March 20th, 2012


Sunday the 18th, we went to the Oriental Theater to see the new film "Coriolanus," adapted from William Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name. Directed by Ralph Fiennes, the screenplay by John Logan updates the plot into a powerful story of pride, envy, ingratitude, and betrayal. The modern-era setting (shot in Serbia and Montenegro) makes the scenes of combat harsh, brutal, realistic, and compelling. Excellent story telling, and really marvelous acting by Fiennes in the title role, the suitably regal Vanessa Redgrave as his mother*, Brian Cox as his friend Menenius, and Gerard Butler as his long-time foe, Aufidius. (*Possibly one of Shakespeare's greatest blunders was retaining her name as "Volumnia" from historical sources. Can anyone not see or hear this name and not think that she must be hugely fat? The movie script deals with this by referring to her as "mother," "my mother," "his mother," et cetera, which helps a lot.)

Parts of the movie are fleshed out with news footage of real-life battles and riots. Lubna Azabal as the fierce Tamora and Ashraf Barhom as Cassius are the faces of the mob, hungry, dissatisfied, and angry.

Very spoileriffic blow-by-blow behind the cut:Read more...Collapse )

We were very glad to have had the opportunity to see this rarely-presented play. Loud and bloody as it frequently is, it also seems honest, with the grotesqueries of say, the 1999 Julie Taymor "Titus". The paring down of the text preserves the arc and the sense, with little being lost. Highly recommended for the Shakespeare completists out there. This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.


Today is 2012's vernal equinox, and for once in my life so far, I can truthfully say that we seem to be having an early spring of the type oft-predicted by the Groundhogs, but seldom actually delivered by Mother Nature.

We had snow and ice here on March 2nd, which did not last long. Last week, crocuses were up and blooming. Yesterday, daffodils, snowdrops, violets, wood hyacinths, forsithia, and even an early tulip were in bloom, some of them actually overnight. The cardinals and other birds are singing nesting songs.

In part, this is due to the jet stream dipping far south to the west of us, then veering north of Lake Superior, so that we are getting considerable southern air. How long this can last is anyone's guess--the best we can do is enjoy it while it lasts without being too worried about the strangeness of it.

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