Friday, October 16, 2015

"Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

If you didn't see National Theatre Live's broadcast of Hamlet last night at the Barbican, what were you thinking?!

Since The Imitation Game last year, I had come to believe that Benedict Cumberbatch was one of the best living actors in terms of craft and connection. When I heard that he was going to have his rite of passage (play Hamlet), I knew I wasn't going to miss it.

And disappoint he did not. I read one review for the production when it first opened and it was quite negative. I decided not to read anything else about it until after I'd seen it for myself and I couldn't have been more pleased.

I enjoyed every last minute of this interpretation. It was approachable, thrilling, visually-stunning, devastating, and inspiring. Benedict took Hamlet to the highest highs and lowest lows the text could possibly allow. The miracle is that he did it all with a brutal honesty that was exhausting to watch. I cannot imagine what he has to do to recover and what he has to eat to recuperate every night.

The rest of the cast made me love and appreciate each of the characters in this story in a way I never had. I admired and respected Polonius. I despised, yet understood Claudius. I feared for Gertrude. I wanted to put Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in my pocket. And Ophelia destroyed me.

And so I continue to revere and look forward to Cumberbatch's work. And I continue to chase after Hamlet and the light he has to shed on my madness.

"I have heard  
That guilty creatures sitting at a play 
Have by the very cunning of the scene 
Been struck so to the soul that presently 
They have proclaim'd their malefactions"

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Conversation with a Target Cashier

I went to Target at 11:30 PM last night.  This happened.

Cashier: Hey boss, how you doin tonight? Where are YOU (the family before me had Thai heritage) from?

Me: I'm from Farmington, Utah

C: No, no. I'm talking about your family background. Your heritage. Your culture. That stuff. What's that?

Me: ....well, my mom is from Japan....

C: Japan! See, I knew your weren't from around here. You've got some color in you.

Me: No, I'm from Utah I....

C: So you're half-Japanese and half-American.

Me: Yeah. So where are you from?

C: Oh, I'm from here. I'm just American.

Me: You're Native American?

C: No, I'm just full American, not half.

Me: So you're saying that because you're more white than me, you're more American than me?

C: ...your total is $13.47

And then my card wouldn't read and he had to enter it manually and the people behind me were really uncomfortable.

And then I went to McDonald's because I'm American. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I got to work in the ticket office tonight, like I never get to anymore. It was great.

The phones were going off all night like they sometimes do. I got a call from a "private" number and answered to hear a muffled, terrified, shy, and hardly audible boy that couldn't have been any older than 6.

Boy: Is there a ffmmmh tonight?

Me: Could you repeat that?

Boy: Is there a fffmmmame tonight?

Me: A what?

Boy: Is there a football game tonight?

Me: Oh, a football game. There isn't actually.

Boy: Why not?

Me: Well, football season starts at the beginning of September and ends in December so we only have football games then.

Boy: Oh....

Me: We do have Basketball games going on now though.

Boy: When?

Me: Um, well, let me look up the schedule.

Boy: When?

Me: Hold on, it's loading kind of slowly.

Boy: When is it?

Me: Oh, okay it looks like our next game is on Thursday at 7:00.

Boy: Oh, great. We'll be there. Bye.

And then I felt all these feels:

In this extremely simple exchange I felt more concern and adoration for the child on the other end than I feel for most of my peers that I've known for years. I wanted to see what he was doing, who he was with, and know whether or not he was safe. I wanted to know about his schooling and make sure that no one was bullying him. I wanted to know what he loved. I just cared.

I was at first baffled as to why a call like that got to me. I suppose his parents probably made him call the number on a ticket stub because he was complaining of boredom. In any case, the innocence, nervousness, purity, and earnestness in his voice was enough to give me all the feels. And now I sit here thinking about youth and innocence and trust and faith and all of those scriptures that teach us about it. 

My director recently said "you have a natural instinct not to kill babies, and that's good because it keeps the species alive" (it totally makes sense in the context of the play) but to take that one step further, I believe that I have a divine and God-given desire to support, provide for, and love children. I COMPLETELY understand when people say that they "don't like" or "don't want" children. I don't think I'm going to win any awards for patience any time soon and that is largely in part of children I've dealt with. That frustration however is nothing when compared to the joy that is seeing a child genuinely laugh or make a discovery.

I guess that overall, this phone call reminded me that I'm 24 and single. Before you raise your eyebrows, know this: I AM PERFECTLY HAPPY BEING SINGLE. I actually love it. I actually have a very hard time imaging myself happy in a relationship, let alone a marriage. I'm not perfect, but I think I have sufficient respect for myself. I don't need anyone. I feel fulfilled, competent, and content alone and don't feel that I need anyone to "complete" me because I am fully-functional and whole on my own. On top of that, my biggest struggles, concerns, and frustrations are always due to other people. But I do know that I was born to be a father. I am complete on my own, but I will be better with a family. I don't know when that will happen, but it will. And tonight I was reminded that it's gonna be great.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Movies I Saw During the Break

  • Unbroken
  • The Imitation Game
  • The Theory of Everything
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies
  • Into the Woods

Anyone who isn't going to read the book, needs to see Unbroken strictly because you need to know Louis Zamperini's story as a human being, especially if you are American. The film feels mostly like un-capitalized potential, but there's still lots of brilliance in it.

While Unbroken would feel more like a chore to many, I HIGHLY recommend The Imitation Game  to everyone, because they will enjoy it and be bettered by it. Like Louis Zamperini, Alan Turing is another man everyone should learn about. It is by miles the best movie I've seen this year and I don't have much to say about it beyond the fact that it's perfect. Everything, the screenplay, the cinematography, the costumes, the score, comes together seamlessly. Benedict Cumberbatch surpasses the hype and Keira Knightley haters can suck it.

The Theory of Everything is brilliant. Eddie Redmayne is convincing throughout, yet remains charming and likable despite the character's circumstances. Felicity Jones is heartbreaking. It's just a dang good movie.

The Hobbit is a three hour fight scene so if you like using your brain, proceed with caution.

I liked Into the Woods. It was good.