The Consumption: Nov 19-22

Man… I need to stay on top of this.

THEATRE: TheatreJunction – The Country: Martin Crimp’s script is a tongue-twister, looping back on itself, interrupting itself, repeating phrases and traveling on hairpin tangents. As delivered by Mark Lawes and Fiona Byrne, though, it’s not much more than two actors getting through their lines as best they can without playing off each other in the slightest. Things improve when Raphaele Thiriet appears, adding casual charm, flightiness and a decent emotional range to the proceedings, but that just makes Lawes’s and Byrne’s performances seem all the more stuck up (though, to be fair, Lawes and Byrne are both far better in the second act than the first, which makes me suspect Chris Abraham’s direction is to blame). The tension and twists in the script still make it worthwhile on the whole, but this feels like a wasted opportunity.

FILM: Chaturanga – Four Chapters: A few technical issues aside, this adaptation of Indian Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s novella has a good deal of appeal. As a bit of a skeptic, the opening two acts struck me the most, with the wise Uncle devoting himself to humanitarianism despite the religious and cultural pressures around him. The extended sequence where Uncle’s followers stay with a guru dragged, especially as the film made no attempt to portray the guru as anything but a sham, but still provided some interesting meditations on the balance between faith and reason. A little overly episodic on the whole, though.

FILM: Kanchivaram – A Communist Confession:
In my top two at the Hidden Gems fest. The story of a man who sacrifices everything to provide his daughter with a silk sari, the film has elements of tragedy, but as the opening sequence amply shows, it has an energy and style that can only be attributed to the director’s past in Bollywood. Blends the political with the personal, encompassing everything from revolutionary fervor to familial obligation with the same confident hand.

GAME: The New Super Mario Bros Wii:
Only tried this one briefly… It actually reminds me a lot of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, in that it captures the classic feel of earlier series entries, and works as both a competitive and cooperative game. On early levels at least (World 3, I think), the level design is more than balanced enough to handle multiple players without feeling overly crowded, and even repeated deaths weren’t particularly frustrating, though this might change once the levels get more technically demanding. Still, seeing Mario return to side-scrolling glory on a console is more than just a nostalgic joy, it’s an incentive to revisit all of the classic NES and Super NES versions.

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