Friday, October 15, 2010

Utah Shakespearan Festival 2010 - A Place For Thespians to be Thespians

Yes. As embarrassing as some would think it to be, I am a thespian. (And boy do I get made fun of for it.)

Last weekend I had the awesome opportunity to go down to the Utah Shakespearean Festival at SUU with all of my fellow Thespians. I had a great time down there, and I'm really sad that this is my final year going. This post is going to mostly be of pictures since while we were at the festival there were over 500 pictures taken. So with the help of facebook, I am going to be posting a couple of my favorite pictures that were taken by me and my friends. And then maybe I'll talk about the trip for a little while.

On the bus. This is Maren and Maddie. They're always enthusiastic.

This is our coach, Mr. Bauer... this was at an Improv. competition. It was hilarious. Picture by Lexie.

This is Facundo during the Tech Olympics... This was his outfit that he wore... all I can say is that people wanted to have their picture taken with him.

The improv. team.

Theses guys are terrible with their team numbers. From left to right, Tyler - 666, Dan - 3.14, Facundo -3825, Ryan - 69

Maren and myself

Maren, Brian and Maddie before they performed their FANTASTIC scene from Romeo and Juliet.

Facundo in a dramatic pose.

We played a random game of freeze. (Thanks to Melissa) I don't remember why, but I had to cut off Facundo's finger... with an iPod. Picture by Lexie.

At the Tech Olympics. For the record, this is a guy's costume. I don't know what to think of it... but it makes a great picture, right?

Madi, Lindsey and Melissa.

Before we entered the Tech Olympics, Facundo gave us a motivational speech to ensure our victory. It was like a movie, but a lot more entertaining. This is a priceless shot of that speech, taken by Lexie.

So there's a handful of some of my favorite pictures taken from the trip. There are hundreds more, and you can around 200 of them on profile on facebook. (Have a look!)

Now I'm going to talk about some of my favorite moments on the trip. On the first day down there, Facundo and I went to an improv. class. When we arrived at the class we were about twenty minutes early, and there was another class already in session that was finishing up the lesson that they were working on. Bored, and looking for something to do, we figured that we'd just tag along in the back of the class and learn what we could.

The teacher was teaching a lesson on how to do interpretative dancing/fight scenes to a scene from a Shakespearean play. The teacher even wrote a rap that you had to perform before you fought. After learning the rap, the class went and practiced their scenes, and at the end of the class, before the teacher excused everyone she called me and Facundo to come and perform our fight scene in front of everyone... that's over 70 people, and a bunch of big time performers from all over the country. So Facundo and I do this weird dance/fight thing after an awesome rap performance, and get a standing ovation from everyone. We even ended up giving high fives to people we've never seen before. In other words, we kicked major butt.

Probably the most fun part on the trip was the Tech Olympics. I've mentioned it a few times in the pictures above, but I need to tell you about it. The Tech Olympics made me laugh so hard that my gut was hurting literally one minute into it. Why? Well, our school went to the contest completely unprepared. Facundo and I were the most enthusiastic about it; Facundo and I figured we'd make the best of the competition even if we had no idea what we were doing. So Facundo dressed up in this ridiculous costume, and I became the unofficial team cheerleader.

I had to compete in the rigging category. If you don't know what rigging means, then you know about as much as I do about it. All you really do is tie knots, lift stuff up using a pullie-thingy and stuff like that. I'm pretty sure that I placed in last place during the entire event because I had no idea what I was doing. Lexie got some fun pictures of me during the event though.

This is me pulling a sand bag into the air. I had to connect it to the pullie and then lift it up 18 inches into the air, and then properly tie it off. Did I know how to do it? No.

Even though I knew that I had failed, I still made my "Victory" symbol.

I think that I might actually make a good cheerleader. I was yelling all kinds of motivational crap like, "Let's go bulldogs!" and "P-P-P-R-O-O-V-O PROVO!" By the end of the Olympics Facundo and I had begun to lose our voices, from laughing and yelling. I really think the Tech Olympics were the best part of the entire trip. There were some great laughs there.

My absolute favorite picture from the entire trip. I guess we were high or something. As you can probably guess, this was taken during the Tech Olympics. Jeff's face cracks me up. Picture taken by Lexie.

There were so many fun things we did while on the trip. Whether it was watching movies all night long, running around town trying to find air freshner for the bathroom, performing the mobias, or moving a hotel table out into the middle of a field so that we could play an epic game of "strip chancho va." The trip was just incredibly fun. I hope everyone else had a great time like I did. In January, we're going on a trip to UTA so that we can perform Antigone. Hopefully it'll be just as fun.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pink Floyd The Wall

By now everyone should know how I feel about Pink Floyd... but for those who are unaware, I love them... a lot. I recently had the privilege of viewing the Pink Floyd movie, The Wall, again recently. I have previously seen it, but I never really paid attention. I finally took the time to sit down and try to get the full "Floyd Experience" from the film. For those who have never heard of this film, (And chances are most of you haven't) then please allow me to give you some background on it. Unlike most movies that bands claim to have made, it is not a concert recording, but instead is a real full-length feature film. It actually features no concert footage, and instead is a full-out rock opera/musical.

The film was released in 1982 and received great critical praise; and although the band members greatly disliked the movie, it is still considered a classic, and has been named one of the "Great Movies" by Ebert Ropert. Today I'm not going to take the time to actually review the movie, since I'm not in the mood. (I'm also kind of on a "movie high") Instead I'm going to just express how the movie made me feel. (Almost like I'm blogging!)

So what did I think of The Wall? I thought it was absolutely brilliant.

The movie tells the story of a young man named Pink. As a child, Pink's father killed off during his service in the army during World War II. After his fathers death, Pink is sent to, and grows up in an abusive boarding school, where he doesn't seem to fit in. His only friend is his over-protective mother, who even then doesn't treat him as well as it seems she should. He eventually grows up, gets married and rises to become a renowned rock star. Unfortunately the usage of drugs and sex begin to take their toll on Pink. Things only get worse when he learns that his wife has been having an affair. All of these events in Pink's life lead him to build a metaphoric wall around him, blocking him off from society. Soon everything becomes too much for Pink to handle, and he ends up having a full-out mental breakdown. The movie ends with Pink being sent to into an insane asylum, as he tears down the wall that he has worked on building his entire life.

Fantastic picture showing the artistic brilliance of the film.

Does the movie sound a little depressing? Well you couldn't have picked a better word to describe the film. The script was written by Pink Floyd frontman, Roger Waters, and the character Pink is heavily based off of his childhood and life. Rogers was originally cast to play the character Pink, but this plan fell through and Bob Geldof was hired to portray the character instead.

I really have to give credit to Bob Geldof for his performance as the character Pink. Not only was he incredibly believable, but his characters mind is incredibly twisted and disturbing to watch, especially in the later parts of the film. (The scene when he shaves off all the hair on his body...)

Bob Geldof as Pink in the ending Neo-Nazi scene.

The Wall played out like a rock opera/musical. In some of the scenes the characters would literally be singing the Pink Floyd songs, and in other scenes, the music would just play in the background as the story progressed. It was an incredibly dark and surprisingly disturbing experience. Much more intense than what I remembered the film being. The film also had its fair-share of some outrageously "trippy" scenes, such as the infamous "Comfortably Numb" scene; where Pink hallucinates that his skin has been infested with bugs, and he literally rips off all of his skin.

The movie wasn't just a drugged up gig though. It had a surprising amount of tear jerking moments; most involving scenes that were related to the soldiers in World War II. Most of these scenes showed the aftermath of some of the famous battles that occurred in the war, and set an incredibly somber tone. It was surprisingly graphic and made the film almost uncomfortable to watch.

I've posted below a clip of the movie. This is a fantastic example of one of the war scenes in the film. Please view with caution. I'd hate to disturb anyone. (The second half of the video isn't part of the scene that I wanted to show you. Instead it's a scene where Pink is drowning in a pool of his own blood. View with caution.)

The Wall was an incredibly artistic film in terms of visuals, songs, and messages being portrayed in a metaphorical sense. The film also has a very strong anti-Nazi/war message. The visuals to the movie were also fantastic despite their simplicity. The film featured sixteen minutes of fully colored animated footage usually used to display the things that Pinks saw as he was on drugs. (At one point he believes a giant flower is going to eat him.) All I can really say about the incredible visual animation art style, was that I am a BIG fan of whoever did the design and drawings. (The animated sequences were my favorite part of the movie.)

Perhaps the most famous shot in the film, this strange shot of The Wall screaming has become a bit of a cult icon.

Hammers are a very metaphorically used object in the film. They are used mainly to show and symbolize the work of the Nazi's.

This shot is of a bird... that just barely stabbed another bird to death. (Hence the blood.)

There really is so much that can be said about this movie. It was a brilliant take on how drugs affect our lives, it was a statement against war, it was an example of how our society is going downhill and so much more. I really wish that I could praise it more fully for it's artistic and metaphorical brilliance, but the film is so unique in its making that talking about it is rather difficult. The only problem I that I had with the film was that it can be a little hard for the audience to follow the plot unless they have a bit of background knowledge on the story. If you watch the movie with no fore-knowledge of what's happening, you will get lost in the story. The plot also felt a bit scattered, but it worked itself out in the end. Everything led up to a really crazy ending/climax. The whole movie was just a unique experience that I think any person who loves artistic films should experience. (Being a Pink Floyd fan also helps make the movie more enjoyable.)

I can guarantee you that I will watch this again. Soon.


On another note, I am truly sorry to the people who read my blog. I know I haven't updated in a long time... but I've had nothing to write about. But! I feel inspired again, so be sure to check often for updates! I am going to the Shakespeare Festival this week, so expect a BIG update next week!

Until then!!