Friday Five

1. There is something about live theater that the screen just can’t match. You can almost feel the actors’ booming voices and the energy of the crowd carries you. It’s like you’re part of the performance. Last weekend, I was invited to see a Juilliard production of the Noel Coward play, Hay Fever. (Juilliard is a performing arts university where they accept a mere 2 percent of applicants from around the world.) The fourth year drama students performed in this “comedy of manners.” I had never been to a Noel Coward play before – apparently he and Oscar Wilde are best known for this genre which satirizes the manners and pretenses of a social class, represented by characters right out of Central Casting. The ignorant, bookish father. The overly dramatic mother. The spoiled children with too much time on their hands.

Hay Fever takes place in an English country house in the 1920s and centers around the four eccentric members of the Bliss family.  They each invite a guest to spend the weekend, but the self-centred behavior of the hosts finally drives their guests to flee. The plot was an uncomplicated as it sounds – nothing more than that happens. It could have easily turned into a snooze fest, but the witty dialogue shined. It was a great show and reminded mow how much I enjoy going to the theater.

Have you been to a stage play recently? Do you have any favorite performances?  

2. Do you remember the scene in Moonstruck, when Cher’s character gets primped and dolled up for a night at the opera with her brother-in-law to-be Nicholas Cage? They meet in front of the fountain at Lincoln Center where the Met Opera performs. I haven’t seen that movie in a long time, but for some reason that scene stayed with me.  Juilliard is located right next to Lincoln Center, and when we passed through the courtyard, I smiled remembering it.

3. This week, we had our Christmas grab bag gift exchange at my office.  It’s…well, not much fun. No one enjoys it, but I guess we keep doing it because we’ve been doing it for years. A few brave souls suggested alternatives and were immediately quashed. We’ve not seen or heard from them since. I could go into details, but I’m afraid I’ve already said too much. The grab bag police are going to make sure I get stuck with wooden toy cars. Or talking Sigmund Freud keychains. Or refrigerator magnets. Or a Snuggie. Oh, wait. Over the years I’ve already been stuck with lucky enough to get those gifts.

4. Could you live without any goals? More importantly, could you live a fulfilled life without goals? If we don’t have goals how will we achieve our dreams? Joshua Fields Millburn, one of The Minimalists, decided to get off the treadmill of goal-setting because, “I was stressed out of my mind with all those goals. My hauntingly perpetual to-do list was just that — perpetual, never-ending. And it was ever-growing. Plus, I was continuously disappointed when I didn’t achieve a goal, or when I missed a deadline. ”

But, you’re thinking, that flies in the face of everything we’re “taught.” If I don’t set goals, I’ll become complacent and soon find myself zombie-like watching hours of Next Top Model. (Wait, I already do that.)  In a guest post at Zen Habits, Josh talks about his experiment – living without goals for 100 days.  Among other things, he found he was more productive, less stressed and more content. You may remember The Minimalists from a previous Shine post.

5. PDA: Way or No Way? I’m typing this while sitting at Starbucks. I’m on the home stretch of my 4th round of edits on my novel. I come here because sometimes home can be filled with distractions. But Starbucks is not without distractions on this day due to the two people next to me. It’s clear they are supposed to be doing other things, too. He has an anatomy textbook open to a graphic cross-section of the human liver, and she is reading a thick tome on constitutional law. From what I can tell, neither of them has turned their respective pages in at least 30 minutes. But they are conducting research of a sort. He seems to be researching how ticklish the back of her neck is (very) and she seems to be researching how many times she can giggle within one minute (5 at last count). Oh, wait. Now he is researching how deeply he can fit his hands into the back pockets of her jeans.

Have a great weekend everyone! 

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20 comments

    1. Thank you, Lisa. I’d never really thought about living a goal-less life until I read about it on Leo’s blog. It is starting to make sense, though it’s a real shift in perspective.

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  1. (1) I love the Lincoln Center! I went there as a child with my grandmother and the vision has stayed with me and brings back lovely memories of that day with her… thank you for the photo to bring back such wonderful memories! (2) I am so curious to read the post about living without goals… I’ve been drifting that way anyway as I get older, and (3) PDA is so distracting & annoying, although right now I could use it as research for this particular chapter I’m revising in my WIP about my MC’s love interest 🙂

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    1. I wish you could have been there in Starbucks. it was like passing a car accident. It was impossible to look away. 🙂
      I’m certain you would have gotten at LOT of great material! (Including audio and visual.)

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  2. Gosh, I love live theater, but I haven’t seen a play in a long while–need to do that.

    Otherwise, I’m feeling fairly paralyzed in relation to my goals—-memoir madness blocking my brain.

    Hopefully I’ll be freed up this weekend–will again find the words I need. Hope you have a great weekend, as well, my friend!

    Kathy

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    1. I don’t get to theater as often as I’d like, especially considering where I live. But I do enjoy it. There’s such excitement around the evening that’s different from going to a movie.
      My wish for you is to find the words you need to move forward on your memoir. You’ve gotten off to a great start and we will cheer you on to the finish line!

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  3. Live theater… I recently read an article about the movie “Once” making it to a small stage in Chicago. It is uncertain as to whether or not it will make it Broadway, but I will do whatever I can to see it performed live. If you have not seen the movie, I highly recommend it.

    Moonstruck is one of my all time favorites – due to Cher and Nicholas Cage being two of my all time favorite folks. Thanks for sharing the picture.

    Goals? Wait. I am suppose to set goals?

    PDA. Okay, I love people watching at Starbucks, but um – no thanks on the PDA.

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    1. Once is such a wonderful movie! I didn’t know it was being brought to the stage, but I can understand why.
      You are too funny, Lenore. See, you are ahead of the curve on the whole no-goals thing. Way to go!

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  4. I love the theater, but sadly, at this point in my life it’s just not happening.

    Aw, Moonstruck! What a great movie. I haven’t thought of it in ages, I must watch it again soon. Thanks for the reminder.

    No to Snuggies, refrigerator magnets, flowery candles, bath soaps, Chia Pets and PDA!!!

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  5. I love Oscar Wilde…haven’t seen an Noel Coward productions though…

    I haven’t thought about “Moonstruck” for years…should watch it again! Yum…Nicholas Cage…

    I’m opposed to “goals”…I don’t write “to do” lists, because I find that they stress me out…I’m a procrastinator, so I could make a ton of lists, but they’d never be finished!

    Wendy

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    1. I just love that scene in Moonstruck where she gets dressed to the nines for the opera and he meets her in front of the fountain wearing a tux. I’m not a terribly romantic person, but that scene feels so heartwarming.

      You hit the nail on the head with the to do lists. Josh also said that his to do lists got longer and longer. He never got caught up and that ended up stressing him out to no end.

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  6. Oh this gave me the desire to see a play again…haven’t been in a couple of years, at least. I love Oscar Wilde.
    I’ve been enjoying Zen Habits since you posted about it, Jackie. (Thank you!) Josh always makes me take a look at how I think and what I do.
    Your PDA observations had me laughing…well done! 🙂

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    1. I’m so glad to hear that you keep up with Zen Habits. It never fails to get me thinking a little differently. No goals? What? But it’s starting to make sense. Have a great weekend. I hope things are getting seasonal out there. 🙂

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  7. Living goal-less sounds rather delicious to me, but perhaps you knew I’d say that! I enjoy live theater – most recently, an outdoor rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Magical!

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    1. I had a feeling you’d be on board about living with no goals. 🙂
      A Midsummer Night’s Dream is so wonderful. I saw it at an outdoor theater years ago in Central Park. For some reason the fact that it was at dusk made it even better.

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