Mar. 14th, 2008

mirrorshard: (Heart's Desire)
Went to see Ui last night, as previously mentioned, with [livejournal.com profile] thekumquat. It was a rather good version, though the African touches seemed thin and superficial to me. I suspect I'd have found them rather less so of Brecht weren't such an intellectual, detached exercise anyway - seeing it in a captioned performance was an interesting variation on that, since we quite literally had the text to read along with as we watched the play. I actually had to push myself to concentrate on the performance rather than the captions - or on the text as performed, rather than the text as printed.

The African touches were mostly down to costumes (or at least hats) and music, but then I have somewhat of a tin ear for world music and I tend to focus almost obsessively on the text. It was faithful to the original - the only differences I noted were a string of African place-names (Harare, Kinshasa, Freetown, &c.) in Ui's last speech, and his constant reference to himself as a son of the desert rather than of the Bronx.

Technically, it was nearly flawless - the only hiccup was in the placement of two desk microphones in the investigation scene, which caused the clerk's voice to drop out as he turned his head to speak to Dogsborough rather than the audience.

The conjunction of Brecht with the Ken Macleod I was reading on the train there caused some odd mental swirls with the combination of Brechtian detachment and distancing with SF reading protocols. Now I come to think about it, there's another tenuous connection that amuses me - the one I was reading was Newton's Wake, which has as two of its protagonists a couple of crap Scottish propaganda-folk singers. Just about the first time I ever encountered protest songs and the idea of music as something that could actively do something was in McCaffrey's The Ship Who Sang, where one of the brawns refers to 'dylanizing' - this kind of laughing bitter soul-deep anger at the sheer fucking banal incompetent evilness of the idiots who are in charge of this one single world we're currently stuck on is the same strand of thought as Brecht was playing with a lot of the time.

Oh, yes, and that meme that's been going around. Ask me stuff, if you want to. I'll answer as best I can. Comments screened, will be unscreened unless I'm asked not to or they're horribly embarrassing.

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