Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: "Antigone" by Jean Anouilh Presented by Fusion Theatre

This was actually my first time going to an opera of any type. Most of my exposure to culture came from going to a local theater in my town as a child for school field trips and some field trips to cultural centers in my hometown. Perhaps my first significant exposure to opera was meeting lawyers at one of the bar associations I belonged to who can actually sing it and did quite well at it. So in short, I am not a lady with Italian language competency or any real qualification to evaluate opera in a traditional sense as someone with knowledge would be able to do.

Fusion Theatre, whose mission is to strengthen classic plays with the great art of opera, will present Anouilh's "Antigone," enhanced by sung selections from five classic operas, May 17 to 28 at The Studio Theatre in Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, directed by Eilin O'Dea. Antigone Cast

I came to “Antigone” with some familiarity of the classic story but never having actually read the play, either the Greek play or Jean Anouilh's adaptation. I also wanted to go to an opera and figured a show combining opera and theater would be an ideal format for me.

Eilin O'Dea as Antigone. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Antigone (Eilin O'Dea) is a young woman of royalty who lives in the palace with her sister, Ismene (Allison Threadgold). Both are the daughters of Oedipus, the former king who was slain in battle. His brother, their uncle Creon (Paul Goodwin Groen) is the new king. His son Haemon (David Grant) is set to marry Antigone (this is the royal family in Greek times so that sort of marriage is the normal course of business in this place and time).

Eilin O'Dea as Antigone, David Grant as Haemon. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

It seems Antigone's life is all planned out but there is the pesky business of her older brothers being slain in battle in the face of turmoil in the kingdom. The brothers were to share the throne but the first one placed by Oedipus refused to give up his throne when it was time for the second brother to reign. Creon, for the sake of practicality and getting things back in order, decided to honor one brother while leaving the other one to rot and be picked apart by the birds vs. getting a proper burial and funeral rites. Furthermore, Creon has declared that if anyone attempts to bury the disgraced brother, that person will be sentenced to death.

Byron Singleton as First Guard, Paul Goodwin Groen as Creon, Igby Rigney as Page. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

This does not sit well with Antigone since she feels her brother deserves a proper burial regardless of the law and the need to restore order to the kingdom. With full cognizance of the consequences and the urging of Ismene not to do it, Antigone reveals that she has already attempted to bury her brother.

Foreground: Eilin O'Dea as Antigone, holding dirt from the burial of her brother. Behind (L-R): Allison Threadgold as Ismene, Igby Rigney as Page, Sue-Ellen Mandell as Nurse. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Creon, being caught between his own law and love for his niece/future daughter in law, tries to hide her involvement in the crime despite her being seized by the guards watching over the body to avoid illegal burials.

Paul Goodwin Groen as Creon. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Antigone refuses to comply. She insists that the burial must happen and if she can not accomplish this and receive her proper punishment for doing this, it is not worth continuing in her life. She stands by her principles regardless of the price and later revealing her fear and uncertainty to the first guard who discovered her (Byron Singleto).

Byron Singleton as First Guard, Adam Shiri as Second Guard. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Haemon, the man she is betrothed to who loves her dearly, insists that if Creon kills her Haemon will die as well and we learn later that he's joined her in her tomb and killed himself when Creon discovered him.

Many positive things can be said about this show and its performance: there was a diverse cast, which worked very well since the story itself is universal and the casting did not feel forced or coerced but seemed natural. I also like the sparse staging and limited props used to tell the story since the show wasn't overblown or fancy like some performances might be. This had to have put pressure on the performers to be top notch. Fortunately, they were. When Creon is doing his piece after Antigone has refused to let him cover for her, you can see him crying. The first guard, Antigone and the messenger (Paulina Yeung) also have songs and all were great at conveying their respective character's feelings, emotions and/or the story through their work even if you didn't know the Italian words.

Paulina Yeung as Messenger. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

This performance was held at the Studio Theater on Theater Row, which is a great place to see a show in the summer since there is air conditioning, a precious commodity in New York City. The theater was also small enough to be personal and the seating was set up in a way where everyone could see the show regardless of what row they sat in.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Women's Equality: It's Not Just for the Old and the Ugly

So, my views on feminism are extremely nuanced and after reading a story on LinkedIn a few days ago I definitely think some words need to be said.

A young, attractive looking woman recounts her recent experience of being fired from her admin job the very same day she started there despite making effort to learn the job, having lunch with the boss and doing nothing wrong except existing on the planet. The male boss hands her a check at the end of the day, saying "I didn't tell my wife I was hiring for this role." I along with some other commenters suspected this woman was the victim of a jealous wife and her insecurities. Worse, others talked about how this was commonplace in the work force (particularly in closely held private companies) or personally experienced that themselves in these our modern times.

So, as a woman who went from married to divorced and ugly to pretty by society as well as a business owner who dealt with the HR end in a company, I have a few choice words to say about this situation:

1. These wives should have ZERO hire/fire authority in a business. There is a little thing called gender discrimination, which is a state & federally protected category. Who knows what these harpies said to these women or what they heard from the male boss or anyone else in the company that could subject the place to a deserved lawsuit or EEOC complaint? If you can't run a business separate from your insecurities and mental issues, you should not be in an HR leadership role.

Instead, these crones need to seek counseling, perhaps even take their husbands to couples/marital counseling. They need to be asking themselves why they wish to stay in a marriage with a man they have so little trust in. Why in the hell do you want to subject yourself to that aggravation and harassment in the name of a "marriage?" Children see that stuff & they'll just learn Mommy is a jealous bitch or think it's okay to treat attractive women like garbage or that marriage is all about controlling men instead of a mutual, loving relationship where those two people have each other's backs no matter what. That's what I would have picked up from that. Do these women hassle their attractive teenage and 20 something daughters for their looks?

2. These men do not need to have businesses since they don't have any balls, which leadership requires. It doesn't work if you're running to your mommy or your wife every 5 seconds for every little decision. See #1 if your wife refuses to behave like a mature grown up and recognize that attractive women have the right to gainful employment and not be looked upon as scum for doing nothing more than existing on the planet. Also, if men are that unhappy with their wives they need to seek out a divorce instead of cheating on them or enabling their insecurities.

3. Who wants to bet these same wives are Clinton supporters and claim to be feminists and "pro-women?" Plenty of women backing Clinton claimed that women who didn't vote for her were traitors to the gender. But look how Hillary treated the women who said her husband sexually abused them? Was SHE in any way being "pro-woman?" NO!!!!!!!!!! That along with her stealing the nomination from Sanders and thinking it was a coronation convinced me she was not worthy of my vote.

Newsflash, harpies: if you're pro-woman, that means you support ALL women. That includes women who are younger and more attractive than you. It includes women who disagree with you. If you're okay with bashing and harassing some woman for being better looking than you, then you aren't a feminist. That makes you a hypocrite along with a harpy, a crone, anything else negative we can think of including jealous and insecure. Another newsflash: it takes TWO to tango. Where is your rage at the guy harassing such a woman? Why are you blaming some woman's mere existence when it could easily be a different one tomorrow? Being an asshole to someone who's better looking doesn't make you a saint nor a hero.

Do you want to fit the guy for a chastity belt or shouldn't you grow the fuck up, get some self-confidence and be content with who YOU are? That's why you need counseling. Confident people don't have to knock others down to lift themselves up. They actually TRUST their spouses and boyfriends and react to cheating with "nobody's stopping you from walking out that door but you'd better not try coming back since I won't have you."

What would these wives do if some attractive sales person or business development person from a potential client's office walks in trying to solicit business from that company? What if she's from a company that could make that business tons of money? Are we going to let jealous harpies dictate these decisions? Is she going to have the husband call up the client company and say "you can't have this person discuss the deal with us?" If it were me, I'd say run your own damn business and I'd spend my money elsewhere instead of catering to some old crone's self-esteem problems.

I think there should be a listing of these businesses and they should be boycotted as well as sued or run out of business since those are terrible businesses which shouldn't exist, period. I would happily boycott these places and if that incident happened to me, I would seek out whatever recourse I could.

So in reading about this, I realized that this is why you will never organize a truly proper pro-women's movement. It seems too many of these women are talking out of both sides of their mouth. Get the young pretty secretary fired for merely existing (no actions on her part) while claiming to want equality for women. I also can't get behind third wave feminists since they just want superior rights & to create offense out of thin air. I'm not for that.

There was an observation years back that conservative women are more attractive than liberal women on the whole. In light of this story, I can see why that could happen. Plenty of liberal women are hypocrites on the cause of equality of women and who wants to deal with that? I've generally been seen as smart instead of pretty first so many look at me as intelligent but I've had to deal with jerkoffs who'll tell me how it's great I'm a lawyer but then ask me out as though I have to put out to get business. That infuriates me and I definitely make that known to guys who do it. If they hate me for that, I don't care & I wear that proudly. Attractive women deal with that even more when they aren't licensed professionals so why would they want more shit from insecure harpies? The women's rights leaders should really examine this & ask themselves these questions, don't you think?