School is back, with the appropriate shite-load of work. Oh, well; it's the price paid for a wonderful 3 days of NOT school. So there you have it.
Before I get on to my first Stratford Review (I think I'll do a series of 3, instead of all at once), I'd like to mention that I got Published in the Ottawa Citizen last Wednesday. I won't say where (that would be no fun) but if you know me, it's easy enough to verify.
Stratford Review #1 - Oliver!
This was this year's musical, a very different show from last year's Hello Dolly!, as I said yesterday. The set was appropriately brown-toned, and all but a few of the costumes were in austere hues. At the beginning, the immense Mr Bumble is clad in red and blue with gold trim. In the middle, there are Nancy and Bet, who are clad in Red and Off-White dresses, respectively. Towards the end, the rich upper class shine in pure white. The awareness of class isn't so pronounced as it is in, say, HMS Pinafore, but the costumes make their point more than forcefully enough.
The Artful Dodger doesn't get too many lines, but he has a song, and is a real crowd favourite. I thought that Colm Feore was excellent as Fagin. A digression: Yes, there was a moment of star shock, because Colm Feore was in Chronicles of Riddick. I'm aware that he's probably not so proud of that one, but I'd like to say that "real" actors bring a sense of theatre to Science Fiction (and, of course, Fantasy) that would otherwise be missing. I'll write a little more about this in a bit, but back to Oliver!
The makeup and costume people are to be commended for this, as well as the other plays. All the characters were spot-on in appearance, from the comically obese Mr Bumble, to the frail yet cunning Fagin.
If I have anything to say against the show, it's that I really don't get Nancy, who loves her gruff, abusive boyfriend (?) Bill Sykes. I sorta get the unconditional love part, but do we really need 2 (if beautifully sung) songs about how she must love this awful dude? Tradition or no, it's a little troubling. Am I off my rocker on this one? Go ahead and say so...
I have a little more to say about the Sci-Fi stigma you see. The truth is that Star Wars is more epic Fantasy (a branch of speculative fiction, a close cousin to SF proper), and Star Trek is more TV drama than Science Fiction. Flashy technobabble is NOT what SF is all about. SF is about exploring human nature, society, technology, in terms of what they may hold for us in the future. Star Trek, for example, isn't a terribly well-thought-out universe; it is a canvas for human drama. SF lite, if you will.
My point is this: don't let the schlock colour your perception of SF. Instead, let THE Schlock do it. While it may be more humour than hard SF, it has many elements of the latter. Also, read Dune. SF is more than just warp drives and phaser banks.
One other order of business. I was debating the merits of building up vs. building outwards (with respects to city growth) with my friend Gingerwolf. I think UP is the way to go; you have a smaller footprint, and it's generally more efficient. He says that outward growth is cheaper and safer. Thoughts? Comments? Post 'em....please? I don't get too many.
Well, that's all for today. Later