Friday, September 28, 2012

Ghoulies, Ghosties, and Slings and Arrows

From Ghoulies and Ghosties, Long-Leggitie Beasties . . .
(Part 4)

When the rain ended, Kenny ran out the back door of his house and through the dying woods at the edge of town, into a meadow that crunched underfoot.

(Continued tomorrow.)

And for those who came in late . . .

The mood-setting is complete and the story has a protagonist!  We're really moving now.

You can find all of the story serialized to date here.

And speaking of Canadian television shows . . .

Did I ever tell you that I used to be in theater? Oh, yes.  Back in college, I was a stagehand, and the pinnacle of my career was being backstage when Glenn Close played Sally Bowles in Cabaret

Since that time, I have heeded Tallulah Bankhead's dictum, applied to a society lady who said that she loved theater so much she wanted to be an actor, in order to give something back:  "Darling, if you want to help the theater, don't be an actor.  Be an audience."  But from the pleasant vantage point of someone who was of no importance yet of some use, I got to see what the process of putting on theater was like, how the egos clashed and meshed.  So when I say that I love Slings & Arrows, the Canadian television series about a troubled Shakespeare festival and the even more troubled director who is its very heart and soul, mine is an informed if far from expert opinion.

So why haven't you heard of it?  Well, it's a Canadian television series.  The good news for everyone involved in such a beast is that the Canadian government subsidizes creative television to the hilt.  The bad news is that nobody south of the border is willing to take a look at it.

As a fantasy writer, I spend a certain amount of my time wondering exactly what magic is.  Like all primary abstracts, its definition recedes from you more the more seriously you consider it.  But whatever it is, theater has got it, both onstage and backstage.  You have only to go the party at the end of a play's run and see people who hate each other's guts getting genuinely tearful about being separated to realize that.

I won't go into details about the show -- you can google the show if you're curious -- but I will recommend it highly.



JJM said...

Second the recommendation. Excellent balance of comedy, drama, and tragedy. Wonderfully created characters expertly acted. People you love, people you'd love to strangle even while you love them. Catchy theme music, even. And ... a ghost. What more could you possibly want? :)

And, seriously, you even get some insights not only into theatre life and theatre business, but into the three plays (Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear) you see being rehearsed and brought to the stage over the course of the three seasons this show ran. (Think of it as a three-year mini-series.)

Netflix has the DVDs.--Mario

Bruce Cohen said...

I'll third that. The Ovation network ran the entire series last year, and so I got see it over a few months instead of 3 years. A lot of fun, and a real blast of nostalgia for me, as I was a theater major for awhile in college (I worked on the tech side, as I can't act worth crap).

It helps that Paul Gross is one of my favorite actors (see "Gunless" and the TV series "Eastwick"), comic or otherwise, and he can write and direct to match (see "Passchendaele").

Michael Swanwick said...

And not just any ghost -- the ghost of the wise gay guy you wish were your best friend.

It seems particularly appropriate that the acting should be so good in a play that is about nothing else. And speaking as a writer, I particularly liked that the insights into the plays are about the situations the characters find themselves in and the emotions they feel about being in them. All the secondary and tertiary layers of interpretation are valid (well, most of them anyway), but the forked stick of plot and the animal hiss of emotion are the very center of the interprise.