Tag Archives: Benedict Cumberbatch

interim

I’m feeling slightly queasy. My dad tried his hand at making fish, as in fish and chips. Without meaning to pun, it was very fishy – i had to drown it in chili spring roll sauce to mask that.

Anyway, i promised a monster post a couple weeks back so here it goes. Be warned – incoherency ahead! I jotted down bits and pieces of my thoughts over the weak and I didn’t realy make an effort to make them cohesive. This is literally a brain dump.

I was mending my yoga pants and listening to James Vincent McMorrow‘s devastating Follow You Down to the Red Oak Tree when my dad popped his head into my room and ASKED FOR THE SONG’S NAME! He literally disagrees with most of my music tastes (except for oldies and classical music) so this was kind of strange/awesome. He said the singer’s voice is very special – which is basically the reason why i love James VM so much! So much softness and strength! And oh yeah, I may have raved about that movie too – the one that cemented my undying devotion to Benedict Cumberbatch…?

I love entirely too much. this sounds like an odd thing to pronounce, but i don’t think i have enough love IN me, not enough for myself. Anyway, a portion of my time went into reading this. Tony Bourdain is such a character, that’s why I enjoy his shows (and the first couple of books were great!) so much. He’s lively and unpretentious (well, at least not to himself). I love real travel-food documentaries. I want to see the culture of the real folks, not just the touristy “hidden gems”. This also goes some ways to explain why I love “An Idiot Abroad“. Karl Pilkington is unlike anyone you will ever meet/ see/ hear of. He is just brilliant. Completely unassumingly, ignorantly brilliant – which is the best kind for reality shows!

oh! I found this fantastic site that links a ton of films, books, podcasts, to classic material! I have so many documentaries awaiting my attention it’s both delightful and depressing at the same time. Depressing because it’ll be a good month before i can even venture into the world of self-indulgence.

[brb – tummy feeling queasy!!! … is this TMI?]

Hmm… what else? I must one of the only people that didn’t talk about the US elections! Too much ink has been spilt on the issue already so i don’t want to dwell on it. I’m happy that he won – I disagree with Romney on several key points, but I don’t think he’s a bad person nor do I think he wants USA to go down the drain as a country. My mother is the opposite of me in politics, so our most recent skype meet was intense and a bit exhausting. But hey, she’s supposedly talking to Democrats online in order to “see the light”. She sees Obama in the same way I see Romney: ultimately nice guy – but not up to the task of being president.

on an utterly frivolous issue – i’ve been doing lots of online window shopping lately (due to my materialistic but stingy ways). I’ve come to realize something during these pseudo-shopping sprees: I view money in a completely different way than i did when i was jobless. Back when i didn’t have a job, i would easily buy things if i had the money. but now that i do have a job, i can never justify frivolous purchases to myself. i guess everyone experiences this maturity? But a lot of my friends think my frugal ways are hilarious. For instance, i have very sensitive to heat, so if i buy a coffee and the shop doesn’t offer cardboard sleeves, i always ask for an extra cup. when i finish my coffee, rather than throwing away the whole thing, i carry my unused extra home and save it for a day when i don’t feel like bringing my tumblr. is that too extreme? it’s no trouble at all to bring a paper cup home!

another thing i’ve come to realize during my vocal/visual arts haitus: the aforementioned arts are def not my forte. most of the time, i imitate. when i sing, i am always trying to mirror the original over some great cover. i haven’t painted anything original in months – always drawing waterlilies or starry night. i need to get back into doing more creative prints!! i miss it so! my creative writing, though not by any means especially outstanding – is completely my own, even if i can’t define what my style is.

This leads me to another point. I am so grateful that i have so many forms of creative outlet. I never feel ennui. In his second autobiography, stephen fry said that he and hugh laurie once exclaimed “how lucky we are!” They spent their days in cafes and vinyl shops after 20min of voice-over work (which pays very well). they did what they loved best, writing and acting together!

and of course talking about Fry always somehow leads me to his reproduced letter in Moab Is My Washpot which contains the immortal words “I tell you now that everything I feel now, everything I am now is truer and better than anything I shall ever be. Ever.” Fry wrote this when he was 16 and deeply unhappy.

I am not deeply unhappy, but if i may say so myself, i am deeply troubled. And every time I read these words, I am destroyed. Stephen Fry, over all these years, has always been so real, so authentic, so loyal to his feelings – whatever they may be. He never shied away from his self as he sees himself.

I, on the other hand, never allow myself to be so unguarded. every moment of my life is planned – by me! I never allow myself to wander. this is exhausting, and yet the fear of anticipation is too great to bear…

 


FRANKENSTEIN [Part 2]

ohmygoodness, this is so overdue–apologies all around~~

CONTINUING FROM LAST TIME:

Following’s the Monster’s miraculous ascend, a man stumbles upon him. This is Victor Frankenstein, the creator. Frankenstein is stunned at the moving creature and throws a large red cape over the Monster. Frightened and confused, the Monster leaves Victor stunned at the perfection of his own creation.

There is a strange sequence involving a rowdy group of men and women. Thumping, rhythmic music plays (I like Underworld, but not in the context. To be honest, this musical-sque section of the play was my least favourite.) as they flirt and drink. Later on, the Monster learns about fire (by accidentally burning himself on a stolen cooking pot) and is ridiculed by humans. This doesn’t bode well.

We switch to a homely small house – its occupants are one blind elderly man, and a sickeningly sick couple. The couple leaves for the fields and the Monster creeps up to the house. Having no sight, the old man (De Lacey) welcomes the strangely silent stranger. This is the Monster’s first taste of human warmth and he quickly befriends De Lacey, who, upon discovering that the Monster does not speak (De Lacey assumed it’s due to some sort of PTSD), teaches him the English language. I love love love this entire sequence. The Monster is like a child, fascinated and by the world and so happy that there is someone to introduce all its beauty to him. As the Monster begins to grasp basic language skills, his queries become more sophisticated. He begins to question his existence, he wonders why he is in pain, in emotional pain be cause his creator abandoned him.

For instance (from here):

De Lacey:  There are two school of thought. One says that we are all made imperfect, and require the assistance of a higher authority—a deity—to overcome the sin of being born. The other school of thought—to which I subscribe—insists that when we leave the womb we are pure, that a babe in arms is untainted by sin, that evil is the product of social forces, and that God has nothing to do with how a man turns out, be it good or be it bad.

Creature:  Me not do bad things.

De Lacey:  I know you do not do bad things. You have a good heart. I know that.

Creature:  Why my hungry?

De Lacey:  Eh?

Creature:  Why my hungry? Why no food for me?

De Lacey:  I give you half of my food.

Creature:  Still hungry.

De Lacey:  It is the condition of men to be hungry.

Creature (jabbing a finger at his books):  Not kings! Not emperors!

De Lacey (laughs):  You’re learning fast.

Creature:  Why my not a king?

De Lacey:  I don’t know. Perhaps you are.

Creature:  Yes! A king! Is my name?

De Lacey:  I don’t know.

Creature:  King what?

De Lacey:  You have never told me your name.

Creature:  Gnaaagh! Never heard. Not know.

De Lacey:  You are a poor lost thing.

——————-

  • De Lacey: It is night in the Garden of Eden. Do you see the moon?
  • Creature: There. There it is.
  • De Lacey: Describe it to me.
  • Creature: Solitary.
  • De Lacey: That’s a good word. Good.
  • Creature: And sad, like me.
  • De Lacey: Why is it sad?
  • Creature: Because it is solitary.
  • De Lacey: Why are you sad?
  • Creature: Because with all that I read, all that I learn, I discover how much I do not know. Ideas batter me like hailstones. Questions but no answers. Who am I? Where am I from? Do I have a family?

He knows that there is something about his appearance that is disturbing and terrifying to other people. After many a time of De Lacey assuring him that his daughter and son-in-law are lovely, non-judgemental folks, the Monster allows himself to be seen.

Of course, it’s catastrophic. The Monster, feeling utterly betrayed and hurt, flees.

And it is here that he begins his moral descent.

LINGERING THOUGHTS:

  1. I loved the Monster’s relationship with the old man, even though it had to end. There was so much humour, truth and goodness between the two.

Creature:  White! What? White! What?
De Lacey:  Where?
Creature:  In the air!
De Lacey:  That’s snow. It’s not very interesting—a natural phenomenon, no more. Now please stop leaping about, we need to concentrate.
Creature:  Snow! Snow!
De Lacey:  Sit! We’ve work to do.

The Creature sits at a pile of books, rather grumpily.

2. I found the couple really irritating. They were over the top with cheeriness. And of course, the reason for the Monster’s ill-natured transformation.


vortex

as if they don’t kick enough ass separately – the universe has conspired and done this.

And btw, this is an audiobook project.

BRAIN EXPLODES.


on the wings of anticipation

I’m look at at the MoMA floor maps right now and I’m getting ridiculously pumped for my visit. The pal I’m going to NYC with has been there twice already, so I’ll be a lone rider at the museum. Thinking about it, that’s actually a good thing – I tend to linger in museums. I’m doing research now so I can plan my time wisely. Obviously, I have to go see the Monets, Cezannes, and Picassos (it’s a crime not to).

PS. This is random and completely fangirly – but Benedict Cumberbatch was just at the MoMA. Check this out. Someone on TWOP commented that (I’m paraphrasing here) “If there’s any actor who’d I would expect to visit a museum alone, it’s Benedict.”


National Theater: FRANKENSTEIN [Encore Screening] PART 1

After a needless but painful kerfuffle, I made my way to the local cinema to watch an encore screening of Frankenstein, a National Theater (UK) production directed by Danny Boyles (of Slumdog Millionaire fame) and led by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller.I was not a great fan of the original novel Mary Shelley (published in 1818). I think I was too young, maybe pre-teens, and the story horrified me. Thus, I was a little apprehensive going into this theatrical revival.

One of the things that contributed to the play’s successful run in 2011 was that Benedict and Jonny actually alternated the roles of Victor and the Monster every other night. But the Monster is, without a doubt, the meatier role of the two. In this production, we don’t actually meet Frankenstein by name until 40 minutes into the play. Nonetheless, my recent history of appreciation upon rediscovering initially “balked at” works urged me to give Frankenstein a second chance.  And the lure of Benedict Cumberbatch (who plays the Monster in this case) helped too – so there goes my twenty bucks.

Thinking back, it was more than worth it.  SPOILERS GALORE BELOW

The show began with a brief overview of how the production came together: the writing, the casting (Benedict only wanted the part because of the reversed roles), the direction, the acting (both actors took movement classes to hone their interpretation of the Monster’s manner of moving. Jonny, for instance, said that he became an infant in his turn as the Monster.)

 

 

After the few words from the writer (Nick Dear) and the director, the screen dimmed.

First, we see a circling shot of what seem to be a huge cluster of stars – the lens zoom to show us they are in fact, countless twinkling light bulbs dangling from the ceiling, lighting the stage.

The stage is dark, safe for a strange upright womb-like sack. There is something within its semitransparent film and it’s pulsating with increasing intensity. After a good minute of struggle, the thing manages to get its legs out of the sack. An explosion of light from the ceiling signals another crack in the sack – and the thing, all contorted, slides onto the floor, trembling. This is our Monster.

It’s a human shaped creature, with a bald head and crude surgical stitches inches long all over its body.  Its limbs flail, shaking like mad. At first, he (obvious by the loincloth) tries to crawl. But like a baby zebra, can’t muster the energy to hold his arms straight. He falls to the floor again and again with loud thuds and grimaces, and still, he cannot support his own body. After many attempts, he finally manages to lift himself up. From then on, the progress is quicker, and easier – eventually rising unsteadily but triumphantly to his feet. Within moments, the Monster is galloping in circles, howling with delight.

I’m sorry I can’t remember where I got this photo from – but it’s everywhere on tumblr.

LINGERING THOUGHTS:

  1. Benedict’s body is UNREAL. I recall someone commenting that it was akin to a boxer’s physic – and they are right. But gosh, going through that beat every night must have been torture.
  2. The Monster does not speak (intelligibly) for at least 20min. It’s incredible how expressive and powerful body language can be. Like good old fashioned silent films, Benedict was able to convey a wealth of meaning through sheer physicality. 15min into the play, when the Monster first stands firmly on his feet, inwardly I was applauding him.
  3. Initially, i was going to do just one post for the review – but that’s just not possible. The next post will conclude Act 1.

Benedict Cumberbatch… and the like

Let’s take a trip down the memory lane; I’d like to draw your attention to this (stolen from the faint-worthy Cumberbatched tumblr):

2005 – 2012

BAFTA TV awards 2005. nominated for Best Leading Actor for his performance in Hawking.

stolen from Sherlology

BAFTA TV awards 2009. nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Small Island.

that’s right, take a moment just to bask in all his glorious beauty. Look at his eyes! They are LUMINOUS

BAFTA TV awards 2011. nominated for Best Leading Actor for his performance in Sherlock.

stolen from Wikipedia

That nose wrinkle is exquisite. AHAHAAAA, I love that he looks so supremely annoyed – probably because he’s in the vicinity of ordinary people

BAFTA TV awards 2012. nominated for Best Leading Actor for his performance in Sherlock.

I chose this photo just to prove how uncanny similar he can look to Ralph Fiennes (IMO, i think it’s the forehead)

After being nominated FOUR SEPARATE TIMES, the BAFTA still eludes BC. WHAT GIVES? Granted, I am so pleased for Andrew Scott – who won best supporting actor for his Moriarty to BC’s Sherlock, but still! Literally everyone who’s seen Sherlock is fuming – that’s not to take away Dominic West‘s win – who was apparently brilliant (and thus, a well deserved win), but I’m a little anxious that BC will have Hugh Laurie‘s luck in terms of awards: always nominated, but never wins.


how to dispel

I stole the following questionnaire from a BC interview. The answers are mine though.

When were you happiest? 
when I happen upon a revelation

What is your greatest fear? 
to repeat failure

What is your earliest memory? 
dropping an uneaten popsicle outside from childhood home

Which living person do you most admire, and why? 
my Dad, for putting up with me

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 
Indecision. Mildness in my “external” life

What is the trait you most deplore in others? 
Lying.

What was your most embarrassing moment? 
rather than one dramatic incident, my life has been peppered with smaller, inconsequential moments

What makes you unhappy? 
some people’s inability to accept

What do you most dislike about your appearance? 
my posture. I need to review those dance lessons

What is your guiltiest pleasure? 
no idea

What is your most unappealing habit? 
Hoarding (I must confess I stole this from BC; but only because it’s true!) and insecurity.

What would be your fancy dress costume of choice? 
Something with a mask, i think

What is the worst thing anyone’s ever said to you? 
things that used to hurt but don’t anymore

What was the best kiss of your life? 
secret

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 
“completely”

What has been your biggest disappointment? 
Not adhering to my own standards

If you could edit your past, what would you change? 
Listen to my gut, even when I was a kid

What is the closest you’ve come to death? 
in my own head

What single thing would improve the quality of your life? 
being on task

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 
staying positive

What keeps you awake at night? 
time

What song would you like played at your funeral? 
at the moment, anything by James Vincent McMorrow

How would you like to be remembered? 
knowing people were loved by me

Tell us a secret 
i wish my body would catch up with my mind.

I channel my childhood self when I… 

The fictional character I most relate to is…

If I had to be outdoors all day I would…

My favorite quality in a man is…

My favorite quality in a woman is…

I’m terrified of…

My dream car is a…

My cocktail of choice is…

My celebrity crush is… duh!

My beauty product of choice is…most days I only manage two things: oil-free moisturizer, and lip balm.

My friends and I like to…eat brunch, preferably with cocktails.

If I could go back in time for one decade it would be…this is tricky! I’d have some fashion answers but really it would have to be a time when women had a lot of autonomy and optimism about what they could do and be. Maybe the 1920s? I’d love to hang out with writers and artists like Anita Loos and Elsa Schiaparelli.

As a teenager I was totally into…movies. I worked at a theater and would watch anything at any hour on TCM and IFC, this is what made me move to Los Angeles in the first place.

I tend to splurge on…
my closet! Though I am really coveting a handmade chair at Heath Ceramics right now.