pipistrellafelix: (happy)
I finished my draft!

I mean, all of it. Every section. Obviously the paper still needs revision, & I haven't even sent it into the teacher for looking-over & commenting on, but WHOA the WHOLE DRAFT is DONE, YO.

It is twenty-seven pages of pure theater madness with some real-life primary research that very few people have done before, if ever, so, y'know, that's important and stuff. I confess I somewhat lose my objective-historian cool when talking about HUAC and the Canwell Investigations & I wax somewhat dorkily poetic about Florence, but YO. It's DONE.

Revisions are the easy part! This is like five million fun-but-heavy bricks off my metaphorical shoulders, y'all. This is AWESOME.
pipistrellafelix: (theater)
I spent the entire afternoon with a laptop & several boxes of manuscripts in the Special Collections room of the UW.

I learned three things from primary document research today:
1.Anyone who grew up in the age of Google & ctl+f is luckier than they even know. Searching through folders of loose-leaf papers for particular key-words that will probably not even be here is part of research, totally necessary, & really, really frustrating.

2. On the plus side: Florence left behind piles of notes for her autobiography as well as several drafts & revisions.

On the minus side: I can't decipher her handwriting.
...oh well.

3. Florence James is really, really cool, & if I didn't have a) a deadline, b) a necessity for context & c) work during most of the open hours of Special Collections, I would probably just write her biography instead of this paper.

4. If I ever need a project (not that this will ever happen, since I generally seem to have a plethora of them), remind me that I could always go in & edit Florence Bean James' manuscripts and actually publish her memoirs, since she never did. I don't know that anyone outside of the relatively small circle of theater people / Seattle historians would find it that interesting, but that might be enough; & it really is a fascinating insight into what theater was like here before Gregory Falls and the Seattle Rep (Theater, not Playhouse), & the burgeoning theater scene that really got started in the 60s.


Some quotes I liked:
“In 'What is Art' Leo Tolstoy defines good art as art that unites people, and bad art as art that divides people. The same may be said about good or bad directing. Directing must unite not only the multiplicity of details, but also the play with the audience as well as the members of the cast.”
-FBJ, fragments of FUAS.

“This departure of matured members of the group for the uncertain fame of the theatre capitols was a matter that irked Florence considerably. She was wont to observe quite often that the only thing that ever succeeded and didn't move away was Mount Rainier, and also that it was the only local attraction that didn't have to work itself to the edge of the grave to be a success.”
- Biography, bk 2 ch 4 p3

On the censoring of Lysistrata:
"A meeting was called, the matter was discussed. How could they know what they were censoring unless they saw it? Don Abel, State Supervisor of the W.P.A., sent his wife and secretary to the opening. Another meeting was called the next day. Mr. Abel reported that his wife and secretary said the play was "indecent and bawdy."
My husband said, "my wife directed it. Does that mean that my wife's tastes are 'bawdy and indecent,' or that your wife doesn't know anything about theater, and in any event shouldn't be permitted to censor productions?""
Box 2-11, p. 8


In other news, our preview was tonight--some good moments, some wonky moments, overall pretty much what a preview should be. Now I must watch Othello, two hours and forty-five minutes of Olivier in blackface...hmm. I hope it will be good.
pipistrellafelix: (come into my lab)
As much as this paper is driving me crazy, I am finding out some fantastic things doing the research for it. (I think maybe if I could just look things up & not have to organize them into a coherent whole this would be a lot less stressful!) Anyway. Most recent cool thing?
Howard Duff. Born in Bremerton, lived in Seattle, moved to LA, was in some movies...maybe you've heard of him? He lived on Naomi place--about two minutes away from my house! Eeek.
& he was in a Seattle Repertory Playhouse production of Waiting for Lefty, about which he tells an incredible story: opening night )

See...that's the kind of theater I would love to do! Also, I want to go watch all of his movies now. Also, he was a babe!


Also I just talked to Chris & apparently a woman involved in the SRP is still around in Seattle...see, I just need a few more months & a good deal more free time, & I could do some awesome interviews. Stupid papers & deadlines, constraining all my history. Bah!
pipistrellafelix: (not hip to my jive)
Okay, several people on my flist have posted this, but I had to share anyway, because... David Starkey is an idiot. Full stop.
It's almost funny, how completely ridiculous his arguments are. I won't dissect them all since there are some other great responses out there (like this one, for example), but...really, Starkey? Really?!

In other news, it's SUNNY! Or at least it was when I entered the theater at 11.45am; I assume it still is.

I have begun writing my reflection paper for Biz Art & am stuck. It's just so damned broad, & I really have very little desire to reflect on my entire educational experience at SU. I have a good opening couple of lines, but it all goes downhill from there.

Theatrical update:
+ Working with Vince is awesome; his script is really funny & I love the cast. Plus I am enjoying having a key to the Lee center & opening doors; it makes me feel official & cool.
+ The music for Ki's play "Miranda" is really pretty, but...
- it is also horrifyingly intimdiating. Especially since I am basically musically illiterate, so I can't look at the page & find the B or the F. I don't know which one it is. Yikes.
- Also, a capella? I am happy you think we're that good, but...lkskjbdl.
+ I am working on lines for "Swirling Night"--hopefully will be more or less memorized soon...
+ Had our first Ragnarok rehearsal yesterday--was awesome--singing will be lovely & I scribbled on the whiteboard to talk about character, so that was fun. Good people all around.

Anyway...back to work.
pipistrellafelix: (sharpdrop)
So yesterday I went to the National Museum of Archeology and History, and there I learned many things. Among them, this: that sucking your king's nipples was an ancient Irish form of submission to him. And if your nipples were mutilated (they found a preserved bog man with his nipples cut), that effectively made you ineligble for kingship.

And I thought, Well, that's fascinating, where on earth does that come from? I haven't seen it anywhere else in monarchy studies. And then my brain goes Oh my god GENDER! and starts to flip out about the gendered significance of such an act. Whoa. It's like a whole other thesis waiting to happen. (So of course I wrote a four paragraph email to Dr E about it.)

The best part might have been explaining the word 'nipples' to Charlotte, whose native language is not English, when she asked what I saw at the museum. There was a lot of, um, gesture involved.

Also, I have now used the word 'nipples' more times in one post than I ever have. In fact I don't think I've ever used it before. Or probably ever will (unless I get on some research kick & decide I need to talk about this more...unlikely). (Like most words, it just gets sillier the more you use it, but it's sort of an inherently silly word anyway. I mean. Nipples.)
pipistrellafelix: (find x)
This morning Lee and I went to Trinity to take the tour and see the Book of Kells. It was a gorgeous day, chilly but bright and sunny. We bought tickets just inside the main gate and then followed our guide, James, to the middle of the square. He looked a little like he should have been living in a garret in NYC--old jeans, stylish cowboy boots, a leather jacket over a sweater & collared shirt, and a striped scarf slung around his neck. Oh, and a priceless accent. (Reminded me a little of a few characters I've written, actually.) Lee leans over toward me and mutters, "So, a cute guide is a plus," to which I laugh, because I can't deny he's good looking, in a vague sort of way. And then he turns to lead us to the next stop, and after three steps of his walk, Lee and I look at each other and go, "Oh. He's gay." I mean. I don't usually make snap calls, but this grad student's walk was even more priceless than his accent. I have seen few girls pop their hips like this boy did, and the way he swept his scarf back every time it fell down was pure theatrics.

I'm stealing his walk for Devising class--we're supposed to take a walk off someone we see, and this one is too fabulous to pass up. Ahaha! Yay.

The tour itself was really good; informative and funny ("Samuel Beckett actually taught here for a few years, before he moved to Paris to become depressed"). I'm pretty sure James has done theater, or something like it, because he had a persona like none other--and utterly unnoticeable until he dropped it after the tour was over. Pretty much hilarious, in the people-watching-is-my-favorite-sport way.

We saw the Book of Kells--beautiful, but it's hard to fangirl books behind glass, in such a crowd. What was far easier to go weak-kneed for (and I did) was the Long Room of the Trinity Library, which is just above the Book of Kells. It's just one room, with a domed ceiling, lined with old books--the kind that make me catch my breath and make inadvertent noises of longing. And the signs proclaiming No Photography were positively painful--they have the windows blocked by white curtains, and the light seeping through them is the perfect light for photography. And Lee and I stood for far too long reading the 1916 Proclamation. History, mmmm.


And tonight a bunch of us found a place to go Salsa dancing. OH my feet hurt (cheap heels bought here are pretty--and purple!--but not very comfy), but it was fun; the place was nice (even though the music was painfully loud), and we danced up a storm even without a lot of partners around. Plus it's free, so how can you argue? Looks like we've found a Thursday night venue...

This weekend I am exploring Dublin more, going to museums and other free things. I have spent a lot of money...all of it on things that are good to spend money on (my most recent purchase? Plane tickets to Venice!!!), but I will like doing things that are free for a while. Intellectually freeing too. What's better? :)
pipistrellafelix: (Default)
I have been to very few live concerts in my life. In retrospect that might be a good thing, because I get crazy excited & start acting like a little kid. Joel can attest to that...I was bouncing on the grass along to the music probably a little more than was healthy. It was an awesome concert, though, with good music & a crazy crowd & silly banter from the band ("I'm a giraffe. I'm the only giraffe in Newfoundland.")--I find it really hilarious when bands lose it on stage.* Also, Joel snuck me in--even though I had a ticket--& I felt like a spy.

I have very little else to say here, except that I am really excited to not have to get up early for work next week, & to spend most of my time at the theater. Also, long stretches of time at work, revsising the handbook, is only cause for my brain to wander onto questions like, Who invented the keyring? And why?**


* "My name is Zach Braff and I'm a giraffe, / I want a lovely giraffe to dance with; / I walk through the park, one evening after dark / To find someone to take off my pants with." Gotta love GBS.

**Like my long and completely true very convincing story to Nik about the invention of straws, I was tempted to write up a whole anecdote that I didn't make up at all researched at great length, about Ralph Morrison O'Neill, the third of seven children living in poverty--but great intellectual wealth--as Irish immigrants to London in the 18th century. Little Rafe, at the age of fourteen, was tasked with helping his father in the shop, his most notable duty being to keep the keys of all the cabinets wherin valuable tools were stored. Sick of the way keys would get every which way in the bag in his pocket, Rafe wanted to find a better way to keep all the keys together. When he saw curls of wire in the scrap pile of the nearby blacksmith's, he picked them up, fiddled with them on his walk home, & before he knew it, had invented the key ring as we know it today. A tip of the top hat to Master Ralph Morrison O'Neill.
pipistrellafelix: (margaret of anjou: she crazy!)
Also, Happy Coronation day for Margaret of Anjou!* & it's the death day of Kit Marlowe (supposedly, of course. I'm still tempted to write some quasi-accurate historical bodice-ripper** about Kit faking his death & going to the continent, or the Americas, to spy for Queen Liz.)

*Now that my thesis is done, I'm really quite fond of her. Actually, I was fond of her before, but it's no longer tempered by the research version of the sword of Damocles, or something like that.

**Although I guess in his case it would be a codpiece-ripper?
pipistrellafelix: (margaret of anjou: she crazy!)
I am wishing right now that I had studied French instead of Spanish, simply for the fact that apparently everything useful written about Rene d'Anjou is written in French. & beyond the necessity of finding these facts for my thesis, I'd really just like to read more about him. I mean, hell, he had about a million ten different titles, he was hostage to several different lords; his wife Isabel was no less cool, either, because she inherited Lorraine in her own right & led an army against Philip to get her husband back. No wonder Margaret's so bad ass.
(In other news, thesis still eating me alive.)

But also I did Cody's radio play & beyond the funness (not a word, shaddap, I know) of that, it made me feel all old-fashioned & artsy & made me really want to do a radio play of my own. Aha, says I, summer project! Or perhaps, instead of worrying about scripting my own, I could adapt a book...
So. All this is very nebulous & far off of course. But, for those people in Seattle this summer, is anyone interested in voice acting? & does anyone have any suggestions for books they'd like to see radio'd?

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