Monday, March 05, 2007

Prelude to More

Time to play catch-up.

Ok. WHAT?!! I just found out something my Grade 9 English teacher taught me was wrong, and I've been thinking this wrong thing all along. What the deuce Mrs. Morissey, what the deuce. You told my class that "pathetic fallacy" is when, in literature, the weather mimics the current mood of the main character(s) or somehow reflects the events of the plot. (For example, the protagonist is sad and it rains.) I remembered this because I thought it was funny that such an obscure thing was given an official technical term. But it crossed my mind today, and I realized it didn't even make sense. According to this Wikipedia entry, Pathetic Fallacy is basically just a fancy way of saying "personification" as I understand it. This is a groundbreaking discovery.

Yes, so clearly, I have quite a lot going on in my life right now. Ahem.

In all seriousness though, things have been pretty laid back. The highlight of last week was going to Toronto on Wednesday night with some folks from my acting class. We saw The Overcoat, a Canadian production that's been garnering international attention at various festivals and such across the world. I think it's an accurate evaluation of my feelings to say that it was...the most impressive show I've ever seen performed on a stage in my life. The play is based on short stories by Russian writer Nikolai Gogol, and its premise is simple enough: a poor man leads a sad, mundane life. He wears a tattered overcoat for which his coworkers harass him daily. One day he is randomly inspired to spend all his savings on a beautiful lavish new coat, custom-made for him by "an army of overcoat geniuses", as Trevor called them. (Tailors.) Upon his return to work, he makes an immediate and triumphant ascension from zero to hero, and proceeds after work to enjoy a night of much debauchery. Somewhere along the way that night, he predictably loses the coat. Devastated, he goes insane and ends up in an asylum. The end.

The point of going to see The Overcoat, however, is not the plot. The play contains no dialogue whatsoever. It's a story told entirely through movement to music. Like a ballet perhaps, but less twirly. The actors' timing is impeccable. The tiniest flourish in the background music is acknowledged in some way by the actors, thereby creating scenes that are constantly squirming with life and rhythm. If there's any possible way you can get out to Toronto to see this one, I promise you it's worth it.

What else happened last week? Not much. Classes were easy going, with things of imminent importance still being pretty far off. I'm enjoying Acting as much as ever, in which we're currently figuring out ways to represent ideas in a non-traditional fashion. Tomorrow I'm supposed to submit in writing a detailed account of a dream I've had since Thursday's class. The way to do it is of course setting the alarm for some ungodly hour and then writing down the main points so you can remember it later. Unfortunately nothing's come to me yet, so if worse comes to worst, I'll just have to relate a dream I remember from my childhood that involves being kidnapped by a man made of green tissue paper who sold me to the Energizer Bunny. But hey, it's better than nothing right?

Last week I also watched two films that contained dangerous amounts of awesome. First is The Prestige. Not to be confused with The Illusionist, which came our around the same time, is quite similar, but apparently, not nearly as good - sadly. There's not a lot to say about The Prestige, except that it reminds me quite a bit of Memento. I'm a fan of films that let you think you know what's going on until the end, when they suddenly take the plot and stand it on its ear. Anyhow, it may not have obtained "classic" status but it's entertaining and I recommend it.

The other gem is Stranger Than Fiction. In Will Ferrell's classiest role yet, the guy actually manages to win our hearts instead of hoping a monkey scratches his face off, as with his characters in Wedding Crashers and Old School. (Although I can't hate on Ron Burgundy, sorry.) Stranger Than Fiction is one of those films that's funny in a subtle way, but the most impressive thing it does is make you care about the main characters a lot. So yeah, check it out if you can. Awesome stuff.

I have a Critical Thinking midterm on Wednesday. Not so awesome stuff. More to come!


At 10:52 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Mrs. Morissey wasn't wrong, she was just too specific -- weather reflecting the protagonist's mood is an example rather than a definition of pathetic fallacy. Mrs. Little told me the same thing and I didn't get the whole picture until some time this year.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Also, I just checked out the Wikipedia entry and I find the etymology of the term really interesting. I always wondered why it was called a fallacy... now I better understand why I always rolled my eyes when movies or books featured rain during the sad parts.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Brillo said...

...whatever she was still WRONG argghhsdfhlagh


As for the etymology: yeah, same story here.


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