Monday, February 25, 2008

Magis Student Actor Training Institute

Members of Magis had a great day yesterday working with the students of the Magis Student Actor Training Institute. Our students are preparing monologues which can be used for college and professional auditions, and made great strides yesterday while working individually with the Magis actors. The students will present their monologues at the Notre Dame School in March. Keep checking here for further details!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Plumage for high-status birds

Junya Watanabe (Japanese, b. 1961) for Comme des Garçons (French, founded 1969). Ensemble, fall/winter 2000–1. Pale greige polyester organza and silver polyester and cellophane panné velvet. Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Christian Siriano for "Project Runway" during Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 8, 2008, in New York. (Peter Kramer, Associated Press / February 8, 2008)

Thom Browne, Couture Menswear

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sophisticated Ladies, John Galliano for Christian Dior, Valentino Couture, Armani Privé

Costume Institute, 18th Century American

Dandies: Period and Modern

Costume Institute, 18th Century Fashion

Thom Browne, Couture Menswear

Possible inspirations for Jack, Dabbler?

Magis Student Actor Training News

The first big success from our new student program!

Iliana Paris from the Magis Student Actor Training
Institute won the Shakespeare Monologue Competition at
St. Jean Baptiste High School on Friday February 8th.

Iliana used the monologue that she has been working on
with Magis, Viola from "Twelfth Night", Act 1 scene v.
She will go on to compete at the English Speaking
Union Of New York's Borough of Manhattan competition
on Thursday February 28th at the DiCapo Opera House on
East 76th and Lexington Avenue from 3 to 5pm.

Good luck Iliana!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Poet of Fashion = Famous for being famous"

There is something of the "glam" nature of Dabbler's celebrity that is intriguing. And since he really is not published, but is undoubtedly the object of the affection and attention of all the ladies of wit, it makes me wonder about the idea of his "cult of personality." Is he, like so many today famous for being famous?
Here are some inspirations to choose from:

Kevin Federline - Former husband and back-up-dancer of Britney Spears and father of her children. Federline's own forays into music are viewed as failures. Similarly to Kato Kaelin, Federline is most known for epitomizing the slacker image.

Zsa Zsa Gabor - Her sister, Eva Gabor was a popular actress on the television show Green Acres. Zsa Zsa (who also attempted acting) however had no particular success being mostly famous for her multiple marriages.

Paris Hilton - Great granddaughter of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton.

Kato Kaelin - Friend of O.J. Simpson who enjoyed brief fame arising from his testimony during the O.J. Simpson trial.

Nicole Richie - Adopted daughter of Lionel Richie and close friend of Paris Hilton. Achieved national fame by co-starring with Hilton in the reality TV series The Simple Life. More recently, the press has attacked her for her dramatic weight loss.

Anna Nicole Smith - Stripper who married an oil tycoon of advanced years shortly before his death. Later built up commercial success by capitalizing on her "dumb blonde train wreck" image. Many figures in the media claimed her death in February 2007 was one example of "the price of fame".

-- George

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Worship of False Idols

Erika and I met tonight to discuss Lady Smatter, Cecilia and how their journeys connected to the overall center meaning of the play: the what is the what of the play.

As we worked, I began to realize that the first scene between Lady Smatter and Cecilia aside from setting up a lovely sea-saw of status play, also felt a bit like a religious zealot looking desperately for a convert. And the more she, Lady Smatter, is "shunned" or questioned by Cecilia the harder she tries to defend the specialness of her purpose.

I discussed this with Erika and it became clear that this religious feeling of Lady Smatter's toward her authors and criticism was used again and again. When Beaufort says he has no interest in her authors -- she cries out that he has blasphemed! Her passion for literature and "knowledge" is so strong that is seems her only life purpose. Her authors are her Gods and her Esprit Party is her church.

Erika felt that her character Cecilia, and Beufort's devotion to the ideal vision of Love was also a bit overworked and zealous - and without any ground in reality.

Both Lady Smatter's devotion and Cecilia/Beaufort's seem to be full of passion without any real matter or ground to stand on.

(It reminded me of the image/gesture I came up with in our last Sunday meeting....that all of these characters are dancing as fast as they can on a cloud because if they slow down or really stop to look at themselves or each other -- they will fall right through the cloud -- so they have to keep their little dangling legs and floppy feet on the move)

We started then to play with some potential themes around this idea:

Religious devotion to false idols makes idiots of us all.

Religious devotion to false idols leads us to worship false wisdom.

Passion for passion and Passion for knowledge that are not grounded in wisdom lead us to ruin.

We then noticed the last line in the final scene of Act II between Lady Smatter/Cecilia as Smatter exits...

Lady Smatter: Tis vain to reason with a person in passion

If Censor is reason and all the rest of the people are lost in various modes of passion -- this line really speaks to the whole.

Finally, I am reminded of something Casey brought up a couple weeks ago -- that the role of the "Censer" in mass is to purify the earth -- he is the one that comes through with the incense.

Censor blows Reason into the dancing faces/groundless feet of Passion so that maybe Wisdom can prevail.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What is the play about?

Sunday's discussion consisted of an interesting exercise-- try to tell someone what the play is about. Our esteemed colleague Ralph joined us for the afternoon, and served as our guinea pig. We tried to discuss the action of the play to him, sometimes talking over one another (sorry about that, Margi) and stopping at the end of each act to try to determine what, if anything, had actually happened. For instance, the first act is full of information that sets up the rest of the play, but in terms of events that advance the action, really one thing happens: Cecilia doesn't show up for her appointment at the milliner's shop.

What is this play really about? We have been encouraged to come up with one sentence or phrase to which we can refer, so we can make sure that all of our actions as actors support that theme. As he pointed out, it would be quite easy to get caught up in all of the silliness and ornament and completely lose the action of the play. My teacher Arden used to refer to the "gesture" of the play, and would ask us to try to construct or find something three-dimensional to represent this essential gesture in our design classes.

I would love to hear other company member's opinions about what the "gesture" or "theme" of this play really is. Some of the suggestions Sunday had to do with Passion tempered by Reason, or similar formulations. Cecilia and Beaufort's love story is clearly at the center, but they also clearly get saved by Censor's quick thinking and good sense. Cecilia's romantic ideals (or naivete about what true love is: i.e., if he really loved me, he'd come to me right away) jepordize her real-life relationship with Beaufort-- she nearly leaves the country without even confirming that he has in fact abandoned her.

The strength and fire of Love tempered by the common sense of Reason? Or is the play ultimately about Censor, someone whose love seems to be entirely confined to his brotherly love of Beaufort, but who has little patience for romantic love? What would have been the story if he had not come to Cecilia's rescue with his five thousand pounds? Is the message then "Only love where you can afford it"? The epilogue has to do with Self-Sufficiency, an ironic theme for a play which was never performed during its author's lifetime because she was not in fact self-sufficient.