GaryView: Aussiecon 4 report

Gary and LissaGary (@garyHooper44) and Lissa (@lissawilson83) caught up on Twitter just after the convention… (the feed has been tidied up here to make it easier to read.)

Lissa:  Hey there @garyHooper44 – where have you been for the last five days?

Gary:  Hi. I was at a science fiction convention.

Lissa:   Really? What did you do there?

Gary:  Went to panels mainly, to listen to people talk about SF and vampires and stuff. There was a strange one: zombies vs vampires.

Lissa: Who won?

Gary:  I think it was a draw.

Lissa:   I’ve heard those things have costumes and stuff. Is that right?

Gary:  Some. Jewellery and things mainly. Someone actually thought I was in costume. Saw my teeth and asked where I got them done.

Lissa:  What did you say?

Gary:  I couldn’t think of anything so I just said they were real, I was a vampire, but I wasn’t planning on biting anyone.

Lissa:  God. What happened? Did they panic?

Gary:  Nope. He laughed and said he’d already met six time travellers and a troll. I *think* he was joking.

Lissa:  Bet it’s the first time he’d met a real vampire, and he didn’t even know it. So you had a good time?

Gary:  It was interesting. One person gave me a new vampire book too, for free! The steampunk stuff was great too.

Lissa:  I’ve read about steampunk. That would be just your thing – making new tech out of old tech.

Gary:  I could use stuff from the sixties – I still remember how a lot of that stuff works. But it’s too recent to be steampunk.

Lissa:  You could invent post-steampunk. Pyschedlia-punk?

Gary:  Except you need a better brain than I’ve got to imagine what to do with it. Still, it all looked really neat.

This is when @Dragonsally spotted the exchange and joined in, resulting in this discussion with Lissa:

Dragonsally: I saw the troll! he had long grey hair and a beard. He looked pretty friendly actually.

Dragonsally: I’d be into pychia what ever you called it punk! I just found a photo of me at the con. well, half of me.

Lissa: Oh, I thought the guy meant like an internet troll. Maybe he meant a real one! LOL. Did you see Gary at the convention?

Dragonsally: NO! I would have looked for him if I’d known he was skulking around

Lissa:  I just saw your tweet about the photo. Was it fun?

Dragonsally: You bet. I have the con bug now. I know what I’d do if I won tatts – I’d go to all the cons around the world

Lissa: He kept it pretty quiet, eh?

Dragonsally: Yeah, he did, the sneaky thing

Lissa: Maybe I’ll come to the next one with you both then.

Dragonsally: that would be so cool. They really are fun. You meet the coolest people – all book lovers like us, a big happy tribe.

Lissa: Sounds like my kind of place!

Dragonsally: you would have LOVED the Dealers Room. If I’d had lots of money and a truck, I could have filled the truck with books

Lissa:   I have so many in my Book Cave already! (I’m like a dragon, I keep my books in my room and sleep with them at night!)

Dragonsally: yes, my favorite books are in the bedroom. I’m rapidly running out of room because the list keeps growing

Meanwhile, over in the conversation between @Dragonsally and @GaryHooper44:

Dragonsally: which was your favorite panel Gary?

Gary:  I liked seeing the interviews with the SF writers. Kim Stanley Robinson’s books are really interesting.

Dragonsally: I’m not certain I’ve read any of his yet. I bought a gazillion books home to read though.

Gary:  The Mars books are really interesting. All about terraforming and people living a really long time without being undead.

Dragonsally: that rings a bell. Maybe I have read some.

And then back to the conversation between @LissaWilson83 and @GaryHooper44:

Lissa: Maybe for Halloween we can get together and I’ll help you think of a psychodelia-punk costume.

Gary:  Um. Thanks but. After last Halloween I don’t think I’ll be going to any more of your Halloween parties.

Lissa: It wasn’t *my* idea for you to roll yourself in glitter and come as a Cullen! You were shedding silver sparkles ALL NIGHT!

Gary:  Took days to wash it all out of my hair. It was horrible.

Lissa:  We can probably do a costume that does not involve glitter this year.

Gary:  Well. Maybe. But there were all those people I didn’t know. Maybe we can just watch some horror movies together.

Lissa:  You didn’t party much before you were a vampire either, did you? Okay. We’ll have a private Halloween party. 🙂

Gary:  Yeah. That’d be good.

Gary:  Can we still make a costume though?

Lissa:  LOL. If you want. You find the valves and stuff, I’ll find some fabric.

Gary:  Cool! Maybe I can wear it to the next convention.

*For newcomers, the GaryView is a review of books/films/TV/entertainment carried out as a conversation between Lissa Wilson (librarian) and Gary Hooper (vampire) , characters from my book ‘The Opposite of Life’. Visit my website for more information.

Theatre Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Yohangza Theatre Company

When Tim and I travel, we like to catch a little theatre if we can. This can be a little tricky when visiting a non-English-speaking country. Luckily, we both love Shakespeare and are very familiar with a lot of the Bard’s work. This means that if a local production of a play we’re familiar with is on, we’ll try to see it. We already know the plot and we can concentrate on other elements, like stagecraft and local cultural influences.

I have seen ‘Anthony and Cleopatra’ in Italian, with Caesar and the Senate all dressed in Zegna suits. I’ve seen a brillilant Polish theatre company make ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in to a dark, disturbing and powerful work about sexual shame and how forgiveness and healing can come from love. Remembering the gentle and moving power of Thisbe’s speech at the end of this production still makes my skin tingle.

Cast of A Midsummer Night's DreamYohangza Theatre Company’s take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream is, if you’ll excuse the pun, poles apart from the dark vision I saw in Krakow – but only in mood and theme. The same excellence is there, and the same infusion of cultural interpretation of Shakespeare’s work to great new effect. It feels slightly like cheating to have surtitles in English, as most of the production is in Korean, but there is a smattering of English used to entertaining effect as well.

This show is a pared down version of the play – only the key plots of the two sets of lovers and the battle between the fairy king and queen remain. After that, however, most bets are off as this small, multi-skilled cast throw themselves into the story with the kind  of energy that makes you think they’ve been consuming nothing but guarana for a month.

Puck is split into two mischievous sprites, called duduri, portrayed with wicked verve by Jung Woo-Keun and Kim Sang-Bo. In this version, Ajumi/Bottomis a woman gathering herbs, and jealous Dot/Titania uses the Duduri to trick her philandering husband Gabi/Oberon into falling in love with the earthy, unlovely mortal.

Meanwhile, the original story of Hang/Lysander and Beok/Hermia running off, only to be followed by Loo/Demetrius and Ik/Helena, with the sprites managing to get both men doting upon Helena, is the one we’ve come to know. Plotwise, anyway.

Yohangza’s production is, as mentioned, filled with exhuberance and energy. Bawdy, skillful, funny and delightful, it’s a joy from start to finish. The cast dash about playing mortals and fairies, playing musical instruments in between. They dance, they leap and bound around the stage and, occasionally, through the audience. There are some inspired stylised fight scenes and physical humour which is both exquisite and hilarious. This is Shakespeare, South Korean style, incorporating Korean concepts in story telling and mythology in the weave of the tale.

It’s a great looking show too – the make up, costumes, spare set design (with it’s little twinkling star field that lights up whenever the stage goes dark) make it lovely and refreshing to take in.

The PucksI felt lighter after watching Yohangza’s troupe zip through their show with such playful joie de vivre. I  felt refreshed, entranced and tickled pink. Also a little gobsmacked at the unfailing energy of the cast, who ran through the audience to wait in the hall outside and proceeded to pose for photos in full make-up, to the clear delight of the crowd who pulled out cameras and mobile phones to take advantage of the moment.

Yohangza Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is on at the Playhouse at The Arts Centre from 8-11 September 2010. If you want to see Shakespeare through the eyes of anothe culture, and have some wonderful clownish fun while doing so, you should head along!

Words are like oxygen

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