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20 October 2002

Who'd have thought the old show had so much blood in it?

I was standing by the toaster at the hotel's continental breakfast this morning and a woman standing next to me asked what show we were going to see. When I told her MacBeth , she said they had seen it last night and that it was "very bloody."

Well, of course it's bloody. "All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little handů" and all that. The MacB's are steeped in blood. I knew that.

However, this production may be just a tad more bloody than most. The "New Theatre" (that's its name) is a theatre in the round so you are never more than about 7 rows from the stage. In the center of the stage is a puddle, maybe 6" deep and a foot in diameter, set in the stage, which is filled with "blood."

There are six actors who play all the parts (a bit confusing). All the costumes are white, and by the end of the show, so much blood has been flung around the stage that the actors' shoes are sticking in it and all the costumes are streaked with red splotches. Mr. & Mrs. MacB wind up face down on the stage on opposite sides of the pool. The crown is in the center, and they both have their hands in the pool of blood, reaching for the crown.

This is not the MacBeth you read in high school English class!

However, this non-traditional production was very powerful. There are only two men in the cast, and the woman who plays MacDuff (as well as several other roles) was a substitute. She was amazing. I'm sure she does triathlons, she was so physically fit. The MacBeth brought things to the role I hadn't seen before, and made those quotes that you've heard forever new again.

I will admit to having some trouble staying awake in spots. I am a theatre critic who, as I believe I've said here before, does not like Shakespeare. But MacBeth is one that I dislike less, so by the time it got all tense, it had my undivided attention (and I'd also had a nice nap too).

The show came in the middle of our day. At 7:30, Mary and I went down to the fitness center. We had intended to work out for an hour, but it got very crowded and the machines were being used (she did 15 min on the elliptical trainer and I did 20 on the exercise bike, but the guy on the treadmill was on it when we arrived and on it when we left, so we never did get to that. She did show me some free weight exercises, tho).

Then, all virtuous from having worked out while the slug-a-beds were lounging around their rooms drinking coffee, we met up with the others and checked out the complimentary breakfast. A far cry from a croissant and juice. This had eggs, toast, bagels, cinnamon rolls, scones, cereal, fresh fruit, several choices of coffee, yogurt, and all sorts of accoutrements. I felt very virtuous with my usual cereal with strawberries and peanut butter toast. (I also added a bit of yogurt as well).

Then Walt and I went for a bike ride. Ashland is not flat. And it's not nearly as bike friendly as the places I've been to in California, but it was good workout for me. The first leg was uphill to the bike store to replace the rear mirror I smashed yesterday. A bit of huffing and puffing, but I did make it to the top. I felt good about that. Then we did the bike path we found yesterday, and made a big loop so that we came back into town along the main drag so we could walk around the shop area. (Managed to get a bit of Christmas shopping done!)

We wandered around the theatre area, saw the Elizabethan theatre, with its blend of olde and modern (Elizabethan type stage, modern type seats), and again wandered through Lithia park, looking at the fall color and watching the "duck water ballet" in the little pond.

We didn't bike a lot , but put in about 3-1/2 miles and walked around all the shops before coming back here to get cleaned up for the show. Walt said I looked like a cat burglar in my black outfit.

We met the others in the hotel lobby and sauntered over to the ticket booth, where Pat tried to sell the four extra tickets we had. Miraculously, she was able to, so nobody is going to be out any money on this deal.

After the show a group went on a wine run (I stayed here working on this entry and the photos-see the sacrifices I make for you?), and then we all met back in the "garden room," where we opened several bottles of wine and indulged in some of the hotel's free cheese and crackers and tried to solve the world's problems (we didn't quite get it all worked out; we may have to stay another day or two).

We ended the evening splurging on a fairly high-end dinner, including some of those fancy terrible-for-you desserts. It seems like we just got here and we're already getting ready to go back home again.

But I have typing waiting for me, so I know we have to leave.

Maybe I'll just fall head-first into a vat of blood and call it quits.

* * *

Everybody be sure to watch "Bram and Alice" on CBS tonight (8:30 in the Sacramento area). Jimmy (of Steve and Jimmy) is making a guest appearance as a flamboyant New Yorker. He's a hoot--watch it!

Quote of the Day

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

--From Macbeth (V, v, 19)

Photo of the Day

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The Birnam Oak
This ancient tree is the last of the surviving Birnam Wood made famous in Shakespeare's MacBeth.

One Year Ago
Jeri Knows Better
Sometimes it doesn't pay to be a mother. Your children never let you forget a single "mistake" you made...though I still say it wasn't a mistake.

Two Years Ago
Sleepless in Seattle
Peggy has been quite long-suffering. Diane and I do not have the grace of gazelles and she's been taking care of both of us. She refuses to let me in shops while I'm holding parcels, because she's afraid I'm going to bring some display crashing down

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