Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Les Miserables

Last June Emily and I made a brilliant discovery: Les Miserables. This incredible musical was something we had heard of, but never though much about. With unspeakable thanks to Miss Dashwood and others (other Les Miserables fans to put it lightly) we rented the 25th Anniversary DVD. After being completely and utterly floored by the music (I shall say nothing at this time of Sir Twerp-a-lot) Anyhow, one thing led to another, and next thing you know we had watched the DVD five times in one week, and were reading the 1500 page book (which quickly became a favorite, we highly recommend it!) Shall I fast forward through Em and I memorizing every song, and doing nothing on the 22 hour ride to Canada but listen to the cast album? Thought so m'dears. Anyway, this past fall it came unto my attention that the Les Miserables US Tour would be in Charlotte; I was thrilled. I cunningly plotted to buy Emily tickets for Christmas for a show that would take place on her birthday. Great Christmas gift, eh? This seemingly infallible plan was foiled because of every single ticket selling out, and a certain trip I made to the dark continent. Emily was somewhat very sad but, being the kind hearted sister she is, decided to content herself with the thought that her sister had even tried to take her. You can imagine then her complete and utter shock, when I presented her with tickets several weeks later to another show, a few stops later on the tour. Emily is now eternally in my debt, and would do basically anything for me at this point. 

On the momentous day of March twenty-third, year of our Lord two thousand and thirteen, we set forward on a somewhat wet, but joyous four hour journey to the location of the show.
Those who know Emily, know she was pretty much  completely beside herself. 

The show was even better than either of us had imagined (and take my word for it, we had high expectations). The first notes were sung, and we grabbed each other, completely enraptured. 

A brief review of characters:
Jean Valjean (David Brink) He was actually the understudy, which at first we were slightly saddened by, he soon gave us to know we had nothing to dread. He was stunning. Emily decided that he was her favorite voice of the performance

Javert (Andrew Varela) my favorite, his Stars was stunning (sorry Russel, but this guy was really great).

Marius (Devin Ilaw) Marius is not one of my favorite characters.  However, he has some incredible songs. Some of them, Empty Chairs and Empty Tables especially, never seem to be sung to their full potential. Never fear, Devin is here. If we could just have him be the one to always sing that song all the time from now on that would be great. Thank you for cooperating.

Enjolras (Jason Forbach) Ahh Enjolras, I always feel bad for anyone tasked with playing this role after Ramin Karimloo's stunning performance in 2010, but Jason held his own very well. It's very difficult to make this music sound bad : )

After the performance several actors were in the lobby. To Emily's great delight, one of them was the actor playing her favorite character, Gavroche. 

Congratulations on reading this long and silly post written by my overly excitable sister, it was an unspeakably beautiful experience. I'm always amazed by people who have seen Les Miserables live, and don't seem all that smitten. As for my sister and I, we loved every minute of it, and found our trip very worthwhile. 

P.S. Emily might have written this post, but I have to confess I concur with her on every detail, I just try and act a little more grown up about it. : )

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Capturing the moment

A primer on capturing a moment in time by taking pictures . . .

Last night I was at my Nana’s house organizing pictures that she has taken over the last 70 years. I don’t believe she has thrown away a single picture, ever. She has never organized them, and hasn’t looked at the most of the pictures since she had them developed. As I sat organizing I considered how important these photos are in representing life, as my nana looked through them, her life went before her eyes. From when she was two until last year, all the pictures were there. And being a rather avid photographer myself, it reminded me of the importance of capturing these moments.

Photos are not the most important part of memories. The stories are. A picture of a brown horse means nothing to you, but to me I remember the stories my Papa has told me since I was a little girl, living on a sheep station in the outback of Australia, what his horse was called (Cordite), and how he used to ride them as he herded sheep, killed rabbits, and rode to school. With those memories, the picture now means something special.

It doesn’t matter that the picture didn’t have perfect composition, wasn’t properly framed, or had poor lighting. It was a simple picture, but it meant something because of the story it told.

As you go through life, take pictures and capture memories. You can take a picture of a beautiful sunset or your delicious dinner, but a couple of years down the road those won’t mean anything. You will have seen more colorful sunsets and eaten more unique food. But if you include your friends sitting and watching the sunset, or the people eating the food, then you have created a memory.

What I've learned:

Capture today, the now. 
Take a picture of you with your phone, iPod, refrigerator, or computer. It sounds stupid now, but 30 years from now your children or grandchildren will loving poking fun at you for thinking you were hip and techie.

Capture a moment. 
Instead of a sunset, have your friends jump in front of the sunset so you have a lovely silhouette.

Give context. 
Don’t just take a picture of a face; give it a story and a background. 

Zoom out. 
Instead of the face in front of a garden, try a person in the mud in the garden on a rainy day.

Movement in pictures gives the eye something to imagine. If everyone is simply standing still then the mind moves on quickly, but if they’re walking, jumping, or laughing it causes the brain to imagine the details and tells a story and captures the feeling of the moment.

It’s worth the trouble. 
I don’t always feel like taking pictures. In fact probably half of my pictures I didn’t feel like taking, I would much rather have just sat, talked, or watched the moment go by. But I’ve learned from experience that months or years later I’m not going to remember the “trouble” I went through to take the picture. But instead I will remember the time and experience even better. I can be reminded of details that I have forgotten.

Pictures that never come off the Internet or a computer don’t do you a whole lot of good. Hard drives crash, websites go down, and files are lost and forgotten. Instead print the pictures and put them in a box. It will be lots more fun to go through an album or box of photos then to flip through them on a screen.
Record when, who, and where.
 In the moment you take a picture you can never imagine forgetting your friend’s name or where you were. But a couple of years down the road, memories start to blur together.  So, make it simple. Write all the details down immediately. It will save you tons of time and frustration later.