Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Camelot on the Couch: Mordred, the Snake in the Garden

What self-respecting drama doesn't have an evil villain? 

 Popeye and his Blutto.... Othello and his Iago..... Snow White and her evil stepmother.... Luke Skywalker and his Darth Vader..... The Roadrunner and his Wile E. Coyote....  the Transformers and the Autobots..... and so on and so forth.

Who can think "Thundercats" without going MUMMMMMRAAAHHHHHHHH?  We expect our villains to do mean, terrible things.

 Villains are violent, destructive; they lie, cheat, steal and kill. 

 (Or at least try to, until the Hero stops them.)  Villains are scary and awful and horrible (also, usually ugly).

Although not always.


Previous LOGON shows have featured some great villains.  In Oklahoma!, Judd tried to kill our Hero with a deadly kaleidoscope (extra points for creativity there, dude).  

Villains are often portrayed as wearing black... 

You might expect the story of King Arthur to have as a villain a big, evil knight - an antihero in coal black armor and an ugly visor on his helmet, a vicious hulk who goes thwacking about killing innocent damsels and small furry animals....  But you would be wrong.  The villain of Camelot describes himself as "free and happy little me".  And goes about unarmed. And throughout the play - strikes noone, tells no lies, steals nothing, doesn't even dip a girl's braid in the inkwell.  Yet he manages to completely destroy Camelot. How does he DO that?

The answer is: with psychological judo.  That is to say, Mordred doesn't have to DO anything bad TO anyone else.... he just sets them up to give in to their own weaknesses. Morgan La Fey likes Arthur, and doesn't like Mordred, yet Mordred gets her to trap Arthur behind an invisible wall... with a little bribe.

Mordred will not trick or force Lancelot and Gueneviere to do what they do..... he only provides the opportunity.  He opens the door.... but they walk through it, under their own steam and of their own free will.  Mordred will trap King Arthur into a no-win scenerio (think Kobayashi Maru),  assisted by Arthur's dogged determination to be civilized.... but - at least in the confines of the play - he never raises his hand against Arthur.   

Mordred is a most terrifying villain, not because he will destroy you - but because he will make it so very, very easy for you to destroy yourself.  And aren't we all, in the final analysis, our own worst enemies?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Here we go again, tra la

Welcome to the Kingdom of Logon!!!

When last we met, 'twas in the shtetl of Anatevka.  Long ago and far away.... Come with us now to longer ago and not quite so far away, to Merry Olde England.  This year, our 35th, LOGON is proud to present [may I have a flourish of trumpets, please?]:


King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  Gueneviere and Lancelot.  Mordred the Evil, Merlin the Wise, Morgan LaFey the Magical [these dudes had a thing for the letter M, it would seem]..... passion, love, violence, dragons.....

OK there aren't really any dragons in the show.  Although they do get a few honorable mentions.

Illustrative portrayals  of dragons, such as which a Knight of the Table Round should be able to cleave  in record time  

We've been meeting since late August; auditions are over, the show is cast, and the chorus is well on the way to learning the music (which is beautiful, by the way!!). We're starting to block scenes, the first bits of costume are in. 

 Chain Mail, all the rage in days of yore

According to Wikipedia, "King Arthur is a legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defense of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries AD. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and his historical existence is debated and disputed by modern historians".  

In other words, we don't really know if there really was a King Arthur at all. The name of the castle/kingdom associated today with King Arthur - Camelot, from which our show takes its name - is actually mentioned for the first time in French romance literature of the 12th century (thank you again, Wiki). Why French, you may ask?  The Lancelot connection!  And thus doth Lancelot become the French Connection.  

Not this one, the other one

Take thy staff in hand, or mount thy noble steed, and journey with us .... to Camelot, where 

 "The rain may never fall til after sundown, by eight the morning fog must disappear......."

Welcome!Park your horse over there and come right in!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

T minus 3 1/2 weeks, and counting

Here we go, folks, hurtling towards opening night (less than four weeks to curtain up!) - rehearsals are now four nights per week, the scenery has arrived at the rehearsal hall, costumes should be completed in the next few days.  You can feel the excitement - or is that anxiety? - in the steady hum and buzz throughout the rehearsal hours.  

What if I forget my lines, or leave my costume at home, or get laryngitis and can't sing?

We should all know our lines cold by now, but some of us (mostly me, actually) don't.  And neither do our erstwhile prompters, which can lead to some amazing dialogue.

Mendel: "Reb Lazar, don't shame Reb Tevya at his daughter's wedding!"

[silence]  [somebody calls out: LINE]

Prompter:  why should i listen to you, a man who breaks an agreement

Assorted: no, we said that already - no, that's later - no, that's after the chickens - who says that? didn't he say that before? that's Lazar's line. Where are we? Did we do that part already?

Sheindel:  "What's done is done"  [which is a good guess because somehow that line shows up at least three times in this scene, so - go for it, Sheindel!]

We should all know exactly where we are supposed to be on stage at every moment, but we don't.  Sometimes this can be a problem.

Note to self: it is not considered polite to drive your stiletto heel into the toe of that person who keeps shoving in front of you during the song. 

Second note to self:  remember not to start wandering around aimlessly when you forget where you're supposed to go.  Someone might stab you with their stiletto heel.

We just "met" the scenery last night, and since the cast is also most of the  stage crew, this led to some interesting developments at rehearsal last night (a fender-bender accident between a butcher shop and a barn, for example).

On a personal note, i've discovered that i look TERRIBLE in a kerchief.

Sort of like this, but without the 'adorable'

May have to wear sun glasses so that nobody recognizes me.  How about that, a cool/stoner version of Yente.

Now, lest you think all is total chaos (ha ha ha, what ever gave you THAT impression?), please check this out:  Remember a while back we talked about getting up at dawn to film a promo clip? Well, we finished it, and here it is. ENJOY!


Things really are moving along. We're seeing characters develop, we're seeing the dances starting to really take shape, we're seeing the director's hair go grey..... it's all very thrilling. Tickets are on sale and if you want good seats - actually, if you want any seats at all! - you might want to order your tickets NOW.   For further information:  http://www.negevlightopera.com/

Watch this space for more updates as we round the far turn and gallop/limp/stumble/charge into the home stretch....

and if you should notice me asleep in some corner, please don't wake me up. Thank you in advance!