It seems I have a bit of a strained Achilles Tendon or some minor tendonitis in my left leg. I have no idea how I did it, but it's prevented me running since Friday - which is sort of good - Melbourne's had a patch of traditional Melbourne weather - cold, rainy, wet and not particulary pleasant for runners - especially those who wear glasses and long hair. It's also not good as I am trying to train for this wretched marathon. Anyway, I've sequestered myself to the cross trainer, the bike and the rower until it heals. No point making it worse. It's boring, but it will fix given rest and lots of ibuprufen.
So the take the sting out of the injury, I've thrown myself into two of my life long passions - movies and the theatre. Shakespeare to be precise.
In the last few days I've been indulging in some real guilty pleasures.
"Up" has to be one of the best kid's films I've ever seen. Got it out on DVD. It was remarkable how it hooked me in from the start. Loved it from the opening scenes.
One of the lower lights was Sex and the City II. Admittedly I didn't pay for the ticket. Blarney gave me some vouchers that were expiring, so to use them up I coralled a few friends and went on Thursday. It was as I had expected: pretty to look at, crass, the storyline was AWOL and so far from reality that it was a joke. I'm glad I've seen it - I'm also glad I didn't pay for it.
What was more surprising is the friends I took along. I have known Bernadette for over twenty years. We were in a first year English tute together and have been in contact ever since. I lived with Bernadette and her now husband Gerry when I got back to Melbourne. Bern's a bit of a strange fish though I love her to bits - we seem only see each other on these odd trips to the theatre.
I also took along Karen, my constant movie buddy. Karen's also a bit odd - she works as a nanny, is somewhat of a perfectionist and very, very hard to get her to change anything in her life. Accepting these limitations, she's a good person, kind and solid.
Now, thing is, Bernadette and Karen had something of a large falling out some years ago. They used to be friends years ago. Refusing to take sides, I've remained mates with both of them. I'd sent the invitation out to a few friends people, they were the first to come back. But should I have told them the other was coming? As we had the last three tickets in the cinema, a pair and single some rows back, the issue of sitting next to each other wasn't there. I said nothing to them, and just got on with meeting them at the Rivoli ten minutes before the show started.
The politics of friendship suck sometimes. In the end we all had a pleasant night at an okay film that we didn't have to pay for the ticket. I thought nothing more of it.
Until Saturday night, when Bern, Gerry and I went to see King Lear. On arrival to collect the tickets Bern's first question, "So, are you going to ambush me again?"
'What?' I ask.
"Ambush me. Where is she?'
I still didn't get it.
"How could you invite Karen and I along to the same thing? Is she coming tonight?"
I know of Bern's grudges. She has a longer memory than mine. She holds a grudge like a pit bull holds a postman's leg. Looking on her facebook page she has noted as her favorite quotation, "You may not remember what someone says or does, but you will always remember how they made you feel" (Maya Angelou) . Hmm. Maybe I should have said something.
Okay, maybe it's me being insensitive, but what is the bother of sitting in a dark room with somebody five rows away who you're not overly fond of? I remember the feud. Both were in the wrong. Both were in the right too. Neither have had the guts to actually talk it out in these last few years. Seems a waste of a friendship to me.
I let Bern's snipe go after a hurried apology and got on with the joys of the Bell Shakespeare Company and my favourite Shakespearean play. Life's too short to feel bad about slights for which youhave done with no malice and have muttered apologies.
The production was solid and enjoyable. We don't get enough Shakespeare here. I was spoiled in England.
The true joy occured the following afternoon. I managed to snaffle a ticket to the Melbourne Theatre Company's Richard III. I went alone to the Sunday matinee.
Heaven. Some of the best theatre I've seen in Australia in the last ten years. Easily makes the top ten performances I've ever seen. Wow. Brillant cast, brilliant staging. Pefectly nuanced. Had me on the edge of my seat even though I know the play backwards and have seen it about five times in the past. It was just perfect.
A thrilling end to an entertaining week.
Oh - my list of top ten performances - in no order.
Iain Glen in the RSC's Henry V
Derek Jakobi in Uncle Vanya somewhere in Soho
Altered State's Jane Eyre (amazing ensemble cast)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Frances O'Connor, Ned Beatty and Brendon Fraser (London 2001 - phenomenal)
The Blue Room - MTC a few years ago
Closer (where the most perfect Clive Owen stole the show as Larry)
Stephen Dinnane's Hamlet (London - mid nineties)
Amanda Muggleton in Callas - superb. (MTC - a few years ago)
Ewan Leslie as Richard III - Melbourne Theatre Company, 2010
The Servant of Two Masters - Bell Shakespeare 2002. Funniest thing I've ever seen - could barely walk out of the theatre for laughing.