Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beethoven Blatz

On April 12, 2011 me and my fellow classmates saw Armin Wiebe's play, The Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven Blatz at the Rachel Browne theater in the Exchange District. The play is about a Mennonite couple, Susch and Obrum Kehler living on the prairies. After two years of living together and knocking boots in perfectly appropriate wedded bliss, Susch is disappointed she is not with child. There is also a Russian musician, Blatz, that is introduced into the play when Obrum brings home a broken piano and hires Blatz to fix it. Blatz, with no where else to go as he is a refugee from Russia stays with the couple in their tiny home. After the play the audience had a chance to have a talk back with Wiebe and Wiebe came to Red River college later in the week to speak with us about the play.

The play was described as a comedy in the Winnipeg Free Press, which was somewhat true. There was an awkward sex scene, which produced uncomfortable laughter and an embarrassing situation where Obrum must wear a dress to prevent irritation from poison ivy. As Obrum changed, he strategically hid behind props, which I found one of the most endearing and clever scenes of the play. Other than those two scenes, I didn't find the play overly humorous.

Many students felt and mentioned at the seminar we had with Wiebe on April 14 that Blatz was the comic relief in the play. I however disagree. I did not think his character was likable or humourous. I felt that his awareness of reality was inconsistent. He wasn't aware of his sexual encounter with Susch, as Wiebe mentioned in the seminar, but was aware that he could be the baby Susch has later in the play. I also felt that Blatz was unlikable because I personally did not connect with him. I had compassion for him as it is alluded to in the play that he has lost his lover, but I found his speech hard to follow as many of his words were mixed with German phrases. Wiebe said that he took a risk that people may not understand and be alienated by the low-german in the play, and I guess I was one of the people he was speaking about. I also did not like him because he felt no remorse for sleeping with the wife of the very man who is putting him up and allowing him a place of refuge. Wiebe also said in the seminar that Blatz is so far gone mentally that he would not feel remorse for cheating with Susch.

I did however like the fact that in the end, all the characters got what they desired, although maybe not in the process which they would have preferred. I think it was a good comment on how life does not always go the way you want, and that things are not black and white, right or wrong, but shades of grey and circumstantial.

Ambiguity was also a large theme in the play. It is unsure who the father of Susch's baby is, and if it was even possible for Blatz to have impregnated Susch. I think this frustrated or intrigued some students based on the questions asked at the talk back after the play and the seminar with Wiebe. As an English major in university, I was not bothered by inconclusiveness as it is a large theme in many pieces I studied in university.

Overall, the actors were fantastic. Wiebe said in the talk back after the play that they studied Mennonite communities to get the accents down. This made me appreciate the time and effort the actors put into the production.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Whoa we're almost done! plus University vs. College

I can't believe it, and I'm sure many of my fellow CreCommers can't either. There's only about a week left in school! Through group projects, numerous proposals, and weekends working on InDesign at the college I thought I'd never make it, but here we are. Time really flies when you have multiple deadlines to meet almost everyday. So I'm going to try and not make this too much of a CreComm gushfest and focus this blog post a little more. I'd like to comapare my experiences of university and college at the end of my first year of college in a 2-year program. I'd like to preface this by saying these are my own experiences in specific programs, so this might not be everyone's opinion. Okay, here we go:

University vs. College on:

I feel like I've made a lot more friends in college. I believe this is because I'm part of a smaller group of people. If I wasn't in the large Arts faculty in university, I probably would have made more friends like my friend who was in nursing.

I was able to sleep a lot more in university because I could make my own schedule. I scheduled all my classes on Tuesday and Thursdays and it was fantastic! I was able to be  uber-efficient by taking more classes on two days instead of spead out over five.

In university I was able to work a lot more. Since I was able to schedule my classes on only two days a week, I had three full days to work during the day. I was also able to run errands during the day because I had daytime off.

Although I learned a ton in university, which has helped me in my current educational endeavour, I feel that I've learned a lot more applicable "hands on" skills. And I don't mean I'm building or physically fixing things, but I'm now able to say that I can write a news release, an article and proposal opposed to just knowing how to write an essay.

I feel a lot closer to my instructors in college. There are small classrooms, I see my instuctors often, and they even know my name :) Only in higher level courses and smaller classrooms in university was I able to have the same type of relationships with my professors as I do in college.

There are pros and cons to any learning environment, and although I feel like I've been in school forever, I'm really glad that my parents have given me the opportunity to live at home and experience both.

Friday, April 8, 2011

This Makes Me Happy

So this week was stressful as any other in CreComm, but a wonderful customer service experience actually made my week better.

So this winter, I finally decided to buck up and buy a suitable winter jacket for winter in Winnipeg. I ended up buying a North Face jacket from Urban Trail.

Sadly, the zipper broke in the last couple weeks of the winter season. Thankfully, North Face has a lifetime guarantee on most of their items, which I think is good because their products are definitely on the higher end of the price scale.

I was able to take my jacket to the place where I bought my jacket, Urban Trail, and they sent my jacket off to North Face for me, free of charge, and called me when it came in fixed and ready to go. This was much more simple than having to send my jacket at my own cost to North Face.

This partnership between the store and the company and the coming through on a guarantee made me feel like I received what I paid for in the beginning, the product and the lifetime guarantee with very little hassle. Often, it is hard to redeem guarantees or rebates with companies.

This reminds me of what we've been discussing in PR class lately. Be good to your customers, and they will tell people! Don't promise things you can't deliver and when you do promise something, stick to your word. The simplest actions an organization can take can make such an impact on the customer. Thanks North Face!