Have seen three shows in under 24 hours and so cannot write about any of them yet in depth. I can say this, though:
Facebook Me, which is a show created by junior high-school and high-school aged girls about That social networking site is quite fascinating and creepy - in a good way. The acting is generally pretty strong and the subject matter is about as uncomfortable as you can imagine. Brave stuff from young girls. More on nytheatre.com tomorrow. They got a standing ovation from their sold out audience. This gives me yet more reasons, as if I needed any more, as to why I am NOT on Facebook. Scary stuff.
American Vaudeville Theatre (truth in advertising: I know some of the people involved quite well, so this is not entirely objective) is a lot of fun especially if you have nostalgia for old-fashioned vaudeville with a modern twist, especially enforced rhyming with sanctions for lack of rhyming, lip-synching with sock puppets (more weirdly affecting that one would imagine) and juggling toilet seats and plungers in jockey shorts. Plus bad jokes and puns. Hooray!
The Town of No One is good, solid Brechtian-sorta theater, that is not my personal favorite, but the sold-out audience liked a great deal. I do like Brecht, but not Brechtian-like with a 4th wall. However, potent political message, etc.
I watched two of these shows with people I've met in the past week, which is kind of amazing really, including one woman, Rochelle, who I met on the plane coming to NYC. Amazing.
I have gotten really interesting feedback both on the blog and by email on the reviews and am glad of that.
The conversation about irony in the comments on the post a couple days ago is worth a read. My step-father Tom wrote in with this quotation from David Foster Wallace, which is worth quoting in this post, as it may shed some more light on the subject:
"As far as I can tell, for my generation and maybe the kids younger than us, there are different things that we’re afraid of. We’re afraid of being trite, we’re afraid of being sentimental, we’re afraid of being mawkish, we’re afraid of being stale and formulaic — unless we’re stale and formulaic in a way that pokes fun at its stale, formulaic quality. I mean, we have been taught, so much, both by the lessons of television and the saturation of television, what are the things to be afraid of. And one of the big reasons why irony — and it’s been kind of the mode of discourse in the culture — has really ceased to be palliative or helpful, is that irony is this marvelous carapace, that I can use to shield myself from seeming to you to be naive, or sentimental, or to buy the lush banalities that television gives. If I show you that I believe that we’re both bastards, and that there’s no point to anything and that I was last naive at about age 6, then I protect myself from your judgment of the worst possible flaw in me: sentimentality and naivete, the way a proper appearance of decorum would shield me from your judgment of me as deviant or offensive 30 or 40 years ago."
David Foster Wallace, replayed in BBC Radio 3’s 2011 documentary
DFW, for anyone does not know, was a brilliant writer, whose book Infinite Jest is in my not so humble opinion a masterpiece. Some folks like his essays (which are also brilliant) better. It's all good. What sucks is that he killed himself in 2008, and that was a horrendously sad thing, as he's the kind of person you want to see get older, even wiser and read the book he wrote when he was 80. Tragically, this will not happen and when I think about that it makes me cry.
So, pace where you may be, David Foster Wallace, you are one of my all-time heros.
And with that, I am over and out for tonight, more reviews tomorrow and perhaps something a little more coherent.
Welcome to my blog..
"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty
When I started this blog in 2011, I was in a time of transition in my life between many identities - that of Artistic Director of a company (Apocryphal Theatre) to independent writer/director/artist/teacher and also between family identity, as I discover a new family that my grandfather's name change at the request of his boss in WWII hid from view - a huge Hungarian-Slovak contingent I met in 2011. Please note in light of this the irony of the name of my recently-disbanded theatre company. This particular transition probably began in the one month period (Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 7, 2010) in which I received a PhD, my 20 year old cat died on my father's birthday and then my father, who I barely knew, died too. I was with him when he died and nothing has been the same since. This blog is tracing the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that features too. I'd be delighted if you joined me. (Please note if you are joining mid-route, that I assume knowledge of earlier posts in later posts, so it may be better to start at the beginning for the all singing, all dancing fun-fair ride.) In October 2011, I moved back NYC after living in London for 8 years and separated from my now ex-husband, which means unless you want your life upended entirely don't start a blog called Somewhere in Transition. In November 2011, I adopted a rescue cat named Ugo. He is lovely. As of January 2012, I began teaching an acting class at Hunter College, which is where one of my grandmothers received a scholarship to study acting, but her parents would not let her go. All things come round…I began to think it may be time to stop thinking of my life in transition when in June 2012 my stepfather Tom suddenly died. Now back in the U.S. for a bit, I notice, too, my writing is more overtly political, no longer concerned about being an expat opining about a country not my own. I moved to my own apartment in August 2012 and am a very happy resident of Inwood on the top tip of Manhattan where the skunks and the egrets roam in the last old growth forest on the island.
I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC and as of June 2014 has a green card. So transition continues, but now from sad to happy, from loss to love...from a sense of alienation to a sense of being at home in the world.
As of September 2013 I started teaching writing (composition and rhetoric) as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.
I worked full time on the book thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in May 2014 and completed it at two residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Wisdom House in summer 2015. I have done some revisions and am shopping it around to agents and publishers now, along with having written a rough draft of a new book and some other projects.
Not sure when transition ends, if it ever does. As the saying goes, the only difference between a sad ending and a happy ending is where you stop rolling the film.
For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. You can find me on Facebook under my full name Julia Lee Barclay-Morton. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani
Recently, I started a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. I will be blogging there, too, now.