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WOSSNAME -- AUGUST 2003 -- PART 3 OF 3 (continued)

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  • JSCHAUM111@aol.com
    WOSSNAME -- AUGUST 2003 -- PART 3 OF 3 (continued) ... oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 10) THEATRE REVIEWS: MEN AT ARMS WATCHMEET REPORT #1 Date:
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2003
      WOSSNAME -- AUGUST 2003 -- PART 3 OF 3 (continued)



      Date: 21st August 2003
      Venue: Theatreworks, St Kilda, Melbourne, XXXX
      Attending: Bek, Matt, Dru, Steven, Hania, David Hopkins
      (yes, the real one and original Ref, out of hiding)

      A few weeks ago, Steven spotted a poster advertising a
      production of Men At Arms and informed all and sundry.
      Show dates were all but one weekdays, and as the "core"
      MelMeeters were unable to make it on the one Saturday, a
      number of those who'd expressed interest were unable to go,
      mostly due to having to work for a living - not that the
      rest of us don't, but Melbourne is a big place and 19.30
      an early time - hence the smaller complement. In the event,
      I am saddened to have to report, those who missed it were
      lucky. Particularly Big Mad Adrian, who kept getting delayed
      and finally rang us at the very last minute to report he was
      unable to come at all; being a *real* actor and local theatrical
      producer, I think he might have grown so inflamed that we'd
      have needed to call the real-life Watch!

      This was easily the shortest (for most of us) MelMeet of all,
      owing to most of those who *did* come having to get up early
      for work the next day. We went to the venue, watched the play,
      exchanged horrified comments afterwards, and that was pretty
      much it for all but Hania, Steven and Dru who went out for a
      lovely late meal afterwards. Sigh.

      I tried to find ways of saying something good about this production
      of Stephen Briggs' adaptation of Men At Arms, because it's
      always a cause for celebration when a Discworld play is performed
      publicly, but the sad truth is that this company shouldn't have
      bothered (and the sadder truth is that there may be some Bugarup
      Uni members who won't be speaking to me after they read this,
      since most of the cast are friends of theirs!). Apart from some
      very questionable casting - the part of Vimes was played by a
      chap who was the spitting image of Boba Fett's father in Attack
      of the Clones, "Carrot" was tubby enough to be a believable
      Colon, "Nobby" was a girl!** and the role of Narrator was taken
      by a mumsy woman who was far too obviously paralysed with stage
      fright to remember most of her lines - the players gave the
      impression that there had only been a few rehearsals and that
      most of the cast had barely troubled themselves to show up for
      those. Timing was mainly terrible, which combined with the many
      muffed lines and missed cues to destroy most of the trademark
      Pterry satire and funny bits. The best, or should I say least
      awful, characters were "Vetinari"'s hands (very believable, shame
      about the rest of him), Death (who at least had a DECENT SENSE OF
      TIMING, but then he *ought* to, muhahahaha) and Detritus, and the
      best-played scene, actually raising a few laughs, was the one in
      which the new recruits take the oath of allegiance and the King's
      Shilling. Your chronicler found herself wishing for the appearance
      of a fruit-throwing Librarian to liven up the proceedings. Sadly,
      none arrived to save the day.

      I found out afterwards that the cast were mostly Uni students and
      that the audience contained many friends and family of same, which
      at least explained the occasional applause but in no way serves
      as an excuse since the price of admission was about the same as it
      is for Big Mad Adrian's far more professional productions. I won't
      shame the theatre company by naming it, especially as we were far
      from the only attendees who came away with disgruntled expressions,
      but I will say that Discworld plays require a great deal of
      Suspenders of Disbelief application and should therefore not be
      tried by, well civilians.

      A disappointing time was had by all. Better luck next time!

      ** yes, we all know about Beti, and about the traffic duty, but this
      was different

      -- Drusilla D'Afanguin, unfortunate bearer of bad news


      Men At Arms: The Play

      On Thursday 21st August, the small group of Bek, David, Dru, Hania Ogg,
      Matt, and Your Humble Narrator travelled to trendy St Kilda in Melbourne
      to watch Stephen Briggs' adaptation of Terry Pratchett's "Men At Arms" by
      Subject To Change Theatre Company.

      Others have already reviewed this play, but I would like to give a
      dissenting opinion. True, the acting was extremely amateurish and many of
      the cast kept muffing their lines. I can't deny that the set was minimal
      to the point of ridiculousness -- when a group of university students
      can't even get an empty bottle of vodka or whiskey to use as a prop, you
      know that there is something terribly wrong with the world! It would be
      pointless for me to even try to pretend that their timing was off for much
      of the night.

      But nevertheless, I had a great time.

      Even though they didn't bring much in the way of props or skill to the
      roles, the actors did manage to portray their love of the story to the
      audience. Andrew Finegan as Vimes was perhaps not right for the role, but
      he was dour and that's a start. Louise Zanon as the Voice of the Footnotes
      was cheerfully enthusiastic and brought great energy to her role, although
      it took me about half the play to realise that her frequent pauses weren't
      because she had forgotten her lines, but because she was attempting
      Timing. Christine Curtain as Angua managed to capture the perfect look of
      horror, shock and fear that shone like a beacon for one brief moment from
      an otherwise merely acceptable performance.

      If I refrain from mentioning the other actors, it's not because they were
      especially worse than the three I do mention, but because it would be
      churlish of me to spend much more time on criticism. In fairness, it was
      the group's very first play.

      It might be damning with faint praise, but I see promise in Subject To
      Change. With a few more plays under their belts, they might become
      Adequate, and from there, who knows, perhaps even Not Too Bad.

      But let's face facts: we did not go to see the play because we expected
      to see the Royal Shakespeare Company. We went to see Pratchett's
      story, and they delivered. Men At Arms is such a strong story, and Briggs'
      adaption is so good, that even a rank amateur performance didn't ruin it.
      The Discworld stories are extremely difficult to do, so we have to give
      Subject To Change some points for not being afraid to dive straight into
      the fire, and Pratchett himself full marks for the original story.

      -- Steven D'Aprano


      Answer the questions and put the letter indicated into
      the spot shown.   Read the letters backwards and
      discover who the Watch is searching for.
      (Note: all spellings are from the 1996 HarperPrism edition.)

      Example: Pratchett's first name -- 1st letter:
      ANSWER: Terry  LETTER = T

      1. Upstairs Maid at the Patrician's Palace (first name, 1st letter)
      2. A small rat catcher for restaurants (first name, 2nd letter)
      3. First golem member of the Watch (5th letter of name)
      4. A doctor and doper of racehorses (first name, 2nd letter)
      5. Vampire head of the A-M College of Heralds (4th letter of title)
      6. A troll potter (2nd letter of name)
      7. Curator of A-M Dwarf Bread Museum (last name, 6th letter)
      8. First declared female dwarf member of the Watch (last name, 2nd letter)
      9. Patrician's personal clerk (last name, 5th letter)

      __/__/__/__/__/__/__/__/__/ = Who the Watch was looking for
      1*/ 2*/ 3*/4*/ 5*/6*/7*/8*/9*/

      Puzzle solution will appear next month.


      1. Nanny Ogg's publisher (last name, 4th letter)
      2. The Opera House Music Director (last name, 1st letter)
      SALZELLA = S
      3. The Opera House Rat Catcher (last name, 2nd letter)
      POUNDER = O
      4. Real name of Senor Enrico Basilica (first name, 1st letter)
      HENRY = H
      5. Feline fake nobleman (last name, 1st letter)
      GRIBEAU = G
      6. Undercover organ player (first name, 1st letter)
      ANDRE = A
      7. A young pretty singer who Perdita sings for (first name, 3rd letter)
      8. The Opera House Chorus Master (last name, 4th letter)
      9. A very odd odd-job man (last name, 1st letter)
      PLINGE = P
      10. New owner of the Opera House (first name, 5th letter)
      SELDOM = O

      T_/S_/O_/H_/G_/A_/R_/E_/P_/O_/ = Terror of the Opera House
      1*/ 2*/ 3*/4*/ 5*/6*/7*/8*/9*/10/ = OPERA GHOST



      We regret to inform you that Lady Aranluc, our beautiful and
      peerless Discworld Horoscoper, has gone off on vacation
      and could not be reached, even by the Great Wizard Manu.

      To our readers all we can say is that we're sorry and suggest
      that you make no major changes in your life till she returns.
      If you did not get all 3 parts, write: jschaum111@...
      Copyright (c) 2003 by Klatchian Foreign Legion

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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