Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

03 October 2004

And I killed a fish... and it was this big.

I did some private Shakespeare coaching this afternoon for around an hour and a half: something I haven't done since... well probably since I coached Kevin with his audition for Othello in late 2002. I remembered so many things. I know so many tricks. There is so much information to give an actor about acting Shakespeare. It is so dense and there are so many options.

Someone said to me this week that every word is important in Shakespeare (something I have been told since I started acting). My first response to my friend this week was "bullshit." If every word were important we wouldn't feel so free to cut his plays. Shakespeare is not so precious that every word is important. Rather, whenever we are acting every word is important. Which playwright one is acting is immaterial.

The two films I watched today after taking part in rehearsal #2 of the debacle that is (so far) this year's reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream were Shark Tale and Joan of Arc (the version from '48 with Ingrid Bergman).

I watched Shark Tale with Wahima in the 91750. And dammit it was boring. Worse yet, the animation is really pretty bad. The plot is cliché after cliché with a few slightly amusing spoofs. Renée Zellweger is in it (and annoying as usual—I just don't like her). De Niro is flat. Jack Black is completely unrecognizable. Angelina Jolie, whose fish/vamp is drawn beautifully but moves like she hasn't yet learned to walk in heels has none of the spark and sexual fierceness that she does as a human. Martin Scorsese is fabulous as a hot-tempered blowfish, and he is given most of the best lines. Peter Falk is also really good as an elderly advisor to De Niro's Don Lino. I also really appreciated Doug E. Doug and that Marley boy as constantly-high jellyfish. They were fun. But Will Smith is too much. He's so... annoying as this damn guppy. I wanted to feed him to a cat. And I don't even like cats.

Victor Fleming's Joan of Arc is mostly a boring piece of historical/religious film in the vein of Quo Vadis? and The Robe. Ingrid Bergman is interesting, and the film is José Ferrer's debut, but it is mostly about nasty, evil, horrible, overweight politicians overtaking the church and putting a religious fanatic to death. Joan of Arc seems like a nice girl, and she seems to be sad about the deaths of her countrymen, but she believes in nations as sacred things, and to me this is the worst form of political hoodwinking. Religion has been used for many awful purposes in its history. For me, one of the worst is religion's insistence that men and women should sacrifice their lives for the state.