Cymbeline - A Mole Cinque-Spotted
Saturday, July 12, 2014
This last Thursday my wife Rosemary and I
attended the opening performance of Bill Cain’s Equivocation, directed by
Michael Shamata, at the Howard Family Stage at Bard on the Beach.
This time around I have a copy of Cain’s
script and I have been immersing myself in it since. Consider that reading the
script is almost like being behind the playwright’s shoulder as he has comments and instructions
that are priceless.
It is now Saturday night and I find myself
pressured by the fact that tomorrow Sunday Rosemary and I will be seeing the
opening performance of William Shakespeare’s Cymbeline.
There will be three differences. One is that the
director will be Anita Rochon. The second difference is that the Equivocation
cast of 6 will have one addition that of Benjamin Elliott. And yet writing about one play will somehow involve writing about the other. The third difference will be Cairns' s performance. I know it will be different from hers in Equivocation.
I really do not want to write here about
Cairn’s on the button performance as Shakespeare’s daughter Judith as I will be explaining its complexity
(as this amateur saw it) in a later post.
I will only write here that Cairns will be day from night (or the opposite) in how she will will play Imogen. In
Equivocation, the only steady and centered player in the play she shows a
flustered kind of emotion only once when she is kissed by Anton Lipovetsky’s
kiss. I am convinced that this is director Shamata’s doing!
There is one scene from Cymbeline in which
I am most curious as to how director Rochon will play it. Here it is from Act
II Scene II:
I have read three hours then: mine eyes are
Fold down the leaf where I have left: to
Take not away the taper, leave it burning;
And if thou canst awake by four o' the
I prithee, call me. Sleep hath seized me
To your protection I commend me, gods.
From fairies and the tempters of the night
me, beseech ye.
Sleeps. IACHIMO comes from the trunk
The crickets sing, and man's o'er-labour'd
Repairs itself by rest. Our Tarquin thus
Did softly press the rushes, ere he waken'd
The chastity he wounded. Cytherea,
How bravely thou becomest thy bed, fresh
And whiter than the sheets! That I might
But kiss; one kiss! Rubies unparagon'd,
How dearly they do't! 'Tis her breathing
Perfumes the chamber thus: the flame o' the
Bows toward her, and would under-peep her
To see the enclosed lights, now canopied
Under these windows, white and azure laced
With blue of heaven's own tinct. But my
To note the chamber: I will write all down:
Such and such pictures; there the window;
The adornment of her bed; the arras;
Why, such and such; and the contents o' the
Ah, but some natural notes about her body,
Above ten thousand meaner moveables
Would testify, to enrich mine inventory.
O sleep, thou ape of death, lie dull upon
And be her sense but as a monument,
Thus in a chapel lying! Come off, come off:
Taking off her bracelet
As slippery as the Gordian knot was hard!
'Tis mine; and this will witness outwardly,
As strongly as the conscience does within,
To the madding of her lord. On her left
A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson
I' the bottom of a cowslip: here's a
Stronger than ever law could make: this
Will force him think I have pick'd the lock
The treasure of her honour. No more. To
Why should I write this down, that's
Screw'd to my memory? She hath been reading
The tale of Tereus; here the leaf's turn'd
Where Philomel gave up. I have enough:
To the trunk again, and shut the spring of
Swift, swift, you dragons of the night,
May bare the raven's eye! I lodge in fear;
Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here.
One, two, three: time, time!
Goes into the trunk. The scene closes
Friday, July 11, 2014
My early childhood revolved around my
mother Filomena and my father George whom I both loved. My mother was feminine but not considered
the beauty of the family. Her younger sister Dolores (Dolly) was the one. My
father was a thin man who resembled David Niven and had the same voice timbre
and a similar English accent. My father spoke English like his father who had
been born in Manchester.
But it is most obvious that men get up,
shave and that’s it. I have no memory of my father shaving or trimming his
moustache. I remember his tweeds, and the smell of Player’s cigarettes and the
whiskey which he liked so much.
I remember days of being in bed and singing
along with him.
But there is more of my mother in my
memory. Somehow, perhaps because my room was in the living room I saw more of
what my mother did to get read for work. One year, I may have been 8 or 9 I was
sent to the camp (the country) during the hot month of January. When I came
back my father had fixed up a room that had only access by an outside stairs. It
was next to the room where our housekeeper Mercedes lived with her sister
Enilse (who worked at Nearby Nestlé and often brought chocolates home). My
father had snipped pictures from the child’s magazine Billiken and stuck them
together in a long row around the three walls of my room. This was my first
I still remember being on or in bed and
watching my mother in front of a mirror attempting to wrap her very long and
straight her around a fake bun which she then attached behind her head. This
hairdo was much in vogue as Evita wore it too.
I remember that there were days when she
grew frustrated doing this telling me, “Mi pelo es tan lacio,” “My hair is so
straight.” And she would in a fury pull her hair from the bun to start again. To
check her results she would turn her head in front of the mirror and then she
would lift her antique (antique even then) Sterling silver hand mirror.
Today I went to the garden and had and
idea. I was going to scan Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’ (an English Rose named after
Gertrude Jekyll’s garden in Surrey,
hold her mirror behind it. I could not hold the mirror perfectly still. If I
let it lean on the rose it would have squashed the petals.
I like the result. It was only then that
the picture reminded me of my mother looking at her hair bun with the mirror.
The Surrealist In The Black Leather Jacket
Thursday, July 10, 2014
|Martin Guderna & jacket he bought for $450 when he was 18|
I must confess here (and I have done it
before on this subject) that in the late 70s I was a frequent habitué of Wreck Beach.
Many times not far from where I was I could hear a loudish young man
pontificate on art. Unless it was very hot he complemented his birthday suit
with a big heavy and black leather jacket that seemed to be a size too big.
From what I could gather (wind in Wreck
Beach can carry, almost
enhance conversations), the young man was an artist who taught at Emily Carr.
The young man had a European accent and a deep radio voice.
Years later I sort of got to know the man.
He is Martin Guderna.
Sometime in the late 1990s his famous
father, the Czech-born surrealist Ladislav Guderna had a show at my friend Samuel Frid’s gallery the Threshold on 6th and Granville. Proving
that surrealism happens more often than not, when Frid closed his gallery the
space became a high-end gas barbecue equipment salesroom.
I looked at the paintings and I was
particularly attracted to one that featured a red cone on its left side. Frid
came up to me and said, “Guderna is a famous surrealist painter, known around
the world but nobody knows who he is here.” Stanislav Guderna died in 1999 and
his son said to me, “He died penniless. And the painting with the cone now
|From left to right, me, Ian Bateson, Martin Guderna, Ian MacLeod|
I must assert here that in repeated
sightings of Martin Guderna, in all weather, I always have seen him with that
leather jacket. I will not dare ever ask him if he has ever had it dry cleaned.
Bohemians (and Martin is a true-born Bohemian) are Bohemians, you know? In fact
about a year ago in the covered parking lot on Granville Island
I ran into him (this is strange as Guderna says he has never owned a car). We
chatted as I stared at his jacket. Guderna in just a few words said, “New York is dead. Paris is dead. Shanghai is now what
those two cities were.” At a later date (today, and more on that further below)
Guderna told me that Parisians are still stuck on cubism and New Yorkers on
Warhol. To Guderna this is sheer nonsense as he admires Matisse, especially if
Matisse’s paintings are accompanied by the music of that great atheist of the
17th century (if you run into Guderna on the street, ask him to
explain that fact) Johan Sebastian Bach.
Today sitting outside on Homer and Robson (Starbucks)
having coffee with graphic designers and also artists Ian MacLeod and Ian
Bateson I spotted a man in a brilliant white shirt ($400 at Boboli’s)
wearing nice sunglasses (red-rimmed on
the top). I knew that in spite of not wearing the leather jacket (at age 60
perhaps this artist has become more practical) it had to be Martin Guderna. It
was. We then had a couple of hours of wonderful entertainment with all kinds of
comments on the sorry state of our galleries including the big one on West Georgia Street.
But there was no pessimism here. There was enthusiasm, with clear eyes with not
an ounce of anything that might cloud his vision. We were then invited to
explore his tiny studio apartment. Unfortunately the Sechelt living MacLeod had
pressing things to do so only Bateson and I went. It was a terrific and
entertaining little visit in which I spotted the cone painting and asked
Guderna to pose with his leather jacket. He did this after putting on his “new
look” a jacket from Boboli. Guderna showed us a few of his latest works and all
I can report is that there is surrealism and humour in his work but he is a
true artist who while adoring and admiring the memory of his father, he has
become his own man.
|Guderna's new look|
Bateson and I finished our afternoon at a
Yaletown Pub watching Brazil
being drubbed by Germany.
The whole day was ample proof that the
world is good because surrealism is alive and well and grinning lots.
His Caravan Of Red
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
|From top left clockwise - Rosa 'Souvenir du Docteur Jamain', R. 'L.D. Braithwaite', R. 'Munstead Wood', R. 'Blaze'|
A something in a
As slow her flambeaux
Which solemnizes me.
A something in a
summer’s noon —
A depth — an Azure — a
And still within a
A something so
I clap my hands to see
Then veil my too
Lets such a subtle —
Flutter too far for me
The wizard fingers
never rest —
The purple brook
within the breast
Still chafes it narrow
Still rears the East
her amber Flag —
Guides still the sun
along the Crag
His Caravan of Red —
So looking on — the
night — the morn
Conclude the wonder
And I meet, coming
thro’ the dews
Another summer’s Day!
These four roses are red. But red roses come in many shades. Some are only red at their peak. Gallicas, in particular and many of the English Roses (there are two here, Munstead Wood & L.D. Braithwaite) turn to wonderful shades of purple and sometimes to an almost metallic gray. When we first came to our present home in 1986 there was a very large spread of the only commonly red climbing rose at the time. This was Rosa 'Blaze' Through the years she has waned and sometimes all but disappeared. This year she is back and even though I don't find her particularly attractive or fragrant she is faithful to her colour until the bitter end when purple, just a small shade of it sets in. Rosa 'Souvenir du Doctor Jamaine' is a hybrid perpetual. These were roses that bloomed once and then came back in the fall. They were popular from 1837 for 60 years. Doctor Jamaine is very dark red and as he ages he goes almost black. The fragrance is sweet and very strong.
Rosa 'The Fairy'
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
|Rosa 'The Fairy' July 6 2014|
Most of the roses in my garden have scent. This
particular one does not. It is a polyantha rose bred by J.A. Bentall in 1932.
But should you ask my granddaughter Lauren,
12 about this rose she would tell you, “Rosa ‘The Fairy’ has one particular
advantage over many other roses. It begins to bloom in July.”
I would add that most of those other roses
(not the once blooming ones but the remontant ones) are saving up strength to
come back in late July or August.
What I have not told Lauren about The Fairy
is that it reminds me of her. It is a dainty, feminine rose that does just fine
even in the adversity of a shady border.
Gore Vidal At The VIFF Vancity Theatre - Two Gems
Monday, July 07, 2014
|Gore Vidal on the Doge's throne - Photograph Tore Gill|
In my youth, it seemed that every American
had an Aunt Fenita. No matter where one’s family lived or was from, Aunt Fenita
was always from Ohio.
As she grew older, she tended to move east to New York
State or Connecticut, where she would settle in a
white-frame house in a town with a name like Plandome. By definition, Aunt
Fenita was of a certain age, as the French say; and a widow or spinster, she
lived continually alone. She had enough money to travel, and that was what she
did best – and most. Since European travel was still and adventure for
Americans before WW II, Aunt Fenita was positively glamorous in her knowledge
of steamship lines and railroad schedules, hotels and pensions. She was what
was then called a globe-trotter. Had anyone collected her postcards, he would
have had a panoramic, even Braudelesque, view of just what it was that our
innocents abroad most like to look at; in Aunt Fenita’s case, the Matterhorn
loomed rather larger than the Louvre; but then she never saw an alp that she
didn’t like. Of course, we were Alpine folk.
Aunt Fenita was the self-appointed emissary
between the family in America
and the family in Europe. Before World War II,
we were remarkable in that the European branch was far more distinguished than
the American. Things had not gone well for the first two generations in God’s
country. But in Europe, titles abounded; and
although she always got them wrong, Aunt Fenita was an eager, even obsessed, genealogist.
Postcards of castles where relatives lived, or allegedly lived, would arrive,
such as Schloss Heidegg in Gilfingen. A neatly-drawn arrow, pointing to a noble
casement, marks ‘Your grandmother Caroline’s room. On Aunt Fenita’s death,
trunks were found filled with Brownie snapshots of houses, castles, stout
ladies, bearded burghers, coats-of-arms, pressed flowers from gardens of
relatives in Feldkirch, St. Gallen, Unterwalden, Lucerne, and a list of the
doges of Venice – her greatest discovery and the family’s Rosetta Stone – of whom
three were called Vidal or Vitale, the magic name triply underlined in Aunt
Fenita’s triumphant porphyry-purple ink. There were also postcard views of, variously,
the church, the piazza and the Rio S. Vidal.
Vidal In Venice – Gore Vidal 1985
Today Rosemary and I went to one of Vancouver’s cultural gems, VIFF (Vancity Theatre) on 1181 Seymour Street,
half a block north of Davie.
We saw Gore Vidal – United States of Amnesia, a documentary directed by Nicholas
Wrathall with: Gore Vidal, Christopher Hitchens, Tim Robbins and Robert Scheer.
Since both Rosemary and I lean to the left
we enjoyed the show firmly ensconced in the best (very red) and most
comfortable theatre seats in our fair city.
I have read many of Vidal’s books including
Messiah, Empire (and I must admit The Smithsonian Institution – A Novel and Live from
Golgotha) and that gem Vidal wrote about Venice
with beautiful photographs by Tore Gill.
The closest I ever got to Vidal was to
photograph the man who called him a queer on TV. That was William F. Buckley. I
believe that out of camera range Buckley and Vidal might just have liked each
other. Interesting for me is that I have also read quite a few of Buckley’s
novels. Both Vidal and Buckley had an unusual command of English with the added
dollop of extreme elegance.
Rosemary and I who are now in that seventh
decade of our life have come to understand that we have each other and little
more (and that is plenty). So we watch good films which I get from Limelight
Video or the Vancouver Public Library and now we will be frequenting the VIFF
more often. Not too long ago I read about the “so called” FBI informer James
Bulger in my NY Times and now on July 9 there is Whitey: United States of America Vs James J. Bulger directed by Joe Berlinger. Some of the more obscure
little films reviewed by the NY Times show up at VIFF a week or two after.
Roosevelt [Theodore] produced his most
dazzling smile. “I may be a hypocrite, Mr. Hearst. But I am not a scoundrel.”
“I know,” said Hearst, with mock sadness. “After
all, I made you up, didn’t I?”
“Mr. Hearst,” said the President. “history
invented me, not you.”
“Well, if you really want to be
highfalutin, then at this time and in this place, I am history – or at least
the creator of the record.”
“True history comes long after us. That’s
when it will be decided whether or not we measured up, and our greatness – or its
lack – will be defined.”
“True history,” said Hearst, with a smile
that was, for once, almost charming, “is the final fiction. I thought even you
knew that.” Then Hearst was gone, leaving the President alone in the Cabinet
room, with its great table, leather armchairs, and the full-length painting of
Abraham Lincoln, eyes fixed on some far distance beyond the viewer’s range, a
prospect unknown and unknowable to the mere observer, at sea in present time.
Empire – A Novel
– Gore Vidal 1987
Me—come! My dazzled face
Sunday, July 06, 2014
Me—come! My dazzled
Me—come! My dazzled
In such a shining
Me—hear! My foreign
The sounds of
The Saints forget
Our bashful feet—
That They—remember me—
That They—pronounce my