0

Random Thought of the Day: Writing Utensils

Why is it that once you’re done taking/teaching classes, you can never find a pen or a pencil anywhere?

This guy just went to Staples and actually purchased a box of each of those items.

Advertisements
0

Flip The Script Friday: Catherine Grosvenor, One Day All This Will Come to Nothing

Hey, it’s Friday! What are the odds? Well, 7 to 1, but let’s not split hairs. Anyway, today I finally swapped out the mattress that the apartment came with with my own, figured out how to turn on the air conditioning, and swatted one of the three flies that have been bugging me. So now, in my newly cooling apartment with a comfier bed and one fewer fly, it’s time to flip that script. It’s another one fresh off the random contemporary drama shelf in the British drama section of the library: One Day All This Will Come to Nothing by Catherine Grosvenor.

Basics

One Day All This Will Come to Nothing premiered on 18 March 2005 at Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Characters

  • Anna – police officer, 30
  • Paul – bar owner, mid-30s
  • Adam – runaway, 16
  • Harriet – Mark’s mother, late 50s/early 60s
  • Martin – Mark’s father, late 50s/early 60s
  • Dead Guy, Man In Street, Young Man, Man in Hostel – Missing people. All played by the same actor.

Setting/Plot

No particular time, an “industrial city.” In the main plot, police officer Anna, who specializes in missing persons cases, is faced with the sudden disappearance of Mark, who is both her work partner and romantic partner. As she deals with her own emotions, and encountering a parade of missing men, none of whom are Mark, she also contends with Mark’s parents, who deal with the guilt and sadness of the situation in their own ways; Martin, by becoming obsessed with the cosmos, and Harriet, who’s turned into a couch potato. In a side plot, bar owner Paul discovers Adam attempting to bury himself in a hole in the ground, and takes him back to his bar where he cleans him up and puts him to work. The two plots coincide when Anna walks into Paul’s bar in the final scene, where their paths finally intersect as they attempt to explain the unexplainable: the nature of the missing.

My Thoughts

For a play which I’d never heard of by a playwright I’d never heard of, I thought it was fantastic. Even though this should go in the “how I’d flip it” section, I think that this would be a really good play to teach a class about scene treatment or basic acting styles. Almost every scene has no more than 3 characters, and most have just 2. it would be interesting to divide the class into groups, give each group a scene to perform only giving them the basic character/plot outline, and perform it for one another, in order, and just see what happens. I was actually imagining one of my recent class sections doing just that, and weirdly enough, I was imagining one of my students…and the character that she was playing in that scene said “Caroline,”…which is the name of the exact student I was thinking of. Creepy, no?

But back to my thoughts; I really like the vagueness of it all and the hush-hush nature. It’s like, everybody has something to hide, but nobody has anything to hide at the same time. The characters have a lot of substance, especially Anna, who is the only one who travels between the two story lines. Another thing that’s really interesting is how many times Anna encounters the “missing man,” who is not Mark but is still, in some way, a missing person, yet her relationship with each doesn’t go beyond much past yelling at the man in the street, or sleeping with the man in the hostel. The final scene, in which the three “young characters” (Anna/Adam/Paul) all interact, tells a little bit more about Paul’s story but doesn’t tie up loose ends for Adam and Anna, which works, for some reason.

Major Themes

Q & A

There are quite a lot of question-and-answer scenes, including the first one, which mostly consists of the dead guy interrogating Anna, rather than the other way around. The final scene is mostly Anna/Adam asking Paul questions. Not sure where I was going with this theme, but it comes up a lot in the Anna/random guy scenes, where Anna, the police officer, is the one getting interrogated.

You Can Leave Your Hat On

Among the surprising parts of this play is the sexuality and nudity, which in a play this dark might not be evident. The two main moments are when Paul strips Adam, and Anna takes off her own clothes. Paul strips Adam in the bar, and dresses him in an all-black bartender outfit, which kind of seems to me like he’s giving Adam a new identity, or helping him fade into the background. At Anna’s third random man encounter, the man (referred to here as Young Man) drunkenly runs into a concrete barrier while attempting to charge at Anna. When Anna goes to see if he’s okay, he runs away, and out of guilt, Anna takes off all her clothes. We see her again later in a cheap motel in “cheap clothes” and later, at the bar, in a trenchcoat because it’s been raining. Overall, the nature of clothes in this piece seems to coincide with the whole concept of anonymity and the identity of the missing.

How I’d Flip It

My aforementioned teaching idea. I’d really like to feature a three-way stage (Harriet/Martin’s home, Paul’s bar, and all other scenes). Maybe Harriet/Martin in dull colors, Paul/Adam in dark, and Anna in a bright blue police uniform as she moves between worlds.

1

Ex’s And Y’s

I’ve actually been getting quite a lot of reading done lately, and the two latest books I’ve finished, I’ve realized, have quite a few similarities other than the facts that they both have letters in their names. They are Generation X by Douglas Coupland and The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas. So, it’s a double book review!

Image result for generation x coupland

The End Of Mr. Y

Generation X by Douglas Coupland is kind of about nothing. It centers on the lives of Gen-X twenty-somethings Andy, Dag, and Claire, who spend their days flitting between occupations and locations in southern California, and telling long personal stories with convoluted meanings. Overall, I felt like it didn’t have too much in the way of meaning, possibly because I’m technically a Millennial, but some of Coupland’s self-coined terms made quite a lot of sense. And – fun fact – this novel popularized the term McJob, referring to a low-wage job with little prospect for advancement and skill-learning, as well as the titular Generation X, or those born in the 1970s and early 1980s. The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas is the polar opposite, in that it almost has too much meaning. The book takes place in England, where protagonist Ariel Manto is searching for answers about an extremely rare book, also entitled The End of Mr. Y, which is believed to have caused the deaths/disappearances of all who have read it, including Manto’s Ph.D. advisor. Eventually, Ariel learns about the Troposphere, a location within the mind, sort of everywhere and nowhere, a parallel universe where you can jump backwards and forwards in time through inhabiting peoples’ consciousness. I liked this book, but it also kind of scared me with its extremely existential nature.

It is interesting that I read these books in succession. They have a lot in common, despite their stark differences; one is America, the other in England; one is about pointlessness, the other is about possibility. Both, however deal with the importance of the meta-narrative, and how it gives the characters dimension as they learn along with the reader. True, sometimes the reader gets lost in the universe; for example, at some points in Mr. Y I had no idea whether Ariel was in the dreamlike Troposphere or her real existence, and in Generation X I was sometimes unsure of who was narrating and who the story was actually supposed to be about.

Overall, though, both books are quite a trip for the curious mind to embark upon. I think I need some lighter reading for the next few books on my list.

1

All About That Bath

Nope, not a post about Meghan Trainor, but about the fact that I finally live in a home with a bathtub after 4 years, and tonight I used it for the first time.

This might not be the most scintillating info ever, but I think it deserves to be recorded for posterity.

  • Start to fill the bathtub with hot water.
  • Go to the next room and pick out clothes.
  • Go into the bathroom, and realize that the water is scalding hot.
  • Let out some water, and put in cold water.
  • Stir thoroughly.
  • Put in Dusty Rose bath bomb.
  • Turn on Seth Meyers.
  • Wonder why bath bomb isn’t working. Realize it’s still wrapped in plastic.
  • Retrieve a pencil and poke holes in bath bomb so that it starts to fizz.
  • Realize that you’re not getting clean, and remember to soap and shampoo up.
  • Fiddle with YouTube and computer screen until the hot water merely becomes tepid.
  • Wash yourself, realizing that you were going to have some wine and cookies but totally forgot.
  • Let out the water, get out of the tub, and dry off, wiping off mostly sweat.
  • Despite the constant getting up and sitting down again, tell yourself it was worth it.
4

Holidays That Should Exist

It seems like my blog is turning into a weekly blog rather than a daily blog. Yikes.

Also, I’ve been saying “yikes” a lot for no real reason. Rather than a life update like my last few posts, (all of one in September and four in August, yikes) here’s a real random thoughts post, so get ready for that warm fuzzy feeling.

I’m always having ideas, and today, I just thought of all the things that we have in life that we don’t dedicate a day to. These are either types of people, things, or activities. Let’s you and me take a little walk through my brain and imagine a world where these things are possible:

National Drag Queen Day. Everyone must dress like a drag queen and no one who does (or does not) can be judged. And yes, I know that Halloween is kind of like this – also Gay Pride is kind of like this – but on this day, either you’re a drag queen, or you’re not. No sexy cats, no robots, no half-naked people just in garbage bags. Full drag. COMMIT. That includes having a drag name for the day.

National Go To Therapy Day. I have been to enough types of therapy to know what it’s like (excluding physical therapy) and that people who have either never been or refuse to go to therapy…need to. On this day, there will be no such thing as a need for health insurance because all therapy will be free. Any type will do, but you have to go, you have to pay attention, and if you roll your eyes or look at your phone, you have to do an extra session. If you refuse to go, you have to spend the day in a psych ward. Have you ever met someone who just needs therapy, but you can’t tell them? With this holiday, it’s mandatory, so call up your doctor, I’m-so-normal-and-you’re-not Carol, because the time has come.

National Lampoon Day. You must watch a movie with Chevy Chase in it. Simple as that.

National Bathing Day, or Wash Yourself Week. Seriously. I was walking down the street, and a girl was sitting on a bench with her shoes off, feet up, and her looked like moldy potatoes. I almost puked in my mouth. We need a day where everyone either bathes willingly or gets a bucket of hot soapy water (not soupy water, like I just typed) dumped on their head, West Side Story style.

National Talk Like An Italian Day. National Talk Like a Pirate Day, hit the deck, because once I institute NTLAID, you can say just about anything and it sounds mildly gangster. Or gangsta, if that’s your thing.

National Fart On Someone You Don’t Like Day. Kind of self-explanatory, and I feel like some people do this anyway in their daily lives, but there are some people out there that really need to be farted on. Just once. Bonus points if you cause them to puke and/or poop. Apparently I’m also eight years old.

National Learn A New Dance Move Day. “But I don’t dance.” Yes you do, Tricia, be thankful you HAVE LEGS and USE THEM. On this day, you will have to either attend a dance class or master an actual dance move that requires some level of skill. So no two stepping, macarena, jump around, or disco fingers. If you like dancing, then learn however many new dance moves and styles you want.

National No Clocks Day. Everything is spontaneous, just like in caveman times, or 2017 in some parts of Brazil and Papua New Guinea. Wait…how will we know when it’s over?

Image result for madonna holiday gif

 

0

Labor Day Life Update

Since apparently nothing can go right today at all, I’m once again blogging from a device other than my laptop (last time it was my phone, today it’s my iPad, at least) because WordPress isn’t recognizing my password, despite never logging out. But whatever. It just seems like August and September were a complete slog-through, going really fast despite being painfully slow. I had a few good ideas for blog posts but couldn’t bring myself to do them, mostly because of life interfering, so here we go:

– I’m officially moved into the new apartment. It’s really nice, despite the fact that I don’t have access to 2/3 of my stuff at the moment. It’s always fun trying to prepare and feed myself a meal when I have nothing other than cups and plates at my disposal, so basically it’s either been eating out at restaurants or making sandwiches. I also really want to set up my bed; the one here is nice, but it just isn’t mine, which is in the garage, hopefully not getting too gross and dirty. Most of all I just really want to know where all of my things are.

– As of Friday at 4:05 PM, I passed my Prelim B and am officially a dissertator. I was technically a dissertator when I passed my Prelim A last December but now literally the next step is to write and defend my dissertation. It was a giant relief knowing that I’ve reached this milestone despite still being clueless about, well, everything, but I suppose that’s a normal feeling.

– Employment? Not so much. Despite applying for literally every job out there that doesn’t involve babysitting, food service, or retail, I’ve come up empty. On the plus side, this means I can focus on things like research and traveling and maybe spending Rosh Hashanah with my family for the first time in years. Right now selling jewelry and Salsa Saturdays are my only source of income, which makes me feel well…kind of like I have been slaving over degrees for nothing, but I keep (trying to) tell myself that this isn’t permanent, and I’ll eventually have a job, someday…just not today.

– Outside of the actual act of passing the exam, the last two weeks have been pretty terrible, what with Hurricane Harvey devastating Houston and my immune system devastated by a really bad strep infection. I just really need some good news now because things aren’t looking too hopeful. It’s actually bad enough that I’m posting one of those depressing life update posts that I always say I won’t do, but I felt like y’all have the right to know what’s going on with your friend Jacob and why he’s been off the map for most of the past 5 weeks.

Hopefully, in the coming weeks I’ll post some quality content, maybe some play or book reviews, random stories, or one of the posts that I came up with but didn’t have the time or energy to post in August.

But first, need to figure out what the hell is up with my blog password.

0

Opportunities Might Not Fall Into My Lap But Other Things Do

August has officially been one of the most insane months of my life, I don’t even know where to pick up again. I was all set to write a post and my computer isn’t working now so I’m typing this on my phone. 

So, this morning, the cleaner came to clean the room I’ve been living in for two and a half weeks (moving into the new place this weekend!). She came last week but since I was still sick it wasn’t worth it to clean. After she cleaned, Roger let the dogs back in the house. I was lying on the couch playing on my iPad when all of a sudden, one of the dogs comes up to me with something white in his mouth…my teddy bear, which was odd because the dogs don’t go in my room and subsequently shouldn’t know what my things are. He put it on my lap and then sat down like he wanted a treat or something.

So I was like, “uh…thank you?”

Maybe a “you had to have been there” moment/story, but even if I don’t have a job, I now live with a dog who managed to figure out who my teddy bear is.