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text 2019-02-14 23:53
Christie Completists: Agatha's Plays
The Mousetrap and Other Plays - Agatha Christie
Black Coffee - Agatha Christie
The Unexpected Guest: A Play In Two Acts - Agatha Christie
Spider's Web: A Stage Play - Agatha Christie
Rule of Three - Agatha Christie
Murder on the Nile - Agatha Christie
Akhnaton: A Play in Three Acts - Agatha Christie
The Lost Plays: Butter in a Lordly Dish / Murder in the Mews / Personal Call - Full Cast,Richard Williams,Ivan S. Brandt,Agatha Christie

In my quest for Christie-related reading material, I've decided to work yet another series of reads into this year's program; namely, Dame Agatha's plays -- NOT The Mousetrap, Witness for the Prosecution and other blockbusters, however, but her lesser-known and forgotten ones; both stand-alones and adaptations of her own novels.  Most of the latter are collected, together with her aforementioned blockbuster successes, in The Mousetrap and Other Plays; the others are published individually by Samuel French.

 

The Mousetrap and Other Plays includes:

 

* Ten Little Indians

* Appointment With Death

* The Hollow

* Towards Zero and

* Go Back for Murder,

 

as well as a stand-alone play named Verdict.

(Go Back for Murder is the dramatization of Five Little Pigs, aka Murder in Retrospect).

 

Three of Dame Agatha's other plays were novelized by Charles Osborne: I've seen enough of those novels NOT to ever want to go near any of them ... but I am very much interested in Christie's original works:

 

* Black Coffee

* The Unexpected Guest and

* Spider's Web.

 

Then, there is a collection of three one-act plays collectively published under the title Rule of Three:

 

* Afternoon at the Seaside

* The Rats and

* The Patient,

 

as well as two plays set in Egypt: the dramatization of Death on the Nile and one of her final works, a history play set in Ancient Egypt published in 1973 but never produced in her remaining lifetime,

 

* Murder on the Nile and

* Akhnaton.

 

Finally, there is a set of radio dramas rereleased by the BBC a few years ago:

 

* Butter in a Lordly Dish

* Murder in the Mews and

* Personal Call.

 

I'm not planning to binge on these, but I'll be sprinkling them into my reading over the course of the year.  If anybody would like to join, please let me know -- I'm always up for a buddy read.

 


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review 2018-12-23 22:01
24 Festive Tasks: My Final Books (Doors 16, 17 and 19 -- Human Rights Day, St. Lucia's Day, and Festivus)
A Christmas Guest - Anne Perry,Terrence Hardiman
Skandinavische Weihnachten: Die schönsten Geschichten von Sven Nordqvist, Hans Christian Andersen, Selma Lagerlöf u.a. - Hans Christian Andersen,Selma Lagerlöf,Various Authors,Sven Nordqvist,Josef Tratnik,Dirk Bach,Jens Wawrczeck
A Woman of No Importance - Full Cast,Oscar Wilde
Model Millionaire - David Timson,Oscar Wilde


Anne Perry: A Christmas Guest

The third book in Anne Perry's series of Christmas novellas, each one of which has as their protagonist one of the supporting characters from Perry's main series (William Monk, and Charlotte & Thomas Pitt).  This installment's starring role goes to Charlotte Pitt's vinegar-tongued grandmother, who -- like another remote relative, recently returned to England after having spent most of her adult life living in the Middle East -- finds herself shunted onto Charlotte and her husband Thomas at short notice, because the family with whom she had been planning to spend the holidays have made other plans.  While Grandma pretends to despise her widely-traveled fellow guest, secretly she develops a considerable amount of respect for her, so when the lady is unexpetedly found dead, grandma takes it upon herself to seek out the people who had unloaded her on the Pitt household; convinced that something untoward is afoot.

 

As Perry's Christmas novellas go, this is one of my favorite installments to date, and i loved seeing it told, for once, not from the point of view of an easily likeable character, but from that of Grandma, who is a major pain in the neck to others (even though you'd have to be blind not to recognize from the word "go" that her acerbic tongue and pretensions are merely part of her personal armour).  I also wondered whether the murder victim's character might have been inspired by pioneering women travelers like Gertrude Bell, even if the story is set a few decades earlier than Bell's actual life.  I had issues with a couple of minor aspects of the plot (and characters / behaviour), but they didn't intrude enough to seriously impinge on my enjoyment of the story.  And since Grandma, for all her overblown pretenses, is certainly a strong woman character -- which she shows, not least, by eventually admitting to her own fallibilities -- I am counting this book towards the Human Rights Day square of 24 Festive Tasks.

 

 

 
Various Authors: Skandinavische Weihnachten

A charming anthology of Christmas short stories and poems from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Finland; chiefly geared towards children, but more than enjoyable by readers and listeners of all ages and generations.  I knew some of the entries (no Scandinavian Christmas anthology without Andersen's Little Match Girl, I suppose), but many of the stories were new to me, and they made for delightful listening on this 4th weekend of Advent. -- Set in Scandinavia, and thus I'm using it as my book for the St. Lucia's Day square.

 

 


Oscar Wilde: A Woman of No Importance

Wilde's second play; an acerbic take on the narrowness of fin de siècle English morality; or more particularly, supremely hypocritical perceptions of women's role in society.  Unlike in Wilde's later plays, the beginning comes across as a bit of an over-indulgence in the author's own clever wit, with a veritable fireworks of sparkling onelines and repartees following in quick succession without greatly advancing the plot (which is what earns the piece the subtractions in my star ratings -- it's the perfect example of too much of a good thing); but once the plot and the dialogue centers on the opposing protagonists, it quickly finds its feet. -- As Festivus books go, it's rather on the dark side, but it's a satire nevertheless, so I'm counting it for that square ... and though (unusually for Wilde) the last line is telegraphed a mile and a half in advance, I nevertheless enjoyed saying it along with the play's heroine from all my heart.

 

 


Oscar Wilde: Model Millionaire

My encore enjoyment to follow up A Woman of No Importance; a story that couldn't be any more different in tone and intent -- the tale of a gentleman who believes he has done a kindness to a raggedy beggar modelling for his artist friend ... only to find that he could not possibly have been any more mistaken, and that in fact it is he who is ultimately at the receiving end of an unexpected kindness.

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text 2018-12-06 04:59
This New Year Beat the Drums a Bit Differently!

 

Very Soon you’ll see the sky lit and faces brimming with joy! This bliss can never be from anything other than the start of a new year and new blastoffs. Wherever you’ll turn your head these days, you’ll notice people planning out for the 31st December and what to do as the New Year barges in! In case, you haven’t planned out about that and are still in a great wrangle, we can help you with it!


There is a bundle of activities and things you can get indulged in, rejoice those special instances and make them memorable for the rest of your lives. Choose your favourites from the mini catalogue of them below.


Movies, Theatres & Music


A huge number of people are seen buying tickets for different shows and plays on the New Year and spend it with their loved ones laughing and singing. You can also go for a night out while you celebrate, watch amazing movies and enjoy theatre plays. If you reside in London, you can have your hands on the London Theatre Direct New Year sale and avail discounts on all the shows by them.


Fly Away


Celebrating New Year’s Eve in some other country and witnessing how it’s live it up there sounds wonderful! Doesn’t it? So pack your bags, set off to where your heart says and eulogize in the happiness it brings. A massive bunch of amazing travelling portals also exist on Top Vouchers Code that can smooth out your trip. One of them is Travelodge. Use Travelodge New year deals and get large cut-offs at rates.


Binge on some Calories


Starting off New Year with feeding yourself is an absolutely startling idea! You can go out to dine and can also cook finger licking dishes at home. Don’t bother about the calories you’re consuming because come on, it New Year! Honest Brew can be the best option if you’re serving some boozes as well. Get Honest Brew online New Year deals and get tipsy as you drink it up!


Make some Calls


There are always some of your dearest people who are far away from you and you cannot definitely party with them. Why not make some short calls to all of them this time! You can dial up their numbers and surprise them with a happy message from your side. If you’re thinking about the call costs, leave it up to the telecommunication stores. Lyca Mobile is one of those stores that will provide you with the best packages for calls as well as internet. Fetch Lyca Mobile New Year discount offers for further cut-offs.


Flip Through a Nice Book


This one is certainly gonna be the fav of all those who are a big big fan of books and magazines. If you don’t like the crowds a lot, pick a cosy corner of your home and get a stirring book to read. A warm cup of coffee would take it a level up! To buy some interesting books for that, you can always dwell up on Mills and Boons. This store will load you up with an awesome stack of novels at colossal knock-offs by using Mills and Boons New years eve deals.

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review 2018-09-20 16:59
Peter O'Toole: the Definitive Biography (Sellers)
Peter O'Toole : the definitive biography - Robert Sellers

Is this really "the definitive biography"? It's certainly the best in a very disappointing field since O'Toole's death. Notably absent amongst the people interviewed as original sources: any of O'Toole's surviving family, including ex-wife Sian Phillilps (mother of his two daughters) or ex-partner Karen Brown (mother of his late-life son). So this is definitely not the "authorized" biography, which can be a good or a bad thing. In this case, I think it has been detrimental to any real understanding of O'Toole's family life (Sian Phillips' autobiography is a useful corrective for the years when they were married).

 

I was dubious when I saw Robert Sellers to be the author, because he has also written books with such unpromising titles as "Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, and Oliver Reed" and "Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down: How One Generation of British Actors Changed the World". In other words, he gives every appearance of being one of those bloke-ish biographers who delight in chronicling promiscuity and drunkenness, as if they were something necessarily associated with great talent and in some way admirable. Mind you, to be fair, if you're going to write about Peter O'Toole, you're going to have to address both of those major factors in his life and career. But I was pleasantly surprised at the relative absence of celebratory adjectives about the alcoholism that most certainly contributed to O'Toole's dreadful health in the second part of the career (not to mention his very poor reputation amongst landlords and other property owners).

 

The sources for this book are chiefly gossipy minor players in the entertainment world, most of whom doubtless have dined out on their O'Toole stories for some time, so we must take into account the natural human tendencies to embellish and generalize. The other people involved in the best anecdotes are by and large gone from us, and can't issue any refutations (if indeed they would wish to). But in addition to O'Toole's mischief, drinking, and occasional completely thoughtless cruelty, I found that there was also a ring of truth - through repetition from different sources - in the accounts of his deep thoughtfulness about his craft, his extensive and intelligent reading, and a generosity that could be as extravagant as his narcissism. As I think I remarked in my review of "Hellraisers", O'Toole still comes off, like Burton, as someone you could see wanting to associate with, as opposed to some of the nastier drunks in his circle of contemporaries. (And lest anyone wonder, it does seem that he dabbled in drugs as well.)

 

Sellers puts to rest the old controversy of where O'Toole was born, Ireland or England, by digging up the actual birth certificate from Leeds. But he does also acknowledge throughout that O'Toole became Irish, almost by dint of wishing so very much to be Irish (he always claimed himself that he did not actually know one way or the other).

The book has a decent apparatus (index, bibliography, list of film and theatre credits), and there are citations at the end for most paragraphs, though since most of said citations are to "author's interview with X", there's really not much verification that can be done. Sellers also took the time to view the historical record in the form of TV talk show utterances (now much more available to us through youtube), and he relies relatively little on previous biographical work as far as I can see, although Sian Phillips is of course fairly heavily cited.

 

"Better than expected" doesn't seem like particularly high praise, but in fact I'm quite pleased to give this book a place on my shelves. Since O'Toole will unfortunately never continue his slim, whimsical, fascinating autobiographical efforts into the most riveting years of his career, we must rely on the more prosaic expressions (and perhaps more reliable memories?) of the people around him who may not have been his nearest and dearest, but for that very reason may have been reliable observers.

 

Recommended to fans of O'Toole and people who enjoy anecdotal biography about London and Hollywood in the mid to late 20th century.

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review 2018-08-15 00:11
Unglücklich das Land, das Helden nötig hat: "Das Leben des Galilei" by Bertold Brecht
Bertold Brecht: Leben des Galilei - Wilhelm Große



"Galilei: Ja, wo ist sie jetzt? Wie kann der Jupiter angeheftet sein, wenn andere Sterne um ihn kreisen? Da ist keine Stütze im Himmel, da ist kein Halt im Weltall! Da ist
eine andere Sonne!
Sagredo: Beruhige dich. Du denkst zu schnell.
Galilei: Was, schnell! Mensch, reg dich auf! Was du siehst, hat noch keiner gesehen. Sie hatten recht!
Sagredo: Wer? Die Kopernikaner?
Galilei: Und der andere! Die ganze Welt war gegen sie, und sie hatten recht. Das ist was für Andrea! Er läuft außer sich zur Tür und ruft hinaus: Frau Sarti! Frau Sarti!
Sagredo: Galilei, du sollst dich beruhigen!
Galilei: Sagredo, du sollst dich aufregen! Frau Sarti!
Sagredo dreht das Fernrohr weg: Willst du aufhören, wie ein Narr herumzubrüllen?
Galilei: Willst du aufhören, wie ein Stockfisch dazustehen, wenn die Wahrheit entdeckt ist?
Sagredo: Ich stehe nicht wie ein Stockfisch, sondern ich zittere, es könnte die Wahrheit sein."


In "Das Leben des Galilei" by Bertold Brecht


I watched this play in 2006 in Lisbon at Teatro Aberto starring Rui Mendes as Galileo. There was a repartee between Galileo and Arturo Ui that I'll never forget.

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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