Monday, March 03, 2008

the day made a radical change by mid sunday morning. a friend called and asked if we could use 3 tickets to the ballet. for sunday. Beth already had plans with a friend, but Erin and I were free. he and I were going to work with The Gimp (the open source graphics program). that is, he was going to show me the ropes of the program. but ballet trumps that. I mean, you know how it goes. what better way for male bonding than an afternoon at the ballet? I'm not knowledgeable about dance but it's a spectacle at the very least. Erin has the added interest of having played Tybalt last year in a production of the play. so in to Boston's theatre district went we. the trip included a bus barreling harrowingly close behind us on the Mass turnpike. tra la. Erin and I had a smackerel beforehand, which proved an event. I know Erin will blog about it. the last time we did ballet, we ate at a pleasant Vietnamese restaurant. I couldn't quickly recollect exactly where that was, so we chose a nearby Chinese one. Erin noticed that the place had 3 different names prominently displayed out front: Emperor's Palace, Empire Palace, and Imperial Palace. they knew it was a palace, for sure, and something to do with Emperors. I wonder if the place wasn't originally a theatre, that would account for its vastness. we went up a large curving stairway to get to the restaurant. someone there asked how many, then led us to a very large open room. I thought it was hopelessly crowded, but he waved and someone in the distance waved back, and we were instructed to go to that person. that person gestured toward the table, and tossed a ticket written in Chinese on it. we were then treated to a flow of servers pushing steam tables, who offered different items. this was a new method to me, tho surely it is common enough. I got a little spooked, that we were piling up a credible bill for the meal. some friends were in Italy once, and were offered tartuffe--white truffles--for the meal. they did not realize that each slice added significantly to the cost of the meal. the hall was noisy and communication a little fuzzy, so we got a number of items without knowing exactly what they were. several different dumplings with, you know, stuff inside. egg roll type things, likewise filled with ingredients. it was decent enough. the meal ended up about 14 bucks each. could've gotten a cheaper meal if not overwhelmed by it all. there was no clue as to the cost (in English, at least) of each item. well, that was an experience. at the ballet, we worked our way thru the crowd in the lobby and found our seats. sort of. I should mench that we were dressed in suit coats and I wore a tie. there's no requirement for that, but it seems a propos, just as I wouldn't, being my father's son, go to church without dressing up. Erin in a suit, standing 6'6", is impressive. and me, well, I'm awesome. an usher led us to our seat, even saying, right next to that man. eventually, tho, it proved that that was not our proper seats. we moved to the centre of the balcony, better seats. specifically, we were 4 rows up from the front of the balcony, excellent view. visually, the ballet was 1st class. sets and costumes were treats of colour. I liked that I could see the marks on the floor of the stage. I mean, that sense of the geometry of the dance, the dancers as atomic particles bouncing precisely. I also tried to compare dancers that were doing the same step. my eye is not practiced in this but I could see differences. Prokofief's score is brassy, at times bombastic, and a lot of fun. what I have seen of West Side Story looks silly, the prancing gang members lack any real sense of threat, or touch with reality, for that matter. combined with some crunching moments in the score, the antagonism of the Caps and Mons was portrayed forcefully and effectively in the ballet. the frolicsome moments were perhaps the best, tho, the choreographer (John Cranko ring a bell?) clearly connected with these points in the ballet. Mercutio's death was rather comical. he kept flopping around after he was skewered, springing up and otherwise belabouring the point that he dead. shades of Marlon Brando in Mutiny on the Bounty. the people who gave us the tickets (their children are sick) were particularly excited about seeing this ballet because it was the 1st ballet they had seen together. I overheard the elderly couple next to me say the same thing, that R&J was the 1st ballet they had seen together. I felt some guilt, that our friends couldn't go, and that Beth couldn't. I even teared up thinking that Beth missed out, she has a greater dance aesthetic than do I, not that her day out with her friend was onerous. ah me, the complications.