DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,

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A good night's sleep, an International Delight, and Virginia Woolf's THE WAVES...

After a full eight hours of sleep, I greeted the day.

I went to the gym from 5:00-6:00 PM, where I did 200 crunches, followed by 45 minutes on the treadmill.

It felt good, and I need to get back to a more regular routine with regards to the gym. I also need to start the machine circuit back up, alternating visits on upper body and lower body strengthening.

I picked up Robert at his place at 7:00, and we had dinner at International Delights (one family calls it "The Falafel House") on Ninth Street. I had their falafel platter, which was most yummy! Robert had a gyro.

From there, we drove over to the Baldwin Auditorium on the Duke Campus, where we thought Virginia Woolf's The Waves was being staged. However, at 8:05, we found the doors to the auditorium locked and no one milling about.

We walked over to the nearby library, where I checked my Google calendar to discover that it was actually at Reynolds Theater in the Bryan Center, so we hightailed it over there, taking our seats at about 8:20 for the 8:30 start time.

I can't say that I'm a big Virginia Woolf fan, I really only went to this play because my friend Gregor was in it. He'd sent me an email earlier in the week reminding me of it. Another friend of mine, Jeffrey, was in it as well; Gregor had "tutored" him in his British accent for the play.

A few things about the play:

  1. It was free (though, I'm not sure why).

  2. There was no intermission.

  3. It was long.

  4. This totally, totally, totally, totally (did I mention totally?) rude and clueless couple sat off to the right of us interminably unwrapping candies, or crinkling something, for way too much of the play and for way too often at a time when they did it. Unfuckingbelievable.

Here's the short synopsis:

THE WAVES is an adaptation of Virginia Woolf's most textured and dream-like stream-of-consciousness novel. The story follows six friends who advance from childhood through old age together, unable to live in harmony but reunited when old ties bring them back into each other's lives like waves on a shore.

Woolf's many-layered poetic searching asks deep questions about the nature of friendship, loss, beauty and insanity.

Here's the blow-by-blow:

The Waves synopsis: The Waves is a portrait of the intertwined lives of six friends: Bernard, Neville, Louis, Jinny, Susan, and Rhoda. The novel is divided into nine sections, each of which corresponds to a time of day, and, symbolically, to a period in the lives of the characters. Each section begins with a detailed description of the course of this symbolic day.

The first section deals with early morning, or childhood, when the six main characters are attending a day-school together. As each of the children awakens, he or she begins an internal monologue composed of thoughts, feelings, and impressions. The children interact in various ways throughout the day, and each begins to take shape as an individual in response to the stimulus provided by the world and by the presence of one another. Although their thoughts are somewhat incoherent and mostly fixated on immediate experience, their distinct personalities begin to emerge: Bernard's loquacity and obsession with language; Neville's desire for order and beauty; Louis's insecurity and ambition; Jinny's physicality; Susan's intensity and attachment to nature; and Rhoda's dreamlike abstraction from ordinary life.

The second section deals with adolescence, after the boys and girls have been sent off to their separate boarding schools. Bernard, Louis, and Neville differ in their reactions to the school's authority and traditions, and they all form friendships with Percival, a popular, handsome boy who is to become a central figure in the lives of the six main characters. All three boys develop literary ambitions of some sort, though they differ markedly in their goals and expressions. The girls mostly want school to be over and done with: Jinny desires to begin her real life in society, Susan longs to return home to her father and her farm, and Rhoda wants an escape from the disruptions to her mental solitude caused by school. At the close of the section, each character sets out, whether for college, work, or otherwise, on a more solitary track.

The third section traces the characters through young adulthood. Bernard and Neville are at college together and remain close friends. They both admire Percival, but Neville has fallen in love with him. Percival has become the focus of Neville's desire for beauty and perfection. Bernard is concerned with his own gregarious nature and thinks deeply about the way his personality is constructed out of his relationships with others. Neville shares one of his poems with Bernard, and the moment is important for both of them. Louis is working as a mid-level clerk at a shipping firm in London. He spends his lunch hour reading at a diner and people-watching, hoping to make poetry out of his observations of everyday life. Susan is at home on her farm and communes with the rhythm of natural life. She walks across the fields before dawn and senses growth all around her, though she begins to submerge her own active will. Back in London, Jinny and Rhoda attend the same party, though their experiences are very different. Jinny comes fully alive in the social setting, and she takes a great, sensual pleasure in the beauty of her surroundings and in her own personal attractiveness. Rhoda, on the other hand, feels negated by the others around her and longs to disappear.

The fourth section is set later in adulthood and centers on a dinner party, meant to honor Percival, who is leaving for a position in the colonial government in India. At the party, the six characters are united again. At first, the group is tense and uneasy in one another's company, and they primarily notice their differences. When Percival arrives, however, these tensions are relaxed and the group comes together. Briefly, the friends are united in a moment of true communion, and their individual voices seem to blend. All too soon, however, the moment ends and the group dissolves back into its singular parts.

The fifth section takes place not long after the dinner party, when the friends have learned that Percival has been killed in India. Neville is devastated by the news, overwhelmed by a sense of death and the fragility of life. Bernard is torn between joy and sorrow: his child has just been born and his friend has just died. Bernard goes to a museum to look at paintings and finds a kind of solace, even as he is aware that his memories of Percival must inevitably fade. Rhoda finds a similar solace in music when she attends an opera soon after she learns of Percival's death, and she finds the strength to go on for a time.

There are four more "sections" described in the place from which I clipped this synopsis. I'm pretty sure this staging tonight stopped after the fifth section described above. That seems like what the last couple of scenes were about. I don't remember anything happening tonight that's described in the sixth through ninth sections of the synopsis. 

Assuming it's the case that they stopped after the fifth section, it was a brilliant decision on behalf of Jay O'Berski, the director. If it's the director who even decides such a thing—obviously, I'm not a theater aficionado. It's not that it was bad, it was just that it was very long, and I guess not having an intermission didn't help. I enjoyed seeing my friends in it, and spending time with Robert.
Tags: exercise, friends, plays

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