Tuesday, 18 October 2016

A Night at the Opera and a Morning Walk: Cosi Fan Tutte and Goldfinches

Autumn now. Nights getting cold. I grab a quick walk this morning, puff up the hill to look out over the bay where all kinds of weather are laid out: cloud, sun, squalls. I try to work out if the squalls will get me and decide to walk on a bit further then turn back for home. Rooks call. Goldfinches still chatter and sing. I get a bit wet.

Last night we go to the local cinema for a night at the opera. Covent Garden's new production of Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutte" being broadcast live - a modern setting tricked out with false moustaches and theatre flats and games. The Old Man do overhear a woman complaining (as he lurches for the ice-creams at the interval) that she just hates it. Not me.
There is nothing wrong with the singing... all's very well there ... though The Old Man doesn't quite agree. And of course I do like the acting and the production which smacks of pantomime and trickery and what else could you have for such a plot. (Let's just strike a wager with the boys that their girlfriends may or may not be unfaithful... and then do everything we can to make them so.) And if I may exercise my muscles and stretch a point ... I am thinking that all this playing around with people's loves and desires may prove a contemporary theme. How about "Les Liasons Dangereuses" by Laclos... published in the same decade as the premiere of Mozart's  "Cosi"? Yeah. Yeah. Mischief makers. And the production did its best to make some bitter-sweet sense of the ending of this crazy plot. All in all a happy night out for me.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Animated Goings On: Mrs D 's Latest Rushes

 Latest version of Mrs D's trial run at 2D drawn animation for her "Syb & Me" project. No sound yet, mind.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Animated Discussions: Lea Vidakovic: Trailer for "Porcelain Stories"

A trailer for an award-winning film "Porcelain Stories" by Serbian born artist, installation artist and animator Lea Vidakovic. I found it thanks to a post on the Dragonframe blog. (Dragonframe is a stopmotion animation software.)

There is a flavour of the Quay Brothers ... in its slow pace and intricate, detailed shots of tiny objects. Perhaps that's an Eastern European thing? It's got a "breathing pace" which I don't mind but may not be for impatient caffeine-freaks.

Saturday, 1 October 2016


When my own Inner Child gets fed up with my "boring" blog ... What can I do?
I must have drifted away from what excited me. After all, time was, I used to snigger and think of ideas and take Doll-selfies on a regular basis - each would feed the next, with room in between for incident and outbursts. Bits of Grey Doll dropped off through metal or plastic fatigue and there would have to be a body remake or two. But that was all part of the excitement.
No ... I must have oughted and shoulded too much. The Inner Nag told me to "grow up and focus".  And I did try.
Books and Film?

Opinion and politics?

Look! I lost myself whilst focusing! I am just not a grown-up Blogger. And so this will have to be a Ragtag and Muddle of a Doll Blog. Something has to occur to me to make me want to post ... and usually that's something that makes me feel good. There is enough going on in the world at the moment not to feel good. I am only too aware of it. And I can't be eloquent about it. 
So bear with me. I'm doing a default reset. Welcome back to The Doll's House and Playroom.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Explanation of Absence: Mrs D Tries To Animate..Again

Well, has your heart grown fonder during my absence? Perhaps not. I don't blame you. First rule of blogging. Post something.

But I can't drag Mrs D away from her latest obsession in order to help post something here. And her latest obsession involves drawing away on that graphics tablet. More to the point - trying to find a way to make hand-drawn animation. Yes. You have read me right. Having gone on for years about filming stop motion animation ... like what I be made for ... now she wants to draw it.

Do not hold your breath. There won't be a feature-length film anytime soon for it has been a saga. First it was a question of software. She tried downloading various software testers. The first would not run at all and her computer skills were not up to curing that problem. Then she tried  a second program - which was bit temperamental. She started to make it work but couldn't transfer the end product into a watchable media file! Others? Well, one look at the interface was enough to leave her jaw slack and her eyes glazing. And they are so varied as to how they operate. Bless her she is a simple old-fashioned girl and she did want to just "draw" the thing... like bitmap stuff. She cannot yet do this vector stuff, nor Flash, nor 3D rendering....

Anyhoo. She is currently practicing a very complicated work around involving using layered images in her ancient graphics package and turning each layer into a separate image file and importing the sequence into her current (rapidly aging version) of Stopmotion Pro package... which (bless it ) do allow you to import image files. So far... enough is happening to keep her glued to a stylus most afternoons. I'll show you a sequence of images. They are based on her Syb & Me project. What do you think?

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Opera At The Picture Palace: Beatrice et Benedict

Last week The Old Man put on his best pony tail and braces ... well, OK, it is now my daily duty to do his hair as the mystery of constructing such a style is beyond him. Anyhoo... last week we both donned our Sunday Best and set off for the opera at Glyndebourne ( Berlioz's "Beatrice et Benedict") ... courtesy of a live broadcast at a local cinema, so sadly we did have no champagne on the grass.
Now I wasn't too sure I wanted to see this. Frankly, I was frightened by the lengthiness of his "Les Troyens"  and so ... assumed that serious, lengthy works was what Berlioz did. But The Old Man wanted to go, so I gave a Gallic shrug and booked the tickets.
And I am glad that I did. With a story recounting the tricks practiced by friends and family in order to get verbal sparring partners and anti-lovers, Beatrice  and Benedict, to recognise their love and to marry (based on Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing"), it turned out - in this production - to be a witty two-acter full of lovely tunes and not frightening at all.

There has been some critical grumbling about the production: a set composed of stacked boxes and monochrome 50's style costume and makeup. But what do you know? I loved it, for sometimes I like a bit of a "stripped-down" production. Done well and consistently, such a thing can focus my attention on the music and performances. And I very much enjoyed Stephanie d'Oustrac with her fine singing and a performance full of suppressed fury as Beatrice. Paul Appleby, as her anti-beau Benedict, is also very good. And I loved the funny (satirical?) musical director Somarone, played with full farce and pointy-toed splendour by Belgian baritone Lionel Lhote.

A surprising and jolly evening. An extra surprise when the screen went blank ten minutes or so before the end of the opera. Apparently this was something to do with satellite time booked.. or not. The tiny audience was duly recompensed. (Yes... down here these things seem to be attended by few... and we is usually all... quite old.)

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Mrs D Takes A Tablet

No. She has not succumbed to one of them iPad thingies. Instead she has got above her station and has purchased a Wacom graphics tablet.

I do not know what this means for The Doll that is me. I must say that I do feel a little flat here.

And ... there has been much shouting and hair pulling by Madam. And much random opening and closing of software packages, images and losing of toolbars as she practices dabbing and scratching with her "pen" and swiping her fingers around the tablet.

... Don't expect another post very soon at this rate.

Friday, 5 August 2016

The Man Engine Puppet At King Edward Mining Museum, Cornwall

We have finally caught sight of The Man Engine Puppet.
Sadly, we haven't managed to see his transformation to his full 10 metre or so standing height, he has proved so popular ... 16,000 people in Camborne by all accounts, we just haven't got anywhere near seeing this marvelous trick of theatre.
We thought we would try to do so at a venue nearby. But we did a reccy and found that the roads around would be closed from 3 - 8 pm. A rural venue, we just couldn't be doing the miles of walking required and the potential crowds in a small space. So we opted to watch his procession and "crouching" performance at The King Edward Mining Museum near Troon... on Wednesday afternoon.

Oh, I do likes a bit of theatre. And this is a jolly fine thing. Lots of work. Made in Camborne, dreamed up by Will Coleman of Golden Tree Productions.
It would appear there are hoped-for plans take His Mechanical Marvelousness  across the seas ... to follow the diaspora of the Cornish miners in the 19th century... Mexico, America, Australia? Where they be going I do wonder?

Some of The Old Man's ancestors were Cornish miners. One of his great grandmothers was born in Brazil. But you wouldn't know to look at him, would you. Me? Sorry my dears... I am not Cornish, so I shall just hush up now.