Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Whispers in a Megaphone

Twitter Sonnet #13

I can't find a Starbucks where I'm unknown.
Coppola's arrabiatta is great.
Pasta sauce I generally condone.
I seem to be doing everything late.
Waiter singing along with Eminem.
Or he killed his wife and called me a "fag."
Altoids downsized since I stopped buying them?
I guess the mint market's begun to lag.
Had veggie sushi roll packed with ginger.
Cold evening Monday but mostly cloudless.
In every Battle Cat dwells a Cringer.
Know I seek late bagels without malice.
Be assured that Kent did not hate Lear.
Fewer foes abide than it might appear.

Why shouldn't a He-Man reference go alongside a Shakespeare reference?

With breakfast to-day I watched part of Jonathan Miller's BBC production of King Lear from the late 1970s. Disappointing, and I say that as one of what seems to be few people who liked his 1964 Alice in Wonderland. His King Lear is filled with villains much too broad--Edmund, Goneril, and Regan are too obviously snakes and constantly mug for the camera, reducing the other characters to caricatures. This is definitely one instance where a comedian's touch was misapplied--these characters stepping outside of the reality of the scenes diminishes them terribly.

Miller's compositions are weird and artificial, too, with a lot of shots of characters close to and facing the camera while the person they're talking to is behind them and there are lot of shots where people have uncomfortably scrunched their faces against each other to be in a single shot.

The worst was John Shrapnel as Kent, who seemed constantly to be spoiling for a fight, hurling vitriol at Lear after he'd put down Cordelia. The thing is, he doesn't seem particularly like a bad actor--most of the actors seem decent to very good, but you can sense someone behind the scenes giving everyone odd motivations, and I guess the blame has to be given to Miller.

Still, I'm kind of interested in seeing the production of The Taming of the Shrew he evidently did with John Cleese. The comic flavour might be more appropriate there.

Anyway, I'm short on time to-day, so that's a post.

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