I watched Inception last night. This is the Christopher Nolan film about dreams with Leo Di Caprio in the lead. Mr. Di Caprio has to enter the dreams of the heir of an energy company and implant an idea into his head, making the heir think it was his own idea. It was pretty good, great special effects but nothing fancy. It could provoke and has provoked lots of discussions about what was real but I didn't really care. The entire movie could have been a dream and then what does that mean? Nothing. I did like the idea they used of waking up from one dream into another one. That happens to me all the time. I tend to dream a lot and I often wake up from one dream and find myself in another dream. Or at least I think that's what happens. Lately, I've been having a lot of nightmares which suck. Years ago, when I lived in Dublin, I would dream about saving the world. That was awesome, it was like my own private superhero show with me as the star.
The movie kind of reminded me of the film Synecdoche, New York with Philip Seymour Hoffman because both movies concerned creating alternate worlds for the characters as well as the question of what is real. Although in Synecdoche, NY, Mr. Hoffman creates a theatrical version of New York inside a warehouse casts actors to live in this fake town. Talk about alternate realities. To me it was definitely more thought provoking than Inception maybe because of the theatrical link or maybe because of Mr. Hoffman.
I really like Philip Seymour Hoffman as an actor. He tends to do a lot of weird indie flicks as well as some big blockbusters (M:I3 anyone?). And while I did like his portrayal of Truman Capote in Capote, I thought Infamous was a better overall movie about In Cold Blood. But I do like the fact that Mr. Hoffman continues to be involved with his New York theater company LAByrinth. He still directs and acts in their productions. Its my opinion that the film actors who came from the stage are better actors. I would love to see Mr. Hoffman on stage.
Not, however, in Othello. He did (about a year ago) a 4 hour Othello in New York. Not many people liked it I don't think. I don't think I would. 4 hours! I have better things to do with my time. I did see Patrick Stewart (of Star Trek/X Men fame) in Othello in Washington, DC at The Shakespeare Theatre. He was a white Othello in an all black cast. It was pretty good although Iago couldn't find his light. We were sitting near the front and the show started with a rain storm with actual rain on stage so we got a bit wet. It was a nice special effect though and really set the scene.
I worked with rain when I was an intern at Center Stage in Baltimore. It was for Twelfth Night. We had a rain system set up just outside the theater doors on the back wall of the theater. I had to open the doors for Sebastian to enter when he washes up on shore. Later Viola enters through those doors but it wasn't raining. Yes, I got wet; 8 shows a week for a few weeks. Oh the things we do to earn our stripes! But seriously, it wasn't that bad.
That was one of my favorite versions of Twelfth Night. It was set in an Ilyria that resembled a circus and Feste was a clown who played the master of ceremonies. He would do monologues at the beginning of each act quoting a bunch of different Shakespeare plays. But, I have seen some real weird versions of Twelfth Night probably because it lends itself to many interpretations. While in Dublin, I saw one set int he 1930's. At the end of the show, Malvolio came out to warn that he would take his revenge and then did a "Heil Hitler" salute and left. The rest of cast broke into a weird, group dance. Very odd.
Luckily, I did see some really good theater over there. In London, I saw A Walk in the Woods by Lee Blessing with Edward Herrmann (of Lost Boys fame) and Alec Guinness; as in Sir. Both were fantastic and to see Sir Alec Guinness on stage was something I'll never forget. Nice to see that he didn't sell out after Star Wars. Like he would. It's that type of play though with that caliber of acting that makes people think acting is easy.
When I lived in Upstate New York and told other moms what I did, many told me that their dream was to act. They felt they could just audition for a show and they would be a star. These poor moms had no idea the years of training, heartache, and hard work the actors had to go through to make it look that easy. One woman actually asked me, "How do I get on stage at Capital Repertory Theatre?" This is a reputable, regional theater in Albany, NY, that casts most of it shows with New York City actors. But I didn't want to quash the dream so I mumbled something about acting classes, agents, etc. What I really wanted to say was: "Who gave you the idea you could act? You must be dreaming."