One of the places that I ended up visiting in Frankfurt was the Goethe House, and while a part of me wants to simply write about the house (particularly since the website is actually pretty detailed), I will either leave that for my travel blog, or another post in this blog at another time. However, what I will say is that the house itself is quite large, comprising of four floors, all of them packed full of Goethe related material, and lots and lots of artwork (though he wasn’t much of painter, rather the paintings were from his father’s collection). Next door, well not so much next door because it is actually a part of the museum, is another gallery of paintings by Goethe’s contemporaries. Actually, the staff were pretty keen on me going in and having a look, which is what I eventually did.
I’m not really sure if the four paintings that I have posted in the title are strictly caricatures, but they were on display at the Caricature museum in Frankfurt (which in German is the Museum für Komische Kunst) so I guess they should fall into the category of Caricature (because why would a caricature museum have such paintings on display if they were not caricatures). Anyway, I visited the museum the first night I was in Frankfurt and what was cool was that the concierge suggested that I come back at 8:00 pm (the museum closed at 9:00 pm) because then I would get in for half price – which is what I ended up doing, and while I was waiting I headed off to a pub that happened to be nearby (which was the plan all along, and fortunately for me, daylight saving in Europe stretches out to beyond 9:00 pm).
Well, it seems that within a period of two months I have managed to see Richard II twice, the first was a DVD that I had ordered of the Royal Shakespeare Company production starring David Tennant, and the second one being a production by the Globe Theatre. Actually, I had no idea that the Globe version was going to be showing at one of the local (or not so local as the case may be because it did take an hour and a half, by train, to get from my home to the cinema) cinemas when I watched the DVD a little while back, though as I have mentioned in my previous post (though having a look at the date that it was posted – 5th May – I’d probably be more accurate in suggesting that I watched it quite some time ago), the lack of good plays in Australia means that I am more than willing to make the trek to see another version.
Back in 1995 I was invited by some friends to go and watch a cinematic production of Richard III at a small art-house theatre in one of Adelaide’s Eastern Suburbs. I had heard of Richard III (the King that is, but then again most of us who have watched Black Adder, or even paid attention to a particular carpark in England, have probably heard of the guy), however I had never actually seen the play. Being Shakespeare I had no problems going, however I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.
It took me a while to get around to watching this series, though I must admit that my TV watching habits have been pretty sparse of late (probably because there are a lot of other things that I would prefer to do than sit down and stare at the idiot box after I get home from work). Okay, I am watching TV as I write this, but it happens to be a football match and my team is getting absolutely smashed so I doubt I will be watching for much longer (though for some reason, whenever we are watching a sporting match a part of us seems to have this belief, however misguided, that our team will do something extraordinary and pull the mother of all comebacks).
I remember when I first read this play and I was actually rather shocked and appalled. In fact, if there are any of Shakespeare’s plays that are going to rub up against the grain of our modern society then it is certainly going to be this one – the reason being that the whole plot is about how a husband figuratively beats his wife into submission. Sure, his wife is definitely one nasty piece of work, but the thing is, living in a world where more women are killed by their husbands/partners in domestic violence situations than terrorist attacks (at least in developed countries) one wonders why such a play is still staged, and one also wonders why I actually sat down and spent three hours watching it.
I’ve probably mentioned this before but a friend of mine has suggested that the problem with Australian theatre is that it is basically rubbish. Okay, if that is the case then that is a really big problem, but a part of me feels as if I am becoming somewhat influenced by him. My problem is that Australian theatre tries to be so different that it ends up failing as good theatre. Sure, there are probably some good theatre companies, as there are probably some good playwrights, but the more that I am exposed to international theatre through National Theatre Live, the more that I begin to understand what he means by good theatre. In fact, it is probably a good thing that they ended up showing a version of As You Like It because I had recently seen another performance of it (which I have already written a blog post on) and it has given me the opportunity to be able to compare both of them. I have to admit that the version that I saw performed live in Melbourne was actually a little dry, whereas this version seemed to be much more dynamic.
One of the interesting things about the Andy Warhol exhibition that I attended was that they combined it with the art of a more contemporary artist – Ai Wei Wei. Mind you, the main reason that I wanted to go to the exhibition was simply because of Warhol and to be honest I wasn’t really interested in seeing any other artist alongside him. I guess if there was one thing about this exhibition is that Ai Wei Wei seemed to be intruding upon it a little too much. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he isn’t any good – he does have his own interesting style, and he also has some very confronting artwork, however, it wasn’t Ai Wei Wei I went to see, it was Andy Warhol (and if you are interested, here is a link to my post on Warhol).
I had just managed to make my way through this book a second time, namely because I wanted to write a review of it on Goodreads (and Booklikes), and while it was pretty rushed, I had decided that I would leave it at that and move on to my next book (and project). However, as I am prone to do, I read through some of the other reviews of Goodreads (such as this one, this one, and this one) when I realised that I simply couldn’t just leave it at that scrappy piece of work that I wrote up on the train on my way home from work. Okay, while I have covered several points, albeit briefly, I suddenly realised that there is so much more to this book that I had to continue with my exposition on this blog.
One of the things that I don’t like about seeing plays while I am away is that I don’t always get a chance to sit down and write about them while they are still fresh in my mind. In fact that makes it even more difficult, considering all of the experiences that I’d encounter while wandering around the place means that I inevitably land up with so much in my head that it pushes the experience further back, and it is not until I have returned to my comfort zone (or my writing zone as I should say) am I able to think more about it. Then again, that isn’t going to happen for at least a month, so while I am sitting on the train heading out to the Sunshine Coast, I probably should take the time to actually write about the third play that I saw – Merchant of Venice.