Re-Views

“her” or a Hipster Love Story without Scarlett Johansson’s English Muffins

Okay my dear darlings, Plastikoff is in a rear mood today, thaz right he is rearing his rear into direction which, maybe, is rather to avoid, but… he wouldn’t be Russian if he would avoid naming things the way they really are. Yes, thaz right, Plastikof is going to give you a piece of his mind or, should I say, a piece of his ass (smiley face).

As always as it happens, the best thoughts come to me when I least expect them, so, I was having sex last night in the City and caught myself thinking about “her.” Yeah, I know it’s a little confusing: sex, “her.” Was there somebody else I was envisioning while deep breathing with the person I was with?

I know, I know, you still don’t know a lot about Plastikoff but bear with him, it is going to get more confusing hence of his drinking, but, if not of that drinking, he would not be able to say things he wants to say to you. (Somehow it is so freeing to speak about myself in third person. You should try that too.)

So, alright, I was watching this film by Spike Jonze the other night in a movie theater on 14th street in Manhattan and got completely freaked out, like “The Blair Which Project” freaked out and, if you know me, you know that I don’t freak out easily. This film made me feel like I wanted to crawl under my seat, hug my Teddy bear and call for my daddy while sucking somebody’s toe. Yeah, a big hairy daddy with big toes would have been perfect, but hence I was surrounded by hipsters in love or at least that’s what they made me to believe, I felt like my life was going to end there and then. Brrrrr… That was not a happy thought, my darlings, not a happy thought.

Apparently, while contemplating about my big daddy’s toe, I have hit somebody’s chair, by accident, mind you, a couple of times. Well, I was putting my coat on the floor for my future fetal position, just in case I felt like it’s time for me to crawl and emergency hide under it. What came at me next was a true nightmare. I was “nicely” asked to cut it of, because…

Oh whatever, this self absorbed bitch, yes, thaz right, I said it, “a-self-absorbed-bitch-who-believed-that-with-her-ticked-she-bought-the-whole-freaking-theater” let me know that she doesn’t appreciate my being behind her and since I, by accident, mind you again, hit her chair a few times, she threw at me this “die-right-now-you-who-is-not-from-Williamsburg” look and went back to her “casual” talk with her friend via texting on her phone.

Suddenly I, ze Plastikoff himself, realized that this bitch was pretending to like this film about people falling in love with computers. How can it possibly be that this freshly-backed-in-the-nuclear-waste-of-Williamsburg, a transplant from some land of ze US I don’t know about was not paying attention to the love story of a man with a high waist crotch, how?

Thankfully I was hearing that raspy Scarlett Johansson’s voice which made me loose my gay cool and scream at the screen like some kind of drunken affectionado who just finished counting his “organic” chicken on a rooftop somewhere in Rooklyn. (I think I was going for something in Spanish there, but what came out of me was a mix of undefined street slang that is only known to me: “oh betch, you better work that script, nominated for an Ascar. Ah-hummm thaz right, we know iz you, you sexy beast. Show us your titties. Talk to me as if your humangas want to have that sweet love of mine.” (I have no idea where that came from and why I decided to keep this wordy diarrhea here.) I was not sure if I was surrounded by the right crowd for this type of appreciation of actress’s work, so I screamed inside of me, mind you. I felt that the bitch in front of me was watching every move of mine. I was ready to get to my fetal position under my coat on the floor anytime now.

Because of this pressure from the one in front of me I started looking for a reason, any reason for that mater, why I was there and what the duck was going on on the screen. Not finding any answer to my why the theater was full of hipsters and why there were no Scarlett boobs (pun intended) shown on the screen I realized that it must be raining in Alaska. I had to put myself together and give all my concentration to the film.

What was the point behind all those long talky-shmalky scenes without Scarlett’s boobs, I asked myself? I lost my gay-three-snaps-and-a-twirl, let me tell ya. There wasn’t even a little glimpse of any boob in the film, for that matter, as I remember, or was there? I guess I was too involved with thinking about that daddy’s toe which would have saved me from the movie theater full of hipster love. Oh God, I am getting tense only by thinking about the situation I was in. Let me have a sip of whatever is next to me in my glass right now. I think I got carried away a little with all that talk about boobs.

So, as you see, I was having a “fantastic hipster” time until… No, no, I am not kidding, I did “try” to have a great time, but for some reason my version of a great time had that spill-of-my-drink-on-that-bitch’s-head the whole freaking time I was listening to Johansson’s voice. This is what “romantic” comedies do to me. I want to (said in a soft voice) hurt people. They are just oh too happy and… bam, bam, bam… sorry, I got myself carried away by those “happy” thoughts of… well okay, we are here not to discuss what makes me happy, I am Russian, for God’s sake, tragedy is my comedy and horror is my life.

So alright, the film made me realize that I have become that mushy bearded hipster watching films about people doing nothing but playing computer games. Oh what a lovely notion to think that there is nothing more important than to talk to your computer and wear those pastel colors indicating that the people in the future are definitely not wearing make-up, because that would clash with those hipster Instagram filters used on the film itself.

I got hungry, let me tell ya. I thought about food while watching those oh so pale actors on the screen. Because of this pale sickness coming from the screen I realized that there are no dark skinned people in the future. Was there something in the food that made everyone so pale? Wait, and what exactly were they eating there? Well, I guess they were just popping those happy pills that make them full of… God, I needed a drink, but I had left my water bottle with two weeks long residue of alcohol at home thinking that… apparently I was not thinking, otherwise that bottle would have been with me the whole freaking time. Damn you overpriced movie theaters with soft drinks only! Even the effing drinks are soft there. Ugh!

So, alright, what is the point of this entry, you ask me? I used one thousand two hundred and sixty nine words here… Oh ef it, there is no point in it. “her” is a scary film about bullshit people who talk with computers instead of each other and … it has no boobs!

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Litter-Rat-U’r[in]e

Unusual Books for the Nooks (And Crannies in Your Life)

Now this is a list of books I want to read!
Take it away Little Miss Menopause!

P.S. Don’t forget to read her “Who’s Writing This Quirkiness?” page. You will thank me later ;)!

Once Upon Your Prime

Disclaimer: This topic has no author turning over in his grave. It’s all in fun.

Let’s turn “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” into “If You Give Your Spouse Some Nookie.” I think books should grow with us as we age. I don’t want to keep packing up my beloved classic children’s literature into cardboard boxes to be rummaged through by sticky hands at garage sales for a quarter. Any writer expecting to have their children’s book become a Classic AND sustain a permanent place on our bookshelves needs to offer an intriguing 2nd Half-Of-Life version. We are no longer wearing footie pajamas and reading in our bean-bag chairs. Now we’re donning housecoats (what IS that type of apparel for, anyhow?) and reclining in our Barcalounger chairs.

In that spirit, here are some new “Grown-Up” Title modifications and a few of my recommendation notes to the Author.

SELF-HELP SECTION

View original post 538 more words

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Litter-Rat-U’r[in]e

Did I just Eat a Murakami Cat?

Inspired by Haruki Murakami, his cats and maybe my roommate has something to do with all of this.

Well my dear darlings, I don’t know what happened here and why you were not reading my wonderful passage I wrote about E. Nokrošius just a few days ago, I just don’t know and, I guess, I will never know. Even thought I might pretend that I don’t care about things of that nature, but I do care and it hurts me so much that I want to grab another gallon of my favorite Port (of course it has to be my favorite Port, what else?) and have it down to the very last drop right at this moment. Drown that sadness Mr. Plastikoff, drown it!

That’s right, I am definitely going to do that… as soon as I have these seventeen dollars and forty cents to spare, of course, but for now, I guess, I will just have to write something about cats and be sad.

You are probably surprised (or at least I want to think that you are) and are asking yourself, why cats? Well, my darlings, there are a lot of people who love cats, so since they do love them, I have to write about them, right? Oh bullocks, I am just a little too emotional right now and there is a reason why (no, I am not allergic to cats, no, just probably a little verklempt (you really need to read this drunk, it’s more enjoyable this way. There is a reason why I am releasing all this gas on a Friday afternoon) (smiley face)).

It might be that I have inhaled way too much of that smoke which came out from that tea pot my roommate left unattended for a few hours on the stove and almost burned this whole damn house down. Could it be that? Yes, it could be.

The smell of burned hair is still lingering around me like some kind of esoteric mist that you spray around to make all these daemons disappear.

I have a suspicion though that it could be that my roommate might have cooked that poor cat which was looking through our kitchen window the other day, sitting peacefully on the fire escape. It could be that, yes, it could be. This definitely would explain that burned hair smell around the apartment. I hope that this is not the case, because otherwise how am I going to write about the cat today when I have no immediate inspiration looking at me as if I am some kind of head of a smoked fish I ate a week before on Brighton Beach. Could it be that? Yes, it could be.

Now why the duck a cat I want to write to you about today, why? Well, my dear darlings, I do not know. What I do know though is that somehow I need to get your attention, because, you know, I am an attention whore, why would I work in theater otherwise for, a cute smiley face? I don’ think so.

If you would have read my previous entry, you would already know how I feel about this Lithuanian cat Nekrošius, who is more of a tiger, if you ask me. I am still afraid to meet him though. I am scared that he might bite me (pun intended) and I might lose all the motion in my, let’s say, left hand. Brrrr…

This is quite, what’s the word for it, horrific? No, that is not the word I want to use here, but whatever. Nobody wants to lose their left hand to anybody unless… hmmm, the cat is definitely not around anymore. That is a little too suspicious…

So, alright, cats, cats, cats and the theater. What kind of connection do they have? Oh God, I am going to have a really hard time naming this entry. Good luck with not sounding like some crazy Russian who just ate a cat and have forgotten about it the minute he did it.

Yes, I am crazy and who wouldn’t be considering that I have chosen theater as my carrier. Darlings, I get it, working in theater is equals being homeless, yes, I get it, but I am not that crazy yet that I would forget about the cat I just ate. Too many “that’s” on this page, if you ask me. Hmmm, I have a weird feeling in my stomach all of a sudden.

Well alright, I guess I will need to ask my roommate about that last meal he invited me to taste just before that fire broke down. I sense a Shakespearean plot brewing, but moving on…

As with all of my genius entries which have no particular place or need to be on the almighty Internet it happens so that I give you some valid information at the end of my jumbo-mumbo every time I talk. You might not realize that, but I do.

You, most likely, will never need to use that “valid information,” because, you know, even though I like sharing, I share only things that are more convenient to me. Would I be sharing information about how to get rich? I don’t think so. It’s all a secret, even to me, so ride the subways as I do, when, of course, I have those two dallas and fity cents fo a ride. God gracious, that’s almost the prize of two bagels and a coffee…

Sharing is carrying, you must understand that, unless you are a cat, of course, then a smoked fish head sounds more appealing to you than some guys ranting about things that matter only when you are alone, surrounded by the smoke and think that your roommate wants to smoke you alive because you dropped a few water drops on the kitchen counter (true story)… oh wait, no wonder I feel like eating myself. I smell like that smoked fish. Let’s just hope those cats can’t… oh damn you Murakami.

But anyway, what is that “valid information” I want to share with you, my dears? Oh that’s right, books that you should read before you are smoked out from your apartments by your roommates. These books below all have talking cats and are just… well read it and let’s talk about them.

So here they are:

Mikhail Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita”

Haruki Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore” and

Definitely something by Edward Gorey

Here is a little clip to spice things up. We all know how we like some youbty clips do go with those words. I present you Gorey and, of course, his cat:

Oh and to those theater fans, Grotowski used cats as examples for actors to watch, but about it at another time. I need to make sure my neighbor’s cat is still alive.

Have a pussy day, or should I say a weekend, my darlings. And what is this here on my plate? An eyeball? Should I faint for a dramatic effect now or should I leave it for tomorrow? Oh whatever (faints)!

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Theater Farts, Unsolicited Solicitations

Running after Nekrošius’s Nose

Okay my dear darlings, I finally got home from my night of smoked fishing on Brighton Beach. Let me tell ya, those stray cats were ready to eat me alive there. I never knew that there were so many of them running around. I guess neighborhood restaurants are doing great in these times of hunger, since there is no need for that specific cat meet on the market.

But let me leave the cat meat for another entry. Maybe it will be more appropriate to talk about its tenderness while discussing the differences between Bulgakov’s cat Begemot in his “Master and Margarita” and Sharik of his “Dog’s Heart,” who knows? This could be quite an interesting subject to discuss considering that people love cats and dogs. And shhhhh… (whispers) sometimes they eat them without knowing that they are actually doing it.

But these are not the things I want to talk with you about on this pre-winter-vertex night of cozy dreams, no. Suddenly (well not so suddenly, but okay, I’ll leave it here for the suspense’s purpose) I got this need to tell you about my biggest influences of my life.

There are a few directors in Lithuania who made this country boy fall in love with all things theater. These directors not only changed how I see theater now but also they were able to influence the future theater audiences and audiences alike.

Going to theater in Soviet countries at that time when I was growing up was equals to being educated and intelligent. If you haven’t seen one or another production everybody was talking about, you were not interesting enough to be invited to parties. So, yeah, people saw a lot of theater in these times of red and sickle and yes, most of it was really good.

Okay, so there is this Lithuanian theater director Eimuntas Nekrošius who changed a lot about Lithuanian theater, right. There are books written about him. Funny, but he is probably more popular in Italy than in Lithuania though. Why is it so, don’t ask me that, because the point is not about being popular. The point is that he was one of those directors who revolutionized theater arts.

The breaking point in Nekrošius carrier happened when he put a production of “Uncle Vanya” in 1986 on one of Lithuanian’s most famous stages. With this production he completely changed how classics were put on the stage.

Well, of course, when I say to you things like that out of the blue they mean nothing to you. You say, who cares about some theater in some Eastern European country nobody knows about, and why suddenly we should care about it?

…and you are right. There is nothing for you to care about, because firstly there is almost no way to see that production today and secondly, why should I care about you carrying? The change is understood only when it is physically lived and emotionally experienced live.

Well, my dear darlings, Nekrošius introduced to the audiences another way of “reading” classics. Classic plays became relevant again. Nekrošius got rid of heaviness of Naturalistic Theater by having the form speak the text. Naturalistic Theater became very boring. Director’s Theater started growing in popularity.

Of course saying that Nekrošius invented another type of theater is the same as saying that Madonna invented Vogueing. The change in theater was happening way before Nekrošius put that famous “Uncle Vanya” on the stage.

My theater revolution happened when I saw Nekrošius’s Nose. Well, it was something else I saw on the stage, not the actual nose of Nekrošius, you understand that, of course? Nekrošius adapted Gogol’s “The Nose” making the nose a character which represented another organ on a male body which is to this day dangling in between legs if not supervised.

It was a show about an organ men keep in their pants most of the time. In Nekrošius’s case it was out and about in the open revealing some facts about the Soviet culture. With this production it was obvious that Nekrošius was exposing way more than the organ itself.

The Nose became that simpleton intelligentsia was embarrassed to talk about. I still remember that famous scene where the character of Nose and Major Kovalyov, the character whose “nose” was cut off, went to the theater. The simpleton Nose watched a performance and absorbed it through his simpleton’s brains. He was reacting through his baser instincts watching ballerinas perform a classical dance. Ballerinas by the end of their performance were wearing heavy soldier boots instead of pointe shoes and dancing Can-Can to Nose’s entertainment. They were being groped by whom else but Nose himself after he got bored sitting in one place. Fun times, I say!

This production of “The Nose” was an absolute genius. No wonder that after it Nekrošius kind of disappeared from theater. Was he afraid that he would not be able to top his nose (pun intended) with anything else? We will, most likely, never know.

The audiences were waiting for Nekrošius’s next production as thirsty cats for that milk. Nekrošius released Pushkin’s “Little Tragedies” after “The Nose”…

…there is still that one production nobody will ever see, because it never reached audiences. It only stayed in rehearsals.

Nekrošius was rehearsing “Carmen” after releasing his “Little Tragedies” which won him a National Prize as the Best Director of the Year. Something happened with him during that period. He was not able to finish “Carmen” even though everyone was constantly talking about it.

Later we learned that Nekrošius went to rest his genius in a house nobody is proud to talk about in Lithuania. I don’t think anybody knew if Nekrošius really went to a crazy house or not, but those were the details that made my mind spin. Who doesn’t want to hear stories like that? These stories about genius artists need to be overly dramatic. We are talking theater here, so of course normal equals boring.

What came out of him after his “retreat” was absolutely mesmerizing and breathtaking. His “Hamlet” and “Three Sisters” completely shut the doors to the old ways of reading and performing any play in Lithuania’s theaters. I believe that there was no actor who didn’t want to work with Nekrošius at that time. Yes, I was one of those actors too, but don’t mention that to Nekrošius. I am still planning on playing that soldier in that play by that author (smiley face).

More importantly there were stories going around about how Nekrošius worked with his actors. We saw with our own eyes how actors spent their most famous scenes under dripping ice cube chandeliers, or under coffins, hanged above their heads, full of heavy stones dropping to the ground, or trapped inside of huge rugs from which was no way to escape. These stories were as entertaining as productions itself. They were very physical and oh so good.

This is an image from “Macbeth” where boulders were falling down while Kostas Smoriginas as Macbeth was acting on the stage:

Macbeh_02

Nekrošius’s Hamlet played by Andrius Mamontovas had to get his dagger from a huge frozen ice cube:

Mamontovas_Hamletas

He had to stand with a shirt made out of paper under a dripping chandelier made from actual steal saws and ice cubes in his “to be or not to be” scene. Here are some excerpts from “Hamlet” with Mamontovas:

It was magic. No, Nekrošius was not using some tricks or gimmicks to make audiences gasp, no. Nekrošius was removing Shakespearean text and making it speak through the actions of actors and visuals, so you “heard” the text while listening to those drops dripping on Hamlet’s back revealing his “naked” soul.

291498_10150755975645501_1731825_o

Of course there were many audience members who couldn’t understand what was going on in front of their eyes. Many of them complained that Nekrošius was way too symbolic and “too cold” because of that symbolism.

The thing is that you really needed to know those plays before going to see his productions. That’s why it became a must to read those classics before going to see how those classics Nekrošius interpreted.

Thankfully, because of the almighty Internet, you all can see a few clips from his productions. There are a few of my all time favorites there. Get familiar with them and I promise you, you will never read another Shakespearean play the way you used to.

Nekrošius is a director of form. He directs a human body on the stage in such a way that the body becomes that medium between the text and the audience. The form and what an actor does is more important for Nekrošius than what an actor says with the text. Nekrošius is very specific about what and how props and sets work in conjunction with a human body. He is very good at finding where to place objects on the stage and finding that certain movement for actors to express the text to the fullest. He marries the form with the text and an actor is that connection.

Nekrošius uses familiar objects to create new meanings for them. He selects what needs to be used with uncanny precision.

Othello used houseplants and pots to create a grave for Desdemona after killing her. Here is that scene:

But my favorite from his “Othello” is a scene where Desdemona is saying goodbye to Othello. Nekrošius chose a prima ballerina, Eglė Špokaitė, to play Desdemona confirming to me that he chooses movement and form over acting and text. Here is that clip which still gives me shivers and goosebumps:

You can catch Nekrošius’s productions around Europe for sure. Here is a link to his theater’s website:

Meno Fortas

If Nekrošius comes to your town, do yourself a favor, go and see his work, but, of course, read those plays beforehand.

Yes, you might find yourself completely lost during his productions, but believe me, those productions will stick with you for a long time. You might figure them out much later than you thought you would. Be prepared to sit in a chair for three or four hours. It might be long but it will be worth it! Have a drink before hand and you should be fine dissecting all this beauty on the stage.

To say that Nekrošius hasn’t influenced me is the same as saying that I’ve never sang in the shower. Do I sing in the shower? I guess you will never know, unless I get a glass of Port and reveal it to you with gross details sometime later. I am going to leave you with that open, never ending nose. Take your time catching it, but catch it while it is still around!

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Theater Farts

Gone Fishing or Something about Stalin

Well okay my dear darlings, I have to write this entry in a subway car as some kind of alternative-ass-writing artist. It’s late, alright, and I got drunk in the city, so sue me. I haven’t had my Port for quite some time now, so whatever you say, I do not care. I just got abused by a drag queen, kissed by somebody I was and I think still am attracted to, so, of course, I am drunk, what do you expect me to be after spending the night surrounded by all these high heels on the rocks, I mean… oh never mind… This should be a perfect time for me to write all those five reasons why you should wear heels at least once in your lifetime, but I won’t be doing that, because, my dears, I just got some Mexican musicians entertain my loneliness in this subway car, and… And what the heck are they doing here, at this hour, singing in a subway? Oh wait, it’s already New Year and I believe it’s bright outside. So, of course, it must be another day. So my dears, I will just get another sip from my strategically covered water bottle which holds a residue of some kind of alcohol, but I digress saying that. And I digress not because I am drunk at 9AM on a Monday morning, no. I digress because the alcohol I am drinking right now is not alcohol anymore; I am pretty sure about that. It tastes as some kind of weirdly flavored liquid that came out from those ice cubes I got into my drink just before I left that place I had to leave many hours before I got myself this unbelievably drunk. Wait, what is that? A finger nail? Oh whatever, I will just pretend that it’s a cherry in my drink, but enough about it. There are many more important things to discuss here, like, for example, world hunger or what dress one or another celebrity wore at one or another Globe or whatever they’re called now.

Alright, Plastikoff decided to ride this train to the very end, just because he suddenly realized that he needs some smoked fish that goes perfectly well with all this drunken debauchery. And you can get that particular smoked fish on Coney Island only. Why only there? I do not know. Maybe because the ocean is right there if suddenly you feel very adventurous after eating that fish.

Okay, I got the fish and I poured another glass of Port into my water bottle just because I can. Mondays are dark in theaters, so I don’t feel guilty drinking at this hour. Got it? Good.

The alcohol level in my system is high enough to be able to speak about serious art and when I say that, I really mean it. To understand the Russian soul you really need to get drunk to the point that you don’t remember yourself. And when you don’t remember yourself, you remember things that matter the most. There was a reason why Stalin made all of his ministers drunk at his parties. He would listen to them. Some of them, of course, would not show up at the next party or anywhere else for that matter, because, my dears, Stalin would make them disappear as that smoke on an early morning blown by the wind and I am not talking about that kind of smoke you smoke your fish in. In Vino Veritas, that’s right, and for most of them that “veritas” ended up in Siberia. And why the heck I am speaking about Siberia all of a sudden? Is this because its winter and I feel quite cold sitting here all by myself on Brighton Beach? Or is it that there is something else I want to tell you about the Russian soul?

Now why my dear darlings am I bubbling so much about drinking, Stalin and Siberia you’d ask? Well because that was the time when theater in Soviet countries was booming. This was the time when the greatest theater traditions were born.

Since everything was censored greatly and there was literally no book in press that would not use a quote from Marx or Engels, yes, that’s true, a quote had to be included somewhere in the beginning of any book going to press otherwise it would be not released, artists were becoming very creative about how and what they wanted to say to their audiences. People started looking for alternative ways of getting information they were missing because of the censorship. Artists during that time began learning how to speak and create “in codes.” Nothing would get passed through Soviet censorship, you know that already. It’s almost like in today’s United Sates where every camera on your computers is regulated by that invisible man who oh so wants to get into your naked business. Why else would you use your camera for? (Smiley face?)

But returning to the Soviet times, there were, of course, certain authors that would not pass the censorship even with those quotes, but this entry is not about them. We are talking about theater now. There were theater directors who put a classic play (let’s say something Shakespearean) with some hidden messages in it critiquing the Soviet regime. This is where a tradition of a theater-director-who-was-able-to-tell-something-else-“in code”-while-putting-up-a-much-known-play-at-the-time was born. People flocked to theaters to watch those shows and “read” those hidden messages inside performances. People literally had to wait in line over night in freezing cold to get those tickets to see one or another play. Tickets were sold out the very first day of the month when theaters would release those seats for sell. If you missed that first day, you had to wait for another month to see one or another production. If you were lucky, you were able to snatch a ticket for a show which would happen sometime at the end of the month. Those tickets, most likely, were for standing-in-the-isle “seats” only. This was the time when Director’s Theater was born. A director was the story teller, the stage was his/her canvas/book and audiences came to see what a director wanted to say to them about the situation they were living in.

What happened next with theater in Soviet countries and why you most likely will hear a director’s name attached to a production there first, I am going to discuss in my later entries when I am less drunk and not as cold as I am right now. For some reason I am still entertaining an idea of a winter swim in the ocean, but let me get that fish eaten first before my neighborhood cats realize what’s happening here.

The fish is done but for some reason I still feel like I need to add something before I get completely surrounded by those cats. I will just say blatantly, today is a perfect time for the United States to catch up on all that lost time when Director’s Theater was cultivated in those Soviet countries “everybody” here still calls Russia. I am going to elaborate about it a little bit more in other entries but for now I am leaving you with this fishy smell. Tah-dah

Should I still go for a swim?

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Litter-Rat-U’r[in]e

The Flowers or the Fart Who Wasn’t There

Inspired by Clarissa D. and playwrights’ egos. Dedicated to all writers who couldn’t but still… (farted)

Mr. Dalloquay said he would buy the flowers himself.

He just knew he needed to. No, the problem was not the party he wasn’t eager to invite anybody to. It was something else, something too peculiar to mention here or anywhere for that matter.

Clarence was carrying it for a few weeks now. It was becoming him, undefined and hurtful. Clarence knew that as soon as he does it, nobody will be able to help him… nobody… nothing… nowhere…

The flowers looked too weak and he was just too distracted from himself, from the world that needed him. He wanted to be but he wasn’t. What and how were not the questions anymore. It was the disconnection he saw becoming and engulfing all of him with no mercy, with nothing, but everything…

The undefined emptiness was growing inside him promising him zip, nada, niento… He couldn’t face the people. He knew that it is bigger than him – bigger than anything ever imagined. He knew that he couldn’t do it, even though so many said, don’t be afraid, it will remove your fear of not being there where flowers were not enough to be just that, the flowers. They needed to become something else. He still didn’t know what, but he felt it. He was becoming that emptiness inside him. He was becoming nothing in everything. If he were let it go, the world would know he did it and that was not an option.

He looked at the sky. There was this thing he forgot the name of. Then he looked at the bitch, unleashed but somehow still chained to the anger of its two front legs as if the tail couldn’t wag anymore.

The bitch was there, but how? There was no leash and no tail. Was he wagging the bitch or was it that he knew nobody saw the bitch but him. He was that bitch with all his being, unchained but somehow still there where he just couldn’t…

This face, where has it gone? He picked a pickle or was it a radish? He couldn’t distinguish. He felt the same bitterness as he always did while eating something that he didn’t wanted to. The bitch again or was it that something which spread inside him as some plague promising to destroy that everything he was so fond to keep? Everything is gone now… the bitch too… He still feels that radish or the pickle in his mouth. He couldn’t prevent it from happening. He had nobody to see it, even the bitch… It was gone… The emptiness was growing consuming all of him… the otherness… the intestines… now was the time for his heart…

He thought he made it clear to her, he hated to rewrite. He hated to change anything. It had to be the way it is, with the bitch and the tail wagging away… But it was too late…

It was growing inside him. He knew he wouldn’t be able to hold it longer in. Why did he say that he was okay? He wasn’t. That was that something he hated speaking about, coming from inside him, devouring his being, changing him, making him not the one he really is. He’ll disappear, he knows it, he’ll disappear if he lets it loose.

The scene he wrote was written and somebody foreign wanted to change it. He couldn’t apprehend it why. Was it the bitch or the flowers that still needed to be bought that made him think: I am not and I will not… but it was already too late… three minutes after four too late…

These flowers were too wilted and he was not there anymore. Why did he say he was unhappy? The bitch again was wagging him like there was something he needed to remember. Oh yes, the flowers… He was holding them just a moment ago and now they were gone…

How did she dare to say my writings would improve if only I removed the bitch? No, the bitch is me and it has to wag.

He was disappearing like that bitch he fought so much about. The emptiness inside him was growing through intestines to his heart. His heart is strong but way too soon removed from what he is, from who he was.

He did it yesterday and now he’s disappearing. That day which called him out diminished all that he believed was true. No, he is not going to change it – he will say it to her – I’m not the bitch you want me to be – you go and duck yourself with your three acts of glory – I’ll stay with the bitch – the bitch is me and she needs to wag… He is her now or she is him, he could not feel it anymore.

He farted… No, no, no it is too early for that to happen, no! The fart was gone, but where? He couldn’t feel it, he couldn’t smell it. Where did it go? The flowers! Why do I smell the flowers? The audience is clapping, screaming “Bravo!” He changed the wagging bitch, but why? The emptiness is full again, but is he him or her? He’s on the stage – oh yes, the flowers – you giving them for free? The claps of million palms – the bitch – she’s free – the bitch is free – the empty is full again. He cannot smell it, but why? He knows he released it. More flowers? More applause? The bitch is gone. He’s free.

Everybody dies at the end anyway…

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Theater Farts, Unsolicited Solicitations

My 3 Spent Kopeks or an Open Letter (sort of) to Play Writers

Okay, my Dear Darlings, I kept myself quiet for way too long, listening to your (something) whining about this and that. Today is the day for me to give you the 3 kopeks I still have about writing for theater.

You all seem so bitter and too serious about your craft, my Dear Writers. Have a drink or something and let’s discuss why your ego and lack of flexibility hurt us all.

I see that some of you might not really know how theater really works. You get all worked up about your genius ideas and ze words you write in your plays. There is a lot I want to say about all that ego business it seems you have when it comes to producing your play. The thing is, my Dear Darlings, nobody wants to work in theater with anybody who has a big ego, unless, of course, it’s Serge Plastikoff himself, then all is forgiven.

There are oh so many things that bother me about American theater, but I will keep that for another entry, when I am less drunk, besides America is not ze country I grew up in, so I need to show some class I might never have (smiley face).

The American theater is strangely stuck on this imaginary belief that what is written should always stay in the production. No, my Dear Darlings, a play or script is a blueprint for a production, simple as that. Why do so many directors return to Shakespeare, Molière, Chekhov or Ibsen? Because all these writers left their plays as blueprints with written ideas in it. The most successful play writers will be the ones who write their plays leaving space for interpretation.

When I take on a play to direct, first I look for how I could express what hurts me now and the society. I ask the question: “Is this play relevant today?” I read plays as drafts to express something other than what is written. It is sometimes very tedious work to do, but every director looks for that perfect blueprint to be able to build a house which is the play/performance/show.

Let me say it straight: if you don’t trust directors, actors, designers, composers and all the collaborative effort that goes into producing your play, then don’t ducking do it. Write a novel or a short story or something. Theater is collaboration; nobody wants to deal with your big ego. If you know how your play should be done, then do it yourself, by yourself and to yourself because you will never have a great production when collaboration is absent.

After reading a few thoughts you expressed, My Dear Writers, on one message board or another I got this strange feeling that you are missing something very important about theater arts. I will repeat: it sounds like some of you don’t even know how theater actually works. Have you made any effort to research and read about successful theater groups? Have you asked yourself why certain authors and their plays are being produced year after year after year? What makes a great play? Have you researched how Shakespeare, Molière, Chekhov, Ibsen wrote their works?

Oh, I know I will be attacked as another one who doesn’t respect the sacredness of writers and their works. Darlings, I don’t care, there are plenty of works that just wait for my drunken mind to get mixed in. You should look forward to seeing productions that make your work exciting, because they open something you hadn’t thought while writing it. All those different interpretations and the decisions others make while working with your play should be your priority, not the offensive mess you see when a director decides to remove one or another scene or word.

How many times were the works of Shakespeare, Molière, Ibsen, Chekhov cut, rearranged, or rewritten? All that business only made their plays more interesting and exciting even in some high school productions. There were/are so many interpretations of “Hamlet” alone that a play writer who wrote a play like this could live for hundreds of years on stage. Oh, that’s right, Shakespeare did it and he is somehow still relevant. Point blank, if you want to be as good as Shakespeare, be prepared to see your favorite scenes, words and what not cut from your play, because somebody saw something else in your work.

A play is incomplete without a live performance. Without that live breath it is nothing. It should inspire directors, actors, designers, musicians and other writers to come back to it time and time again, unless you want to be a legend in your own living room (thank you, Madame Lennox).

Directors are not your enemies. They are messengers who decipher your message and deliver it to the audiences, through the actors and production.

Actors are not invaders of your plays. They are the ones who give your words life. You should cherish and trust them. They take your characters on themselves and live the life you wrote for them on the stage.

Designers and musicians dress and move your written words with their imagination.

In short, you all should strive to have as many different approaches to your work as possible and let go of your ego. The tree which is the most flexible survives the many storms ahead.

Do you need more convincing? Okay, let’s see how Shakespeare became who she/he/they became.

You see, to this day it is unclear if it was one writer who wrote all these plays. What we know is that somebody recorded the text. Shakespeare’s success is in a collaborative process that was developed on the stage. The texts allow us to re-imagine who one or another character was. Romeo and Juliet have been a boy and a girl, a boy and a boy, a girl and a girl, or a giraffe and an elephant in many productions since the actual work was written. Still, “Romeo and Juliet” is and will always be “Romeo and Juliet.” Shakespeare could care less if his/her/their text is re-arranged and re-imagined by generations and generations to come. It is still an ageless story, a blueprint many directors will return to for many years.

Let’s look at Molière now. He wrote his plays while performing and directing them himself. He “borrowed” from Commedia dell’Arte, Marlowe and what and who not. He made those plays his own, because he was not afraid to let his ego go when there were audiences involved. What he cared about was the performance.

Chekhov had Stanislavski himself to direct his plays. I don’t need to tell you what it meant to him when Nemirovich-Danchenko, after “The Seagull” (my favorite play by Chekhov, by the way) flopped, told Stanislavski that he should direct the play. The production directed by Stanislavski returned Chekhov to fame in theater. Do you think it is an accident? Oh Darlings, you haven’t experienced theater the way it is with all its magic and…

And here comes Ibsen, the one that has been produced as often as Shakespeare. While employed at Det Norske Theater in Bergen, Ibsen was involved in many plays as writer, director, and producer, and even though he didn’t become a successful playwright at that time, all this collaborative experience helped in his writings later on. When actors speak the words I wrote, I feel where I made mistakes and I let them correct me with their inner voices.

Sometimes, when I am tremendously bored with directing I become an actor… or is it the other way around, I don’t remember now. I show my doubts while working on one or another character in a play. One day I decided to write my own play and, on top of it, I decided to direct that play too. I had one of my bastard actors question the words I had written the same way I was questioning somebody else’s work when I was acting. I let him change my words the way he felt it fit his character, just later for him to realize that what I wrote was correct and he wanted to return to that original text. I took it, of course, as a huge compliment, but still let him know that I was “open” for his interpretation, because he was “feeling” my words on the stage. I know I know I am so giving and forgiving. You can put your flower into my limo. Thank you!

So, My Dear Darlings, if you get offended by somebody interpreting your written words on the stage you should probably choose another way of expressing yourself, because theater is fluid, theater is flexible and most importantly, theater is collaborative. Boom! The news splash for you? I hope not!

You want to be another Ibsen, Chekhov, Molière or Shakespeare? Meet the live theater and people who are eager to change your written words. Believe me, you will gain a lot from it and who knows, collaborations might make you another great playwright. Break a leg and keep it broken in appreciation that somebody is inspired by your writings. Plastikoff’s out. No, I mean I am out of Port. Tah-da!

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Theater Farts

My Confession to Cate Blanchett’s Uncle

Okay, My Dear Darlings, today I am going to reveal something about Plastikoff, that is to say, about myself. I don’t know how many of you want to know anything about me, but the reason for my openness is not what you think it is.

I usually say something about my drinking and s**t like that at the beginning of my blog but not today. Today I want to put a Freudian hat and dissect my bitterness and itch to be inappropriate (sometimes) in public.

I should say that a part of this entry was written last summer, but I decided to release it today. I think the time is right and besides I am ready to open another bottle of Port right now (smiley face).

Cate Blanchett, Anton Chekhov and My Confession

I am sure that not so many of you were able to catch a production of “Uncle Vanya” with Cate Blanchett at City Center last summer. It ran only for a few days and, of course, the ticket prices were way too, but somehow understandably, steep for any theater lover to be able to afford it. I was one of the lucky ones who got a ticket because of my theater loving friends who let themselves splurge on theater time after time. I barely can afford to buy a chicken wing at some fried food place, so to spend more than twenty dollars on anything was just too utopian considering my today’s salary. I am actually quite annoyed that only some “privileged” people can see theater in the city nowadays. Art is an escape and art is needed for all the people. Well, but that is quite a different topic to talk about and maybe I will return to it in another entry which, most likely, will be alcohol induced… okay, okay I will not go there today, so let me go straight to describing those feelings I had when I was watching the production of the Sydney Theater Company at City Center.

Yesterday, it happened so, I sent my supporting materials for a residency in a theater. Yes, that’s right, Plastikoff sometimes sends things out like that. (Beats his fists to his chest) I am an artist who needs somebody’s approval too. You know, I can’t survive on one chicken wing a month. I need some potatoes with it. Well, okay I will cut my spending on alcohol, but (he beats his fists even greater) I need it for my creative juices to flow and who the duck are you telling me what I should and what I shouldn’t do? (Gets himself together) Ups, sorry, I got a little carried away. I hope you’ll understand.

As always, as it is with me, everything was coming down to the last minute. This whole mad rush made my concentration work to the fullest. This last minute business always feels like the last day before a show is released. It is stressful but when it’s done, it feels like I have accomplished something. I thought I did well (Update: no, I didn’t get the residency (sad face)). Of course there is always place for improvement. I also understand that my understanding of what is good not always coincides with other people’s understanding of the same. That is okay, because at the end of the day I am the one who is going to judge my work from my point of view and my point of view might be very different from your point of view, so in Plastikoff’s head Plastikoff is always right (smiley face).

So let me go deeper into that ducklingly ducked Plasikoff’s mind and see how, for example, I found myself critiquing THE “Uncle Vanya” with THE Cate Blanchett on the same day I was refused the residency.

Okay, here it is, my confession:

I don’t know what got into me, but I found myself hating the production of “Uncle Vanya” last summer. After I was awarded with a ticket, which cost close to two hundred dollars, I was farting cranberries in my seat while watching it. What “bothered” me was not the production but the fact that I was sitting in the audience watching “Uncle Vanya” while my whole body screamed how badly I wanted to be involved with the show or be the one who wrote the play. Well, “Uncle Vanya” is not my favorite Chekov’s play. Why the heck it gets produced so many times, I have no idea? I was farting pancakes and believe me nobody should be in the same room when I do that. You would understand me if you wore my shoes but since I can’t afford to buy them I’ll leave you here with what went through my mind after the show.

There were a few elements that “bothered” me when I was watching the production. I know it feels weird when I say this this way but I like dissecting myself and see who I really am when I talk about somebody else’s work. We all see imperfections in others because we have the same weak points ourselves. We discuss and hate the very thing we dislike in our work and in… well, you got the poin. I am not a saint (pffff, sorry that was Port talking) I have many problems and flaws.

Now, when I say that “Uncle Vanya” is still not my favorite Chekov’s play what I am really saying is this: “Damn, this Chekov’s thing is being produced all over the world nonstop for more than a hundred years. Why can’t I achieve this kind of greatness; instead I am sitting in the audience and watching this play which was written by some dead Russian in the nineteenth century. Are people still finding this works amazing? Just think about it, there were three productions of “Uncle Vanya” in New York City alone last year. Why? Why can’t I be the one who gets produced at the City Center? Why?”

Chekov is a case to envy about. He is a writer that every playwright dreams to become during their lifetime. I am not alone in thinking how the duck did he do it?

This was my first realization of why I was feeling angry about the production and Chekov.

Of course, the production was great, there is no question about it, but there was apparently something that blew my mind. The thing that hit me the most was the fact that I was still to achieve the greatness of Chekov (it is funny that I am already thinking about my “greatness” while I have done none of my writings I should’ve had done).

Another part of my “dissatisfaction” with the show was that I “have” or “had” problems with Cate Blanchett’s performance. Bullocks, I had no problems with her performance whatsoever. I think she is one of the greatest actresses. What bothered my psyche in this case was the fact that Cate Blanchett has already achieved a real star status with her work on film and on stage. I want to be where she is right now and that was what my eyes caught first when I saw her on the stage. My inner voice was screaming: “Why not me, why I am not Yelena?” (ups, sorry.)

While watching somebody perform on the stage, you realize that this is a real person, right now, performing in front of you. I was looking for imperfections in Blanchett’s works as if saying to myself: “See, she is not perfect too.” I was demeaning her in a certain way that satisfied my status at that moment.

There was another discovery that came to me that night. I think this one was harder to catch since it involved a great director and his production of “Uncle Vanya” I saw back at my home country while being a theater student. Eimuntas Nekrošius’s production of “Uncle Vanya” I saw a very long time ago left a deep dent in me. He was one of the first directors who put a Chekhov’s play not the way everybody used to see it. Nekrošius put his own twist on it and Director’s Theater was born. The Naturalistic Theater died and nobody showed up for the funeral. There is no way to see the production again, but if anything directed by E. Nekrošius comes to your town, go see it. There are a few clips on Youtube for you to get a taste of his genius. Go and find them!

I want to be where Eimuntas Nekrošius and Cate Blanchett are. Yes, there, I said it. That night I was watching and comparing things that were not comparable. E. Nekrošius’s production and the production with Cate Blanchett were very different but both were professionally staged. They both had amazing actors in it and none of them was me. I was ripping those productions apart as a hungry coyote in winter because they reminded me of who I want to be and what I want to achieve. Phew, that might be a little too much, but thank god I am drunk right now to fully understand it.

I applaud Cate Blanchett. She keeps herself grounded and goes to do theater while money wise she could be better doing film. I don’t believe that she is not getting at least ten scripts a day from various writers, directors, producers who want to work with her and who appreciate her talent. (Update: go and see Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine” (film by Woody Allen). Blanche = Blanchett (“Streetcar Named Desire”) – you will get the reference after the film! Terrific!)

I guess my confession is quite clear here. I am glad that I am able to say these things openly. One thing I know for sure, I don’t want to be one of those people that moan about other people’s successes while sitting and doing nothing. I like that this discovery energizes me to keep doing what I love doing, work in theater, in film and just create. So, I should say, thank you Cate and Anton for giving me the opportunity to discover something about myself.

Ah so nice, must be the Port talking (smiley face).

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Theater Farts

Unsolicited Solicitations or Unconventional View of “Light of Night”

Okay my Dear Darlings, since I am freshly pressed (read: had a few sips of my favorite cheap Port) after tonight’s performance of “Light of Night,” I am going to share with you my wisdom that only comes out of me when I am drunk. I don’t want to go into a long introduction of how I feel and do right now even though I probably should, because this particular production at IATI theater made me look for Port in the city at 11:23PM, and we all know that this is not a good idea when you are looking for a cheap wine at a store where you need to spend at least ten dollars to be able to use your credit card. What’s up with that? No, I don’t want your overpriced/overprized wine. It gives me a headache. I only drink the cheapest Port that comes from New York wineries. Thank god I was able to scrounge those nine dollars and fifty two cents, otherwise there would be no review, and no unsolicited solicitations ever.

“Friendly Notes to My Colleagues”

It feels a little weird to be writing this entry on a Thursday night, just a few nights before my next entry, which I think is going to be about Cate Blanchett and Chekhov. Oh, Cate and Anton will wait. Let me have another sip and go for those notes.

Okay, first of all I should say that I was very nicely surprised by IATI and its staff. It’s a very cozy theater with a lot of smiles. I love the fact that Spanish is spoken prominently in this theater. This makes me feel very relaxed and welcomed. I can forget about my visa situation and my accent there for at least a few hours. Love it!

Now, let me go to the very grit of the show. Yes, sometimes I like to pretend that I know more than the people who do the actual work. Just give me a little Port and ears to occupy and my unconventional theater farts are released. I usually get gas after eating some pancakes, but I digress (smiley face).

The show – “Light of Night”

Congratulations on being able to release a show in New Jerk City. I came to see the show without any expectations and was very nicely surprised and impressed. For some of you, readers, this entry might be quite boring, but for those who are involved in this particular production, my words might mean something. Take it with a grain of salt. I am only one with my opinion and take on things that I saw happening on the stage. To be angry and not agree with me is perfectly okay as long as I have my glass of wine in front of me. As soon as it finishes… well, let’s just hope that it will not before I am done with these notes. Another thing that I want to point out to you here is this; I am in this business with you. I want you to be so good that if I make a flop myself I am forgiven by the audiences; because they know that there are productions like yours. Okay, I sound almost nice here, let me pour some wine while I still am.

The playwright – Cecilia Copeland

Cecilia, you are a great writer. You don’t need my opinion to define who you are. You know your craft. But since there should always be somebody who can tell you straightforwardly what could be improved or where you lost them, I will be that messenger now. I don’t know you and you don’t know me, so if by any chance I will insult you with my notes to you, I am giving you a go card to punch me in the face if I distracted you from your creative genius. Here are my notes to you.

The name of the show is misleading. You have a woman smearing her vagina juices on somebody’s face in the show and the show is called “Light of Night?” You lost me there and to tell you the truth, I had to look several times to my program for the name while writing this. Also, I think, the show would improve if you removed all the big words from it. This bothered me a lot, because as soon as one of your characters would say one of those words only English majors know about, I would lose that character. English is not my first language, duh, and if you go for the grittiness of the situation, everyday language might help to make those characters more believable. There is nothing wrong in using big words in writing papers and stuff like that, but when you read Tennessee Williams you barely find a big word in any of his plays. People just don’t speak this way. You have everything already there but big words and “big” issues, like governments deciding about women’s bodies, have to go. They don’t add to the experience, they distract from the emotional things your characters are going through. You lost me in the first act because of the big words and social issues. You could easily edit out half of the first act and make this show an hour and a half long: sweet, nice and to-the-point. I know it is hard to remove certain things you care about, but I am always reminded about great editing when I read a good playwright. And, oh yeah, the last monologue has to go. It’s beautiful and poetic and it just has to go. Isabel’s eating Jim is way more powerful than whatever happens after. A little “ding” from the microwave is all you need to close the show. We already know that Stephanie is free from Jim when she leaves the place, so there is no need to have her appear again for a few words on a beach towel at the end.

To end these notes to you I should say that during the show I constantly found myself thinking about Tennessee Williams and John Fowles’s “The Collector.” I am really impressed how you were able to write such great characters, especially in the second act. The scene where Isabel is smearing her blood on Jim’s face is my favorite. It has just enough “naturalism” in it to put the play on another level. Brava!

The character of Isabel – Florencia Lozano

I don’t want to bullshit (sorry for my French) around you, Florencia, and your craft, you got it! I believed you every minute! I have a little suggestion for you though to make your character more dimensional, especially in the first act. Could you introduce your character a little slower? When I say “slower” I mean that we are just learning who Isabel is, so you might consider saving strong emotional outburst for later when we truly know you. I should say here that there is nothing wrong with how you are doing your character right now, but it could be interesting for you to experiment with growing your character emotionally to the point where you explode with your blood in Jim’s face. I don’t know if I am expressing myself clearly, but because of the very high note you take in the first act I am not really sure there who you are. If you are with Stephanie all the time because you are her, that means you know her very well so your seduction scenes might gain from you getting into her from a point she is not familiar with and besides, you are tipsy there, so mellowness might work better. I allow you to punch my face too, if you feel like it. Ouch!

Stephanie – Ana Kayne

Anechka Dorogusha, I should say something nice before I give you some critique, right? Not with me. Don’t be afraid to let your character breathe. Your wine pouring business in the first act removed me from your character. I started to believe you at the very end of it. Also, you are one of the dual characters, so you should be very aware how your partner is behaving. I am not saying that you did something wrong, no. You did a great job. Enjoy your role. Let it breathe (whatever the eff that means.)

It happens so that I am living with a person who has a paranoid personality disorder right now, so yes, he is doing a lot of “business” around the apartment to distract himself, but at the same time he is very sharp at what others do around him. There are quiet moments and there are bursts of energy and action. Allow yourself to play with it. You are doing fine! We came to see you. Become Stephanie!

Jim – Ed Trucco

I just hated you from the very first moment. Yes, I was a little confused about who you really were to Stephanie and Isabel, but that is more of the playwright’s role. You did great, but I wish I knew more clearly who you were: child molester? abusive husband? kidnapper? Or maybe all of them?

From the acting point of view you did great. I hated you.

Mariana Carreño King – Director

Two little notes:

1. It looks weird when characters are trying to climb on a chair. Why?

2. Less of wine action and cleaning.

3. You can punch my face too!

Miguel Angel Valderrama – Lighting Designer

I know, not so many get to you guys, but I will. I want to encourage you to experiment more with your lights. Isolate spots more and make it more eerie or go completely bizarro with fluorescent lights flipping and buzzing all around. The characters are crazy, all of them, so why not be crazy with your lights too?

G. Warren Stiles – Set Designer

I command you, sir, to explore the dark side of human psyche more. Yes, I understand that the women are trapped in some house, so why not the basement or somewhere more sinister than that. I’m sure you watched a few horror films. John Fowles “The Collector” might inspire you too.

Marios Aristopoulos – Sound Design

I usually remember bad sound. You were good, sir. My suggestions would be very personal to you depending on where the action takes place. If it is in some cellar where you hear dripping water, then why not enhance that, but this again, should come from a director. In this case I am not the one.

Jorge Castilla – Costume Designer

I would like to hear what your inspirations were. Why the velvet dress and why Stephanie’s sporty outfits?

Nic Grelli (UncleDave’s Fight House) – Fight Director

I believed your choreographed fights. Good job, sir!

Okay, with this entry either I made friends or got at least three punches to my face. You all did a great job. I love the fact that you made me think after the show was over. The second act was the bomb. Actors were completely committed to the play. I was absolutely in. I believe that writing this entry proves that I loved “Light of Night.” Bravo! Now back to my Port and…

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Re-Views

Breaking Bad Re-View of a Mindful Masturbation

Okay My Dear Darlings, I told myself that I would not mention a glass of wine standing right in front of me while I write this, but who am I kidding, it’s Sunday night for God’s saké, everyone needs at least a glass (or two) of wine just before Monday’s madness begins and besides, I am going to talk about Breaking Bad today, so I need to get at least a little bit tipsy, otherwise how will I be able to explain the things I am going to discuss here later?

I know deep inside that this write up should be one of those entries where I actually talk about character development and s**t like that, but who knows, I might finish talking about dolphins? Why dolphins? Ask my shrink, he knows things about me I had no idea existed, but who am I kidding (“kidding” again?) my shrink is that glass of Port wine and it’s getting emptier as we speak (smiley face).

Without stating the obvious, which I state, the obvious: the series are very smartly written. I like when my brain is slightly titillated by what I see on the screen. Somebody smart has said in some smart book somewhere that thinking is more powerful than an actual physical act of sex. I don’t know by whom and how that was discovered, but one thing I want to say to this, I’ve been accused of too much thinking… Ha, I wanted to insert a smiley face here but suddenly realized that that might read a little strange for dolphins (ehem!).

There is no secret that my mind loves finding secret messages and meanings in almost anything. I can’t accuse it of having way too much… okay, okay I will not go there even though I want to oh so much… Call these entries my mindful masturbations (yes, I did say that, get over it and have a glass of wine).

Who would have guessed that I would be watching a TV series about a dying chemistry teacher who decided to cook meth till flipping over and saying “over?” I have “fond” feelings about my own chemistry teacher from high school (insert sarcasm here), but not the ones that I want to remember. But ask about those feelings later and I might tell you some stories. Let’s not get distracted by some other chemistry teachers when we have Walter White himself – our villain and a hero in disguise.

If you haven’t watched the series, I strongly recommend you do, because even Mr. Anthony Hopkins binge watched it and send a letter after he did it to Bryan Cranston congratulating him on the work he has done on the series.

I might be giving away some information and spoilers here, so read it with caution. This read though might be more enjoyable if you have already seen the series or at least have seen some of it, otherwise what’s the point of me talking about all these secret messages and meanings that I saw watching it? You know what? I will just assume that you have already seen Breaking Bad. So why do I spend so much time introducing shit I write about? (Drunken thought) Okay, I’ll have another glass of wine. Boom!

Yes, I devoted (this is not the word I wanted to use here, but I can’t think of another one at the moment) a lot of time to the series and I am glad I did. There are several reasons why I am glad about it. One – I want to consider myself a writer and this was a great study of a great writing. Two – I am also an actor/director (ha, thaz, right, I am) so character study is what drives me to do my mindful masturbations on stage, film and sometimes when I write (all of a sudden I fell like touching my nipples).

Okay, okay, I will stop with all this touchy-feely business and say that I will be concentrating (mostly) on Walter White’s character here. Oh, it is so much fun to think that you find and see things you think nobody else sees in the series till you point them out to those blind ones (ups, almost touched my nipples again), but I digress.

I just want to say it straight-forwardly or gay-forwardly or whatever-your-preference-forwardly is, Walter White’s character might seem like a good character gone bad, but reality is relative, or “is it so?” – Herr Heisenberg says and flips his hat. So –

Walter White

Walter White is a high school chemistry teacher who is affected by a cancer. Everyday life becomes his bodily illness. His days are running with no apparent change. He is a loving dad, or at least it seems so, but he is caught in a routine and does nothing to change it. His life and lives around him are gray and blunt. One day he gets news nobody wants to receive – he is terminally ill with a lung cancer. That news awakens that Walter he was a long time ago, full of energy and determination. He sets a plan of how to make enough money for his family to survive after he dies.

While driving around in his brother-in-law’s car Walter gets an idea about what could bring the needed money. Walter’s brother-in-law is a DEA officer who is closely involved in fighting meth business. Walter White doesn’t really know who uses meth and how it really works, but he sees it as an opportunity to earn some quick cash before he dies.

In every episode throughout the series there is something that changes Walter White. We might think that, oh my god, a good teacher is becoming this drug lord, or oh my god, he needs to be killed or at least to be stopped because look how many people are dying around him and he doesn’t even give a shit about it. Wow, wow, wow I would say, hold your horses and let’s see who Walter White “really” is and what he does.

Walter White cooks meth – meth is bad – he is destroying people’s lives, thus he has to be bad, right? Wrong! And this is why. Walter White from the very beginning of his meth cooking business establishes that he only cooks pure meth. What does it mean? Meth is meth? Well, my Dears, that means that whoever uses meth Walter White produces will get a pharmacy quality drug. You might say, who cares, they are drug addicts, and thus they should get what they ask for. And I would say, just look at your own medicine cabinet, you judgmental prick, and say that you are not a drug addict too. I am sure you have a plenty of pills there that make you feel good (smiley face?).

Walter White worries about a single fly in his lab while cooking his meth. Other meth cooks mix their meth with cat feces and what not. Why is it so Walter cares about the damn fly? The reappearing fly in the series has a certain meaning though. I am using the fly as an example here to prove my point how particular Walter White is about the purity of his, as he says, product. With Walter’s meth you at least will know that there was no cat piss added to the mix, so less blocked arteries and less of other infections to the users of the powerful drug. It’s almost as if you are buying another prescription drug with amphetamine in a drug store. If you would say that I am crazy talking about things like that, I would say, you are blind. Just because a prescription drug is called by some fancy name it doesn’t mean that it is less harmful to your body. And talking about the amphetamines, I was floored when I saw this advertisement on TV which straight forwardly was advertising a drug with amphetamine in even its name. Well, of course, it doesn’t matter that the advertised drug might be lethal to some people, but the point is that you will not have the AD whatever D anymore after using it. Well, of course, you will not have it anymore, because you will be dead. So there, are you ready to read the labels on drug bottles you have in your cabinets and see meth users as people like you? Bam!

Walter applies his scientific knowledge and cooks pure meth for meth addicts who always will be there in our society whatever you say. So at least they will be using his pure meth and will have more time to figure out how they are going to get clean when they are done with it. Well, maybe Walter White from Breaking Bad didn’t think much about the drug addicts who use his product, but I’d like to differ considering how he cares about Jesse, his business partner and a drug user.

And here is the point number two: “people are being killed because of Walter – this is bad, because nobody should be killed.” Well, I agree with the last part of the sentence, but let me dissect the first part first: “people are being killed because of Walter.” It almost sounds like Walter is killing a lot of people by himself, and maybe he is, but not the way we might think he is doing it. I am not going to tell you if Walter actually kills anybody in the series, but I would like to ask you this question first: who is Walter White killing, if he is killing and with what? He is a high school teacher, who doesn’t even know how to use a gun. How does he do it?

Walter applies his intelligence and “kills” people with their own “guns.” He gets inside of the biggest drug cartel, where every DEA wants to be, and kills each and every one there single handedly. He removes these people from the streets. He goes for the core. He goes for the nucleus of meth business and destroys it. Bam! You can thank him later.

Walter uses Heisenberg’s name. Why? Werner Heisenberg was a physicist who dealt with nucleus power during WWII and was writing papers on uncertainty principle and relativity. While Werner Heisenberg was demonized as well as Walter White is during the series, he got his Nobel Prize for his science works. It is all relative how we use our knowledge and power. One sees a nucleus as a nucleus bomb that could wipe all the humanity of the Earth. Other sees nucleus as the power that could power up the entire world. So saying that Walter White kills people is relative. He destroys the drug cartel becoming one of them. He infects it with his being. He “kills” each and every one of them as a cancer kills a human body.

But how about these kids who die because of him, you ask? Well, here we come to another great discovery; none of them were killed by Walter White. They were killed by other people who instead of thinking, act first. Look at the nature around you. Not everything has a logical explanation here. Nature has some random things happening all the time. Illogical and unexplained things exist. Every scientist expects something unexpected to happen when they experiment with something. Some deaths happen in the series. Walter cannot predict how one or another experiment of his will end. He can only prepare it for the happening and then wait. Walter knows that these random, illogical things happen, because he is a scientist. That is why it might seem that he is heartless when he melts bodies of victims that others kill in the series. He is doing it because there was a failure. He didn’t want it to happen, but it happen.

Walter and his cancer

Okay now, let’s go to a very important and probably the most important thing of the series – Walter’s cancer.

Walter finds out about the cancer after he fails one of his students on chemistry. The student wanted to get an easy grade, but Walter does nothing to at least change the student’s perception about studying and importance of being educated. He seems completely absent from his and other people’s lives. Walter becomes the cancer.

Walter, after finding out about his cancer, decides to cook meth. He becomes a cancerous cell in a “healthy” body of drug business where everything seems to be working just fine.

Like a cancer cell finds a way to get into our bodies, Walter “finds his way” to the body of a drug cartel. He begins to grow there as oh so powerful and deadly tumor. Walter is able to get to the core and destroy the cartel the way chemotherapy destroys his cancer.

Walter’s cancer almost completely disappears after the whole cartel is gone and everyone is killed. The surgery on his lungs in one of the episodes is used to depict and define for us what we should expect later to happen with the cartel. Somebody is going to be cut out from the drug business the way the effected piece of his lung is cut out from his body.

Science and Humanities

At the end of the episode 8 of season 5 we are left with Hank discovering Walt Whitman’s book “Leaves of Grass.” It’s a perfect hint for us to realize that Walter might be hit from unexpected source, his humanity, where logic and science don’t apply. There is much to say about Walter and Jesse’s relationship in the series. Walter is science, Jesse is humanities. They are business partners. Who and what wins is for you to find out, because I am just too sleepy to finish this entry now.

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