Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Second Summer Reading Club Book Report: John Gielgud Directs Richard Burton in Hamlet: A Journal of Rehearsals by Richard Sterne

Before I read John Gielgud Directs Richard Burton in Hamlet:  A Journal of Rehearsals, by Richard Sterne, 1967, I watched excerpts on the internet.  (In the book, p. 149:  “Tuesday June 30 and Wednesday July 1 -  Production filmed during three successive stage performances by Electronovision, Inc. “)

The Electronovision version appeared nationally in theaters that September, 1964, and excerpts are on the internet, where  in the play’s last scene the actors make the fencing seem an immediate, genuine, vigorous, grim battle in this tragedy. 

The book includes a) The Complete Journal of Rehearsals and b) the play as performed, “The Prompt Script”.  There are also some beautiful photos,  two interviews, and an introduction that describes the making of the Journal, which is transcription from audio tape. 

Richard Sterne sometimes describes rehearsal events: “Burton…preferred that Hamlet…should simply walk up to Laertes and take the weapon from him deliberately,” (p. 61).  This action can be seen on the internet.

Much of the journal is direct quote:  about Hamlet struggling with the others in the ghost scene:   “Gielgud:  Save your energy.  It’s very important that you let them do the work in restraining you.  Otherwise you’ll tire too quickly.  It’s dark and the audience can only get a general impression of what’s going on, so fake your part of the struggle.”  (p. 63)

A good, guided way to read William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Faith Groups Believe The Plight of Children Brings Them Together

Right now - someone's child is crying at the public library.  The needs of children are unarguable.  They cannot take care of themselves, and it is considered inhumane to not recognize their difference from adults.  I think it becomes a true dilemma people face.  Having kids looks interesting to people who realize faith groups feel responsible for giving children favoritism.  Many of the "Dream" children were brought to the United States when their parents were sponsored by faith groups.  I wonder how true it can be that faith groups show favoritism to couples who have children.  A true dilemma - the children are helpless.  Yet those who do not miss the important point about limited natural resources and our ecology and definitely Not Favored.  My thoughts.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Poem I Read Yesterday Evening at King's Books

At King's books yesterday it was all-open-mike.  Next month the readings return to the format of featured reader and open-mike.  I read this poem, it has been thirty-five years since this poem was included in a chapbook from Porch publications, "The Story Makes Them Whole".  I wrote poems about a trip to Mansfield, Missouri, to see the Wilder Home and Museum. 
Chapbook from 1979

Through the wooded billows of the land
Where the cattle stood in wooded shelter
Where the cattle waded in the cow ponds,
Where the horses swept the flies from one
Another, tail to head, swept the bus.
These were the Missouri Ozarks, green
With unquenchable grass, green with windbreaks
Around each farmhouse, an occasional
Hawk of motionless wings above a barn. 

Passing the cattle truck, the bus brought
Cattle to us, neck and neck.  The cattle gazed
At us from their white faces, eyes like
Cordials of chocolate, so mild, so empty
Of understanding, so full of acceptance,
So full of our own equality. 

When it rains in the Ozarks they open
Their hearts and they say, “A nice little rain
We had, praise the Lord, it’s a blessing." 

We pass through Bolivar (rhymes with Oliver)
And the other small towns where the bus made
An elegant pause.  “The farther south
You go in the Ozarks,” said my neighbor,
“the more hilly and beautiful they are.”

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer Reading Club Adult Division First Entry

Time once again to enter reviews at the library summer reading club:

Sammy Davis, Jr.: A Personal Journey With My Father, by Tracey Davis, portrays Tracey Davis from the perspective of time.  In 1990 as she frequently was with her father while she was pregnant and he had cancer.  Her father lived to meet the grandchild.  Twenty-five years gave her experience to reflect on that time.  The details of the stories Sammy Davis shared with her make the narration of the story, supported by many photographs.  The author, with Nina Bunche Pierce as a co-author, must have always been sure it was wonderful that she had given care to her father and she must have wanted to express this as an example to others.  Ms. Davis wrote an earlier book about her family.  Sammy Davis, Jr.: A Personal Journey With My Father, is a wonderful contribution to the collections and biographies about her father, Mr. Entertainment. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Electronovision and 1964 Church Choir Participation

1964-1965 I was in the choir at First Lutheran Church.   My father was working evenings at the drug store.  He bought me an Olivetti Underwood portable typewriter to use for typing practice.   Everyone at the high school summer school typing class was a stranger to me, and the building was only five years old.   All the afternoons I could walk home,  not much more than a mile.  In my first year, my sophomore year at high school, a lot of things were different.  Once school began, my mother wanted me to get tickets and take the bus.  My mother wanted me to go to choir practice with her Thursday nights, and to sing in the choir from the choir loft on Sunday mornings.  So Autumn 1964 through Spring 1965 I was in the choir at First Lutheran Church.   
My view of why this happened was always that my mother wanted me to be around other people when my sister had individuated to University.  Possibly  she really did not want me to spend time alone at the house.  My mother also wanted me to ride with her when she needed to drive to Lakewood to see my grandmother at the rest home.  She did not want to ride all that way alone in the car.  She sometimes wanted me to just wait for her and do homework.  Sometimes she wanted me to go in with her and see my grandmother.
Auditions were just singing a little beside the piano for Mrs. Weiss, the choir director.  The only anthem I remember was Oh, Holy Night.  We sang that with the other Christmas music on the Christmas Program.  In the spring.  There was an outreach performance at Western State Hospital.  I can remember that we were given a short tour of the grounds and performed for inmates in a large room, lit with daylight from a wall with many windows.
This was not a clean break from the friends I had at the junior high school.  The ticket I had from the September 1964 Electronovision production of Hamlet, with Richard Burton, was for the evening, so it was not a field trip, and very likely it was time spent with the friends who always were focused on drama.  Electronovision never became popular.  I watched You Tube clips from the copy that survived and I have retained a remembrance of seeing Richard Burton perform in this simple dark costume.  I looked up the advertisements for this on microfilm and found an article the Sunday before about a Thursday dinner celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Swedish Order of Valhalla.  Their organization was older than their 1905 hall.  My grandfather’s brother was to be honored.
I had to reflect that the honor for my grandfather’s brother was from a letter he wrote them.  He went back to Sweden in 1957.  And wrote letters to everyone. 
So it was a week in 1964 in which I can find myself, at the Temple Theater in Tacoma and starting the year of choir rehearsals and anthem performances. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

From A Scandinavian Home Magazine 1920s

Two Heads Are Better Than One - Old Adage

My thought was the thought of permanent waves.   The thought of the houses was different and  was brought to my concern.  After my sister and two cousins had lunch on June 4th, my cousin drove past Mason, and she pointed out the houses. 

Many people know that at a Proctor District house originated the Washington State Women’s suffrage movement.  Tacoma Historical Society raises awareness about the antique treasures.

The structures going for an apartment building are smaller and more modest, and do not offer historic note, so do we deprive smaller, less ornamented structures importance?   These houses are listed at the Main Library at the Pacific Northwest Room Buildings Index.

Fifty years ago I left Mason Junior High.  My math class was in an old house on Proctor. We walked in the back door.  Proctor lost the 1924 building, demolished in 2001.  In an earlier design, Mason demolished the repurposed houses.  Now three other houses are to be removed for density apartments.

Clusters of old houses could be repurposed as hybrid housing. Old buildings where I rented after college, now antiques, are no longer inexpensive.
Where the photo booth
was, probably a school
festival.  Jr. High.

I walked past, watched waves of ivy on the roof approach the porch rhododendron.  My thoughts then were partly caused by my cousin’s concern, so I need to add, houses, both large and small. 

My thought was about permanent waves.  My mother phoned Mr. Lee’s beauty school downtown, I would take the bus to have a permanent in Junior High School.  At a point each time the student paused, a piece of my fine hair in her fingers, to call with calm for the supervisor.  Together they would agree that my hair did not take a perm.  So they left the chemicals in for a long time. 

Both large and small, in kitchens of houses, I need to add to the thought I was having.  My thought was of how home permanents were boxed in the fifties.  Thrifty women saved the curlers.  A box had enough chemicals for two short-hair perms.  The gray air at the kitchen window, my mother and Aunt Pearl took turns winding their short haircuts around the two sets of curlers and squeezing on the chemicals.  This might be Satuday when I was in the early grades.