Saturday, 4 August 2012

Olympic Interval - Bouncing Back (Including a review of As You Like It by Abbey Shakespeare)

This is written in part to honour the wonderful athletes who we've just been watching during the Women's Trampoline.  Great stuff.

As has happened to so many Olympians, my efforts, though driven and deliberate, floundered.  I'd hoped to post on my blog once a day for a week.  But really that was rather silly given what a week it's been.  On the plus side, I now get to write an additional post explaining my absense, and then I'll follow on with my planned subjects.

So, Wednesday.  Each year I take photos for the Abbey Shakespeare play at St Dogmaels Abbey.  I'd hoped in the morning to get on and write Thursday's post, but alas I just didn't have the time.  Instead, I was trying my best to look after Deborah who was very poorly.  I wasn't feeling too good myself - a muscle in my leg was spasming for 14 hours straight.

So in the end Deb had to stay back in the van (with her cold weather gear consisting of Russian-style hat, tights, leggings, fleece jacket and sleeping bag) and I went off to the play.  This year was As You Like It, a rather distinct change of mood from last year's King Lear.  And excitingly the play was the directorial debut of one of the long term cast.  He did a great job and I hope he's really proud of the result.

I tried a new tactic this year with photos - raising both the shutter speed and ISO.  I'm still getting used to how well the 7D deals with ISO noise so it took a great deal of trust.  Also new this year was my fantastic monopod.  I've used monopods in the past, but only the very cheapest ebay sells.  This year I treated myself to a Manfrotto 680B with a 494RC2 ball head and the beast was more solid than any tripod I've ever had, let alone a monopod.  I'd read some reviews which mentioned people using it as a walking stick at the same time as a camera support and that seemed entirely appropriate for my needs.  It might make taking photos around the garden a bit more straight forward.

As for the play: it really was superb.  There was such a lot of humour packed in.  The rather eclectic modern setting was perfect and little touches (use of mobile phones and modern american wrestling) really raised it.  There were times it was hard to keep the camera steady from laughing.  The wrestling bout itself was very brave.

As You Like It - Abbey Shakespeare 2012
Photo of one man in one in mid air kicking another man in blue tights, lime pants and a blue hood in the face. And who wouldn't?  The colour clash deserves nothing less.

There were some great comedy performances from the supporting characters.

As You Like it - Abbey Shakespeare 2012 - My Favourites
A woman in a light blue skirt suit with a replica shotgun, flowery bag and glasses pinched from the receptionist in Ghostbusters.

Not to mention the puppets.

As You Like It - Abbey Shakespeare 2012
Two deer who are obviously deeply in love.

The leading actors were absolutely faultless.  And, of course, highly photogenic.

As You Like it - Abbey Shakespeare 2012 - My Favourites
Rosalind played by Mary Glynn - a blonde woman with flowers in her hair being a great actor.

And who can object to a happy ending?

As You Like it - Abbey Shakespeare 2012 - My Favourites
A happy ending - what more can you say?  Smiles, hugs and cherubs.  No, seriously, there are cherubs.

It took a day to edit the images and another day to get them all uploaded.  It has also taken a few days to get over the pain.  Hence the lack of blog posts.  But it was very much worth it.  I do hope that the rest of the run went well for the cast and crew.  The rain kept off for the entire evening on the Wednesday, but I'm not sure if that will have been the case for all the nights.  I also hope that they're pleased with the photos.  I would think as an actor, your memories of the performance might be strong but limited to your parts (not to mention your perspective).  Hopefully my perspective will make their memories stronger and more complete.

So now on with the next blog post...

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