Sunday, April 28, 2013

Thai & Titus

No travel this weekend, for which the Big Bad Wolf is either grateful (that I’m home) or pissed (that she doesn’t get to play with Gary from Fetch!).

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Thai Cuisine Restaurant on Urbanspoon On Saturday, I had lunch at Thai Cuisine with family.  We arrived a little before noon (when they opened), but the doors were open so we went inside.  They weren’t ready to serve food yet, but did seat us.

I ordered the pa-nang ($10), red curry and coconut milk (below), and we also got an order of pra-ram, peanut sauce (both with chicken), and beef fried rice.

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I’d ordered the pa-nang medium-spicy, as opposed to mild, hot, or Thai-hot, and should have gone for mild.  It wasn’t uncomfortably spicy, but it was hotter than I would normally like.  A taste of the mild pra-ram was milder than I’d like, so go figure.

The flavor was good and there was plenty of chicken, but vegetables were lacking – only a few, small slices of carrot.  The pra-ram could have used some more vegetables as well.

So it was okay food, and I’d go there again if I was in the area, but with so many other Thai choices in Orlando, I wouldn’t make a special trip to eat at Thai Cuisine.

Hawkers Asian Street Fare on Urbanspoon On Sunday I headed for the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and stopped at Hawker’s for a quick bite beforehand. 

Hawker’s offers small plates, so I decided to get a couple of those, starting with Asian BBQ pork ($5), an out-of-focus picture of which follows:

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This arrived lukewarm, not hot at all, but was still good.  The pork was tender and salty, with a sweet sauce.  My only complaint, other than the temperature, would be that the pork could have been sliced thinner or in smaller chunks.

Following that was stir-fried bean sprouts:

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This arrived hot and was very good.  The flavor was very mild, despite the chilies, and the vegetables were crisp – the bean sprouts still very crisp.

Today’s play was the final show of Titus Andronicus at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre.

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Titus Andronicus is not typically viewed as one of Shakespeare’s better plays – in fact, it’s often referred to as his worst.

I don’t really see that – I like the play.  It’s definitely different than the others, in that it is the bloodiest staging, but if you like murder, rape, revenge, mutilation, and the odd bit of cannibalism, then Titus is for you!

Arguably, for sheer number of deaths, Richard III or Hamlet should be less well-liked than Titus, and King Lear is ultimately crueler, but Titus has a baser feel, and I think that’s why the criticism came about.  As Shakespeare’s plays moved from the masses (when Titus was quite popular) to a more hoity-toity audience, I think the treatment of the themes in Titus became less popular.

But Titus was serving human flesh to his unwitting dinner guests long before Hannibal … and Anthony Hopkins has played both characters … so keep that in mind next time Sir Anthony invites you to dinner.

Another reason it hasn’t been that popular might be that it’s a revenge-tragedy, but unlike other revenge-tragedies, the revenge doesn’t really result in further loss.  In Hamlet, for instance, Hamlet’s quest for revenge results in the deaths of virtually everyone close to him.

In Titus, the quest for revenge doesn’t start until the second act, before which Titus has already lost everything – and really loses nothing in the second act, other than his life, but at that point his revenge is complete.

Unless … you look at it from the point of view of Tamora and her sons – maybe it’s their revenge against Titus in the first act that’s the real focus of the revenge-tragedy theme, since it sets up Titus’ revenge against them.  That’s an interesting idea I might have to think about.

This production took the Goth theme and ran with it, having a heavy metal score and dressing the Goths as … well, Goths. Smile It was thoroughly bloody, with the backdrop having five rolls of butcher paper.  They’d roll these down to catch the blood spatter and then tear them off and roll down more for the next scene.

In case this sounds like an excessive amount of blood for a play, here’s a quick rundown on Titus: Titus captures the queen of the Goths and her sons, so he kills one as a sacrifice.  Then her sons kill the emperor's brother and frame Titus’ sons.  They (Queen’s sons) also rape Titus’ daughter, then cut out her tongue and cut off her hands.  Titus’ sons are executed, but not before Aaron the Moor tricks Titus into cutting off his own hand, claiming the emperor will spare his sons if he does.  Then Titus decides to get revenge, so he kills Tamora’s sons, bakes them into a pie, and serves them to her and the emperor.

Probably a death or two I missed.

Yes, it was Saw IV for the 16th century.  Yay, Shakespeare!

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