Boston people: next weekend, don’t make plans to just go out to dinner or a bar with your friends (for those in your mid to early twenties), or plans to just vegetate in front of the TV or prepare meals with your significant others (for those in your late twenties or older). There’s so much stuff to do, and you have to go do it now.
I, for example, threw away my Sunday two days ago. No grad work, no work-work, no rehearsing: I dedicated my Sunday entirely to being a spectator. While this will later probably bite me in the ass, I have to think of what John Lennon would say: Time you enjoy wasting isn’t wasted. Not only did I not waste my time: I spent a fruitful, thought-provoking, thoroughly enjoyable day. There’s so much to do in Boston, so much that you can achieve on a budget too, if you are willing to get up and go. So if you live in Boston, go do all of these things immediately.
I had a free ticket to use at Regal Fenway, so I decided to go watch the documentary film Girl Rising (2013). Here is the trailer.
Directed by Richard Robbins, the film “tells the stories of 9 extraordinary girls from 9 countries, written by 9 celebrated writers and narrated by 9 renowned actresses” (text taken from the Girl Rising website). Most of the stories star the girls on whom the story is based; two girls on unable to present their real faces on camera, to protect their safety.
If you are worried that you will be subject to countless images of poverty, cruelty, and want in 9 developing countries, and that you will be overwhelmed with ineffectual guilt at the conditions of 9 cute little girls, let me put your fears to rest. I wondered when I first walked in to the theater whether this film would simply prove a 101 minute, bloated version of Kony 2012, a well-intentioned but ill-conceived attempt to promote social and political action against an Ugandan warlord that merely deflated into debates on the effectiveness of liberal do-gooderism conducted through social media. The film is simple in many ways: it is simply a beautiful rendering of 9 stories.
The main problem I had with it was the number of statistical facts presented between stories (stats narrated by Liam Neeson). There were simply too many of them, and it was hard to retain them once I left the theater. However, the main advantage of the film is that, unlike Kony 2012, you do not leave thinking the film served as a mere vehicle for self-aggrandizement for the charitable organizations involved in the production (none of whom are mentioned until the end). The film is not glib: In fact, I even wondered at the child-like simplicity of the stories and their presentation, and whether such simplicity and, well, girliness, best served the film’s intent to spur us to action.
But then I realized that although the message is of vital importance, girls worldwide whose lives have been affected by a lack of education live pretty serious scenarios as it is. If the stories or presentation seem overly-simple, it is because the message is quite simple: educating young girls is important to everyone. Millions of girls worldwide are not allowed access to primary or secondary education, and this must change.
The film is beautiful. Go see it. If you are in Boston, here are the showtimes.
Due to the events of last week, the show opening was delayed. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 2pm matinee.
I suggest you click on the link and read the show description, since it does a better job than I would do at describing the play.
One thing to note about this production: the original two-person script was expanded to include six actors. The play is not just comprised of two people, but rather a polyphony of voices.
As director Sarah Gazdowicz describes it in the program, each person is “an individual variation on some sort of greater melody that slips ceaselessly through our fingers.”
Trust me, it’s worth going off the beaten path a bit to go see this show. MBTA and driving directions are available on the Center’s website. There will be performances this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, at 8pm.
No Exit (MIT Dramashop)
Oh my God. GO SEE THIS SHOW. I can give you several reasons. The show itself, written by Jean-Paul Sartre, is darkly comic, and well worth seeing performed. Three deceased characters are ushered into Hell, that is, a shabbily furnished hotel room that they will be forced to share for all eternity.
This MIT Dramashop production, directed by Adam Strandberg, starring Emily Lydic as Estelle Delaunay, Allison Schneider as Inez Serrano, Chris Smith as Joseph Garcin, and Charlotte Swasey as the Maid, is well-acted, well-paced, and very funny. Replace the dingy hotel room with a dingy side room of an MIT dining hall, and the action promptly takes off.
As if you needed more convincing, the show is free. FREE. What the hell are you waiting for? (No pun intended.)
The show will continue its run with a 2pm and 8pm performance this Saturday the 27th, and one last 8pm performance Sunday the 28th, in the Pritchett Dining Hall, located in the Walker Memorial building on MIT campus. There is no intermission, and latecomers will not be allowed in due to the performance set up. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat, as they will fill up quick.
Did I convince you? You have a busy weekend up ahead, so you better snap to it.