WORTH WATCHING: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Last year our son performed in the Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged:

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (also known as The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)) is a parody of the plays written by William Shakespeare with all of them being performed (in shortened form) during the show by only three actors. Typically, the actors use their real names and play themselves rather than certain characters. The fourth wall is nonexistent in the performance with the actors speaking directly to the audience during much of the play, and some scenes involve audience participation. The director and stage crew may also be directly involved in the performance and become characters themselves.

The script contains many humorous footnotes on the text that are often not included in the performance. However, improvisation plays an important role and it is normal for the actors to deviate from the script and have spontaneous conversations about the material with each other or the audience. It is also common for them to make references to pop culture or to talk about local people and places in the area where performance is done. As a result, each performance can be vastly different from another, even with the same cast.

The play was written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield, former founding members of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, and first performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987 and later played at the Criterion Theatre in London, where it ran for nine record-breaking years. It has become one of the world’s most popular shows, playing frequently in a variety of languages. It is notable for holding the (self-proclaimed) world record for the shortest-ever performance of Hamlet, clocking in at 43 seconds.

It does not surprise me that it started out at the Fringe. We were there a few years ago (by accident) and it was the most amazing of festivals. Highly recommended watch, you can see it on Youtube. Enjoy ….

MEMORABLE WEEKENDS

 

Some weekends end and you look back and say, “Wow. That was a great weekend.” This weekend was one of those.

It started with Prince at the ACC. Going to high school in the 80’s, I will admit to being a big Prince fan and the rumor is that he thinks of Toronto as a second home. Toronto Prince concerts are famous for being long because he loves the fans. Via.

“I love Toronto,” Prince said late Tuesday in an exclusive interview with The Canadian Press after a wild two-hour concert in this north Florida city. It was the 21st stop of a tour he’s loathe to call a comeback — because, he insists, he’s never truly been gone.
“It’s cosmopolitan,” he said. “There’s all sorts of different kinds of people everywhere you go in Toronto, there’s all sorts of great music, great restaurants, great night spots that don’t respond to a lot of American playlists and have playlists which I really dig. It’s a real melting pot in every sense of the word.”

He did not disappoint. In a world where so many concerts feature artists who go up, do their sets and leave (i.e. The Police cash grab world tour which was a serious disappointment), it is amazing to watch an artist who so clearly loves what he does and knows that he is there to entertain. The opening was a jazz/funk mix that warmed the crowd and set the bar, followed by set after set of amazing guitar, sax, vocal and dance performances (Prince can definitely dance).

We could not stay for all 5 encores (Yes. 5) as I was taking 5 teenage boys to Barrie Paintball the next day to celebrate a birthday (Part 2 of an amazing weekend thanks to 14 degree weather and 17 courses), but wished that we could have.

And if you ever wonder if Prince can play the guitar, just watch the below video. Truly amazing. I remain a fan and will gladly go see him again.

Prince at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

YOU DON’T KNOW JACK

 

One of my favourite PC games has finally made it to the console. I downloaded the demo of You Don’t Know Jack from XBOX Live (It is CD form too) and introduced the boys too it a few Saturday night’s ago. What a great family trivia game, there really isn’t anything out there like it and we spent an evening laughing. For those who don’t know it, it is not like all of those other trivia games (which I simply do not play). YDKJ is all about irreverence and humour. This screenshot says it all.

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About time and fortunately, it made the transition to 2011 quite nicely!

LARRY ROBINSON

 

I had the good fortune to sit with Larry Robinson at the Bell Celebrity Gala in support of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health last week, where they raised $2M for a great cause.

Beside the fact that the event was extremely entertaining, it was very cool to talk to Larry. 9 Stanley Cups (between coaching and playing), numerous Canada Cups where he represented Canada in those famous cold war duels between the west and the east.

Now, for those of you who know me, you know I don’t watch sports on TV because it bores me to tears. But I did as a kid, simply because that is what you did on a Saturday night in Canada. If I look back on my youth, it was always about hockey. We played once a week in a league, every recess at school in the winter we went on the canal or the pond and played hockey, in the summer we played ball hockey all day long and in the evening we were either in the basement batting a tennis ball around or playing table hockey for hours .. Making up tournament, using our hockey cards to build lines, tracking which player got a goal and an assist. In fact, after a 20 year hiatus, I have started playing hockey again, super early with a bunch of great guys.

So while I would struggle to name a hockey player who played after Gretzky .. The Canadiens of the 70s are ingrained in my brain. Ken Dryden, Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinsons. Heroes from my youth. So it was both shocking and cool to be introduced to him and spend the evening enjoying his company.

Toronto-20101014-00014

KINECT

 

Microsoft may be struggling with a few of their products and people, but one thing that isn’t struggling is the XBOX. The now departed Robbie Bach did an amazing job to ensure that the product lives on in greatness. Our Wii continues to gather dust ….

I pre-ordered our Kinect about a month ago, good thing as it is selling out already. It looks like a break out experience and the start of a whole new mode of gaming. Truly hands free control that has been envisioned in movies for decades.  Personally, I am really looking forward to the many fitness programs, already have the basement set up for it. Glad I didn’t order the Wii Fit. It looks truly amazing.

 

Now if the could just make a P90X version ….

BARNEY’S VERSION

 

On the weekend we had the opportunity to enjoy the Toronto International Film Festival launch of the movie Barney’s Version based on the novel by famous Canadian author Mordecai Richler. This is my first every TIFF event and it was interesting to hear from the Director, Producer, to see the actors on stage prior to the movie and to hear Mordecai’s wife talk about her husband. She was definitely the most charming speaker of the evening. Interesting enough, Minnie Driver’s demeanour on the stage matched the personality of the character she plays in the movie – which I had not expected at all. Perhaps she was simply uncomfortable with being up front.

I would agree with the reviews, it was a thoroughly enjoyable movie. Funny and poignant. Paul Giamatti was great in his role playing the fatally flawed, some times charming, smooth talking and often loutish Barney. Highly recommended.

MOON

 

This weekend I watched a surprisingly good movie, Moon. A twisting and curving plot, much more interesting than I anticipated. But then the indie movies that sit with 2 copies wedged between entire walls dedicated to blockbuster, big budget movies usually are. Well worth a watch.