May Day

Last night, I saw Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” at my undergraduate alma mater – an outdoor show, wherein the student troupe of actors take advantage of the beautiful campus to act out each scene. And, yeah, the audience travels along to watch the scenes. Take your theater fun where you can get them. (sidenote – I think it was my senior year when I watched them did one of Shakespeare’s comedies in the pouring rain).

All in all, it was great, and the cast and crew did a marvelous job with “The Tempest” (which, yeah, was required reading in first year, but I loved the play for being so amazing – even if Prospero the wizard’s intentions made no sense, he was Shakespeare’s ultimate alter ego – directing everything to happen).

It has gotten really popular – a huge crowd last night (most likely made up of supportive families/roommates/significant others of the cast and crew; partly curious passersbys and silly folks like me who are suckers for Shakespeare and/or outdoor theater). I loved how they did the end – where Prospero makes his soliloquy goodbye to the audience – and they re-interpreted it as Prospero’s goodbye to Ariel, the involuntary servant (slave? Ariel the fairy could have always left, I always thought, considering those powers she/he/it had), as he set her free (they made Ariel an obvious her; was it just me, or was there some amusing chemistry between Ariel and Prospero?). They also demonstrated the innocence of Prospero’s daughter, Miranda, who finds first love hitting her in the face and takes it joyfully. Romantic comedy indeed, while it did not ignore the sentiments of the colonization problem (Caliban, Prospero’s other slave on the island, trades Prospero’s stewardship for that under the comedy relief on the drunk jester and drunk butler; his sorrows never fully realized or eased) and political deceit (two or three plans to oust or overthrow either the king of Naples or Prospero). Oh, and great music – the troupe had a nice bunch of musicians and I liked how they weaved music in a play long known for being Shakespeare’s most “musical.”

Visiting the alma mater during this time of year reminded me of the tortuous student days of yore. So many students in the library, toiling over their books. I mean, really, at this time of year, the students are practically living in the library. On an absolutely related note, wondering what others think of that whole story about the NYU student living in the library (check out the NY1 coverage of it – video and all) – I mean, it’s a shame that he couldn’t get cheap housing, but I’m surprised that this kind of thing hasn’t happened sooner.

Odd story in today’s Saturday NY Times about the creationists’ own dinosaur theme park. Now, I’m all for tolerance, free will, and freedom of thought, but a theme park to re-affirm one’s beliefs? Do people go to theme parks for “beliefs”? A discomfort over natural history museums because it doesn’t relate with one’s religious beliefs (or, one’s beliefs in science – but can one say science is a “belief”?) – well, that depends – why does one go to natural history museums then? I suppose the creationists may go ahead and open their own institutions; that’s what freedom in this country is about. But, I just wonder, that’s all; no one’s forced to go to theme parks or musuems – if one doesn’t like it, don’t go. But, don’t go and be uninformed about what you’re visiting; natural history musuems are there because they have taken a side about the so-called debate on evolution and other sciences. Well, no further judgment on my part is intended and my apologies if I’ve offended anyone.

ABC “Nightline” last night – moving stuff. Ted Koppel just reading names of the casualties of the war in Iraq. There is no judgment; he left the viewers to decide for themselves. The critics who view him as someone who’s anti-war by just reading names – I’d criticize them for not seeing the power of names for it is – respect for those whose names are read. We would read names on the anniversaries of September 11, or the names of those who have died of AIDS or names of graduates on commencement day – what is inherently wrong with reading names?

For Sunday – hopefully we’ll get more nice weather and not watch us get the rain they had in Kentucky for the derby (talk about muddy race for tv viewing)…

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