“Bubble Bubble”, and Jumping Back into Theatre

“Foil and Stubble!”

It has been over 12 months since I made my acting debut in my friend’s original one act play; Max Pry, Private Eye. It wasn’t something I had ever considered, but when the opportunity came up, I grabbed it with both hands and threw myself into the deep end. What I got was a fantastic experience with a bunch of wonderful people, and the acting bug. Recently, I was given the opportunity to be a part of another production, and you can bet your butts that my answer to the question of my participation was a resounding yes.

One major change between my last theatre experience and this one, is that this time my friends now have a proper production company, which is rad as heck. Unlike the other production companies in my home town, Uncertain Curtain Productions (um hello, is that not the coolest name ever?!) is a theatre company with a difference. It is, primarily, “a theatre group that provides access to the performing arts for people who identify as neurodiverse (E.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Dyslexia, Mental Health Disorders)…by embracing the notion that “Our Differences Are Our Strengths”. “

Uncertain Curtain’s first ever play as an official theatre company, is called Bubble Bubble, and is a comedic retelling of The Frog Prince. Written by our fearless leader, Sarah-Jane; Bubble Bubble is witty, clever, and features a cast of kooky characters that you can’t help but love. Half our cast are kids under 12, and the rest of us are adults…though we act like 12 year olds a lot of the time, let’s be honest. So, as you would expect, our rehearsals have been a bit of a whirlwind. But, with our performance dates just a few short weeks away, it’s coming together really well and I’m excited to get on stage again.

Theatre is a fantastic creative outlet, and the more involved I get with it, the more I want to stay involved. Being on stage is a buzz like no other, and I’m thankful that I’ve been given another opportunity to get up there. Whilst I’m still a novice at this whole theatre thing, it’s such a fun and rewarding experience and I’m really looking forward to seeing the end result of our current performance endeavour.

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Hellboy (2019)

I’ve been looking forward to the new Hellboy film for weeks. After watching several impressive trailers, I went to see it last night with high expectations. What I got was somewhat less than I was hoping for, but still an enjoyable cinema experience.

Neil Marshall’s take on everyone’s favourite big red demon has been met with mostly scathing reviews. Many people are holding it up against the Guillermo Del Toro versions, and saying that it falls short. Whilst I did thoroughly enjoy the 2004 adaptation and the sequel in 2008 (I mean, how cool was the Angel of Death, y’all?), I tend to find these kind of comparisons less than helpful. I feel that two different directors with two completely different visions, need to be critiqued on their own individual merit.

So I want to begin by saying that, despite its shortcomings – and there are quite a few, if we’re being honest – I actually quite liked this most recent take on Mike Mignola’s acclaimed comic. A general consensus amongst reviewers seems to be that David Harbour does an excellent job in the title role, and I agree. Plus, he looks absolutely fantastic. However, he can only do so much with the script he is given, and here I feel is one of the areas where this adaptation falls a little flat. Oftentimes throughout the film, the dialogue comes across somewhat clunky, where it should be free flowing. There are quite a few scenes that lack chemistry between the characters, and a lot of this has to do with what they’re saying – or not saying – to each other. And don’t even get me started on the less than stellar British accents! Despite this, there is a smattering of humour throughout, which helps to offset the moments where conversations sound stilted.

The film opens with a gravelly Ian McShane voice over for black and white scenes, interjected with startling red. The opening scenes tell of the Blood Queen Nimue (played by Milla Jovovich), and her defeat by none other than King Arthur, with the aid of Excalibur. But the rest of the movie proceeds to jump back and forth between what seems like too many subplots and flashbacks, and the effect is somewhat jarring. We’ve got vampires, giants, secret societies, Nazis, changelings, cat like beasts, and Baba Yaga herself. It’s the last character in particular that struck me as being unecessary. Whilst the scenes involving the grotesque, scuttling hag and her walking house are amongst the most effective visually, I found it to be a pointless addition to an already overloaded plot. The film suffers from an abundance of minor characters, with little to no real explanation for their presence.

The plot for Hellboy is drawn from the comics Darkness Calls, The Wild Hunt and The Storm and the Fury, but it feels rushed, with too much involved to be properly explored with any real depth. And it’s a shame, because with a little less unecessary subject matter and a little more substance, the plot could have worked a whole lot better, and flowed a whole lot smoother.

Effects wise, there was some absolutely fantastic gore throughout. I know a lot of people are complaining about it, but the video game playing, horror movie fan in me loved it. And in particular, the hell beasts in some of the final few scenes are the stuff of nightmares. Set against moody, apocalyptic skies and a gritty London backdrop, the gloomy colour palette works extraordinarily well against the splashes of blood and sheer unapologetic violence. Nimue’s vengeance presents in creative ways, and the CGI deaths of a few in particular were highly effective. Admittedly, there are moments during the film where the smaller budget (compared to other comic adaptations) shows, but overall it was a successful use of the R rating.

A couple of mid credits scenes hint at the possibility of expanding the universe with a sequel, but it all depends on how well or poorly this film does. Despite most of the reviews I’ve read, and though there are definitely things I would have liked to have seen done better, I really enjoyed the film for what it was. And I’d quite like to see it further explored, should the possibility of a sequel be a reality.

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be…

When I was little, I wanted to be a doctor (read, surgeon). Not because I wanted to help people, but because I wanted to see what they looked like inside. You could say I was a bit of a morbid child, but don’t panic; I didn’t turn into a serial killer. I was just curious about the way things worked. It was probably that curiosity that drove my brain subconsciously toward the fascination with the death care industry, and my desire to become a mortician.

When I got a little older, I decided that being a doctor wasn’t for me. I thought maybe I would like to be an archaeologist instead, because I was fascinated by history, and how things got to be where they ended up, and the stories that could be told by bones and all manner of things one finds in the ground. Plus, I had a huge crush on Indiana Jones, duh. Soon, that dream too fell by the wayside, as I was struck by the revelation that there was so much study involved, and school was gross.

Of course, I’ve thought of doing many things over the years. Amongst many others, I considered being a teacher, a stewardess, a vet, a vampire slayer and, like almost every child in the world at some point (I’m sure), a rock star. None of these career goals lasted very long, and when I reached the age where I could actually go out and find I job, I went into the most easy and accessible field available; retail.

Now, at 26, I’m still working in retail, and still no closer to deciding what it is I want to do. I mean, yes, my ultimate goal is still to be a mortician. But as with anything, getting a job in a particular field is not as easy as simply having an interest and a desire to work within that field. I’m working on it, nevertheless, but in the meantime I need to find something that doesn’t make me want to shoot myself in the face every morning.

The one thing that has stuck with me all these years, is writing. I’ve always had a dream that maybe one day, I’ll write books for a living. This romantic notion comes complete with not having to wear pants, getting to work from home, being fabulous and reclusive, whilst also being friends with the likes of Neil Gaiman, J.K Rowling, and Gillian Flynn. And did I mention not having to wear pants? I lose motivation a lot, and I have writing lulls, and I doubt myself every time I put pen to paper. But one day, maybe.

For the moment, I have to content myself with the fact that I at least have a job, and a means to make money. I could certainly be a lot worse off, and I’m about to return to full time in the coming weeks, so I can at least go back to saving for a house sometime in the future. A job is better than no job, as they say. And unless I’m headed for some kind of untimely demise at any point soon, I’m sure I have plenty of time to follow my career dreams.

Human

There is something wild and untameable about heartache; it rips through your body in endless waves and shatters your soul into thousands of tiny pieces. And yet still, it doesn’t kill you. It feels like it should, but you wake up every day still breathing. You can feel the whole universe in a single drop of salt water, and nothing will ever feel as sharply real as the fingernails that you dig into your skin to hold yourself together.

We were made to feel. We are complex, and unusual, and fragile, and so very strong. We experience a galaxy of emotions and somehow we contain all of that feeling into a tiny, insignificant, fleeting form. In the scheme of things, we’re not much more than a speck of dust. And yet we feel, so powerfully. How is it that we don’t explode from the sheer intensity of it all? To experience emotion is to be human. What a cruel and wonderful trick.

Archie

Isn’t it funny, the random things you remember? Today I was driving to celebrate a relative’s 80th birthday and something popped into my head that I had all but forgotten. I don’t know why I remembered it, but all of a sudden the memory was as clear in my head as if it had just happened yesterday.

When I was small, there was a partular day my mum and I happened to be in the front yard at the same time the postman came to deliver the mail on his bike. I was younger then, and much more personable. Inquisitive and not intimidated in the slightest, I happily started up a conversation with this postman. His name was Archie, and he soon became someone we would look forward to seeing. Every day my siblings and I would wait for the mail to arrive, and for a chance to get to have a conversation with the friendly fellow we came to consider a friend.

I remember writing him letters, and drawing him pictures. We loved Archie, who always had time for a conversarion with a bunch of chatty kids, and who never seemed to mind our questions and stories. To my tiny self, Archie – with his broad grin and friendly character – was larger than life.

One day, someone else showed up to deliver our mail. He didn’t stop to say hello, and he barely seemed to notice us at all. I was devastated, and even though I looked out for him for a while after, Archie never delivered our mail again. I don’t know whether he got a new job, or moved away, or simply got put in a different route. But for a few months there, he was a part of our little world. And today, as I was driving to catch up with extended family I’d not seen in many years, the memory of my childhood friend made me smile.

5.3.19

I’m empty from absence, and it’s a cold weight. The cold just kind of settles in my stomach like a stone, a boulder, a mountain. I am overtaken. I am overcome. It’s a numbness spreading, tinged with melancholy and a strange kind of grief.

My cheeks are damp before I’ve even realised I’m crying. I must look wretched. Everything seems hollow, void of any true meaning; nothing but a habit. Malicious thoughts slither like vipers through my brain, and there’s ice in my veins. Some part of me wants to give in to recklessness and to self destruction, because it would be the easier option. But fleeting, momentary relief will lead to devastation.

Next time you see me, I’ll be jumping with reckless abandon over the edge.

People Watching

Yesterday I went to an all day music festival. Some great Australian bands played, headlined by Suzi Quatro. I only went as a last minute thing, as the original ticket holder couldn’t go and asked if I wanted to take the spare. It wasn’t a bad day, despite the heat, and I had a pretty good time just chillin’ and blissing out.

When there’s a crowd of such magnitude all congregating in one place, the people watching aspect is almost as interesting as the live music. One thing to note, is that the bands that played yesterday were largely from the 80’s and 90’s, so the crowd was predominantly people in their late 30’s and older. The younger ones seemed less interested in the music, and more excited for the prospect of getting dressed up in matching outfits and getting day drunk. But it was the older people there that really caught my attention.

Whenever I attend a music gig I can’t help but notice the usual suspects. Not specific people, but rather the groups of people. There’s always the overly loud, brash middle aged men who draw attention to themselves (not to mention many filthy looks) by being as crass and obnoxious as possible. There’s the older women seemingly desperate to recapture their lost youth, wearing short shorts, and push up bras under sheer tops, hugging each other while they raise their lighters and drunkenly serenade back to the musicians. And then, of course, there’s the couple who can’t help but have a full on domestic right there in public. Yesterday, I was quite literally surrounded by all of those particular groups.

People, as a whole, are quite fascinating. The way they carry themselves, the way they dress (or don’t dress, as was the situation yesterday for many concert attendees), the way they interact. I can’t help but watch. Then again, a lot of the time people are just plain awful, as I discovered when I went to leave and found that someone – or more accurately, a few someones – had pissed all over the side of my car. I mean, there were toilets, and even trees if they got really desperate, but they decided instead to urinate, in a line, right on my car. Out of all the hundreds of cars there, they chose mine. Just my luck.

As interesting as people can be, I’m definitely one to sit on the sidelines and watch, rather than interact. I guess you could say people watching is my favourite spectator sport. Not being a people person means that observation is key, so long as no one tries to talk to me.