June 25th, 2009

La Loge

Dark, Secret Places of the Heart

Thursday, we saw two plays.

The first one was what they call a backer's audition. 1 new play, in development, 6 actors, 6 chairs, 6 scripts, 4 hours of rehearsal, 1 narrator, a room full of people who either have the money to invest in a production or might know somebody who does or knows someone associated with the project who got them an invitation (that would be us). A few speeches, a read-through, some nibbles and free wine, a lot of smiling and earnest hand-shaking. An interesting cultural and sociological affair, really, and I'd have a lot more to say about it. Except that I was totally blown away by the play.

It's called Slap and Tickle, and it's about the Everard Bath House in New York, now closed. It's a series of interlocking monologues and scenelets (mirroring, now that I come to think about it, the patterns of bath house encounters (not that I've even been in a bath house (not that kind of bath house, anyway (but I've heard stories))). I was very impressed with how the playwright varied the speech patterns and played with the stereotypes and made it all work.

If it's ever produced, I'm going to be right there, clapping.

The second one was Coraline, the Musical.

I have to admit that I was disappointed. Not horribly--the acting was good, I loved the music, the set was wonderfully evocative, the book was way closer to the original than the movie was. It's just that I wanted to be in love, and I wasn't. It was clever. The words to the songs were clever, the way they dealt with the tiny little stage was clever, the prepared piano and the toy pianos were clever, the ghosts being played by rod puppets were clever. They were cool ideas, nicely executed, and I noted both their coolness and their execution. They also didn't move me an inch.

Where was the darkness? Where was Coraline's journey, her realization that plastic perfection doesn't nourish, that the desire for "normality" can suck you dry, the genuine horror of the Other Mother's narcissism? Oh, there were glimpses of it--in the Cat, in Mr. Bobo, the Other Father's pathetic dissolution. But mostly, things didn't get that deep. David Greenspan (who wrote the book) played the Other Mother like a wind-up doll, totally creepy, but I never felt her hunger or her psychic threat. Jane Houdyshell had a hard row to hoe, a distinctly middle-aged woman dressed in a denim split skirt and tennies and a twee little vest with hearts on it. Her Coraline was foursquare and self-conscious and unsurprised and, well, middle-aged. If she was surprised or charmed or enthralled by the Other World, she never made me feel it.

That said, my 18 year old goddaughter and her theatre-maniac friend adored it. I did notice, however, that they mostly talked about the pianos (which were, indeed, prime) and the Cat (who was utterly cat-like, for a guy in a black suit and Chucks and a pork-pie hat) and Mr. Bobo's mice at the end (who were hysterical). I don't remember if they mentioned Coraline.

Online Back up

I've been having a lot of trouble getting an external hard drive to play nicely (or, indeed, at all) with my Mac, and have decided that the best thing all around (not to mention the most likely to happen fast) is to sign up with an online back-up service.

The question, of course, is :  which one?

I have no trouble making decisions when 1) I have data to base my decision on; 2) I understand the data.  Neither of which cases obtain right at the moment.  And the computer's getting old and cranky, and I'm in the middle of a book and going to be traveling soon, and, and, and.

I'm going to need something that can take a full back-up of all my data, then back up the files I modify most often at regular intervals, because you wouldn't believe what a space cadet I can be about this kind of task.

Advice, please, oh Web-wise Gurus of LJ.  As always, in words of one syllable, as I do not speak Tech.