Still experiencing raw grief after 500 years

There’s little to make you smile in that story of woe about Juliet and her Romeo. However, I did have a chuckle at the first night of Cape Town City Ballet’s Sunday open-air season at Maynardville.

During interval my friend turned to me and said: “Who’s that bearded dude over there among the trees? A security guard?”
“No,” I said taking a quick look, “That’s Shakespeare.”

Somehow the low cloud, which kept us warm, also cast an unusual glow on the statue. From our far-right seats, the stony torso of the Bard looked like a flesh-and-blood man wearing a rough brown leather jacket with straps over his shoulder. For a backpack perhaps? With a bottle of water and sarmies to see him through his night watch?
We both had a good laugh.

I always find watching the ballet of Romeo and Juliet far less harrowing than the stage play. Even when things were going downhill for the lovers there were beautiful movements to enjoy in Robin van Wyk’s choreography, wildly athletic sword fights, lighter interludes for the corps de ballet performing to the atmospheric score of Sergei Prokofiev.
The one character who really expressed the tragedy in the plot of star-crossed lovers caught in the bitter feuding between the Houses of Montague and Capulet, was Lady Capulet, danced by Janet Lindup. She and Nicolette Loxton, both former leading lights in the company, were guest artists.

Lindup’s display of raw grief was both dramatic and credible as she faced first the death of her son, Tybalt, killed by Romeo, then her beautiful young daughter, Juliet. She died by her own hand rather than face life without Romeo and a forced marriage to Paris.

We frequently see similar real scenes on TV of distraught mothers whose children get killed in gang warfare. One thing that has not changed in 500 years is genuine maternal grief, particularly when the mother feels partly to blame.

Chaos in Istanbul

Seeing, at the Blue Route Mall, the movie Patriots Day, the American drama-thriller on the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013, made me relieved I did not get an entry to this year’s Two Oceans Half Marathon at Easter. It was a silly knee-jerk reaction. As foolish as deciding not to go shopping after a terrorist attack in an Istanbul mall.

Nevertheless, the scenes showing the chaos and panic caused by two home-made bombs detonated 12 seconds apart near the marathon’s finish, left me feeling horribly vulnerable to the actions of those determined to kill and maim.

Three people died in Boston that day. Hundreds were injured including 16 who lost limbs. Some were runners who bravely completed a future marathon wearing prosthetics.

The flip side of the film’s gruesome scenes of mangled feet and shredded legs was the energy and determination of those tracking down the bombers. Teams trawled through thousands of faces taken by security cameras till they found one person who looked a likely suspect. Then they worked backwards in time to calculate where the man known as “White Cap” might have been a few minutes earlier. So it went on and on until they had a clear photo to identify the suspect as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

In the chase that followed to capture the two brothers, the movie lapsed into slapstick cops-and-robbers stuff with bullets flying in every direction and none hitting the target. Nevertheless, the epilogue returned to reality. It revealed that Dzhokhar, who survived his brother, Tamerlan, was found, after a massive manhunt, hiding in a backyard boat and shot. He was later sentenced to death by lethal injection and was waiting an appeal in a federal prison.

Manchester by the Sea

Another good movie we saw recently was Manchester by the Sea, set in the town of the same name in Massachusetts. It is regarded as one of the 
best films of 2016, receiving six 
nominations at the 89th Academy Awards.

It starred Casey Affleck as an uptight janitor who uses his fists at the drop of a perceived slight. In a series of flashbacks you learn of 
the tragedy whichthat changed him into this soulless uncle who refuses to 
act as guardian to his dead brother’s son.

The only screening that week was at Ster Kinekor’s Prestige Cine in Cavendish. It was a new experience to take coffee and cake into the auditorium and to sit in enormous red armchairs with foot rests.

The only odd thing is that the seats make that familiar “bathroom” noise when you rise to leave. I first thought it was my best friend and gave him a shocked glare, but when it sounded as though the whole audience was passing wind, I realised it was the fault of the plastic/leather upholstery.

Some save, some don’t save water

One of the problems about saving water is there is no uniformity in the effort people are making. Some folks are valiantly struggling to keep their plants alive carting buckets of potable, grey or shower water. Others are still washing their cars with hoses. This happened at Langebaan and when chided, the offender said there were no water restrictions in that town.

Another problem is that the women who clean our homes need educating. My own loyal helper now washes dishes with far less water but she still fills to the brim a bucket to scrub the kitchen floor and throws what could go on some plants, straight down the drain.

Sleeping soundly

Why is it that the one who snores the loudest is the first to fall asleep?

fionachisholm@iafrica.com