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12 May 2007: No Falcons Please, We're Maltese

After several months of no action, you might have been wondering what had happened to our trips. Well, finally, we went to Malta, just to please all you selfish ingrates. It was a pleasant trip and although we didn't see everything we wanted to see (e.g. the alluring UNESCO heritage site, Hal Saflieni Hypogeum), we did get to see a lot of damn fine cherry pie. We're always looking for different environments and experiences, and Malta offered another European style - one with arabic overtones - we hadn't encountered before.

We went to see Coriolanus performed by the Ninagawa Company and it was excellent; the fighting was well choreographed but the set and staging were fantastic. Characters were arranged, posed and dressed to ensure picturesque appeal in every scene, and this was in addition to the powerful structural layout of the stage. Go and see the pictures. Also, sometimes a glass screen would fall in front of the stage giving the impression of eavesdropping on the action through a window. It was also used as a psuedo-curtain; by shining light on the audience, only a reflection of the audience was visible. Innovative.

As for Nine Hills One Valley, this had some wonderfully solemn moments - the section with the wise men dragging mats behind them through darkness whilst chanting was particularly moving - but there were also sections where it felt like nothing was going on, such as the beginning when it takes ten minutes for all the players to reach the centre of the stage. Nonetheless, I was glad to have witnessed the performance.

Both of these foreign productions gave me my first taste of theatre surtitles. Now subtitles are easy to read, because your eye has only to move a fraction to shift between action and text. In the Barbican, I was moving my head constantly in the dark of the theatre to do the same; this wasn't so bad in Nine Hills because all conversations were reduced to a single sentence like "Oh evil spirits hear our plea", but Coriolanus' surtitles were the entire original Shakespeare text and I left the theatre with a thumping headache and a queasy feeling in my stomach. Personally, I'll have to think twice next time about a show with surtitles, or at least choose my seat wisely.

Hammerport Corner

As far as he knew, the Cloth didn’t provide a cover story for adoptions. The adopted weren’t raped and killed by sinners. They didn’t run away from home. The Cloth just took a piece away from the family jigsaw leaving something damaged and incomplete behind. As Morgana’s parents hadn’t returned to Australia, it was likely that they still hoped to find her again; it saddened him. Such loss, such bravery. Such sacrifice. The parents had given up their children, albeit without consent or knowledge, for the noblest of causes.

Mr. Alpha and Mr. Omega continue to hurtle towards a pivotal event in The Crane. I am also writing Abigail in the background, looking like it will touch down at around 10,000 words, which is apparently not a short story but a "novelette" which sounds like a new tampon size.

Bonus Pictures

Been a bit of a revival on the Japanese web log, but for those of you who only want to see the additional bonus pictures, links are below.

YouTube Corner

Shiina Ringo has started doing covers... of her own songs. For example, here is Tsumi To Batsu which I actually bought in Japan.

And here is the new version.