- I have started cutting my medication, running on half the usual dosage for the past fortnight. I'd been expecting all sorts of nastiness, but thus far, all I've noticed is that I seem to be able to function with less than nine hours of sleep a night again. Which is nice.
- My Canadian buddies are gearing up for the return to Edmonton. I actually shed a tear or two over this (which may or may not relate to lowered values of paroxetine in my blood, see the above paragraph), but am resolved to see this for the wonderful opportunity it is: if nothing else, a chance to hone my correspondence skills! ("We Deliver!")
- Over the past month or so, I seem to have obtained not one, but two highly satisfying jobs! I teach English conversation to senior citizens in my village of birth once a week, and two other weekdays are spent being all administrative for the Dutch ministry of defence. On an army base. Surrounded by heathland and young men in uniforms. ^_^
- About a week ago, a package arrived from Georgia. Inside was a DVD-R bearing Thomas Adés' The Tempest as it was broadcast on BBC4 in February of 2004. I wasn't expecting all that much, to be honest, since the one thing that stuck with me most after catching a webcast last year was that Ariel's part really got on my nerves after a bit. Again, as with Thyeste, though, visuals and a clear picture of the dramatic structure make all the difference. If Ariel's coloratura gets annoying, it's because s/he's annoyed hirself. This spirit isn't Shakespeare's loyal and willing servant, it's a distinctly tetchy creature, one it's easy to imagine getting grounded in that pine by Sycorax "for insolence." (Speaking of Thyeste, this is only the second piece I recall seeing John Daszak in. Striking how his character screws over his own brother in both, though Anthony is of course nowhere near as criminally insane as Atreus...)
Adès and Oakes' The Tempest has taken a great deal of flak for being a "Cliff notes adaptation" of a literary institution, but only seeing something for what it isn't (poetry) rather than what it is (a solid, mellifluous musical drama) isn't conducive to a balanced critique. Four centuries stand (or sit, or lie, or hover, or swim) between Shakeshaft's Tempest and Adès', and I see no reason why a fascinatingly ambiguous character like Caliban shouldn't be reinvented to reflect shifts in philosophy and dramatic practice. The scene in Act 2 ("A monster..." "A local!") where the courtiers mock "the savage" for his fascination with their embroidered clothing and jewelry should suffice to make any citizen of a former colonial power cringe. And of course, as seems required from contemporary opera, there's what appears to be entirely gratuitous male half-nekkidness. Only this time, I believe I may be on to what could have prompted its inclusion here. It relates to the omission of the "chastity" element so prominent in Shakespeare, or rather its replacement, as well as to the way this version of the story presents Caliban and Prospero.
I intend to develop my reasoning into an informal paper and dedicate it to Jos, currently undergoing therapy and quite possibly the only person I know IRL who would appreciate that sort of thing. He turned up at the Canadians' housecooling party, which duly impressed me and prompted me to retire to the kitchen for, yes, another bit of a bawl. Anyway, working title's "Venice to Naples - a Tale of Two Thomases." One's Adès, of course - a packet of stroopwafels to you if you can guess which is the other one.