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Thread: The Daily Dealings of a Merchant

  1. #21

    Default Re: The Daily Dealings of a Merchant

    Theatre on the big screen

    November 27, AD 2015

    Hey everyone, howís November treating everyone?


    Last weekend I went to see a live broadcast shown at one of my local cinemas of Henry V by the Royal Shakespeare Company. I believe people in Britain might know about this because I heard the Barbicanís production of Hamlet this year was shown at a lot of cinemas (Iíll talk about that as well) but for those unaware, a lot of the bigger theatres and drama companies mainly in England are beginning to film and live broadcast their productions. National Theatre Live is one of the main ones along with the RSC but I think even ballets and operas are catching on to it. While theatre has been filmed and put on DVD for quite a bit now, it is very new (at least for me) to be able to view it live across the world. Though I am unsure whether it is live or not just because of the difficulties that broadcasting it live would bring up but there was an intermission and everything as well as the final curtain call, though perhaps the intermission was just for people in cinemas to be able to leave for a bit, although it was mentioned multiple times by the Ďpresentersí of the live broadcast that it was indeed live. I donít really know.

    I really liked the RSCís production of Henry V. I saw a production from one of the bigger Australian theatre companies, Bell Shakespeare, of it last year in which the play Henry V was being performed by school children during the blitz, which I thought was an original and interesting idea, especially with the sound effects and lighting used to mimic the bombs and the London Blitz. The RSCís stayed straight to the original play however but it was a really good rendition of it nonetheless. Henry V makes up what is apparently referred to (only found this out just before I went and saw it) as the Henriad which is comprised of Richard II, Henry IV (Part 1 and 2) and Henry V. Over the course of the last 3-4 years, the RSC have been performing all of them under the same director, Gregory Doran. Alex Hassel has played Hal in Henry IV and returns in Henry V as the recently crowned king. His performance, I felt, was exemplary, his modest and insecure side shown before the battle at Agincourt, his roaring side portrayed amazingly during the siege of Harfleur and his softer side (yet again insecure) during the last scene in his courtship of French princess. Other standouts were the Chorus, played by Oliver Ford Davies with a real wit and humour and he really engaged with the audience. Simon Yadoo as Fluellen, the Welshman and Pistol and Nim played by Antony Byrne and Christopher Middleton respectively. While seeing it in the cinema was nowhere near how good it would have been to see it live, itís rather expensive to buy plain tickets to England from Australia.

    The Barbicanís Hamlet, which apparently stirred up quite the madness over in England (little to do with, I doubt, it starring a certain Benedict Cumberbatch), was also another play I saw in the cinema down under. This was my first Hamlet so I went in without any previous expectations. I was not disappointed at all. Cumberbatch, to me, delivered in the titular role, excelling in portraying the intelligent young prince who descends into madness. While it has apparently not been received too favourably, I felt the set design was stunning, at least from the cinema and the visual degradation of the palace symbolised the hell that everyone seemed to slowly descend into. Jim Norton as Polonius really made me sympathise with the character, presenting him more as an old fool, a bit too old for his job, who ends up on the wrong side of Hamlet not so much because of his own machinations. Sian Brooke as Ophelia was also really good. To me, at least, it was a really stunning production.

    Anyway, I think that is all about the boring theatre. I promise next time I will have something more interesting to write about. I promise, I promise.

    Best wishes,

    Merchant

  2. #22

    Default Re: The Daily Dealings of a Merchant

    Rudolph the Red Nosed Captive Reindeer

    November 29, AD 2015


    Hey guys, itís currently 11:59PM so this just makes it for todayís blog post, which will be about the sadder part of Christmas.

    November brings Christmas to supermarkets, departments stores and shopping malls all across the world despite there still being over a month until the fateful day (btw it just turned 12 but while it was a todayís yesterdayís blog post for only a minute, it still counts). Santaís invade and occupy many shopping centres, giving children lolly pops and smiling for Christmas photos exactly the same as the year gone by. While this brings wonderful things (I will never eat too many mince pieces nor will Christmas spiced ginger ever not be the drink of the gods), the Christmas hype can cause people to turn a blind eye to things. Things like keeping reindeer in indoor shopping centres. I walked by some today in my local shopping centre and I looked at it multiple times until I realised how incredibly small their cage was and how horrible their life this time of year must be. Just think about it, these wild animals are being kept in not that big cages (the one I saw was not more than 6-8 metres in length), being kept from sunlight for a good 10 hours and subject to our version of it, are forced to breath air conditioned air rather than fresh, you know, outside air and get stared at my hundreds of people a day. And itís not so much we donít care, it is simply we donít realise, we think it is common place and we donít stop and think what the daily lives of these animals are. Where are they taken after the shopping centre closes for the day? A paddock or maybe someoneís backyard. This shopping centre was in the inner city so a drive to anyone with a paddock would have been an hourís, possibly two, drive. They then they are fed and sleep and the whole process starts over again. Iím not against animal captivity. I just think that we should be respectful. If you want to have children see reindeers, have them see some in a nice big paddock or farm where they have some quality of life.

    But then again I get mince pies so who cares?

    Best wishes,

    Merchant

  3. #23

    Default Re: The Daily Dealings of a Merchant

    Always look on the bright side of forum rollbacks

    January 15, AD 2016

    Thanks to the forum rollback, for a couple of moments at least we were back in a time when both Bowie and Alan Rickman were still alive.


    But now we’re in the stupid present where they’re not.

    Merchant

  4. #24

    Default Re: The Daily Dealings of a Merchant

    The power of little stories in video games

    April 17, AD 2016


    Recently I’ve been playing lots of Dishonoured (and admittedly not enough writing although enough to get a new chapter out soon). And while I might write a whole blog post fangirling over it, I’ll try to keep it short. I was playing the DLC, where you play as the assassin who killed the empress in the original game (not a spoiler it’s honestly the premise of the game). Basically you play as the bad guy, a hired assassin who has few qualms over killing people. And the beauty of dishonoured is that it lets you play the character the way you want to and so I was about to play the DLC killing tons of people whereas in the original I didn’t kill anyone but the targets. However, some wonderful soul at Arcane Studios (the game’s developer) decided to leave a little note on a table midway through the first mission. I can’t resist notes in games at all so naturally with a bit of time to spare before the guard came around the corner I read the note. It was a fairly long note, as little notes go because it was a letter from a sister to her brother in the city watch. She was scared that he was put on river patrol near where all these gangs were (the city of Dunwall, for those who haven’t played, has been devastated by a plague and is generally beginning to be run down and little order remains). It was beautifully written actually and really captured a sister’s fear for her brother as well as how horrible everything had turned to. And this little note, made by one of the developers maybe on a whim, changed my mindset. To be fair, I’m often the guy who likes to play things peacefully and stealthily so I’m a bit biased towards not killing people generally but still I was just in awe of how a little note, nothing that will get lauded over by reviewers, made the world feel so much more alive. I really admire game writing like that, anything that makes the world feel more alive and makes the player engage more is such a bonus to me. Of course, I love Dishonoured a lot already but still.


    Hope everyone is doing fine,


    Merchant

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