Sunday, January 15, 2006

Miss Ostrovsky, your word is boanthropy.

Oh, wait. One second. Please ma’am, could you not sit in that seat?...

On the 14th of January I went with my family to see the Melbourne Theatre Company perform The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The title itself is a mouthful let alone the words that were being spelled on the stage.

The set was an American High (or Middle) School hall with bleachers to the right and left and a basketball ring centered in front of a "stage", complete with curtain, on which the orchestra performed. There was another set of bleachers on which the Spellers sat and it could be moved around on the stage for effect during some of the songs.

Although I dislike Marina Prior's singing voice I have noted that she does quite well in a comic role and as the singing was shared quite equally amoung the performers we did not have to endure too much of it. Marina played Bee hostess Rona Lisa Peretti and opens the show by spelling the word that she spelled correctly to win her spelling bee - "Syzygy".

Joining Ms Rona Lisa Peretti in the administration of the Bee were Vice-Principal Douglas Panch (Tyler Coppin) and Comfort Counselor Mitch Mahoney (Bert Labonte).

With the combined talents of David Campbell (Shout! - The Musical - Jacobsen Entertainment) as Chip Tolentino, Magda Szubanski (Kath & Kim - ABC TV) as William Barfee (pronounced bar-fay), Tim Wright (The Last Five Years - Echelon Productions) as Leaf Coneybear, Christen O'Leary (Urinetown - MTC) as Logainne Schwarzandgrubeniere, Natalie Mendoza as Marcy Park, Natalie O'Donnell as Olive Ostrovsky and four members of the audience as Spelling Bee competitors we were guaranteed an entertaining evening.

The members of the audience were of a different, younger, demographic with this production. It being a show with a PG rating and a family-type theme (hey, I went with mine) and also showing in the school holidays there was a buzz in the air which thankfully did not spill over into talkativeness during the performance... except when my Grandmother asked me what a "hickey" was. (I said I'd tell her afterwards. And, yes, I did.)

It's a Spelling Bee so you can guess what will happen - there will be a winner at the end. How the show gets there will be a little different with each performance as they are contending with the audience participation component. The audience members need to be kept "in the game" up to a certain point and then the actors can complete the rest of the show. This is realised when they are asked to spell easier words. This can then be complained about by the "real competitors" and they appeal to the judges.

In the performance we saw, one participator left the competition a little earlier than was obviously scheduled and the next audience participator was given the word "cat" to spell to keep her in the game - many complaints about that one. Then they also need to leave at the proper time too. This same a.p. who was given "cat" was then given a word that I had not heard of to spell and she did it correctly, causing some consternation at the judging desk. Another difficult word was immediately read and was not completed correctly by the a.p. and so the show could continue.

To assist with their spelling, one competitor has a "magic foot", one writes on her arm, one speaks into her hand and another appears to have some sort of divine intervention allowing him to arrive at the correct spelling. There are insights into their family life and the usual pubescent angst surfaces at the most inopportune moment causing disappointment for some and a feeling of freedom for others.

I heartily recommend this show. My husband even enjoyed it and he doesn't like musicals! It's playing until March 11th - an extended season which just proves how great it is.

...It's a marvelous memory
If you win the spelling bee
One's life improves from A to Z...

Friday, January 06, 2006

I wouldn't usually say anything but...

I received an email last night from my Mum. It had an odd subject line to be coming from her (possible virus?) but I read it anyway. Anyone who knows me knows that I will usually read something for myself before deciding whether or not something is on the "up and up" and I think that in this case I am satisfied.

Greetings UAW women - this is about Mark Vaile's decision to lift the ban on 'evergreening'.
You need to know because it threatens the availability of generic brand drugs we ALL use which become available once the patent has expired on the 'name brand' originals, such as 'Renitec'.
Pharmaceutical companies make and patent small variations in their original chemical recipe for a drug - such small changes which may not alter their effect BUT they apply for and get a separate patent. When the patent expires - 10 years - on the original - they invoke the new
patent. They then become the SOLE legal manufacturer for your lifetime, and your daughter's, and our granddaughter's.
Mark Latham secured an agreement with the Liberals to outlaw this practise - now the Senate-cocky Government is about to revoke this part of the legislation. They claim it's not needed!!!
Australia has the cheapest pharmaceuticals in the world due to the savvy negotiating done for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This is under immediate threat. International Pharmaceutical companies have been pressuring the Australian Government for years to allow them a better share of OUR wages.
This will effect WELL people not merely the chronically ill: the average older Aussie is on 5 different medications.
YOUR OBJECTION to Vaile is NEEDED now - the holiday period will silence many other voices. Demand that the Amendments to the Free trade Agreement NOT be revoked.
You will need to go to Mark Vaile's - ACTING Prime Minister and Minister for TRADE - personal Home page. He no longer has a Parliament House email address - neither does Howard or Costello, this came as a shock to me - you might guess that it's because there has been a stampede of citizen emailing. This move may make bulk emailing to them

See the Age Article dated January 3rd

Death and taxes are inevitable - add to this - the Government ALWAYS pulls a dirty
stunt just before or just after Christmas.

I ask you to make up your own mind. That is all.

Monday, January 02, 2006

It's Delightful

It's Delicious...

I have what I think are chemical burns on my fingers. I took my nail polish off two days ago and the top layer of skin on my index and middle fingers on both hands feels odd. The pads are a little shiny and I seem to have lost a bit of sensation. There was some swelling but it seems to have gone down now. I think I should buy some new Nail Polish Remover and throw my current batch away. It may be safer.

My other half thought that he wasn't going back to work until Wednesday this week but has been brought to the unfortunate realisation that Tuesday is not a public holiday and neither has he requested leave so he will be returning to his place of daily torture earlier than he realised. Poor thing. At least he may be able to get a good night's sleep before he has to hop on that early-morning train to the city.

Hasn't the temperature the last few days been over the top? scorching? strength-sapping? diabolical? I'm glad we don't have to put up with 42-degree days very often (we're talking Celcius here). Makes me realise that I will most likely never move to Alice Springs where they experience these temperatures many times throughout the year. The worst was that at 1:00am on the first of January it was still 38 degrees and remained above 30 in my bedroom until I woke up at about 8:00am and had to turn on the air conditioning to be able to sleep more comfortably. I would have been quite happy to sleep the whole night (morning) with it turned on but my other half is noise-sensitive so I stayed awake reading for as long as I could to maximise the effect of the air conditioning that was cooling down the room so that I could get off to sleep. I started falling asleep myself and realised that I needed to get up and turn the unit off, the thought of which was painful. When I roused later and realised that Logan had left the room I made the effort to get up and flick that magic switch. Aah, sweet relief.

I am so very glad that it was not a work day as it would have been absolutely unbearable in my building where the designers neglected to include in their calculations the temperature of an Australian summer. I am not looking forward to the next few months, temperature-wise, at work for this reason.

We have been taking advantage of the data projector that I borrowed from work over the last week. It is a wonderful thing to sit in a darkened and air conditioned room while DVDs of your (other half's) choice are projected onto the wall in front of you. We have shown "Sirens", the first episode of "The Dukes of Hazzard", "The Mothman Prophecies", "The Fifth Element" (my DVD, his choice), "She" and "Sin City". It has been a Holiday Present of sorts and when I return to work we will be able to change the lounge and dining room back to some semblance of normality.

The Christmas Tree is coming down today and I'm pretty happy with the way it has behaved over the last month. The big question now is whether my other half will be able to let go of our previous tree and set it out for hard waste pick-up...

It's De-Lovely...