The sporadic ramblings of Emily C. A. Snyder - devoted to God, theatre, writing, and much randominity.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Artistic Director and Co-Founder of TURN TO FLESH PRODUCTIONS. | Author of "Nachtstürm Castle," "Niamh and the Hermit." | Playwright: "Cupid and Psyche," "Math for Actors." | Classical director and educator.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Muppet Weekend Update

Cows are falling from the sk...*crunch*

OK, OK, no cows. Chickens. Loads 'o. And the occasional tuna. With a side of salad. And if not from the sky, then at least from the upper cabinet and/or fridge. (Of course, that still doesn't explain the anchorman trembling in the crash position beneath our kitchen table, but...a fella's got to have his hobbies, one supposes.)

  • Have discovered the joy of heating pads that can be stuck on (relatively well; masking tape is our friend) to various bits of the body that are hurting to such an extreme that I really cannot describe, except to say that I actually took Friday off to recoup and have not yet, even as of tonight. Currently have one on each ankle, and am debating putting one on the left hip, which is apparently feeling left out since last night the right hip got the nifty new heating pad (rock thingy. Dunno how it works, merely that it does).

  • Am in said pain (poot poot!) due to two glorious nights of dancing. And upon reviewing the rehearsal footage, I was pleased to find that overall the actors are picking up the grand waltz fairly well. We'll be even better when on the stage itself, i.e., when not so cramped on the masking tape racing track of my classroom floor (see! Masking tape cures all ills!).

  • We're, what? A month and a week or two 'til performance? Usual mid-way panic is setting in, alleviated by a few things: 1) Mass. Mass mass mass Eucharist holy priest belting-out-loud brother Johnny and mass; 2) Wonderful Jules who drives stir-crazy sisters on errands to CVS for heating pads; 3) Reviewing lots and lots and lots of old footage of shows and saying: "Hey! That one had the worst dress ever and it looks good! Hey! That one had the worst dresses ever and it looks good! Hey! That one I choreographed that number two days before show and it looks good! Hey! That one the leads hated each other and it looks good! Hey! That was my first real show and it looks great! Hey! I think I'll stop fretting and make a trailer for that first real show! Hey - that trailer looks downright swell! Hey! I've been sufficiently distracted that I managed to have a day fret-free! Hurrah!"

  • Oh, and I think I've watched every single version of the Nutcracker I can get my hands on (not to mention a handful of other ballet-themed movies - let's just say: much fastforwarding to get to the dance-y bits because the acting/writing/directing bits are just too painful to contemplate). The hope from this? Their Intradas aren't perfect either! I now have a better idea of how to amp mine! *breathes deeply and intones to self in Zen-like mantra-state* "Gonna make it gonna make it."

  • Forgot to mention Magnificat as a source of rest. Today's reflection was particularly helpful. And did I mention the power of the Eucharist? Yeah.

  • On a completely (or at least more tangentally) different note, I've picked up Shadowplay by Clare Asquith which is the latest Shakespeare criticism/biography to hit the charts. In it, she basically attempts to "decode" Shakespeare's Catholic allusions throughout the course of his plays. Since Will and the Word also makes mention of the Elizabethan love of wordplay, coded messages, etc. - especially within the sonnet - I cannot help but submit to the idea that Shakespeare could have included a code within his plays which referred to the current religious upheaval - moreover since it's obvious that Shakespeare's work is profoundly Catholic in basic philosophy/theology - but still, it's difficult for me to look at nearly every one of Shakespeare's speeches or mentions of "high" "low" "fair" "bright" etc. as necessarily coded. This is due to either one or a combination of the following:

    1) As Chesterton says, it is impossible for any man of any faith to completely hide his faith. However, as Tolkien admitted, that doesn't mean that Shakespeare's every word was "Catholic by design" just as Tolkien's original pass through LOTR wasn't consciously Catholic. Shakespeare was writing under a deadline: isn't it possible that some of these so-called allegories (the specific ones, not ness. the overarching Aristotelian "thought") could have been at least subconscious. This is not the denigrate their very existance nor the truth that the subconscious certainly has an effect on one's art - but I simply wonder to what extent Shakespeare was adding these "coded words."

    2) Let's assume, however, that Shakespeare is as great a genius as his contemporaries and every blessed literari has proclaimed since (myself included) and that in addition to writing a ripping good yarn, on deadline, with the actors currently in his troupe, knowing their limitations/peeves/etc., with a limited production budget, and all the other mundanities that go into writing a working script, Shakespeare also managed to sneak in not only Catholic thought (obvious) but Catholic code - still, I wonder as a director, actor and literary (not theological or historical) critic - that is, as an artist - if the "decoding" changes in any particular way the means whereby I would approach the performance (from dramagurgy on) of the piece. Is my interpretation of Midsummer's likely to change knowing that Hermia likely represented Protestantism and Helena Catholicism? Is this something translatable to my audience? How does it alter (almost wrote altar - perhaps an answer in its own punnish self! Or a punishment to its punnish self?) the presentation in any particular?

    3) Which brings me to the question - selfish, I admit - of how much I need to change my own approach to Shakespeare and other literature re: its applicability in a historical context and its immediate application. I admit, that in re: plays - since they are not a finished, immutable art on the printed page in and of themselves - I am perhaps far too practical. Or perhaps it's only because I agree with Shakespeare's Catholic worldview that this "revelation" seems simply a tired and overargued case? Is it that I am not awed by his insight into theology and history because I have grown too numb to his immediate observations, smuggled past the censors of his day?

  • Anywho, I look forward to finishing the rest of her argument and then rereading the plays - in particular those which seem "unplayable" and hence which I imagine will benefit best from her reading of the deeper meaning of the play itself. Elsewise, I'm spoiling for the return of my Firefly DVD's.

  • And now to bed. Good night, dear older Emily! Lord, bless and keep me! And bless and keep those for whom I have been asked to pray. And bless my students and my actors and my coworkers. Keep safe my family. Keep me close to You and recreate in me a heart of flesh. Draw me to You, Lord! Keep me ever in Your Heart. Amen!

    Mood: Cold nose but pas mal
    Music: Josh Groban's first CD - bombastic in places but oh so pretty voice!
    Happiness is: My very own Promethian moment! I do not have any lectures lined up for tomorrow for which I would have to stand on my poor little feet! Presentations and Prince of Egypt! Now, what was that about the lilies of the field?

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