Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Divine Court-Martial of Field Marshal William Keitel

I attended the second weekend staged reading of Charles McIntosh's The Divine Court-Martial of Field Marshal William Keitel on September 19, 2008. Although I was expecting "long and tedious" I found it to be engaging and well-presented. While it ran more than the normal two hours, I did not feel it to be tedious at all.

Without giving anything away, the play is staged "somewhere between heaven, hell and our long ago destroyed earth" and is a trial of the titular Field Marshal Keitel for the eternal placement of his soul. The entire action takes place in a courtroom, and while I was constantly wondering how it would all turn out, I found I was extremely satisfied with the final verdict.

As a staged reading, the play did not have the full impact of a performance, and it was when actors occasionally went "off-book" that I was fully engaged. I especially felt that portrayals by Susannah Nelson as "Azura", Stephen Kaufman as "Beelzemar" and Thomas Langtry as "Captain/Admiral Bligh" were the most polished with great stage presence. Azura's direct courtroom confrontation with Beelzemar was especially powerful.

And I would be remiss to omit the inspired performance by Keith Letl as "Keitel." His flawless German accent, stage demeanor and convincing appearance made the part come alive. With the added burden of performing with his back to the audience throughout much of the production, he was still able to pull it off.

However, the portrayal of "Gehazi" by Jeff Webster was my favorite. Although Jeff did not have as many lines as many of the other characters, we was never out of character, and his actions, reactions and facial expressions in the background indicated he was fully engaged in the production.

One other character was not credited but served an extremely important part. The Thistle Dew stage and set was extremely well-done, and the lights and sound effects depicting Jehovah was perfect and deserves kudos of its own.

All in all, another enjoyable evening at Thistle Dew, with its decadent desserts, that I will repeat the next time around.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Music Will Be My Life - Part 2a

Thanks to a thread by Scott Sheppard on the BeyondAwizard mailing list, inspired by an article in Uncut magazine and supported by Bill Bricker, a potentially new way of displaying musical influences has been unleashed. Here's my contribution. I took Scott's basic format and eliminated tables, choosing to use CSS instead. As is my wont, I will probably extend this and make it available to the general public. Could be a new social site in the making.