pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
(anonymous). Little Spinners: Dancing Princess
Michael Dahl, Oriol Vidal. Little Monkey Calms Down
William Finn, Rachel Sheinkin. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (re-read)
Kim Newman. Angels of Music (e)
Daniel Pinkwater. The Big Orange Splot (e)
Daniel Pinkwater. Lizard Music (e)
Terry Pratchett. Hogfather (e) (re-read)
Anthony Price. Here Be Monsters (e)
Robert Louis Stevenson. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (e)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. Jingo (e) (re-read)
Ursula Vernon. Summer in Orcus (e)

Non-fiction books in progress
Jimmy Maher. Let's Tell a Story Together (e)

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Ben Aaronovitch. The Hanging Tree
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Lois McMaster Bujold. Diplomatic Immunity (e) (re-read)
Lois McMaster Bujold. Komarr (e) (re-read)
Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca. Darth Vader volume 1
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Alliance of Equals (e)
John Ostrander, Luke McDonnell, et al. Suicide Squad volume 1
Terry Pratchett. Feet of Clay (e) (re-read)
Anthony Price. Sion Crossing (e)
Mark Russell, Ben Caldwell, et al. Prez volume 1
William Shakespeare. Hamlet (re-read)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. Hogfather (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Adrian Goldsworthy. Augustus (e)

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Eleanor Herman. Sex with Kings
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. The fanfic I recommended last week has a sequel now: Christmas in Kansas, the story of the first time Clark Kent brought his colleagues Bruce and Diana home for the Christmas holidays. There's inevitably quite a bit of focus on Bruce, due to the inherent incongruity of Bruce Wayne + relaxed family holiday, but Diana gets some really nice moments, too.


2. Since I'm already recommending out-of-season Christmas fanfic, I don't think I've recced back in anno domini here; it's a crossover in which Susan Pevensie goes to stay with a friend in Tatchester and ends up befriending Kay Harker. It's really beautiful, but it hasn't got a lot of attention possibly because there aren't a lot of people on AO3 who know who Kay Harker is. (I mean, I suspect it would still be a beautiful story even if you have no idea, but I can see why people might be cautious.) (And of course I could be wrong, since I've known Kay nearly as long as I've known Susan.)


3. Rehearsals for Oliver! continue. I'm beginning to really get a feel for Fagin's physicality: how he holds his shoulders, how he moves his hands, how he walks. Not so much, alas! for how he speaks - I'm shifting unreliably between several different accents, and it seems like the more I attention I pay to how I'm speaking the less likely I am to get the result I'm after.

The children of the cast seem to have largely accepted me, in (will-I or nill-I) the role of the fun adult who'll often play along with a joke but needn't be paid any attention to if he tries to get one to settle down. Fortunately, there are other adults in the cast who can achieve more success if settling down is what's needed, including our Nancy, who's a teacher in real life.


4. I've been to see Captain America: Civil War. I have previously had occasion to comment that the MCU doesn't have a track record of sticking the distance with moral dilemmas or good-vs-good conflicts; the side that the heroes aren't on tends to see the light, or do something that allows their viewpoint to be swept under the carpet, like die or turn evil (or turn evil and then die). I didn't expect this movie to be any different, and it wasn't. Doubtless there will be bloggers who will examine the details in more depth, but that's not really my thing.

I like the new version of Spider-Man.


5. At the gaming group this week I played Hoax, Council of Verona, and Goblins, Inc..

Hoax is one of those bluffing games where you have to figure out what cards your opponents have while being free to lie as much as you like about your own. I've generally been pretty terrible at bluffing games because I have no poker face when I get a good card, but between Batman Love Letter last week and Hoax this week I've been working on a strategy where I attempt to mask my reaction to good news maintaining a cheerful demeanor all the time regardless. I was getting pretty good at it by the time we moved on to the next thing.

Council of Verona involves a meeting to settle the feud between the Montagues and Capulets, and cards representing various characters from Romeo and Juliet, each of which either has a goal for the outcome of the meeting or an action that will affect the outcome. (For example, Lord Montague's goal is to end the game with more Montagues at the meeting than Capulets, and there's a lesser Montague whose action can be used to have one of the Capulets kicked out of the meeting. Another character, I forget which, has the goal of ending the game with more people kicked out of the meeting than still in. Romeo, meanwhile, doesn't care what happens at the meeting, or whether he's in or out, only whether Juliet is there with him.) Where it gets complicated is that players score by betting on which characters will achieve their goals, and using the action characters to influence the outcome - and some of the characters' actions, instead of directly affecting other characters, can be used to mess with the other players' bets. I still don't think I've quite got my head around it.

Goblins, Inc. is about designing giant fighting machines and then playing them off against one another. It's an interesting mix of co-operation and competition. It's played with two teams of two, but halfway through the game the pairs are split and rearranged so that you end up allied with a former opponent. At various points in the game, each player is required to make important decisions without consulting their ally. Players are scored individually, and each player earns a different number of points from a victorious round depending on their secret agenda. (For instance, one player might earn points for each of their opponent's weapons that's destroyed, while another might earn points for each bit of armor; and similarly when it comes to the bits of their own machine remaining intact at the end of the fight.) In theory, the secret agenda might also influence a player to make a decision during the round that helps them but harms their ally. In practice, I found that I paid a lot of attention to my intactness agenda during the design phase (points for every intact weapon at the end of the fight? okay, we need to start with lots of weapons) but during the fight phase I would just forget about the destruction agenda and concentrate on the best outcome for the team. That seemed to work well for me, since I won the game.
 
pedanther: (cheerful)
(via [livejournal.com profile] lost_spook)

1) What was the first Shakespeare play you read or seen performed?

First live performance would have been a local amateur production of Twelfth Night. I can't remember whether that was before or after we did Romeo and Juliet in school, so the first in any format might have been Zeffirelli's R&J that we watched then. Either way, I think R&J was the first one I read.


2) What is your favorite Shakespeare play?

At the moment, As You Like It is my favourite for pure enjoyment, but that's because it's the one I most recently saw a good production of; it'll change again next time I see a good production of one of the others.

Hamlet is the one I find most fascinating, and keep coming back to, partly because I've never seen a version of it I've found entirely satisfactory. Every new production I watch, I see something new that I'd never thought of before, and always, always, I learn a lot from the things that I look at and go, "No, that's obviously wrong." It's the one I most often tell myself I'm going to direct one day, since that's the only way I'll ever see it done Properly. (And presumably, if that day ever comes, somebody will come out of my production muttering about the things I got Obviously Wrong, and so the cycle will continue.)


3) What is your least favorite Shakespeare play?

I'm not fond of his comedies, on the whole; I don't share his opinions on some of the things he finds funny and particularly on some of the things he considers to constitute a happy ending. That said, the amount I actually enjoy any given comedy depends a lot on what the production at hand is doing with it: the first production I saw of As You Like It made it one of my least favourite Shakespeare plays, and then the second made it one of my most favourite. So I'm not going to name a single least favourite play, because it's not necessarily worse than the others, it's just the one where I haven't yet seen that one really good production.


4) Who do you think wrote Shakespeare; are you a Stratfordian or Oxfordian?

Stratfordian, like all right-thinking people, though I admit to a brief flirtation with Oxfordianism when I was a teenager and the idea that Shakespeare might not have been Shakespeare seemed new and interesting.


5) Which Shakespeare plays have you read or seen or seen performed?

I have definitely seen As You Like It, Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, and Twelfth Night on stage or screen or both.

I can't at the moment recall whether I've actually seen The Tempest or Othello all the way through. (Forbidden Planet presumably doesn't count.)

I own a copy of the Complete Works, but somewhere along the line I picked up an aversion to reading plays on my own time if I haven't seen them first, so if it's not listed above I haven't read it either.
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Brian Clevinger, et al. Real Science Adventures: The Billion Dollar Plot (e)
Lian Hearn. Across the Nightingale Floor (e)
Lian Hearn. Grass for His Pillow (e)
Tim Powers. Dinner at Deviant's Palace
Terry Pratchett. Soul Music (e) (re-read)
Josephine Tey. Brat Farrar (re-read)

In progress
Diane Duane. So You Want to Be a Wizard (e) (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Interesting Times (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Harley Granville-Barker. Prefaces to Shakespeare: Hamlet

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Ryk E Spoor. Phoenix in Shadow
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Lionel Bart. Oliver!
Lois McMaster Bujold. Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (e)
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire (e)
T Kingfisher. The Raven and the Reindeer (e)
Tim Powers. On Stranger Tides (e) (re-read)
Manly Wade Wellman. The Beyonders (e)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. Soul Music (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Harley Granville-Barker. Prefaces to Shakespeare: Hamlet

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
William Shakespeare. Hamlet
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle (e)
L S Lawrence. Horses for King Arthur
Andy Weir. The Martian (e)

In progress
Kim Newman. The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School (e)
Terry Pratchett. Men at Arms (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Jung Chang. Empress Dowager Cixi

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Anthony Price. The '44 Vintage
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science (e)
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific (e)
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Dragon in Exile (e)
Terry Pratchett. Small Gods (e) (re-read)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. Lords and Ladies (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Jung Chang. Empress Dowager Cixi

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Terry Pratchett. Men at Arms
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. My passport has been issued, which is the point at which I decided I was going to accept this is a thing that's actually happening:

In December I'm going to visit Germany, and also Austria and the Czech Republic, with a group of friends, to see this "White Christmas" thing everybody's written so many songs about.

This is a bit exciting, because the closest I've been to overseas before now is Rottnest Island.


2. Rehearsals for the Christmas show continue. Sometimes I think it's going really well, other times I'm horrified at how much there is left to do. Four weeks, you rehearse and rehearse...


3. What with one thing and another - specifically, the two things mentioned above - I haven't signed up for Yuletide this year and it doesn't seem likely I'll end up contributing. My creative wossnames are currently all tied up in the Christmas show, and I'll be travelling, with uncertain internet prospects, during the all-important Eleventh Hour Crunch. Best wishes to everyone on my friendslist who is taking part this year.


4. Went to see Justin Kurzel's new film version of Macbeth, which has been getting impressive reviews, and now I'm horribly tempted to describe it using the phrase "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing", which wouldn't really be fair. For one thing, one of the problems I had with it was that there are several points where I think a bit of sound and fury was just what we needed and didn't get. For another, it's full of things that are clearly Significant - it's saturated with Significance, to the point that the whole experience ended up feeling rather smothered - I just don't think that in the end they added up to anything coherent.

(Also, on a more nitpicky note, there were several places that hit one of my directorial peeves, where the dialogue says one thing and the action shows something else. This was particularly annoying since it's a production that's not afraid to prune big chunks of dialogue out, or even occasionally to change a line, with no good effect on the rhyme or the scansion. If you're going that far, then either do something about the line that contradicts your vision, or if the line is too important to be done away with, consider that that might mean your vision might need adjusting...)


5. Every time I get my hair cut, I seem to end up with more forehead than I had before.
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne (e) (re-read)
George MacDonald. The Princess and the Goblin
Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs. Li'l Gotham volume 1
Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs. Li'l Gotham volume 2
Ryan North. Poor Yorick
Tamora Pierce. Street Magic (e)
Terry Pratchett. Reaper Man (e) (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Necessity's Child (e) (re-read)
George MacDonald. The Princess and Curdie

Non-fiction books in progress
Jung Chang. Empress Dowager Cixi

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Tamora Pierce. Cold Fire
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Terry Pratchett. Mort (e) (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Saltation (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Sourcery (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Daniel Boyarin. The Jewish Gospels
Nigel West. MI5

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Agent of Change
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. The local cineplex did start offering 2D showings of Guardians of the Galaxy after the first week or two. I still haven't found time to see it yet, but it's nice to know the option is there.


2. Sleeping Beauty, as I said last entry, was interesting to revisit after watching Maleficent. I can see now that some of the things I didn't like about Maleficent had their roots in the original movie, but I don't think that excuses them; what's the point of an irreverent retelling if not to fix the plot holes? And it made me even more annoyed about what Maleficent did to Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, who by any reasonable standard are the heroes of Sleeping Beauty. On the other hand, it really stuck out at me that Aurora's mother goes through the entire film without a name; Maleficent at least got that right, even if it didn't give her any more to do. Another thing I have to acknowledge Maleficent did better was that its Aurora and Phillip looked their ages; animated Aurora looks significantly older than 16 years (not to mention demonstrating remarkable sophistication in hair and makeup for a girl who's spent all those years isolated in a forest).

Another interesting-revisiting-after aspect was seeing a bunch of ways Sleeping Beauty influenced later Disney films (and particularly Tangled; Phillip's horse is clearly a less intelligent relative of Maximus, to pick out one of the more obvious points).


3. Snow White was interesting because I've never actually seen it all the way through before, so watching it was a mixture of bits familiar from seeing them excerpted or quoted elsewhere and bits that were a complete surprise: to start with, I'd had no idea there was a scene at beginning where Snow White meets the prince before she gets abandoned in the forest. That still means they fell in love over the course of a single duet, but it's a darn sight better than the usual alternative. And it's no worse than many other Disney princesses -- Aurora, for one, whose first meeting with Phillip is remarkably similar.

The littlies in the audience showed vocal appreciation throughout, with enthusiastic laughter at many of the comedy bits... and when the prince kissed Snow White, a single small voice pronounced a very decided "Ew!".


4. Thanks to a friend deciding to do a Shakespeare movie marathon, I've now seen Gregory Doran's version of Hamlet with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart. I'm not entirely sold on David Tennant as Hamlet, but the production has its good points. I particularly want to single out Penny Downie for an effective and nuanced performance as Gertrude. (Patrick Stewart is also very good, but I was kind of expecting that, since it's Patrick Stewart.)


5. In other news from the Shakespeare marathon, I still think Trevor Nunn's version of Twelfth Night is weirdly gloomy for an adaptation of a play that's supposed to be a comedy.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. 'Allo 'Allo opens tomorrow. The last dress rehearsal went pretty smoothly, which I think I'd prefer to a disaster even if a disastrous final rehearsal is supposed to mean a successful opening.

([livejournal.com profile] lost_spook, since you raised the subject: I know exactly where I put the painting of the Fallen Madonna; the trouble is that since I put it there, somebody else has moved it...)

I haven't had the opening week nightmare yet, which might mean that it's become too familiar to retain any power. On the other hand, there's still tonight.


2. A couple of weeks ago, I went to a quiz night with a group of people from the cast and crew of 'Allo 'Allo. We upheld my family's proud tradition of always coming second at quiz nights, though it was a very close-run thing and we nearly spoiled it by winning. At the end of the final round we were in equal first place, and it took two tie-breakers to bump us down to second.

It's the kind of result that makes one think back on the points that one's team narrowly failed to achieve. I can think of a couple of points we would have got if the person writing down the answers for that round had listened when I said I had the answer; on the other hand, I can think of a couple of points we would have got if I had listened when I was the one writing down the answers, so I suppose it balances out.


3. Rehearsals have already begun for The Duchess of Coolgardie, though at this stage they involve less acting than they do the producer trying to figure out the movement of the various characters on, off, and around the stage. It's got a relatively large cast for an amateur production, even if you only count the named characters, and there's a fair number of unnamed extras and walk-ons in addition.

My character is turning out to have more facets than I expected a melodrama villain to have. I rather guiltily prefer him to the hero, who has a tendency toward the kind of overwrought moping about his troubles that can only be described as "melodramatic", and frankly the worst of his troubles are more his own fault than either he or the authors seem inclined to acknowledge. The villain is a pretty poor excuse for a human being, but at least he's relatively straightforward and self-aware about it.


4. In the area of theatre I've been to see instead of been in, I saw Black Swan's recent modern-dress production of As You Like It. I liked it a great deal, and significantly it made me like the play itself more than I previously had. The only other production I'd previously seen had a lot of really neat sight gags interpolated into it, but left me cold on the play itself; this production made more of an emotional connection to the underlying story (and also, to be fair, had a few good sight gags of its own).


5. A few years ago, the stage magician Teller, in collaboration with veteran theatre director Aaron Posner, directed a production of Macbeth in which all the mysterious supernatural events were realized using actual magic: none of this business with witches and ghosts sneaking on and off stage in full view of the audience; they appeared and disappeared in front of the audience's very eyes. All the apparations apparated in suitably mysterious fashion. It also got pretty good reviews as a production of Macbeth even apart from that aspect of the production. I was very sad at the time that I had no chance of seeing it, and so I was unspeakably pleased to discover just now that it was filmed and has been released on video. It won't be the same as seeing it live, but it's a lot better than nothing.

The reason I was looking up details of that old production is that I recently learned Teller and Posner have done a follow-up this year, bringing a similar approach to The Tempest.
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Terry Pratchett. The Light Fantastic (e) (re-read)
Patricia C Wrede. Talking to Dragons (e) (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Conflict of Honors (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Adrian Goldsworthy. Antony and Cleopatra

In hiatus
Nigel West. MI5

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Terry Pratchett. Equal Rites
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Lynley Dodd. Hairy Maclary's Caterwaul Caper
Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell. Fortunately the Milk
Catherine Jinks. Pagan's Daughter
Catherine Jinks. A Very Unusual Pursuit
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Trade Secret (e)
Bernard Marshall. Cedric the Forester (e)
Tamora Pierce. Trickster's Choice
Susie Poole. All These Things
Terry Pratchett. Raising Steam
Michael Rosen, Helen Oxenbury. We're Going On a Bear Hunt

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Local Custom (re-read)
Tamora Pierce. Trickster's Queen

Non-fiction books in progress
Joachim Fest. Plotting Hitler's Death

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Scout's Progress
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
GK Chesterton. The Innocence of Father Brown (e)
Mem Fox, Pamela Lofts. Koala Lou
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Crystal Soldier (re-read)
Tamora Pierce. Page

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Crystal Dragon (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Chad Orzel. How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Balance of Trade
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Tamora Pierce. First Test

In progress
(anthology). Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01

Non-fiction books in progress
David Fromkin. A Peace to End All Peace

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Tamora Pierce. Page
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Maurice Broaddus. King Maker
Frances Hodgson Burnett. A Little Princess
Kelly Sue DeConnick, et al. Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight
Warren Ellis, et al. Global Frequency
Kathryn Immonen, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kevin Shinick, et al. Avenging Spider-Man: The Good, the Green and the Ugly
Chip Kidd, Dave Taylor. Batman: Death by Design
Mike Mignola, John Byrne. Hellboy: Seed of Destruction (re-read)
Mike Mignola. Hellboy: Wake the Devil
Mike Mignola. Hellboy: The Chained Coffin and others
Tamora Pierce. Realms of the Gods
Adrian Ramos. Some One to See the Emperor (re-read)
Charles Stross. The Apocalypse Codex
Syd of the Funny Hat. Q de Grace

Non-fiction books in progress
David Fromkin. A Peace to End All Peace

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Tamora Pierce. First Test
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Alexis Deacon. Croc and Bird
Tamora Pierce. Wolf-Speaker (re-read)
JR Poulter, Sarah Davis. Mending Lucille

In progress
Tamora Pierce. The Emperor Mage (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Peter Macinnis. Mr Darwin's Incredible Shrinking World

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Robert Bolt. A Man For All Seasons
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Sean E Avery. All Monkeys Love Bananas
Tamora Pierce. Alanna: The First Adventure (re-read)
Jo Walton. Among Others
Greg Weisman, Karine Charlebois. Gargoyles: Bad Guys (re-read)

In progress
(anthology). Liavek
Padraic Colum. The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles (e)
Tamora Pierce. In the Hand of the Goddess (re-read)
Roger Zelazny. A Night in the Lonesome October (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Douglas A. Anderson, Verlyn Flieger. J.R.R. Tolkien On Fairy-stories

In progress
Barbara Sher, Barbara Smith. I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Bram Stoker. The Jewel of Seven Stars

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