because the actors performed with so much flawlessness — even when there was a glitch with the electrically controlled swing, the actor played along with it and even engaged with the audience such that the supposed-to-be flaw morphed into an amazing addition/ enhancement to the already incredible play.
View all pictures and videos here.
And, as per Shakespeare’s flamboyant nature, the play ended with bubbles amidst a grand party of cheery singing and dancing. 200% would recommend! 😉
3. Loving Vincent
“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”
― Vincent van Gogh
The movie was an absolute masterpiece. A grand masterpiece of 65,000 masterpieces to be exact. During the span of 5 years, the paintings (which were painstakingly painted in Vincent’s own style with bold colours and brush strokes) were churned out by more than 100 artists (one of whom came from Melbourne) with oil paint kept wet with linseed and clover oils. The entire film was based off of 200 original paintings which curators chose from the 800 that Vincent painted whilst in France. They subsequently constructed the movie by filling the gaps in the timeline between the paintings with a probable storyline that was heart-wrenching and dreadful, yet beautiful and life-giving at the same time. I really can’t explain this. I’ve never seen the life of Vincent van Gogh portrayed in such a manner before.
“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”
― Vincent van Gogh
The film came to a close with the narration of the final letter Vincent ever wrote (unsurprisingly addressed to his brother, Theo) – about how he likened death to ascending to the stars, and how he found peace with that thought. He signed off as he always did:
With a handshake,
Your loving Vincent
The credits came rolling, but everyone stayed put in their seats. I don’t think any of us wanted the film to end haha. Background information about the characters and the production was screened to the haunting yet very calming tunes of ‘Starry Starry Night’. I mean, they really couldn’t have pieced this together more perfectly.
By unbelievable luck, I was seated next to an elderly man who spent his entire life learning about the very man on the screen, Vincent himself. We ended up having lunch together because he said “there is too much of what I’ve learned that I just know you’d love to know too.” Hahaha :’) He was so adorable and remarkable, and he couldn’t have been more correct with his statement.
If You have the slightest interest in impressionist paintings or the life of Vincent, I highly recommend watching this film. :’)