Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

"I could a tale unfold whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood..."

Despite the heat, I had an awesome weekend.

The centerpiece was getting to see the Public Theater production of Hamlet with Russ, Jess and our friend Laura. Shakespeare in the Park is an all day affair, as the only way to get the tickets (which are free) is to wait on line for them by the Delacorte Theater all morning, but it's in Central Park, so you can just lay down a blanket and have a picnic breakfast. We lucked out getting a spot that was in the shade most of the time, and Russ brought a deck of cards.

During the period between actually getting the tickets (1:00) and the play itself (8:00), we went to the Met, which had an exhibit on Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy which showcased comic book character costumes and the fashion designs they inspired. It was pretty neat, although some of the fashion designs were way out there (more so than the actual costumes on display, which included Christopher Reeve's Superman and Clark Kent outfis, Christian Bale's Dark Knight costume (which looks completely different in the light), Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man suit and Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman garb ( ). They even had a mannequin with the Mystique prosthetics attached.

We tried our hardest to check out the Jeff Koontz exhibit as well, but unfortunately the roof of the Met was about the same temperature as the surface of the sun, and way too bright to keep one's eyes open (my sunglasses were conveniently checked with my bag). I would like at some point to return to there when the weather is more amenable as it would have an outstanding view of Central Park and the skyline beyond provided one's eyeballs aren't being vaporized at the time.

Andre Braugher

The play itself was a "Hamlet is really crazy" as opposed to a "Hamlet is feigning crazy" version; I've never done Shakespeare In the Park before, but I was most impressed and will happily go again. Although I jokingly referred to the play as being about emo Danes, Oskar Eustis indeed evinces a very active performance from Michael Stuhlbarg, which worked quite well. Lauren Ambrose was excellent as Ophelia, her madness scenes were heartbreaking. Sam Waterston (whom, I understand, played Hamlet himself last time this production was mounted) was a wonderful Polonius. Andre Braugher was my favorite, though; I always prefer it when Claudius is portrayed as actually liking Hamlet (even being concerned for him at the beginning of the play), and wouldn't have even thought of having him killed had he not thought it absolutely necessary to protect his throne.

While I would have not bothered to put a spoiler warning on any detail related to the play itself, which not only has been available for four hundred years, but can be perused in its entirety from various online sources, I do reveal some information about this particular production in particular here that could be construed as spoilers. I certainly was not expecting it!


They did an interesting bit with the end. There is a flame on stage the entire play, and at the close when Elsinore is invaded, the soldiers shoot Horatio(!) as Fortinbras stomps out the flame, and all the house lights went out. It was a pretty impressive finale, made all the more so by the excellent sound design the play had.


I feel that there is a momentum to a live performance of a Shakespeare play that one just doesn't get from any filmed version, no matter how well done it may be. It is a quality that is difficult to define, but may well be related to how the actors fall into the cadences of the language and can play the patterns off one another. The plays themselves are also constructed around a presentation not too dissimilar from what one finds at the Delacorte, albeit here augmented by the technological advances made since they were written.

It was a most enjoyable experience, and I look forward to going again next year!

Russ, Jess and I went to Madison Square Park yesterday for the annual Big Apple Block Party, where there was more barbecue than I would have believed possible before experiencing it!

Since the format's demise, HD-DVDs have been placed on sale for very cheap prices. I ordered a few of them last week and somehow received the package on Sunday (don't ask, I have no idea). I am most pleased to have high def copies of Midnight Run, Dazed and Confused, 12 Monkeys, John Carpenter's The Thing, Serenity, An American Werewolf in London and The Last Starfighter (which has a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack, so I can seriously rock Craig Safan's awesome score in the equivalent of full bandwidth 5.1 audio).

I have been insulated from the (wholly understandable) wave of fury that HD-DVD buyers have over the demise of their chosen format because all of the high def forums I visit are those dedicated to my particular player (the Samsung UP5000 combo player). I have to say, despite the fact that I did spend more money on this player than I would have had I just gone Blu-ray, I have no regrets. As of the most recent firmware upgrade, it is now the best performing high def player out there, with the best image quality on either format and upconverted standard definition DVDs, and full support for all audio formats. Ironically, it is no longer on the market, and so those burned with HD-DVD only players have no way of getting one anymore.

These have been going around, so I will jump on the bandwagon like the wretched meme whore I truly am:


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Tags: audio, cinema, film music, high def, memes
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