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Facebook Turns 5

4 Feb

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Has it really been 5 years that Facebook’s been online and changed the way we connected with family and friends? I remember opening an account in late 2006 after being prodded by fellow filmstalker Ramchandra, but didnt really use it to the full until mid-2007. I have always liked Facebook’s interface and the ease of use, not to mention the glut of applications which at the time really kept my hands full. Nowadays it’s no longer the norm asking people what their mobile phone number is, but what you have probably done like myself was to ask them, are you on Facebook? and hope that you will be added as their friend.

To Facebook, thanks for making social networking as fun and as creative, and here’s to another 10 years!

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Living It Up in London

29 Jan

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She adored London. The city is passionate and beautiful like she was.

London was her place- definite and focused, like her mind.

The home of her triumphs and tragedies. It was a city that loved her, cared for her never judged her.

As much as she travelled the world, it was the city of London she longed for.

The home of her passions, her adventures, her friends. – Daisy Steiner, SPACED, Series 2 Episode 1

Gobbets – Andrew Orange

23 Jan

How quickly one forgets people when one moves on.

Missing Simon Russell Beale

18 Jan

September 29, 2008 was the last time I saw Simon Russell Beale on stage, in the Pinter double bill of A Slight Ache & Landscape at the Lyttelton. I knew then that he was off to New York in preparation for The Bridge Project, a transatlantic partnership that unites The Old Vic with Brooklyn Academy of Music and Neal Street Productions, and that I wouldn’t see him on stage again until mid-May, and by then I would have been utterly miserable and inconsolable. The night I saw him last, was also the second time I met him, and this came about after a lot of deliberating whether I should say goodbye so he wouldnt forget me and all (HAH!) So like a school girl who had this huge crush on the cutest guy in campus, I stood outside waiting for nearly three quarters of an hour by the National Theatre’s stage door with a card to boot and now I dont even remember if I kissed him or what! All I can recall was how he lovingly held my hand for about a minute, listening intently to what I was trying to say like assuring him I would book the two plays when it comes to the Old Vic and I am sure I fumbled through it all after which he said, ah, you are always so kind, with those dreamy and expressive eyes of his. YAY!

So here I am, four months later and really missing him like crazy. And as promised I have booked my tickets for The Bridge Project alright but that wouldnt make him come home any sooner would it? As I am updating my blog and browsing through theatre news I decided to check on how The Cherry Orchard is doing and although the play itself is geting mixed reviews, I am really pleased about what the critics have to say about SRB.

According to Ben Brantley of the NY Times, Mr. Russell Beale, one of the greatest British stage actors, doesn’t disappoint, registering every ounce of guilt, joy, fear and wonder that comes from Lopakhin’s realization that it is he, the parvenu, who will inherit the earth.

Brian Scott Lipton from Theatre Mania shares the sentiment about SRB as the peasant-turned-wealthy landowner Lopakhin, brilliantly embodied by the suitably ordinary yet completely extraordinary Simon Russell Beale.

The evening belongs to Simon Russell Beale, who is magnetic as Lopakhin, a serf-turned-merchant with money and a plan to save the estate. This British star’s inherent comic quality and expressive, plummy voice rightly push the play toward comedy, says The New York Daily News.

This comment really got me though and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and please dont ask me why! Simon Russell Beale gracefully captures the graceless Lopakhin’s conflicts between his serf upbringing and his upper-class ambitions. His final scene with Varya (the equally skilled Rebecca Hall) is a heartbreaking vignette in which the two are unable to speak their true feelings as they chatter about the weather. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Enough, I can’t do this anymore! Anyway, here’s some production photos to share courtesy of the NY Times and NPR.

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Well, it has to be said that I do feel a little bit better now, knowing that everything is going great for SRB across the pond. Just please come home soon! x

Meeting Simon Russell Beale

3 Jul


I have blogged endlessly and shamelessly (it’s the Undershaft motto apparently) about my admiration for Simon Russell Beale and last night, after Major Barbara’s final performance at the National, on a last minute whim, and on a freezing cold summer night, I decided to wait outside the stage door, holding my breath each time someone’s coming through them doors, hoping to catch a glimpse and hopefully an autograph and maybe engage him in a small chat. I wish now I had brought my programme for him to sign as I didnt have anything until I realised I had some SRB postcards in my planner, including one from Major Barbara.

At 23:34, an hour since I’ve been camping out, SRB breezes out as his cab has just arrived, and I almost reluctantly but quite determinedly walked up to him, giving him the Major Barbara postcard and without a word handed him the National pen I just bought at the bookshop. I am not going to be poetic about this and say that our eyes met as if we both knew because it was! Eeeekkkk! Anyway as he was signing away, where I didnt even have the guts to tell him my name which will surely be like bells ringing into his ears, a name I am sure he won’t easily forget, and at that moment he notices another postcard of himself in the planner, isn’t that Money? (referring obviously to the play) and that was my cue to start talking like a fan. I unashamedly told him, oh Simon, I am your biggest fan! and then I just couldnt stop and I had to say that I had seen the play 7 times, but as if to assure him that I am not some sick lunatic, I also said, dont worry, I am not some kind of stalker, which elicited a smile from him.

Aggghhhhhh!!! I am normally good at this, its quite clear that I am getting a bit old and didnt have a lot of practice of late. We talked some more and he assured me that we will talk again. I assured him of my presence in the upcoming A Slight Ache.

Now what do I do? Camp outside the stage doors again or send him something?

Ah, this thing called love.

Simon Russell Beale

21 Apr

I have fallen in love.

With Simon Russell Beale.

Simon Russell Beale who? Well, you probably would not have heard of him if you are not a theatre fan or if you have not come across some novel that has been made into a tv/film that has starred him in the last decade or so such as Jane Austen’s Persuasion or Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time where he played the unforgettable Kenneth Widmerpool, but this was after the time that Britain has already hailed him as the greatest classical actor of his generation, and I was a bit late in showing my appreciation for the performing arts then.

Anyway, I fell in love with SRB (as I fondly call him when I am with my pal eddie) on February 28, 2008. It was a classic case of love at first sight. It was the first time I saw him perform on stage as the charismatic Andrew Undershaft in the National Theatre production of George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara.

So yes, I regret having missed his brilliant portrayal of Hamlet, described by the Times’ Benedict Nightingale as witty, troubled, caring, self-knowing, morally sturdy and supremely incisive. Russell Beale made it to his Top 10 Best Hamlet list at number 1. I saw him again at the National’s Much Ado About Nothing playing Benedick in March, and oh, how much I loved him there too. Since falling in love with him I promised that I will devour anything that has his name attached to it which I often do with the rest of them. So I bought the NT’s Candide OST where he played Pangloss just to listen to his singing voice! Apparently he earned the Laurence Olivier Best Actor for that production. He will perform in the upcoming National Theatre production of Harold Pinter’s short play called A Slight Ache as Edward, opposite Claire Higgins starting in July. Come autumn he will be part of the company from Sam Mendes’ The Bridge Project that will tour New York with productions such as Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and William Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, then back again in British soil to perform the same productions next spring.

If you care to know, now that I have indulged you this far, I saw him tonight in Major Barbara, (yes, my second time) but I sat much closer to the stage and boy did that feel so much better! We are literally breathing the same air. My heart skipped a beat as soon as he made his way onto the stage and as soon as he did what he does best out there, I was alive. It felt like I was flung into the heavens, and it was such a good feeling. And I think it wasn’t just me who felt the same, the audience at the Olivier tonight loved him too, we were under his spell. But one thing I am quite sure of is that I probably love him more, because you know what, I really do.

To experience this SRB moment, Major Barbara is currently playing at the Olivier, National Theatre until July 3.

Feigned Mischief

12 Mar

I get a lot of quizzical looks when I give out my email address to people. Feignedmischief what? You’re full of mischief alright, I remember a friend saying then trying to tie it with the feigned bit. Is it just a play with words, or is there more to it?

Now I don’t want to go into so much detail because that’s the fun of not giving too much away. That’s why I really found it amusing that fellow filmstalker and friend Ramchandra, who is polishing up on his vocabulary decided to feature the word feign in his own blog and inadvertently discussing feignedmischief in his article: http://www.ramchandra.me.uk/blog/archives/2008/03/feign.php#comments

What about you, what did you make of feigned mischief?