Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Christmas Poem

The Christmas Lights that Shine Year Long.

They sparkle and glisten upon their branches, these lights of Christmas joy
Hung upon strings they flicker, on that day the Word was conceived.
In many ways we are like those lights hung upon the tree
But in others we are different, contrasting and the same.
For we are lights meant shine no matter what the season
Some lights never change. They are pure, above all certain and fine. 
These lights glow white without fail or flaw, and they never cease to illuminate,
 Be it in shadow, sleet or snow.

These lights are held up, a sight to behold. 
And everyone who sees them knows
That they are certain of sure of their path
and they stick to their road.
These are the lights all people search for, to be led safely home.
These are those beacons that first were lit, that darkness would never be complete

There are also those lights that were lit after, 
The ones of all colors and size
These lights are unique in the glow that they give
and each is needed to make the tree just right. 

Some of these colors lights are steady. They never seem to flicker. 
For they  strive to be like the original lights, that burn without fault or error.

But some of these thus colored lights, are weaker than the others. 
They know not their strength, nor wonder. 
They hesitate and struggle. They shine for a while and go out. 
They flicker and blink and sputter.
Their fire will perhaps never amount. 

These lights, however, seem the best of all.
And all are drawn near to them to admire their glow.
They are counted as the most important, ones you can nay miss
For these lights, that work so hard,
Are something different to be sure.

They are an example, of every single soul that has ever fallen from grace
The souls that lose again and again, but rise to test their fate
These souls are counted as the ones you must always save

They have fears and doubts. They do not always trust.
They cannot see the other lights, so worry claws them up.
They light up and go dark. They flicker out then hide.
The don't seem to realize why everyone considers them the prize.
But if they only saw How beautiful they are
How every time they go dark, they breath to light a spark
If they only saw what their viewers see
The stars that won't give up!
If they saw all these things;
Perhaps they'd see all the hope and cheer
That their failings and risings do bring. 

This is a poem that came to me other day while we were decorating the Christmas tree. It is kind of strange and  a little lose since this is just the first draft, but for some reason I really love the imagery it brings to your mind.

Life is like a string of Christmas lights. Each colored light resembles human soul and the pure white lights are the angels of heaven.

We are all lights on a giant Christmas tree, bringing beauty to the whole house.

Some of us are solid colored lights that aren't quite sure of their destination but stand their ground and fight for what they want. With these lights you are never sure what you will get, only that you will be surprised. These are the lights that dare to stand out, but somehow remain strong and sure in their uniqueness. They're not afraid to be themselves, even if they are different from everyone else.

There are also lights that hardly shine at all. They don't seem worthy to be placed on the Christmas tree, but they are there anyway to link the other lights together, These lights are hard to enjoy since they hardly seem to have spark of their own, but instead leach off the other lights. Some would call them pointless. Others, who are more kind, would say that they were necessary, and they might shine again if only someone would take the time to fiddle around with them. But it takes a very special person to cut time out of their day for these seemingly hopeless bulbs.

Then there are the lights that blink. These are the lights who always feel nervous or hesitant. They have anxieties and fears. They are never quite know what they are doing, and they're not sure about anything. They know where they're going but they worry about how to get there and how long it will take. They are frustration lights, but somehow they are the most interesting. The stumble and flicker, but they always come back. For some reason it is ten times more satisfying when the lights go out only to come back again.

White lights are constant and sure. They do not belong in the same category as the colored lights, for they were built before any of them. They were made to shine out, to contrast the colored lights and bring out their beauty. The white lights are meant to make the colored lights better, to illuminate their hues.  These lights don not change or falter. These are the lights the skies are adored with, the lights that shine even when there is no tree to hang on; for they don't rely on the physical, only the spiritual.

Lights!

Maybe this is kind of a weird post. But I am of the opinion that everything about Christmas can be seen as a symbol of God and His creatures. There is something beautiful about each soul symbolizing a light on the tree of God's plan, each creature being an extra ornament. Every single thing is needed to make the tree complete. Even the blank spaces are needed, the spaces of emptiness to show how bright everything else truly is. The prickly branches that stick out between the decorations, the lights that flash on and off, the bright the dim, the colorful, the dark. Every single thing is needed to complete the spectacle. And ever single creature walking about on this green earth is needed to complete God's plan. Isn't that a comforting thought?

I thought it was.

Christmas is practically here. I hope to write another poem, and maybe a short story before it arrives.Until then!

Peace Out Y'all!



*swings around cape and leaps off stage* 





Bella

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Oh, yeah I'm supposed to blog here....

Apologies in advance if this post feels a little random. I'm tired and sick.

Yesterday wass the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In the Catholic Church, this is the Day the Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, was conceived in the womb of her mother, free of Original sin.

"Hail, full of Grace, The Lord is with thee!"

We've started the second week of Advent. I explain Advent every year, so I think most people know what it is at this point. Advent is just the four weeks before Christmas during which Catholics prepare for Christ's coming by doing extra prayer and sacrifice.  I love Advent. For me, that is the start of the Christmas season. On the First Sunday of Advent, Mom pulls out the Nativity set, but she only put's in one statue; the lamb. And every Sunday for the rest of Advent, we put another statue into the Nativity scene. On Christmas Eve we put in Mary, and on Christmas Morning we bring out the Christ Child and set Him in the manger. It is fabulous. 


I seems I ought to give you a quick life-update. I am a terrible blogger, so every time I blog I end up dumping a ton of information on you. This time I will just try and stick with the important stuff. 'Kay? :)

I spent all morning cleaning. I stayed the night with my brother so I could help at with Chloe and Sammi, and I thought we could clean the house nice and pretty for Dad.... and it took for freaking ever. It's a good thing Tiny decided to stay the night with me, otherwise I never would have finished. Even as it was, we were working for something like three hours. Haha. Fun.

After that, I tried to write. But I didn't. Okay, I was supposed to do NaNo last month, but unfortunately that didn't work. I think NaNo puts too much pressure on me to write, and I end up making mistakes, and my stories don't turn out right because I force too much stuff down on paper. I think NaNo can be helpful. I think it really depends on my mood, the story I'm working on, and the amount of planning or world-building the story requires. All my new stories require a lot of world building, so I just need more than thirty days to get the story down on paper. I'm turning into one of those 500-words-a-day writers. I want to attempt a romance story this year. I've actually had an idea for one for a long time, I'm just worried to write it out. Romances usually end up being weird... and I think it would be hard to write, since I've never you know, been in love.

this gif.


Honestly, I haven't been doing as much writing as I should. I think I am too anxious to write. In like, a month, I am going to move in with my brother so I can nanny my two adorable nieces. I am kind of freaking out! I am excited, but scared, if you know what I mean. I mean, once I leave I will earn money and I can pay for dance classes and acting classes, and figure out the whole acting thing that I really want to pursue, but I am so scared! I'm really scared to learn dance. Dance teachers have a reputation of being terrifying. And I met one once. She was like, IF YOU CAN'T TAKE THE PAIN. DON'T PLAY.


This sounds pretty intense for beginning dance!

But on the other hand, if I really want to pursue Theatre - which I do - I have to know dance. So I'm at least gonna try. I have to try. My plan is to start off with beginning ballet and work my way up from there. Because ballet is the foundation of all dance!

I feel bad. This post was going to be really long and amazing, but I'm really tired and my head hurts. It's time I head off to bed, but I hope you all enjoyed hearing from me. I'll post again when I'm a little more awake and my energy levels are better.

Peace out y'all!


*swings around cape and leaps off stage*



Bella.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Dum-de-de-dum-dum-dum!

No but really. It's been way too long.



I am so bad about blogging. It's terrible. I'm not even worthy to be called a blogger. Like... I hope one day to be a blogger.
So here I am, trying to blog. Have patience with me.

How was your Thanksgiving? Our was lovely. My house always gets loud and kind of crazy on the Holidays. We set up the dining room with China and special folded napkins and we made sure all the settings had these special name-tags, because that's always fun. And we had three-times as many settings as normal because it's Thanksgiving.,As a final touch we hung up a "Happy Thanksgiving!" sign above the table.And we made traditional turkey and stuffing, and we pulled out the drinks with special Apple Cider for the younger girls. Dinner was really when the fun began. We had one of those giant family dinners where everyone waves their hands and shouts to make themselves heard and there are like, five conversations going at once. And then someone goes "SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" and the whole table starts saying "SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" and everyone gets a little quieter for like, five seconds, and then up goes the volume again, and within minutes the table is just as loud as before, until another sister waves her hands and says "SHHHHHHHHH!!!!"

We'd give the Hogwarts dinner hall a run for its money.

After dinner, Mahri made a fabulous cake for desert, and we all had coffee and watched Holiday Inn. Just like we do every year. (If you haven't watched that, I highly recommend it. Bing Crosby sings the best version of White Christmas.) While we ate desert, we listened to our first Christmas song of the year; O, Holy Night By Nat King Cole. Then we watched the version Josh Groban did 2007. I love that version because the year it was performed, everyone was really pushing the whole "Happy Holidays" crap. All the songs on the radio were those fluffy, feel-good songs (Like Frost the Snowman) and those are fine usually, but when you hear nothing about Christ, or any of the other classic Christmas music, and everyone is trying to take God out of your CATHOLIC HOLIDAY, and make it politically correct, you start to hate those songs. Frosty was not a happy, jolly soul! He melted!! *angry Bella noises*  But then, just when you were fed up with everything and you wanted to smash the radio in half and hit the people who said "Happy Holidays" with those annoying smiles... THEN, Josh Groban stepped up and performed O, Holy Night. I remember we were Christmas shopping and it came on it Walmart, and we all just stopped for a minute. And I remember getting all thrilled, cause it was a shock to hear a song like that in a store. And Mom was like, "I think this is the first real Christmas song I've heard in public all year."

Then, when we checked out, we said "Merry Christmas," and the Checker smiled really big and said, "Merry Christmas!" back. It was a beautiful night. Josh Groban kind of saved Christmas that year.



How was your Thanksgiving? Do you have any nice traditions? What are they?

I want to blog again soon, but I don't want to load you with an information dump, so I think I will go for the night. Happy (late) Thanksgiving! Peace out y'all!!!


*swings around cape and leaps off stage.*




Bella

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"I hold it up and show my buddies, like we ain't scared and our boots ain't muddy."






Today was Veterans Day.

I was very busy, but I knew I had to take a little time and dedicate a post to our brave soldiers who spend every day fighting to keep our country safe.

God Bless our troops.

I am fiercely protective of soldiers. It makes me mad when people talk about how awful war is, and they are disrespectful to soldiers because they 'kill' people. Our country is safe because of soldiers. Our country is still free because we have soldiers. We owe them everything we have. No matter what you say about America, even if our country has made mistakes, (and trust me, it has.) you can't discredit the soldier for laying down his life so we can sleep in peace at night. Our troops deserve respect and gratitude, not judgement and scorn. When people are rude to soldiers and go on and on about how we should have peace and not fight, I'm always like, " They're protecting the peace! And they're keeping you free! So shut up."

To all the men and women who have served are country and are still serving it today. Thank you. Thank you for all you doing and for keeping us safe and free.



God Bless our troops!



*swings around cape and leaps off stage*





Bella

Friday, November 6, 2015

[Dream-Cast!] AVM Blog Party -- Day Ten



I 'm glad I extended this to November 7th. LOL.

Day Ten: FREE DAY!!!

I thought I would do something fun today and recast one of my favorite musicals with the actors of today. This is like my "If it came back to Broadway..." cast.

I went with The Secret Garden, because that musical really needs to get back on Broadway. I would see it so fast! AND FREAKIN' FILM IT. (why is nothing ever filmed???)

Archibald Craven: James Barbour.

I edited this picture. The original is in the link.

James Barbour would be an excellent Archibald. He's an amazing actor/singer and he knows how to balance emotion and power with his voice. I think he would bring a nice depth to Archie while keeping that gentle sadness that the character needs. It would be fun to see him in the role and I know I wouldn't be disappointed.

Neville Craven: Tam Mutu.


Tam Mutu played Javert in 2013, and from what I saw he is an incredible singer and actor. He also is lighter than most Broadway performers right now. (There is a pattern here. It isn't just females. Almost everyone on Broadway is just a little... much.) I really like his voice and I think it would go well with James Barbour's. 

Lily Craven: Kelli O'hara



Kelli O'hara is one of the few females on Broadway who is always light and gentle when she sings. Most singers get a little too emotional or excited, and I think a lot of them focus too much on the power behind the note rather than just singing it and making it beautiful. (Not to say the other singers aren't talented. I just prefer the softer sound, like Sarah Brightman, Rebecca Luker or Haley Westenra.) I think Kelli would be a beautiful Lilly. I would love to hear her sing "How Could I Ever Know?" Especially if she sang it with James Barbour. I have a feelings their voices would really blend well together.


Dickon: Sawyer Nunes

Yes, this is George from Finding Neverland. He is adorable and I love him. He would make a fabulous Dickon. It just needs to happen, okay? (By the way, I want to watch Finding Neverland so bad! WHY DON'T I HAVE MONEY? WHY??) 

 Colin Craven: Aidan Gemme


This little boy is also from Finding Neverland. Can you tell I really like that musical? Aidan plays Peter. He is sweet and gentle and I think he is an amazing little actor. He makes me cry. (It's a very sad musical.)

Last but not least is the star of the show. Mary Lennox: Lara Wollington


This one was so hard for me! The rest weren't too bad, but I haven't heard many young singers lately. And who can you possibly compare with Daisy Eagan? She was the best Mary ever! However, I do like Lara Wollington, and as far as I know she is still on Broadway. She was Matilda in 2013. I heard one of the songs called "Quiet," She did a really good job.  Sometimes she gets too loud, but I think she would be a good Mary as long as she stayed light. She is adorable too.

I don't know who to cast for Martha. I wanted to do Sammantha Barks, but I think she is too old for the part now. Maybe she could pull of being sixteen... if so I would like her in that role. Otherwise I have no idea. Martha has more 'belt' to her character, which I don't mind, I mean the Original Martha had some belt in her voice but she had a softer kind of belt. My problem is that a lot of lower singers now are just kind of obnoxious. You can belt without being obnoxious! Look at Madam Defarge! She is great! That women knew how to belt, but she also knew not to do too much.

I have no idea who I would cast for Mrs. Medlock, or Rose either. But I cast the biggest people and I think that is all that really matters. In a few years this cast won't be a likely hood anymore, but if it were to come back in the next two years or so, I bet it would still work.


"Mary Lennox, for as long as you will have us, we are yours. 
And this is your home. And this, my dear, sweet child, is your garden!" 


Why isn't this on DVD or VHS somewhere?? Look at this cast! Just look at it!!


What musical would you like to "Dream-Cast" with the actors of today? Who are some of your favorite stars on Broadway right now? Have you heard any of the ones I talked about?

This is the end of my Musical Blog party. *sad face* I would like to thank anyone and everyone who took time to read my posts and participate in this party. I know it was in an awkward time. I will probably do another one sometime in the Spring... if y'all feel like it :) Hopefully more people will be able to join then. Again, I'm sorry if you missed out, and if you really want to you can still post away until the end of this month. It's not a big deal to me.

If you really like my blog parties and I can open other ones too - like one for the MCU, or one for TV shows, one for books... I will have to play around with the idea.


I am still renovating my blog. I think this is closer to what I want but I will play around with it a bit more. I like the musical notes behind it...



UNTIL NEXT TIME! Peace out y'all!



*swings around cape and leaps off sage*




Bella

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

[Book-to-Musical] AVM Blog Party -- Day Nine.


Wow, I am late. November guys. NOVEMBER. NaNo!! I was supposed to be done before this!

Day Nine: Favorite Book-to-Musical adaptation.

I have two.

First, Jane Eyre. They did such a good job with that musical! They didn't get fancy or try to make it better - they just told the story of Jane Eyre and that was that. Mr. Rochester was perfect,  I love the actor who played him in the OBC. He was fabulous.The best Rochester ever. Jane was exactly like Jane should be, quiet and solemn, but fiery underneath it all. Overall, the angle that the musical took with the characters and the story was just like how it was in the book, it made me very happy. They even used whole scenes and direct quotes, especially in the songs. I really liked that. The only thing they changed a little bit was the timeline, but I didn't mind because you can be more free with your time in a book, where as in a musical (or a movie for that matter) things have to cut out to keep the story going. I really liked the fact that they didn't change Mr. Rochester. They didn't try to make him sexy or handsome, or the 'tragic hero,' which so often happens to characters like him. They just told his story. They showed that he wasn't a bad man but he had done a lot of wrong and he had to redeem himself. I loved the bits from his point of view, like when Jane runs away and he flies into despair. You don't see that in the book, at least not in the same way, and it really showed what a broken man Mr. Rochester was.

In fact, the only thing I like better in the musical was some of the ending. In the book Mr. Rochester sends most of his friends away after he is blinded, and he puts Adele in school.  In the musical, his friends stay with him, and Mrs. Fairfax takes care of Adele. (at least, I think that is what happened. Anyway, Adele is there with him at the end, and it is adorable.) Beside this minor detail, the endings are practically the same, and I love both.

If you listen to this, listen to the OBC. It is de best.

My second favorite Book-to-Musical adaptation is A Tale of Two Cities.


A Tale of Two Cities did have more changes made to it than Jane Eyre, but I personally liked the changes. I think ATOTC did a really good job with balancing the story so it wasn't too extreme or overwhelming. I love the book, but I do think Charles Dickons got a little bit carried away. Everything about that book was a little bit too emotional, a little bit too much. The musical did a good job finding the core of what Dickons wanted to show and letting it shine out. My favorite example is Lucy, a character who had potential but ended up being kind of annoying. I only liked her in the book because she was nice to Sydney. The musical saw what Lucy could be if she was just filled out a little more, so they gave her some quirks and colored her in with some interest, and then she was complete. They did that with everything in the book, the characters, the setting, the villains... They knew what Dickons was going for, and they did a little coloring to help make that a reality. In the musical, I actually felt bad for Madamne Defarge. She was crazy and weird, but you did have a certain sympathy for her that doesn't really come through in the book. And Mr. Defarge was a very cool character. I don't care if he was in the wrong, he made an excellent antagonist. Kevin Early played him in the Original Cast and he was amazing. I love watching that guy perform. He's sooooo good. As for Charles ... Charles was Charles. I think if I had the whole Broadway Performance I could judge him better. In the PBS Concert he doesn't get much screen-time. That being said, what you see of him is good and I think the actor portrayed him pretty well. I really like him on the soundtrack, so there is that. I've always liked Charles, he just wasn't my favorite. I don't think he is a bad character. He might be a little flat, but he was likable, and he was a good guy. (I was surprised by how much I liked him in the book. He was a sweetheart.)

Then there is Carton. Let me just say, the musical did such a good job with Carton! He is that character I will always be picky with, because he has to be done a certain way. I'm a little afraid if ATOTC ever comes back to Broadway and they get a new cast, because James Barbour played him so perfectly. It is hard for me to see anyone else as Carton... and I've been trying to recast it!

I just really love how everyone, even Defarge, are all proper and polite,
 and then there is Carton. Slouching. With his boots on the furniture.

I just realized both these musicals have the same guy as the lead. Hehe.

ANYWAY........


Besides the story and characters, the music in both musicals is phenomenal. After The Phantom of the Opera, I probably listen to these two the most. Usually it's a toss-up between Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden.

What is your favorite book-to-musical adaptation? Do you have one where the changes are a good thing? A bad thing? Do you know either of the musicals I just talked about? What do you think of them?

PEACE OUT Y'ALL!



*swings around cape and leaps off stage*




Bella

Monday, November 2, 2015

What Happened on Halloween

I had a whole post written up, then I accidentally deleted it. It was sad. *bangs keyboard*

Starting over!!!!!

For our family Halloween isn't just about the monsters and candy. Halloween is actually a Holy Day in the Church, the Eve before All Souls Day, when we honor all the triumphant in heaven. Because of this, my family has always done more of a Catholic slant to the Holiday. When I was growing up I would pick my favorite martyr or saint and I would dress like him/her for Halloween. All of my sisters did the same thing, it was this cool tradition that started with the big kids and just went on down the line. We a long time we were known in the neighborhood as "The Saints." Now, the past few years we've had a little bit of a costume update. We've started to dress up in other things besides Saints, like fictional characters, for example.

I don't think Halloween should be as creepy or dark as it is today. but I honestly don't think there is anything wrong with little kids dressing up, even if their costume is some kind of monster, like ghost or a vampire or something. It's just a costume and it's fun for the kids to feel dangerous or scary. This doesn't apply to just kids, I think it applies to everyone who dresses up, even adults. The only time I don't like the whole 'monster' thing is when the costume get's too creepy. I hate it when there is too much blood or too much horror in the costume. I don't mind if you want to be scary or whatever. Just don't go way overboard and get really creepy and horrible. There is no need to make a costume so twisted that it's no longer fun.

So, do you wan to hear about our Halloween??

Here are the costumes.



 We were all sorts of things. We had a Steampunk Witch, a Daredevil, a Jack the Skeleton, a Twilight a tiger, a Batgirl, a Tintin, a Sort-Of-Indiana Jones, a Eowyn, a Merida, a Tintin, a Devil, oh and then there was me. Ten points to anyone who can guess who I was.

OOOOh pumpkins!!! (we had like, twelve of these suckers. They were fabulous. Tiny, Kat and I did one together that said GRIMM. It looked so good 8-D )



aren't they so fun??? 

This child who was a freakin' adorable tiger. 



 Some of me....unfortunately all the singles of me were taken before I put my hair up and had make-up on... but you get the idea.



 Do you know me yet?


How about now?


I'm not sure what that face is, but I think it's "I am so done with the world.



I like this picture, and it looks good in black and white so it had to be. I loved my costume so very much. I still have it out. I think I am going to keep it handy so I can wear it whenever I feel the need.

Can you guess yet???

Okay, I'll tell you. I was Sydney Carton. (Didn't see that coming, right?) And I got really into it. I even carried around a bottle and gave myself some scruff. And then when we were trick-or-treating or certain sister dared me to quote "It is a far, far, better thing I do than I have ever done..." at one of the houses. So I did. I stood there and I quoted Carton, and I was all brave.... AND THEY DIDN'T GET IT. I was so mad.

Beside this serious dissapointment, trick-or-treating was fun. We danced. We sang. We howled. We did random sections from musicals. We yelled happy Halloween. We talked and got loud because no one cared. We acted crazy and it was fun.

Halloween, Halloween!


After trick-or-treating we crashed out the house and watched Halloween movies/cartoons while munching on this delicious Carmel Corn. Kat makes the best Carmel Corn I have ever tasted. It is warm and sticky, and it has just as many peanuts as popcorn, and when it is cooking you can see the Carmel melting in and bubbling delightfully, and you can just tell it is going to be epic. There is nothing like that Carmel Corn. Nothing.

We watched things like The Halloween that Almost wasn't (Super corny, but fun) and Sleepy Hollow with Bing Crosby narrating, and Disney Halloween Cartoons that are short and goofy but well worth the watch.

*Speaking of Sleepy Hollow, The night before Halloween Tiny and I watched a version of that with Johnny Depp as Icabod. It was pretty good. It was kind of disturbing. Really disturbing actually. But I enjoyed it.

Sleepy Hollow

When Johnny Depp is normal he is kind of cute.... so Icabod was kind of cute, and he was awkward and sweet and I liked him a lot. I really appreciated the fact that he reacted like a normal person when it came to blood, creepy dark forests, weird bridges, and ghosts. He freaked out when he saw the Headless Horseman, just like any normal person would. But he pulled himself together and made himself be brave. He went into the horrible forest and he dug up graves and he chased down leads, and he stood up to the Horseman, even though he was obviously scared and nervous to do it.

"You don't understand!"


The only thing I would warn is that there is a lot of blood, it is pretty creepy, and there is one part that is kind of a scene. You don't see much cause it is so fast, and at first you don't realize what it is, then the lady cuts her hand, and you realize the guy on top of her isn't dead... and it's over. It's very awkward. 

I just realized how long this blog post is. I should go now. I have NaNo to do. But I will blog again tomorrow. MUSICALS!

How was your Halloween??? Did you have an epic costume? Do you have any traditions?

PEACE OUT Y'ALL!



*swings around cape and leaps off stage*



Bella

Sunday, November 1, 2015

In case you were wondering.

I am still here!


I haven't forgotten my blog party. Halloween Happened. I had a lot of stuff I wanted to talk about, and I didn't want to rush the post, but I promise you will hear all about my costume and how fabulous it was, and I PROMISE I will finish my blog party. The last two days will probably be November Third and Fourth.

Peace out y'all!!!



*swings around cape and leaps off stage*




Bella

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

[Javert] AVM Blog Party -- Day Eight



GUYS GUYS GUYS! MY BLOG PARTY IS ALMOST OVER!


It's too soon, too soon to say goodbye.


Here's the thing. I know there are a lot of people who *really* wanted to do this Blog Party but they got too busy and they weren't able to. (AGONY!!!!)  I feel bad because apparently I did it in a very awkward week and lots of Musical Fans missed out. So I decided to do a thing. I'm going to extend my Musical Theme until after the first week in November, November Seventh.

I can hear the Non-Musical fans groaning in the background. I promise that once I finish with Day Ten, I won't post constantly and fangirl like a freak. I'll probably still do a couple Musical-centered posts before the seventh, just not every day. It's just... I never get to do this and I think it might be fun to let it go a little bit longer.

Also, my blog is going to be under construction. I still kind of hate how it looks. I want to do something different with it, It just might take me a while to decide what.

NOW FOR MY POST!

Day Eight: Favorite Antagonist/Villain

Javert. (Les Miserables) - Antagonist.

"Those who follow the path of the righteous shall have their reward."

I just saw a Production of Les Miserables, (A Community Theatre Production) which means I have a lot of Javert feels. So I am going to do him.

I feel like Javert is a really sad character. When I first heard the musical I thought he was rather harsh, but underneath his walls he did have a heart, one he seldom revealed. My favorite Javert is Philip Quast because his voice is Gold, but I also really liked Russel's Crowe's interpretation of the character. His voice certainly wasn't as good as it could have been, but he acted the part well and he's Russel Crowe, so I can forgive him a lot :)

*Plus, the movie is the only version of Les Mis I've actually seen professionally. The only other production I saw was put on by a Community Theatre. I prefer the actual musical to the movie, because I relate better with the characters, but the movie is pretty good. 

Javert is a police officer in France during the 1700's. He is very strict when it comes to executing the law and he has doesn't have much mercy towards criminals. His biggest rival in the story is Jean Valjean, a thief that he put behind bars for breaking into a house and stealing bread. Jean Valjean is released after twenty years of imprisonment, and shortly after he broke his parole and disappears. For the rest of the musical, Javert dedicates his life to tracking down this "desperate" criminal and put him back where he belongs.

"I never shall yield, till we come face to face. 
'Til we come face to face."


Javert is very harsh, almost heartless. To really understand his character, you have to remember the circumstances he was born under and the time frame he is living in. France has just come out of the French Revolution. The country had been in chaos, caught in a horribly flawed justice system that spun madly out of control and killed hundreds of people, many of whom were innocent. France had finally pulled itself up and established some sort of order, and the law couldn't afford to be lenient. If they relaxed even a little, they risked the people rising up and taking hold of the country again. Most of the citizens were still angry, raw, emotional. The whole country was very fragile and one move in the wrong direction could break the whole thing. Again.

"I am the law, and the law is not mocked."

I believe that Javert was a little insane. You can see there is something not quite right about him, and he gets steadily worse as the musical goes on. He was raised inside a prison, surrounded by criminals. He grew up around the worst of the worst, he saw just how bad bad could be and it scarred him. He became an officer to stop the bad, to make France a better, safer place. The problem with Javert is that he only sees in shades of black and white. He believes in God and the duty he has toward Him, but he focuses too much on the Justice of God. He doesn't allow for mercy or conversion of redemption. He thinks that once a person sins, he is a sinner for the rest of his life and there is no changing.

I don't think Javert was an evil man. I do think he was cold, even cruel.  He wasn't forgiving, he didn't allow for people to make mistakes and learn from them. He was like, "No, if you're a sinner, you will always be a sinner, and that is that." I don't think he could believe people could change. He dealt with criminals all the time. Peasants flooded the streets of Paris, running all sorts of cons and causing problems wherever they went. He was constantly reminded of the evil he was fighting, and from what he could tell, bad men didn't get better. They just got worse.

 *Main point of example, The Thenardier

The sad thing is, I truly believe Javert wanted to make France better for everyone. When the Barricade Boys decided to revolt. Javert was the one who went under cover to stop them. He wanted to stop the revolt before it spiraled out of control and people got hurt. Let me remind you, France had only just survived the last revolution. They really didn't need another one. I understand why the Barricade Boys wanted to free France, but I also understand why a lawman like Javert would see them as traitors and rebel-rousers. I understand why the law would want to stop an uprising. It is his duty to keep the peace, to keep order. He must uphold that at any cost.

Before he could stop the rebellion, the Barricade Boys discovered Javert was a spy. They tied him up until they could decide how to deal with him, and shortly after, the first fight at the Barricade started. Because Javert wasn't able to stop the battle, all of those boys lost their lives. Their deaths were pointless. Nothing good came out of them.

Shockingly enough, Jean Valjean was at the Barricade before that first battle. He came to protect Marius, a Barricade Boy whom his daughter was in love with. He helped Javert escape.

"Vengeance was his and he gave me back my life."

This was the big turning point in Javert's character. You see a side to him that you didn't know existed. He began to doubt his beliefs about good and evil. His whole moral compass was thrown off and he couldn't see his way. He got confused, angry, ashamed, unable to accept the fact that he has been wrong all this time.

"My heart is stone, but still it trembles.
The world that I knew is lost in shadow."

This is when I really like what Russel Crow brought to the character of Javert. After the fight at the Barricade is over, he goes back on the field of battle to close the eyes of the dead and just tidy them up a little so they aren't strewn every which way. He notices a very small boy, Gavroche, lying dead among the others. He is only about twelve-years old. Javert gets down on his knees beside the boy, takes a medal from his uniform and places it on Gavroche's jacket as a symbol of valor and honor. He then takes the body in his arms and removes it from the battle field. I assume he either took the body back to the family, or found somewhere clean and proper to lay the it down before it was buried. It is a very touching moment that isn't in the Broadway production,* and I think it brought a very nice depth to Javert.

*At least, it wasn't before. Some productions might add it in now, since the movie did it. I don't know. 

"This only goes to show what little people can do."

Javert tried to be a good man and live his life for God. His great downfall was that he couldn't accept mercy. Jean Valjean was his sworn enemy and a criminal on top of it. When he saved Javert, asking nothing in return, Javert couldn't accept it. Everything he understood about the world, everything he had believed in and fought for, was turned upside down and torn apart. He had been trying to uphold the law, to do the right thing, but instead he had done everything wrong. He was overwhelmed. He realized everything he had done in the name of justice had been sinful in the name of mercy. He had been the sinner, not Jean Valjean. He had been the man without a heart. It sent him into despair. It broke him so entirely that he couldn't bear it and he killed himself.

In this moment especially, I think it was pretty clear that Javert had lost his mind. Russel Crowe really brought out that aspect of the character, something that I appreciated with his performance. You can literally see the hope leave his eyes and the insanity take over.

"And the stars are black and cold."

At the end of the musical, Jean Valjean dies and you see him enter heaven, and there is sort of a big reunion where you see all the different characters who died over the course of the story. In most productions I don't think Javert is in the finale, but in the Community Production I saw, he was, I know it isn't really accurate, but I loved that he was there. Plus, if he really was insane there is a chance he would have made it to heaven. Javert went down on his knees in front of Valjean and Valjean gently helped him back to his feet. Finally, there was peace between them. It was a beautiful moment, one I didn't expect. I was okay until that happened, and then suddenly there were tears and I just ... I was so glad to see Javert at peace. I think it was a nice touch.



Who is your favorite antagonist? Who is your favorite villain? What are your thoughts on Javert?

Peace out y'all!


*swings around cape and leaps off stage*




Bells

Friday, October 23, 2015

[Favorite Portrayals] AVM Blog Party -- Day Seven


Day Seven: Pick a character: Choose Your Favorite Portrayal. 

Sooooooo. I had to think a lot about this. There are so many characters that I love and want to just rant about, so finally I decided to pick three characters.

First: The Phantom.

"Touch me, trust me, savor each sensation."

My favorite Phantom is Michael Crawford, I feel like he really nailed the character and showed him how he is supposed to be. Over the past few months I've listened to a lot of different actors and I've found the same thing with all of them; they are way too angry. I don't mind a strong Phantom. I don't mind if actors portray him a little more actively aggressive. I mean, different actors see roles in a different way, and that is part of the beauty of Theatre. I just feel like the Phantom, as a character, shouldn't be a loud sort of person. He shouldn't be so sharp and harsh.

The Phantom wants to be normal. He does his best to be a gentleman, a professional eloquent sort of person. He speaks like a gentleman. He dresses like a gentleman. He wears a wig and a mask to make himself look more sophisticated. Even when he writes notes to the Opera House, he is very polite and passive. He isn't (typically) a loud, aggressive man. He is like the dog who will take a lot of hits, but when his bone gets taken away he growls and bites.

That was a really weird analogy, but you see my point.

The Phantom spent his entire life hiding under the Opera House. No  one ever saw him, no one ever heard from him except through the notes he wrote. No one knew anything about him. He didn't go unnoticed and undetected for years by being loud and throwing tantrums. He kept himself a secret by being quiet, clever, manipulative. He got the whole Opera House to believe he was a Ghost, to listen and obey him, and he never showed himself even once! It wasn't until Raoul showed up and tried to take Christine on a date that he finally revealed himself to Christine, and took her down to his lair.

"Look at your face in the mirror. I am there inside..."

Now, when The Phantom is with Christine he should be at especially gentle and careful. He loves her, he wants her to trust him. He would be at his very best around her, with her he would act even more like a gentleman. He wouldn't want to do anything to scare her or make her wary of him. She's the one thing he really cherishes, he wouldn't want her to  be afraid of him. I think that is why I prefer it when The Music of the Night is gentle, enticing. This is the moment when the Phantom is revealing himself to Christine, showing her what he loves and asking her to love it too. He wouldn't be forceful. He would be very tender, leading and letting Christine follow.

The Phantom usually kept to himself. He only started to stage catastrophes when Andre and Firmin, the new owners of the Opera House, refused to respect him or obey his orders. Most of the time the only reason he got aggressive was when it had something to do with Christine. He was in love with her voice and he wanted her to be the star of everything. When Firmin and Andre didn't comply, he got angry. But even then, he started out small and tried to get what he wanted in a passive way. He sent notes and warnings. He tried to be as civil as possible. He didn't immediately fly off the handle, he tried to deal with the problem like a normal person would. He was insane but he wasn't an angry lunatic... at least not at first.

"Dear Andre, just a brief reminder. My salary has not been paid. Send it care of the Ghost, by return of post, PTO. No one likes a debtor, so it's better if my orders are obeyed."


At the end of Act I, Christine and Raoul get engaged. This sends The Phantom into a tail spin. He loves Christine and he feels like she had betrayed him by choosing Raoul. This betrayal sends him into a rage, and he started striking more aggressively after this. However, he still kept the cool gentleman front. He speaks eloquently. He 'asks' for the cooperation of the Opera House. All of his writing is calm and well put together, as if he is trying to keep his anger under control.

"Why so silent, good messieurs?"

"Fondest greetings to you all. A few instructions just before rehearsal starts; Carlotta must be taught to act, not her normal trick of strutting round the stage. Our Duan Juan must lose some wait, it's not healthy in a man of Piangi's age, and my managers must learn that their place is in an office, not the arts. As for Miss Christine Daae! No doubt she'll do her best, it's true her voice is good - she knows though, should she wish to excel, she has much still to learn! If Pride will let her return to me, her Teacher. "


I think the Phantom should be more tender and vulnerable. It makes him more sympathetic when he has a soft side to him. It is so much better when his character is fueled by heartache, and not just mad rampage. It is my humble opinion that the Phantom should be mostly heartbroken when Raoul and Christine get engaged, at least until he hears them singing together and breaks into rage. The same sort of heartbreak should be there in the final lair. He will be angry, of course. Christine betrayed him (twice) and she was the one person he really trusted. But his anger shouldn't be the main point of his character. It is so much better to channel the pain and loneliness of the Phantom then the insane, broken side of him. I'm not saying the Phantom should be just tender and gentle. That is another extreme. I just think there has to be a healthy mix of both, with a strong tilt toward the misery in his character, not the wounded anger that so many of the actors channel right now.

I promise I won't rant as long with my other two 8-)

The Pirate King (The Pirates of Penzance

"For I am the Pirate King!"

Hehe, I bet you didn't see this coming. The Pirates of Penzance is one of those fun, relaxing musicals that you watch when you are in need of a laugh, and I really love it. My favorite performance is the one that Anthony Warlow is in, because, of course, Anthony Warlow. He is such a brilliant Pirate King. He is so funny! He does a "Jack Sparrow" take on the character. He copies Johnny Depp's mannerisms so well, it's fabulous. He also brings something of a charm to the role that no one else really has, it makes me happy. He does all these fun little things too, like draw guns during a sword fight and the whole *drunk hands* thing. Like, there is one scene in particular that I really like, where he is is explaining to one of his pirates that he can't leave the ship because it isn't *really* his twenty-first birthday;

"For some ridiculous reason, to which, however, I’ve no desire to be disloyal... Some person in authority - I don’t know who - very likely the Astronomer Royal, has decided that, although for such a beastly month as February, twenty-eight days as a rule are plenty, 
One year in every four his days shall be reckoned as nine and twenty. Through some singular coincidence – I shouldn’t be surprised if it were owing to the agency of an ill-natured fairy – 
You are the victim of this clumsy arrangement, having been born in leap-year, on the twenty-ninth of February."
When he says "An ill-natured fairy." he pulls a little fairy out of his ear and flicks it away. It's so unique and clever. He does all sorts of those type of things in his performances, little quirks that fill out the Pirate King. He makes you believe the Pirate King is real, he makes you love him and want to be part of his crew. I love Anthony Warlow, he is such an amazing actor,

You can actually get this performance on a DVD. It is well worth the buy,

"I sink a few more ships, it's true, than a well-bred monarch ought to do."

Lilly Craven (The Secret Garden.)

"A girl at work in her garden..."
I absolutely love Lilly and Rebecca Luker portrays the part perfectly. She is gentle and sweet, you can tell just by her voice that she is a graceful, beautiful young girl. I love her infliction and how light she is when she is sings. She makes you love her. It is hard to find really good female actors who aren't too harsh or sharp when they sing. I listened to the Lilly from the Original Australian Cast, and she was fine... she just wasn't Rebecaa Luker. When you listen to Rebecca Luker, you love Lilly You can tell she is a very special soul, someone sweet and tender, someone who just wants to help others to see the beauty she sees in the world. She has this amazing ability to sound like she is speaking when she is singing. She is just gentle and soft, the words seem to flow out of her without any effort, you just love to listen to her. She has such a subtle, layered emotion to her voice. Sometimes I listen to her and I get all choked up inside. She makes me want to cry.

"How could i know I would have to leave you?"

Lilly is a character on Broadway that I would love, love, love to play. She's only a ghost, but you can bring so much to her character. She is the Beauty in The Beauty and the Beast story. I love her relationship with Archie. She loved him so much and she is so upset that she hurt him... she knows how much he loves her in return and she can't bring herself to leave while he is grieving so much. And even though they don't have many scenes together, I really love her and her little son Colin. She's also really cute with Mary. You can tell she would have been a really good mother. She is beautiful and strong, she makes me want to be brave. Lilly is someone I would really love to bring life to on stage. And I *think* I could do a good job with her.

Have you heard Michael Crawford play the Phantom? Have you seen The Pirates of Penzance? Do you know who Rebecca Luker is? Who do you think does the portrayal of your favorite character?

Peace out y'all!


*swings around cape and leaps off stage*




Bella

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

[Raoul & Christine] AVM Blog Party -- Day Six


Day Six is your favorite Theatre OTP.

Raoul x Christine (The Phantom of the Opera.)


"Christine Daae, where is your red scarf?"

I bet you all knew I would pick this pairing. :) Raoul and Christine hold a special place in my heart. I remember being really little and thinking that I liked the sweet man who loved Christine because he gave her roses and he hugged her a lot, and he proposed with a song, and really that song was gold. I remember I always felt sad for the Phantom, but in the end I was glad the cute guy and Christine ended up together.

"Say you'll share with me, one love, one life time!"

Raoul and Christine have a sweet love story. They grew up together and were best friends for most of their childhood. Even when they were little they had a thing for each other, and it was clear Raoul really, really liked Christine. When he was just fourteen he ran into the cold sea to rescue Christine's favorite red scarf from the waves. He was so, so cute.

When you first see Raoul in the musical, he is a guest at one of the plays in the Opera House. He spots Christine as the lead, and you can tell he still really likes her. After the Opera is over, he goes to visit Christine. He is kind of shy and nervous, because he is a little afraid she might not remember him, but the minute he mentions her red scarf, Christine turns around, smiling and laughing, "OH RAOUL IT IS YOU!!!" So, she remembers him too. You can tell there is still a spark between them. Raoul is gentle and sweet with Christine. He makes her laugh. She seems relaxed and happy, and she obviously still feels very close to him, because she tell him that she's been visited by 'The Angel of Music.' She isn't afraid to share her secret with him. She trusts him.


"Those picnics in the attic..."

The first night they're together, Raoul asks Christine to dinner. She is a little reluctant because, as she puts it, "The Angel of Music is very strict." but Raoul is persuasive and she agrees to go. He leaves to get his hat and Christine starts to change. However, before they can have their date, the Angel of Music appears inside Christine's mirror and takes her down to his labyrinth under the Opera House. Raoul hears voices in the dressing room and throws the door open, only to find Christine missing.

Now, at first, Raoul doesn't believe there is really an Angel of Music. He thinks the whole Opera House is a little strange and superstitious, and the whole "Opera Ghost" thing is out of hand. He knows that there is something going on, but he doesn't think it's a ghost. He thinks it is just a man... an unstable man perhaps, but a man all the same. All he really cares about is the fact that Christine seems to be scared of this Ghost and that, for her, he is very real indeed. When Christine isn't cast as a lead in the newest Opera, The Phantom gets angry and causes a scene which ruins the play. Then he hangs one of the Stagehands and drops him on the stage. Christine flees to the roof of the Opera House with Raoul close behind, and you can tell she is really scared.

"Christine... Christine..."

"Who is this man, who hunts to kill?I can't escape from him! I never will! 
And in his labyrinth, where night is blind,
The Phantom of the Opera is there inside my mind!"

"There is no Phantom of the Opera!"

"Raoul, I've been there! To his world of unending night! 
To a world where the daylight dissolves into darkness..."

I think Raoul thought Christine was going a little crazy. She was hysterical and going on about a Phantom she couldn't get away from, and she was acting kind of insane, Maybe he thought she was having nightmares about this man. Maybe he thought she was disillusion. Either way, he didn't really understand what was going on with her. But then she collapses and starts crying, and suddenly he doesn't care anymore. He just knows she is scared and he wants to take care of her. 

"No more talk of darkness, forget these wide eyed fears."
He makes Christine feel safe. He tells her that he won't let anything hurt her, and Christine believes him. He makes her feel like she'll be okay, and that is what she really needed. He made her feel like she didn't have to be afraid anymore. 

"I'm here, nothing can harm you."

"Say you'll love me every waking moment. Turn my head with talk of summertime. 
Say you'll need me with you, now and always. Promise me that all you say is true.
That's all I ask of you."

-Christine (Why have you brought us here/Raoul I've been there.)


Christine wants to be with Raoul. She loves him. I think she's loved him for a long time, but this is when she realizes it. And when Raoul gets down on one knee and proposes to her, she holds nothing back. She falls to her knees beside him and grabs his hand, and she is all happy and excited... You can tell how in love she is with him, and how in love he is with her. And I love how Raoul puts out his proposal. He doesn't say "Come with me, Christine." He says, "Christine, let me go with you...Take me. please." IT IS SO SWEET.

"Christine, that's all I ask of you!"

Raoul literally spends the whole musical taking care of Christine. He is always there, whenever she needs him, and it is the most precious thing ever. Christine keeps close to Raoul too, and relies on him for comfort and support. He makes her feel like things are going to be okay. He is her protector, her guardian, her dearest friend. She knows that whatever happens, Raoul will be there to fix everything. Raoul is going to make sure she is okay. 

"Christine, you don't have to. They can't make you."
*that little defiant look though.

Raoul spends the whole musical looking out for Christine. When the Phantom writes an Opera and demands Christine sing the lead, he defended her. The only reason he asks her to consider it, is because this Opera might be their means of escape. The Phantom will attend if Christine sings. They can finally catch him and be done with him. He is tired of the Phantom going after Christine. He is tired of the Phantom acting like he owns her. He is tired of the Phantom making her feel scared. He just wants to catch the stupid guy and end the nightmare Christine is living through. 

Christine doesn't want to sing the lead, but she agrees to do it because she knows Raoul will be watching, and he's not going to let anything happen to her. Shortly after the first rehearsal for 'The Phantom's Opera' she goes to her father's grave to pray for strength to do what she has to. While she is praying, the Phantom shows up. 

"Wandering Child, so lost, so helpless, yearning for my guidance." 

Whenever the Phantom sings, Christine ends up in a sort of trance... it's almost like he hypnotizes her. In this instance it's even worse, because Christine is emotional and vulnerable, and there is a part of her that still believes the Phantom is her Angel. She goes toward the voice, hesitant and afraid, but unable to stop herself. 

But then, Raoul comes. Raoul always comes. He calls out to Christine and his voice helps her to break lose of the Phantom's hold. She runs to him and hugs him, and Raoul starts to pull her away from the graveyard. But then the Phantom starts throwing Fireballs at them, taunting Raoul, daring him to take one more step. 

"You can't win her love by making her your prisoner!" (Raoul)

Raoul has had it, he's too angry to care about fire. He tells Christine to stay back and heads right toward the Phantom, ready to fight him off for her. He literally risks fire getting rained down on him, just to stop the Phantom from getting to Christine. RAOUL IS FABULOUS, OKAY?

"Raoul!"

When the Phantom traps Christine and takes her down to his lair at the end of the musical, Raoul is the first to go after her. He swims across a freezing lake in the middle of winter, just to get to The Phantom.  (cause, you know... his lair is across a lake. Go figure.) When the Phantom catches him in a lasso and strings him up, Raoul begs Christine to get away while she still can. He never once thinks of himself. He begs her to forgive him, and tells her to run before it's too late.





For pity's sake, Christine say no! 
Don't throw your life away for my sake!

Raoul was willing to die to save Christine. The only thing he wanted was for Christine to be safe, free, and if he had to die for her to escape then so be it. He loved that girl with all his heart, and no one can tell me differently. And Christine... Christine couldn't say no. She couldn't let Raoul die, not when she could save him. She told the Phantom that she would stay with him. She gave up her life so that he could live. Both Raoul and Christine were willing to sacrifice everything for each other. If that isn't true love, I don't know what is. 

Heck, even the Phantom saw their love! When Christine promised to stay with him, it was like he realized just how much she loved Raoul. He saw how much these two souls loved each other and how cruel it would be to keep them apart. He let Raoul go and commanded him to take Christine away. Even the Phantom couldn't deny their love. Just saying.




In conclusion, Raoul and Christine are the strongest, most innocent and adorable Theatre couple ever. They make me feel warm and happy inside, and I am glad that, in the end, they got to build a home and a life together. They deserved that. 

Three cheers for the best Christine and Raoul ever.


Have you listened to The Phantom of the Opera. Do you ship Raoul and Christine? Who is your favorite OTP?

Peace out Y'all!


*swings around cape and leaps off stage.*




Bella

Pile of good things

Pile of good things