June 13, 2018

I was distracted by the gigantic feet of all the actors... especially the actress in bare feet... so weird.

But that was my fault for not buying my ticket in advance, like everybody else in that theater last night. I arrived rather early. In fact, I was the first person to take a seat in the theater. But I got the last seat sold, and it was in the front row, at the base of a huge screen.

The show was the captured-live theater performance of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," which played here in Madison last night. Only one showing, so no option of coming back another time. Either sit in that front row or drive home having seen nothing. The idea of seeing one of the movies playing at that big theater complex never crossed my mind. I'd have rather gone home to sit with Meade, who was watching the Brewers beat the Cubs and retake first place in the Central Division.

I got an idea of how great the live theater experience would be, but the real effect of the staging cannot come through a movie screen, at least not one looming hugely over me in the front row, staring up at foreshortened heads across the expanse of monstrous feet. 

Speaking of monstrous feet, the audience was seated in "Dreamloungers" — big old recliners — and I did occasionally look back at the group — mainly to see if there was an empty seat farther back — and everyone looked quite ridiculous, halfway horizontal, with feet stretched out in front. It's one thing to sit like that at home, but out in public? Kind of embarrassing, or maybe no one is embarrassed anymore. Half a century ago, we all got naked at Woodstock.

Anyway, this goes to show that I do occasionally go out to the movies, if you can call that a movie. I prefer live theater, and this "movie" reinforced that preference.

I also went to the movies last week and failed even to tell you about it. I saw "RBG," the documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg's wonderful husband Marty.

53 comments:

gblanch said...

I knew I recognized you from somewhere!

Ann Althouse said...

"I knew I recognized you from somewhere!"

Hey, I try to be invisible, which is hard in the front row and all splayed out like that and bereft of my manly sidekick.

rehajm said...

In a world full of recliners and gigantic feet...

brylun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

Hey Meade, how about that exciting weird play? For those of you who missed it, check this out --

LINK TEXT

rhhardin said...

Big feet means big shoes.

Ann Althouse said...

@AllenS Thanks for linking to that. My movie-play had an intermission — called an "interval" because it was British — and I checked my texts to find that Meade had sent me that clip.

Sydney said...

I know you mean the feet were big because of the angle of your vision, but I've been noticing lately that actors' feet often look way too big. I suppose it's because the shoes are props, not their real shoes. It would probably be too expensive to buy the correct shoe sizes for all the actors for every scene.

Michael K said...

When I was a medical student we got tickets for the Los Angeles Premier of the movie "My Fair Lady." Our seats were right in front. All I remember of the movie that time was the gigantic flowers on he screen in the opening credits. Fortunately, we later saw it in a theater with good seats.

Curious George said...

I was at the game...Cubs have beaten the Brewers 9 out of 11 this year and I pick the biggest dud.

Weird play but terrible base running was saved by terrible run down and awareness. Oh well, it was fun for the few Brewer fans that were at the game in Wrigley Field North.

George Grady said...

This post needs some links to wikiFeet, so that we can experience what you experienced.

madAsHell said...

Our seats were right in front.

I saw Pavarrati twice from the front row. The man was a pig. He would vanish back stage, and then return with a mouth full of food. Needless to say, he failed to ingest all of it, and blew it all over the first couple of rows.

FIDO said...

This post is a cautionary tale for the addictive nature of outrage. Offended by feet, offended by the appearance of someone else being comfortable because one feels it is aesthetically ridiculous. 'Young ladies backs should never touch back of their chair.'

Granted, it's hard for me to take anyone else to task, since it is almost patently impossible to open a paper and NOT be outraged at something these days...though generally my outrages are less in the aesthetics department and more in the 'Clintons getting away with murder' angle and 'Mueller shredding good jurisprudence and legal precedents', but it is all of the same cloth.

Old men yelling at people to get off their lawn and old church ladies sighing about a lack of genteel deportment in these young folks.

Next they will (shudder) be wearing shorts and sandals to the theater to be comfortable in the summer heat. Then horizontal huge feet with the occasional view into the unmentionables...if one is bothering LOOKING for the unmentionables instead of, you know, the actual show.

Quaestor said...

Evidently, you fixed your keyboard problem. Since you asked for help earlier I'm curious as to the conclusion of that tale of woe.

roesch/voltaire said...

For an old fashioned movie experience at a cheap price I recommend the Island of Dogs at Market SQ or $3; no lounge seat there .

Big Mike said...

I have the same question Quaestor posted. Or are you doing these posts from Meade’s computer?

Quaestor said...

...and bereft of my manly sidekick.

If I were Meade I'd bristle at the use of sidekick. In the history of B westerns and comic books, sidekicks are decidedly inferior to their counterparts. In B westerns sidekicks typically sported unkempt beards, wore bizarrely distorted hats, and sang stupid songs about beans or women with unusual physical traits (big feet, no teeth, grossly tall, or ridiculously short). They carried guns, but never hit anything they aim at, nor did they get the girl in the end or even ride a noble steed. Instead, they rode mules or swayback nags. The sidekick existed to make the star seem heroic and ingenious by way of contrast.

CJinPA said...

I don't go to movies much either, but tomorrow night my wife and I are going to the movie theater to see RiffTrax Live. Some of the folks from the old Mystery Science Theater 3000 do live shows in Nashville and simulcast them around the country.
They do it for taped shows too. Fun time.

traditionalguy said...

There is no business like live show business.

EDH said...

Althouse said...
"I was distracted by the gigantic feet of all the actors... especially the actress in bare feet... so weird... staring up at foreshortened heads across the expanse of monstrous feet."

"I get excitement at your feet."

We're Not Gonna Take It

We forsake you
Gonna rape you
Let's forget you better still.

See me. Feel me. Touch me. Heal me.

Listening to you,
I get the music.
Gazing at you,
I get the heat.
Following you,
I climb the mountains.

I get excitement at your feet.

Right behind you,
I see the millions.
On you,
I see the glory.
From you,
I get opinions.
From you,
I get the story.

Quaestor said...

I don't go to movies much either, but tomorrow night my wife and I are going to the movie theater to see RiffTrax Live.

Some years ago I saw Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy (Mike, Crow, and Servo, respectively) live riff Plan 9 From Outer Space — a near-death experience caused by much more laughter going out than oxygen coming in.

tcrosse said...

It's those foot-long feet.

southcentralpa said...

Had to sit all the way down front when I saw "Hero At Large" in the theaters, and the line of spit that formed when Ritter and Archer pulled away from a kiss always stuck with me.

Quaestor said...

The sidekicks revenge."

Quaestor said...

Forgive wayward quote marks, s'il vous plait.

John Tuffnell said...

Althouse said...
"I was distracted by the gigantic feet of all the actors."

The bigger the feet, the bigger the distraction.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

".. bereft of my manly sidekick."

This one's for you, Meade!

Roughcoat said...

Saw "Annihilation" over the weekend. I enjoyed it, found it interesting -- until I made the mistake of reading analyses of the movie. "It's about self destruction" said most of them. Harumph. Self destruction doesn't interest me. "Annihilation" works better if you see it as straight up syfy horror, with no deep meaning or message.

tcrosse said...

George "Gabby" Hayes was actually quite a distinguished gentleman in real life.

Two-eyed Jack said...

My wife and I have enjoyed the Live in HD theatercasts from MetOpera.
If the sound system in the theater is operating correctly it can be more engrossing than attending the live performance, because closeups and a variety of angles can contribute a lot to the experience.
Sometimes the director messes up by cutting too quickly, or failing to show the entire stage enough. These work better on a small television screen than a large theater screen.
I once had to sit too close and off-axis. It took a bit of discipline to ignore the image warping, but it was still better than staying home.
Mainly, however, the difference between the price of theatercast and live makes it much easier to afford the experience. The audience, however, is almost entirely gray-haired, with many being Russian to boot, so I would say MetOpera is failing to effectively find the audience it will need for long-term survival.

Roughcoat said...

And, while we're on the subject of movies ... what the hell is wrong with Robert DiNiro? Seriously. He seems deeply disturbed and I have a hard time believing that politics is the cause and reason for his nearly deranged behavior. I think politics is merely a trigger. There's something going on there, deep down. What kind of person talks and acts like that, repeatedly, in public?

Gordon Scott said...

Two-eyed Jack, the wife and I like to catch various plays, mostly Shakespeare, in similar settings. But the company that promotes it, Fathom Events, has the worst website in the world for trying to figure out what's coming and when. We usually stumble onto a showing two days before from some other source.

But we've never had bad seats, because none of the auditoriums were close to being full. Perhaps Madison is just artier.

grimson said...

My experience at the MetOpera in HD mirrors Two-eyed Jack's--the experience is in some ways better than live, but the audience tends to be mostly retirees.

University students get in for $5, so I'm puzzled why music majors rarely show up. If they do show up, they don't come back.

Families never show up, although once a young couple brought an infant. I dreaded it, but it never made a sound, and at intermission, they were surrounded by the other attendees behaving like a coven of witches.

Ann Althouse said...

"Evidently, you fixed your keyboard problem. Since you asked for help earlier I'm curious as to the conclusion of that tale of woe."

At the point when you wrote that, I had simply switched to using my laptop.

Later, I "solved" the problem by walking over to the Apple store and buying a new keyboard for $99.

Ann Althouse said...

"My wife and I have enjoyed the Live in HD theatercasts from MetOpera. If the sound system in the theater is operating correctly it can be more engrossing than attending the live performance, because closeups and a variety of angles can contribute a lot to the experience. Sometimes the director messes up by cutting too quickly, or failing to show the entire stage enough. These work better on a small television screen than a large theater screen."

I would have preferred no closeups. They were way too large (with actors not chosen for their ability to do giant closeups!) and (as you note) they deprived me from seeing the whole stage. I would have preferred the point of view locked in one place, with the whole stage on view, as it would be seen in the live theater, leaving me with the power to choose what to look at.

"I once had to sit too close and off-axis. It took a bit of discipline to ignore the image warping, but it was still better than staying home."

I did adjust a bit, but it was such a distortion that it was still a problem. It helped to consciously realize that the women did not have freakishly large feet, which is what I thought at first. The woman in bare feet was actually grossing me out. It was like she came from prehistoric times.

CJinPA said...

Some years ago I saw Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy (Mike, Crow, and Servo, respectively) live riff Plan 9 From Outer Space — a near-death experience caused by much more laughter going out than oxygen coming in.

Those are the three in RiffTrax. They're doing "Space Mutiny" live tomorrow night. (Check out the Live Shows page at their site, enter your zip code and find the nearest theater. Rebroadcast next Tuesday.)

Seeing it with a crowd is indeed much more fun.

Gordon Scott said...

what the hell is wrong with Robert DiNiro?

It's not like he's been a paragon of stability or good behavior, ever. He shows up on time and functional to the set, and once upon a time he was a very good actor. Everything else can be forgiven, if you're of the right, er, proper set of opinions.

readering said...

I thought about going to see that but the tickets are priced high and Tuesday is $5 night for regular films so I saw a documentary instead (not RBG--any good?)

readering said...

I also enjoy Met simulcasts on Saturdays. It was interesting to watch Tosca 6 months after attending a live performance of same at my local opera company. boy the Met spares no expense on sets, costumes and extras. I also enjoy their intermission interviews.

readering said...

USC sometimes screens Met free for all and yet few students. I guess they need their weekend beauty sleep.

etbass said...

"what the hell is wrong with Robert DiNiro?"

I think it is very hard for a person to become a star, in any field without it affecting adversely, his self image. DeNiro seems to think anyone cares what is his opinion about a person completely outside DeNiro's field of expertise. Further, he seems to think he is entitled to demonstrate completely "over the top" behavior and not be thought to be a complete ass.

Wrong on both counts.

readering said...

He did get a lot of applause from the only people who could hear his remarks. So he knows audiences.

Ralph L said...

When I was 14 and my brother 16, our mother took all of us to a play about Billy the Kid at the tiny Folger Shakespeare Theater (part of the FS Library and modeled on the Globe) behind the US Supreme Court building. My brother and I sat alone on the front row in a half empty theater, with the stage right in front of our faces. In the second act, after a totally nude bed scene in dim light, the female lead pranced around the stage in pants and suspenders and nothing else, right over our heads. The language was foul and transgressive, too.

Afterwards she said, "Stick with your mother, boys, and see the world."

readering said...

Saw A+C there on my last trip to DC. Not as progressive a production. (Although C's entourage gorgeous up close).

Quaestor said...

[W]hat the hell is wrong with Robert DiNiro?" [sic]

I have a theory. Bobby is too far over the hill to play the kind of psychopathic criminals Martin Scorsese makes movies about unless the mobster happens to be similarly decrepit. Ergo, his outbursts are a bid for a new Scorsese project about the lunatic don who tried to avoid trial by wandering around Little Italy in a bathrobe, Vinny "the Chin" Gigante.

Ralph L said...

I would have preferred the point of view locked in one place

I can't bear any film when they shift cameras every two seconds, but it seems to be a requirement now. It's the same as all sports announcers who can't shut up to save their lives.

Who wants to see anyone sing close up, especially when they're overweight, well past the bloom of youth, and slathered in heavy makeup?

Two-eyed Jack said...

Ralph L said...
Who wants to see anyone sing close up, especially when they're overweight, well past the bloom of youth, and slathered in heavy makeup?


Two words: Elīna Garanča

Ann Althouse said...

“Who wants to see anyone sing close up, especially when they're overweight, well past the bloom of youth, and slathered in heavy makeup?”

People with a uvula fetish.

exiledonmainstreet said...

AllenS said...

"Hey Meade, how about that exciting weird play? For those of you who missed it, check this out"

A thing of beauty.

The Brewers had to win last night. Their wives beat the Cubs wives in a charity softball game 10-3 yesterday afternoon. If they had lost, their wives would have never let them forget it. Mrs. Sogard, who is 5 months pregnant, was the MVP of the game.

grimson said...

Two words: Elīna Garanča.

Elīna Garanča in "Carmen," complete with bare feet and what to do with them. I don't think it is the uvula on which viewers are focusing.

readering said...

I enjoyed Kelli O'Hara up close in Cosi, and interviewing earlier.

Ralph L said...

Toreador, Toreador
Don't spit on the floor
Use the cuspidor
What do you think it's for?

AllenS said...

The Crew just beat the Cubbies. 1-0.