Thursday 28 February 2008

Persephone Gallindo

Persephone is a new friend and fellow theatre enthusiast. Nay, more than enthusiast, for she represents the passions and interests of one who has been a professional on stage and behind it for many decades. I have been offering my meagre scripting skills in the development of one her acts for the Show Must Go On, though with only mixed results. She is another ambitious soul, who can only rail and stomp at the limits within which our somewhat flattened world exists. There is not nearly enough dimensionality and depth for truly satisfying theatre, or even enjoyable vaudeville.
But we are learning. An artist makes use of the tools at hand, and can discover virtuosity even in simple forms and limited behaviours. Persephone likely will find what she is looking for, and she is surrounded by others whose antics will likewise benefit immeasurably from her real world experience.

SL Shakespeare

Shakespeare becomes all things, yet for ever remaining himself.
Coleridge, Biographia Literaria

Persephone IM'd from the Globe Theatre to say she was catching the Second Life premiere of Hamlet, just as I was reading Rik Riel's post on the event in New World Notes. So I joined her and we watched.

Persephone could only watch, for voice failed to work and hence she heard aught but the sound of cameras clicking; I heard the lines quite distinctly - a mixture of accents and acting talents. I attend productions for the scenic design, and not for the quality of the singing or acting, which in SL is closer to posing, for we are masked altimes and can neither quiver a lip nor bat an eyelash, let alone recoil in horror from the apparation of a ghost. We lack spotlights to direct the audience's attention, so the speaking actor must move in an exaggerated way to identify himself. Francisco -or was it Bernardo - seemed stuck in a distracting stance, upstaging the gentler Marcellus.
The costumes were exquisite, the faces of the actors realistic and well consider'd. Clearly this has been the labour of many, but company founder and producer Ina Centaur deserved the applause she received.
The show website tells us the performers were bots - I can not be sure if this means they were scripted avatars, or replicated avatars of some fashion, but I will look forward to where the technology will take this talented group.
Finally, was it Shakespeare, or, was it Theatre? That is a more difficult Matter to decide. I saw the Merchant of Venice at the Globe Bankside in London last September: simple sets and staging will concentrate the attention of the audience to the performer and the lines. This first SL performance was an experiment, to be sure, an effort, an oeuvre, and impressive for the amount of energy and attention it has been lent by its producers. But we are still some ways from a truly compelling production in Second Life.

Tuesday 26 February 2008


I am haunted by these images, which I do not like, and which recur in dreams. I have met fantoms and vengeful spirits, and were I to write down all the instances of this kind which I have ascertained to have befallen others I know, the undertaking would be beyond measure laborious and troublesome. This particular ghost seems to have no purpose beyond reminding me of my own mortality, and I would be happy if it would leave off, for I do not need reminding, thank you very much.
I am troubled that he wears Dr. Fluxus' mantle and my cap - and that I have not seen the Doctor for many months. Perhaps it is a childish attempt to be annoying. I do not, will not, believe in portents.
Still, it has the most amazingly clean teeth!

Sunday 24 February 2008

All Dressed Up...

...and nowhere to go. By the time I was able to reconnect to the grid, rehearsal was over and I never had my chance to join in the Atomic Raygun Robot Jig.

Power, like a desolating pestilence, pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience, bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth, makes slaves of men, and of the human frame, a mechanized automaton.

Shelley 1813

I was a slave to the music, that's all.

Saturday 23 February 2008

Smoke and Mayhem

Odd crashings, grindings and ejections from Second Life this week multiplied and resolved themselves into a sharp burning smell just as Caitlin's act was about to go on stage at The Show Must Go On rehearsal. I was certain I would not be able to appear; then a change of plans and I was free. Alas these happy circumstances turned black and acrid when a fan stopped spinning! White smoke and flame were quickly extinguished. I have spent the rest of my holiday afternoon finding and replacing vacuum tubes, steam boilers, condensers, testing and using bits and pieces of other machines, until I have now something that will serve until a new graphical engine arrives next week. I think it must have been the rusted robot's jokes - they blew a gasket in my world. Or some odd influenza that has been affecting so many of us this month.

Friday 22 February 2008


Arriving late in Los Angeles, I missed the first, and best, act of Otello, with its powerful chorus and fight scene, which must have been exciting because of the curved stage floor, built to imitate the decking of ship. The rest of the opera was sung carefully, performed with a bare minimum of action, and never really left port.
Otello is one of the most passionate of operas. But perhaps because their footing was so unsure, none of the singers took advantage of the rich score and all its prompting for broad movement, vocal expression, or intensity. Iago was almost affable, a sort of grinning buddy doing his friend's unpleasant work. Ian Storey as Otello hung his head like a beagle, and lacked the commanding presence his role demands. Desdemona lacked nobility and grace. This is a passionate, bombastic opera, Verdi's masterpiece of men and women caught in a destiny that wrings every bit of soul and hope from their being. At least the orchestra and the chorus understood.

Thursday 21 February 2008


Kenroku-en 兼六園 has lain outside the gates of Kanazawa Castle in Ishikawa, Japan since 1676. The name means "Garden of Six Elements" referring to the six features that Sung Dynasty Chinese poets thought impossible to combine in one garden: vastness and intimacy; existing ruins and introduced structures; waters and pools and distant views. The Second Life version was created by brue Noel of AbleSeed Co., in Ishikawa, Japan.
This magnificent, peaceful and extensive build accomplishes that difficult combination with careful attention to detail and colour. From the shadow and modulated light within the buildings to the seasonal details which change as time passes - I first visited yesterday on the last day of winter, apparently, for the snow had melted away by this morning, except in cold pockets here and there, and fresh grass has sprung up everywhere, though summer foliage is not yet in - all demonstrate the patient and observant skill of its creator. Lazy koi weave in the pond, leaves blow about here and there and all is surrounded by a vast, glittering sea. Thank you, Hamlet, for guiding me there!

Monday 18 February 2008


Provided a man is not mad, he can be cured of every folly but vanity.
I just liked the picture.

Urania Theatre (after)

Urania Theatre (before)

The Urania proscenium was published by Joseph Scholz around 1880 in Mainz. I purchased this lovely broadsheet in 1983 at Pollock's Toy Theatre Museum in London. Would it not make a fine stage-within-a-stage, a theatrical frame, for Persephone's magickal act? But first I must add drama and atmosphere!

Sorcerer's Apprentice

When The Show Must Go On was yet a twinkle in Osprey Therian's eye, and our discourses compassed toy theatres with paper puppets and operatic treatments of the Song of Roland, we conceived of a magickal performance that included the sawing of an avatar in twain and her miraculous restoration to life. That act became the Alchimical Theatre of Doctor Fluxus, but the rending of the body was abandoned, because I kenned not how hemicorporectomy could be accomplished.
Now Broadway stage manager Persephone Gallindo has taken up that brave challenge, and I have undertaken to assist where I might.
How I wish Linden Script allowed a hierarchy of linked prims, instead of just one parent for her many children. I wish we had spotlights and shadows too.
Well, Persephone, we shall simply have to persevere.

Saturday 16 February 2008

A vision or waking dream?

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?