The setting is the late 20th century. But what makes Borune's Swan Lake seem new is something else: it takes the old ballet's idea of a struggle against fate and translates it into a tale about a fight against repression. The traditional Swan Lake has a central nexus of 4 characters: the queen of the swan-maidens, Odette; Prince Sigefried; the sorcerer Rothbart; and his enchantress daughter Odile. Like the old ballet, the Bourne version has 4 key characters: the male Swan, bare-chested and whitelegged; the Prince, tormented and increasingly psychotic; his publicly comme il faut but privately hypocritical mother the Queen; and the Stranger, clad in black leather. What's most striking is that, without taking any beauty or drama away from the swans, Bourne transfers to the Prince much of the psychological drama that in the ballet had belonged to Odette. Here it's the Prince who hopes for liberty, who struggles against repression, who needs love to make him sade. The Swan, by contrast, is free will and eventually loving. The famous swan music is still his, and the memorable swan choereography is reconceived for him: all of which makes him an overwhelming presence in the Prince's mind. In strictly narrative terms, the ballet's 'Rothbart' figure is replaced, in Bourne's production, by the dangerously scheming Secretary. He counts for much less than Rothbart did; but that's because here the Queen counts for far more. She is, as Rothbart was. the sinister controlling schemer who blights the prince's hope. And yet, in the selfish lascivious way, she's just funny. One person alone can't see the joke, and that's her son. Swan and Stranger, the freest people onstage, are played by the same dancer. This may seem to be just a gender-bending equivalent of the ballet's double heroine, Odette-Odile; but this make role has a psychological force unlike anything in ballet: it's filmic. Bourne's psychodramaowes much to such Hitchcock films. And when all the swans flock on the Prince's bed in the final scene, Bourne has openly acknowledged his source: Hitchcock's The Birds.
It is in the final scene that Bourne's drama rises to its greatest heights. Most ballet choreographers have had a problem with how little music - and how many climaxes - Tchaikovsky provided here. Bourne, by contrast, rises to the score, and finds in its intense countinuity, cue after cue for his unfolding psychodrama. One unexpected twist follows another. The prince meets the swans. The many swans meet the one Swan. The Swan meets the Prince. The story keeps changing, and crisis piles upon crisis. The dance language changes too. The swans no longer look free. They are visions in the Prince's mind, and they have taken on aspects of his own knotted body-language; but they make it threatening, malign. The Swan too is altered, and it is with him that the arc of the drama reaches its most heroic climax. At one point, thinking that his Prince is dead, he opens his mouth in a huge howl. It takes us back to that other myth: the song of the swan who has lost his mate and is about to die.
My first time at the ballet was pretty enthralling. For the life of gloved sleeves and the masquerade, we got all dressed up, the guys in their suits. The girls got a little pink rose each from a particularly gentlemanly someone :) I was pretty excited, after hearing that it was a contemporary ballet reading NO tutus. I was sure that the dreary dreamy old school ballet would bore me to death, even though I've never sat through one (I figured that's the reason why I'm alive, anyway). Regeant theatre was how all old magnificent theatres that had lived past it's glory days should be - lavish and antique, with a tinge of tarnishing brass.
Unfortunately, my 1st impression of the ballet was that it was a tad too twisted for this innocent mind of mine, touching on the increasingly liberal issues of gays and their acceptance in society. After more background reading, I'm beginning to appreciate it more though. The underlying messages are really deep, and I've a hunch that this is what modern day Tchaikovsky would be more than pleased to see anyway (I'm sure he'd be just as disappointed at the lack of a live orchestra though). Afterall, he did grapple with his sexuality, being a closet gay. So many intricately woven themes there. I did like the sets where the swans dance behind the translucent screen, and the nurses danced right in front of the spotlights set in the ground such that they casted eerie shadows on the white wall behind them. Hmm, maybe I'd take another chance at an untwisted ballet someday (no more contemporary; just give me pretty ballerinas in pink tutus, thank you). But for now, I can't wait for Phantom of the Opera!!
A blasting good time at the Ministry of Paintball, Echuca.
When you're happy and you know it, shoot some balls. *Clap, clap
It was a 3 hour drive up to Echuca, but it was well worth it. Went trigger-happy on the battle field, where they gave us different terrains and different objectives to achieve each time. Oooh the Civil War open fire one was the most horrid, we had to take aim at the opposing team without any form of cover. And some idiot shot my lower back when I was walking OFF the playing zone after having been killed, causing the nastiest bruise out of the 5 that I have to boast of my battle experience. War scars, I call them. Not pleasant at all, those pain-balls. Thankfully, headshots hurt less with the protection of the googles, although technically I would have died instantaneously ;p We had lots of laughs. Bonding time on the bus with the Year 1s, watching out for other's backs, having a go at my aiming skills, and testing how much guts I had to 'chiong'. Probably more fun for the girls who haven't had a taste of army, especially silly me who remembers sitting through one of those army documentaries at the Science Centre and wondering how it would be like for her if she enlisted. Can finally use a term my brother uses all the time. Gg, everyone. Gg. PS. Glad you're alive. Maybe things would take a better turn. There was a rainbow on the way back, afterall. And Kaiwen actually woke me up to see it.
PPS. Pat actually thought my lower back bruise was a tatoo!! Oh my gosh, how funky.
I'd go to Mt Dandenong again anytime. Lining the road at the halfway point were quaint old houses to sip tea in, eateries to hang out at, and antique unique shops to visit. Spent a whole afternoon there, but haven't seen my imagination's worth ;p We visited two reknown places - Ms Marples and Pie in the Sky, for their good food. Then there was an interesting teacup shop and Geppetto's Workshop, an adapt right out of Pinocchio. How fairytale-ish :) Shall not say more, I'd let the pictures do the talking!
The quaint old place that is Ms. Marples, based on the books by Agatha Christie.
[Above] Sweet. Growing old sharing tea.
[Above] Tea for two, anyone? [Above and below] The food tour. I really recommend the bread pudding from Ms Marples and Gold Award pies from Pie in the Sky!! [Above] The teacups shop. Really unique designs all around.
[Above] The ugly old witch in Geppetto's Workshop. Somehow reminds me of Hansel and Gretel. Beware children, if you misbehave. [Above] Purple fairies and orange butterflies :)
Check out the video. How childish, eh? But very amusing all at the same time. I think I started reliving my childhood once I stepped into Geppetto's Workshop :)
Love this song, especially where the drums come in. Such a multisensory aesthetic experience :) Played it over skype for the brother, and he was whooping the air at the very same part. Wootwoot, brother you definitely have good taste!! :)) 12/21, a reference to December the 21st the winter solstice, which has the longest night of the year, makes the song even more meaningful :)
Oh my, check this out. It's even better than dictionary.com! No wait, it's even better than google, wikipedia, acronymfinder and dictionary.com combined!! Why, it IS google, wikipedia, acronymfinder AND dictionary.com combined.
It also has free website content for webmasters and bloggers, hence the new fun and factoids on the side bar :) Golly, I even made it my homepage. Byebye, trusty old Google. Hello the new Google with somuchmoreotherwhammyaddons.
I especially like it's medical-dictionary and acronym search tools :)
Not really in the entire meaning of the word. But yes, here's more pics of food cooked just to whet your appetite. In a clockwise fashion: sambal kangkong, good ol' mushroom (6 types!) and chicken and carrot and potato soup to fight the cold, unagi, sunnysideup, oven-baked pork ribs, baizhanji and oily chicken rice with soysauce, chilli and garlic!! Yumm. The link's for you to figure. Don't get too taken aback, I might just be displaying some fine photography. But I must say, this is some 1st class approval ;p Pfft. I've still got so much else to blog about, but I HAVE to study. The mid-sem is in 4 days' time. Will update as and when I can, and hence I've got to disclaim that the posts are pretty backdated. Feels like I'm playing in rewind from an old videocasette, and bits and pieces are missing or blurred, especially with this failing memory of mine. But I definitely still have to reminisce about my Easter break and THE trip up Mt Dandenong. Grr. Can't wait for Wed. As for now, its back to hitting the books. Peace out.
There’s nothing more liberating and refreshing than an evening run on a chilly midautumn’s day. Granted, I don’t really like running. Nor do my poor extremities who feel no end at the close of it all. But at least, the dry and cold in one’s face helps take away the mental drudgery of each step, unlike the humidity well known to Singapore.
It has always seemed to me that the mere decision to throw everything aside and ‘go out for a run’, has parallels to making a conscientious decision to leave all your preoccupations behind and take a bold step into the sun. And there, the warm wane glow awaits. What could be more rewarding?
This. And actually capturing a piece of it.
It’s my self-proclaimed winner of the week :) I title it "Cracked White Lines that Paint the Tarmac Path". Was running along the road leading to MMC, and found myself pass a construction site. The sun was setting right behind it, infatuating the sky with its marvelous tinges of pastel pink and orange. I knew I had to rush back to grab my camera, and I think I sprinted faster than I did at the end of the run, even though I was cooling down already (and you know how hard it is to get started again). I’m thankful I did though, for I was greatly contented after my phototaking escapade.
Yummy yummy brekkie prepared by the housemate. God has indeed blessed me with angels in my midst ;p And after SPC-ing for the whole day, we rewarded ourselves with a sumptous dinner of cold soba, tempura prawns and miso soup with crabsticks, fish tofu and sotong! Food galore, indeed. The primitive method I used to crush up the biscuits to make the tempura flakes. Kerf the chef, if you're reading this I think you should give this picture a miss. Your tummy will flip ;p Ps. I think Becky's jam jar did a double take during that period too ;p