Sunday, 17 July 2011

Lord Mayor’s Procession

Last week for A’s birthday I asked the Lord Mayor to organise a procession and a series of events for her. He agreed. It started on Friday night with A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare performed by Paston College. The performance was a bit uneven with some of the better students performing really well especially Bottom and Oberon. Some of the other performances were a bit weak but the other entertainment was well timed. As Puck is anointing the eyelids of the sleeping Athenians so that they would fall in love with next thing they saw behind them half way up the castle mound were two pigeons. As the actors got friendlier then so did the pigeons with cooing, head bobs, stroking each other necks and then with a flutter of feathers the deed was done. I am not sure that any of the other people other than A and I saw it but it was so funny and relevant to the plot we lost it. There was also some gymnastic moves by a less than sylph life fairy that made my wince.

The next day was the procession featuring the weird and wonderful including Chloe Smith MP and the Star Wars Appreciation Society amongst others. In the evening was a Take That tribute with fake Robbie being much better stage presence and crowd involvement than fake Take That. They were fine but they lacked a little sparkle and their play list was not all of the greatest hits.

The following day was more Shakespeare with Taming of the Shrew. This was performed by a professional company and they gave a really good performance. This was also in the Castle Gardens and it started in beautiful sunlight. They had a set-up where they started as a twenties garden party the day after women had been given the vote and as other troupes had not turned up they did the play. At times they would come back on the stage and talk to the crowd whilst other characters changed costumes. They were really good and they played the roles really well. The weather on the other hand did not play ball and the sunshine soon turned to heavy downfall. The actors like the true professionals they are carried on and also ad-libbed in lines about the rain especially when they had to lie/sit or kneel on the soaking ground. As the rain fell plastic macs were given out but A and I had craftily (luckily) positioned ourselves under a tree and therefore as the rain fell we were kept dry. Genius!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

It’s a strange feeling to come to the end of a series that you have invested so much time in. It was fun to see the actors at the end of a journey where they have done so much growing both as characters and as real people. As Emma Watson said on the news she has been Hermione for so long she now has to figure out who she is. I really enjoyed the film. Having read the book ruins some of the suspense of what is about to happen but the director has made a good job of putting it on the screen with all the requisite number of bangs, crashes, magic, deaths and a spectacular denouement. The final scenes are also kind of cool with the idea that a circle has been joined and that some institutions like a school can step outside of time. The only downside was that it was difficult to see what happened to some of the characters except to know that they died.

I have always wondered about the kind of schooling that is portrayed with a very strict set of rules and a curriculum that is heavy of didactic teaching. Why do children like to read and enjoy the exact opposite of what we are trying to do in schools?

The film we saw was in 3D and I have some issues with. Firstly, it makes you thing about a particular effect and that disrupts the narrative arc of the story as you thing how pointy or floaty something is. The subtitles looked very strange. The second was that as I put my head on A’s shoulder everything went blurry and it appears they only work when your head is very level. We also saw it IMAX and the massive screen makes it a great viewing experience and I think that would be a much better medium for future films and move away from 3D.