About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

01 November 2013

Meze, Mira and Makeup

A play with only one cast member can be difficult to pull off; and Taryn Papadopolous Louch did an absolutely amazing job in portraying a wide range of characters in the life of Kalomira (Mira) from birth, through to end of her University degree. Although very much rooted in the immigrant Greek experience, I don't think the experience itself is specific to Greek culture - but rather a wider take on immigrant life in the new home; and the difference in experience between the 1st and 2nd generation immigrants.

The acting is absolutely amazing - especially in how well the characters are portrayed; and the play is hilarious. The accents and the exaggerated character effects are well portrayed and the performance got a well deserved standing ovation.


The Auto and General Theatre on the Square is hosting a month of Greek flavoured SA plays. The playwright of the first (Soil) and the director of the second (Meze, Mira and Makeup), Renos, is part of M's writing group; so we got an invitation to the opening day. It was my first time at the theatre, and being effectively next to the parking lot, has its disadvantages - mainly in hearing car doors slamming and alarms going off. That said, the acoustics are pretty good - so you don't struggle to hear the actors on stage.

The first play of the evening, Soil is based on a true story of a South African of Greek-Cypriot descent's return to the house of his grandparents, and meeting the Turkish-Cypriot lady living in the house - a house given to her father by the occupying forces of Turkey. Effectively it is a story about land rights - and although not directly explored - the history of Cyprus (as encapsulated on Wikipedia) it is a long running saga of multiple occupations and settlements.

The play's structure of three parts, makes it a bit difficult in terms of pacing - dragging on the topic a bit. This is particularly notable in the very end - a part that I thought was completely unnecessary; as the conclusion in the story had already been reached. 

It is a topical, and partly political play. However, it doesn't really have a take on the actual answer - the encounter is so specific; it does not really highlight any meaningful solution to the wider problem. It was still good theatre.

31 October 2013

Halloween - JPO's 2nd 2013 Season, 4th Concert

I love live music because of the experience - be it the audience, the unique performance or just the sound. Last night's JPO concert had all of these, and was one of the best.

It started with the performance of Musorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, a piece that has all the hallmarks of horror genre. The lights were switched off, lights flashed for lightning, and as dawn broke through lights grew brighter, gradually. It was a totally immersive experience that is needed more often.

Tchaikovsky's long 2nd Piano Concerto was next, featuring Francois du Toit as the pianist. It was a mesmerizing performance, with a lot of highlights even though the piece itself was not particularly memorable. It had some sorrowful moments, but did not really continue the theme.

Saint-Saens' 3rd Symphony featuring an organ and a piano rounded off the evening. The organ's notes had an amazing vibration even though it was not a full blown organ that one would find in a cathedral. 

It was a great evening, and I hope JPO can repeat similar experiences more often.

27 October 2013

Movie: Blue is the Warmest Colour (Adele Part 1 and 2)

I bought tickets more on the reputation than anything else really - and it was a very last minute decision. It was being screened as part of the annual "Out in Africa" festival, so it was a special screening before a wider South Africa release.

It is a simple movie premise - following the life of a young woman (starting in High School), Adele, through to her late 20's; through the cycle of one serious relationship, with an older woman, Emma. From the incidental meeting at a traffic light, through to "living house", through to a rather impressively acted dissolution, and a few years after; the movie has amazing atmosphere.  The movie uses quite a few clever ways in representing time (through the course of 10 plus years); but sadly the visual appearances of the two main characters remain the same and in some respects there is actually little change in how the characters act and behave in this time period.

The major talking point (and associated controversy) is the very long, quite explicit first sex scene between the two characters. While it starts of as erotic, and manages to convey a lot of passion, it carries on for too long - so much so, that an audience of predominantly lesbian women, starts laughing. It becomes tedious, and together with a number of other long lingering scenes, it contributes to the overall slow paced, tediousness of the movie brought on by its length. 

Overall, it is a good movie, with some good acting, and a good script - but too long. I am happy that I went to watch it; but I wouldn't want to again.