14 November 2011

"Vaya con Dios."

Over the weekend, I took in some live theatre (spelled with the "-re" at the end to make it sound both classy and fancy) in Los Angeles and attended Point Break Live LA. For those unfamiliar, Point Break is Oscar award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow's movie about surfing bank robbers and the FBI agent on a mission to stop them. It's a movie that is both awesome and incredibly ridiculous and not something one would normally associate with a sustainable stage translation, what with so many scenes taking place at the beach or in mid-flight during a spontaneous afternoon skydive.

The other thing Point Break is known for is Keanu Reeves and his ridiculous acting because he is terrible. Everyone else in the movie is either competent (Lori Petty) or having a whole lot of fun (Gary Busey), so their personalities work well with their performances, but Keanu is on another level. His line-readings in the movie, along with his truly awful acting, make for a cult classic performance and a unique stage translation. Instead of having an improv actor/comedian play the role of former college football great turned lawyer/FBI agent Johnny Utah, the crew at the Dragonfly casts the role from the audience members present. The audience member reads the lines from cue cards, which allows the individual to embrace the inner Keanu-ness of the part.

Everything is interactive, as the audience members become part of the play when the actors rob banks or run through the crowd to simulate the truly awesome chase scene. The foot chase between Johnny Utah and the bank robbing, surfer, Zen ringleader Bodhi is my favorite scene in the entire movie because the latter at one point throws a dog at the former, and they recreate that moment as faithfully as they possibly can in a theatre setting.

My only complaint is that, for the sake of streamlining the story and theatrical brevity, the cast and crew cut out a large subplot involving a separate gang of surfers who deal drugs and run guns. Some of my favorite moments come from that subplot, including Anthony Keidis shooting himself in the foot, Tom Sizemore complaining about having to wear the surfer attire and sport a stupid haircut while working undercover, and the fact that there is a character named Warchild. Still, as an experience I would enjoy attending again,
this was tops.

Friday, October 28 - We explored irony through Alanis Morissette's song, "Ironic." In groups of no more than three, you took the existing situations in the song and modified them to be truly ironic. See, 'cause the song is only true to its namesake in that the situations described aren't, making the whole thing an exercise in irony. Crazy!

Tuesday, November 1 - After going over direct and indirect characterization, you began finding examples of both for a single character in Fahrenheit 451, taking note to use the acronym STEAL (speech, thoughts, effect, actions and looks) when finding indirect quotations.

Wednesday, November 2 - You finished Fahrenheit 451 and turned in your last batch of annotations, which I graded and returned to you. Meanwhile, the class received a work day for the Censorship Project.

Thursday, November 3 - We read through the afterword of the book and used that to discuss some major points about the novel, including how much ownership an artist has over art after its release.

Friday, November 4 - We continued our discussion and also read through the coda.

Monday, November 7 - You received a day to rehearse your Censorship Project.

Tuesday, November 8 - All students began presenting for the Censorship Project.

Wednesday, November 9 - Lather, rinse, repeat the previous day.

Thursday, November 10 - And after wrapping up the presentations, we reviewed for the final on Fahrenheit 451.

Friday, October 27 - We started reading Beowulf with an eye for focusing on how it serves as a transition between pagan and Christian cultural beliefs for the Anglo-Saxons while also demonstrating Anglo-Saxon heroic ideals. As such, during our reading, you'll keep track of the truncated version of the story through a dialectical journal. On the left hand side, you'll summarize the section we completed in three to five sentences. On the right hand side, you'll write down the section of the heroic journey that the story falls under and two sentences dedicated to either how the section serves as the transition between the two cultural beliefs or how the section demonstrates the heroic ideals.

Tuesday, November 1 - We continued reading Beowulf because that guy is pretty cool.

Wednesday, November 2 - In an effort to better incorporate quotations into your writing, we went over TLQ guidelines, which stands for transition, lead-in, quote. The idea is that quotations should not just get dropped into your paragraphs because that's lazy. Instead, since quotations are meant to back up whatever point you're trying to make, they should be integrated seamlessly into your writing as a way to strengthen your argument.

Thursday, November 3 - This was our third timed writing day, and I asked you to incorporate a quotation into each of your three paragraphs using the TLQ guidelines from the day before.

Friday, November 4 - You received a work day for annotation or your CD Creation project.

Monday, November 7 - We continued reading Beowulf and discussed the battle with Grendel.

Tuesday, November 8 - You received the guidelines for the culminating paper, which is due December 6. The prompt asks you to trace a theme throughout the course of your novel, making sure that you support it with outside sources and valid thesis statement.

Wednesday, November 9 - We expanded on the idea for thesis statements, discussing the ATC3(or 4) format that leads to a valid thesis statement. The catch is to make sure the sentence flows and makes sense. The easiest way to figure out if it does is to read the sentence aloud to yourself after the fact.

Thursday, November 10 - You earned a work day and I forgot that your final article selection was due, so I pushed it back to the following Tuesday.

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