1984 – The Play Review

I saw 1984 tonight. Was absolutely powerful.

Overview of the story for those who haven’t read the book (shame on you if you haven’t.. shame). Written by George Orwell in 1949 – which I add so we can appreciate what a GENIUS this man is for predicting the future (in a sense) so long ago – it is a story about a man named Winston Smith, living in a world controlled by “Big Brother”.

“Big Brother” is a cunt. It is essentially a party that wants to have total control of everything, including your mind. In this world, 1984, they watch everything you do. If you are caught thinking or having any negative thoughts against the party.. you are sent to the Ministry of Love. Which sounds nice.. but it isn’t. It contains room 101. So in this world, Winston does the unthinkable – he writes in a diary. Winston knows whats up, he is aware. He knows they are controlling history, unwriting people and lying to everyone. Everyone is lost, depressed and oppressed. Winston had enough and desires change more than anything. Winston then meets Julia. They discover a place that big brother isn’t watching and the two have an affair (which is their way of rebelling against Big Brother by falling in love..). Then there is this man called O’Brien, who seems like a good cunt. O’Brien tells Winston and Julia that he is part of the Brotherhood (aka the rebels), enlists them and provides them with a book written by the Brotherhoods leader. Sanity is not statisticalWinston finally feels free, he isn’t mad after all. Then boom. Big Brother really is always watching.. and indeed had been watching them the whole time. Such a pervert. Anyway, in the Ministry of Love, O’Brien turns out to be the biggest bastard of all and tortures Winston. Winston eventually loses himself once he truly betrays Julia. This breaks him. Turning him into the mindless puppet that Big Brother wants.

Do not let my terrible overview deceive you, the book is powerful and the messages regarding control and freedom are important. They are getting more relevant in today’s society, more and more people are getting censored. We are more controlled by our technology which gives access to the government and big corporations to spy on. Whether is it is the media controlling stories and using social media to make us believe it is the truth, or organisations using our data to manipulate and sell to us. Like I said, George Orwell was ahead of his time.

Anyway I have totally gone of topic- time for the review of the play.

I’ll admit, at first I was bored. The idea that the adaptation was going to be people in a book club commentating on the book whilst mixing it in with the story of Winston.. wasn’t great. They did this for about 30 minutes, and it didn’t flow. Once they got rid of that aspect, I truly engaged. The use of the lights and sound throughout the play, really made you feel connect to Winston on his journey. Once Winston and Julia are exposed, they use this to make you feel increasing uncomfortable and uneasy. This really transforms the torture scene to another level that he book cannot capture. Andrew Gower, the actor who plays Winston really delivers, from timid Winston, to empowered Winston, and then to broken Winston, he really embodied the aspect of the characters arc. His performance in the torture scene, along with the actor who played O’Brien (I cannot locate this name anywhere, apologies) was one of the most powerful I have seen in a long time. Along with the visuals, it is truly and experience.

Yes there are parts that drag (especially the start), put it really does build up in intensity and the final hour really is tremendous.

I would recommend it, if you have read the book. Without the context I think it would be confusing.

It has had some nasty reviews. I agree that is is slow, and the beginning is boring. I saw people calling it “pretentious” and “tries to be clever”, which I think is ridiculous and people just deflecting. It is literally just adpating the ideas from a novel into a performance. The “loud and confusing, making me nauseous” reviews made me laugh I believe missed the point, they are trying to make you uncomfortable honey. It is a fair warning though. If you are highly sensitive, or absolutely hard loud noises and flashing lights.. maybe go see Funny Girl.

All in all, I give it a 7/10. The ending is worth a 10/10 in my opinion, but the dragging out at the start just can’t be forgiven.

Advertisements

My day at “The Best You” Expo

Earlier this week I saw The Best You Expo come up on my twitter feed. Intrigued, I got tickets to the Sunday event. I didn’t really know what to expect from The Best You, I went on their website and casually picked my Agenda.

My Agenda:

  1. Sir Clive Woodward – “The DNA of a Champion: Talent Alone is not Enough”
  2. Robert Holden – “Being Your Best Self”
  3. Garry Jones – “Self Defence- The Art of Saving You from Yourself
  4. Bernardo Moya – “Turning Pro in personal Development”
  5. Jimmy Petruzzi – How to thrive and not just survive in the 21st Century
  6. Camilita Nuttall- “Taking Action to Succeed in Life & Business”

 

My alarm started screaming at 7am m. Yes – 7am on a SUNDAY! I had to convince myself to drag my ass out of bed and and I am REALLY happy I did.

Sir Clive Woodward – “The DNA of a Champion: Talent Alone is not Enough” http://www.clivewoodward.com/
I had no idea who Sir Clive Woodward was but it turns out he is remarkable and has an impressive resume. I mean he helped England win a World Cup ( that means they bet New ZEALAND) and he is a sir  which means he has met the Queen. He started out his speech with “Great teams are made of great Individuals”  and the crowd was hooked. Throughout his talk he talked about the importance of having a passion for learning and being a sponge. I don’t think anyone can argue that knowledge is power. I  would recommend checking out https://www.capturedhq.com/ I know i will be signing up. It is a place to capture your knowledge and also share it. How awesome is that?

My favorite point of his was the T-Cup – Thinking correctly under pressure. Asking yourself a simple question What would you do in this situation if..” . Yes, it may obvious but do any of us actually ask ourselves this question? Do we ensure we have thought about all these different situations so we are prepared to overcome anything and able to think correctly under pressure?. I think this piece of advice is a game changer.

 Robert Holden – “Being Your Best Self” http://www.robertholden.org/

Ah, the  happiness Guru Dr Robert Holden. I actually had first heard of Dr Holden from Oprah aka my hero. If Oprah endorses someone you know they are great.

He started by sharing the following quote:

 What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.

– Sigmund Freud

He then explained how we have two selves. The ‘Unconditioned Self’ and the ‘Learned Self’. He said “You are already are who you want to be” Our true self, the one free from this self judging voice in our head, is already “perfect”, we do not need to change, we just need to accept the real us. Yes we can grow as a person, but our essence should remain unchanged. We don’t need to force ourselves to be someone we are not just because we are self conscious. The more we accept our real selves we can “Follow our Joy”.  One of the videos he shared was https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gHvATmUsSg. The video instantly makes you happy because they are being true to themselves and following their joy. As Robert said (and it happens to be the name of “his new book) “Life loves you”. 

 

Garry Jones – “Self Defence- The Art of Saving You from Yourself” http://garryjonescoaching.com/

Garry started his talk in a very a unique talk. He caught everyone ones attention by claiming he was going to demonstrate pain by dislocating somebody’s arm. I didn’t believe someone would do that but the more he talked and so confidently I was apprehensive. Especially when he handed out “pain” envelopes to everyone claiming one lucky person would match with the number he pulled out and would get to experience this pain. And I’ll tell you – although I was entirely convinced  I opened it and it read 22, all I could think was fuuuuuck. Luckily, as you can predict,  it was a joke and everyone got 22. But as he explained stress distorts reality. “Your biggest enemy lies between your ears”. 
He also gave out pleasure cards. And boy did I experience pleasure when I pulled out £5 out of that envelope. But it was short lived I had to give it away to my new friend,  but seeing the joy (as he made us analyse their reaction) brought way more happiness. As Garry said “Givers get”. I mean, giving is so much better then receiving.

Bernardo Moya – “Turning Pro in personal Development” http://bernardo-moya.com/

The man behind the Expo. His message was pretty clear, “Whatever you can visualize, you can materialize”. Study the greats. Plan who you want to be, when you want it and how it is going to look. And of course Why. He recommend a book by Simon Sinek “Start with Why” which I will definitely be reading. He also talked about Focus. Taking one thing at a time, giving that 100% and then you can move on to the next thing. He also made a good point that you can’t do everything but you can understand everything. And, at the end of they day if you want to be successful “Just fucken get on with it”. Which is so damn important. We can get so caught up in planning and making sure that everything is perfect we don’t actually accomplish anything. And of course patience, it takes time.

 Jimmy Petruzzi – How to thrive and not just survive in the 21st Century

I liked about Jimmy’s talk becuse he had so much passion. He talked about this struggles but he kept overcoming them and followed the path to his success because “you have to keep going”.  You have control of your life, you just have to take action. Reflect over your thoughts, which are healthy and which are not? “

 

Camilita Nuttall- “Taking Action to Succeed in Life & Business”

Okay. My favorite speaker of the day. This rock star speaker.. and believe me she is, is the first person I am going to call when I finally start a business. This lady is AMAZING, she said she could sell us the clothes on our back and I 100% believe she can. As she said, “If you want it, you will find a way to succeed”.  She gave amazing advice. Like asking. Asking can bring you so many opportunities. Also take risks – get outside your comfort zone. And many other amazing tips to succeed in business. “If you are not having fun with it – forget it” and that is a great point. If you are not enjoying yourself, you aren’t going to be able to push yourself and make the sacrifice you need  to make in order to reach your full potential. And she made a point also about asking for referrals. It is one of the easiest ways to create a larger client, which is obviously the goal you are trying to achieve.

 

The reason I love events like these, is not just for the amazing advice, but you leave feeling ambitious. Like you can conquer anything, anything can be achieve. A lot of them commented on how they started “at the bottom”. Camilita in particular said she use to collect bottle caps with her mother so she can afford to pay for school. She worked hard, and did everything she needed to do and now? She is a tycoon. With her personality I have no doubt we will be hearing her name everywhere soon.

These events are also for everyone. Yes, alot of the people there are established, have their own business and go there to find ways to advance and network. Which is great. Someone like me – who moved here  two weeks ago, unemployed and is rebuilding a life here in London can also be rewarded by attending.

The message at the end of the day is that you can achieve anythng, be who you want to be and have everything you can imagine. If you just work hard, grow, learn and just be be you. 

Film – La vita è bella (Life is Beautiful)

Yes this does contain spoilers.

So I have just recovered (from crying my eyes out) and felt the need to let out more emotions – hence this post.

I’ll just give a brief “summary” of the film (but you really need to watch this masterpiece if you haven’t already)

When the movie beginnings it has this charming comic vibe. It starts of with Guido (played by the genius Roberto Benigni) an optimistic, impulsive man meeting a “princess” who falls into his arms. Guido takes any chance he can get to see her – often in impromptu crazy scenarios. His character is very care free, happy and seems to appreciate his life (even through tragic events). Eventually him and Dora (his princess) end up together.

Flash forward a couple of years and they are married and have a beautiful son Joshua. Sadly, it is now 1945ish and Guido and his son are Jewish. On Joshua’s birthday they are abruptly taken away to a Concentration Camp. Not wanting to traumatize his son Guido decides to use is skill of improvising to give his son hope. He tells his son they are about to enter a game, and if they earn 1,000 points they will win a real life tank. The film gets (obviously) a lot less comical and a lot more intense despite Guido’s optimistic barely faulting. At one point to keep up the game ruse he bravely pretends to speak German and translate’s what a guard is saying and explains the “rules of the game” – it is heart warming but also heart breaking as fuck. Throughout their time there Guido does everything in his power to bring happiness to his son and his wife ( as they are separated he finds ways of sending her messages they are alive).

Earlier in the film he is a waiter and befriends a doctor who happens to come into the camp (on the Nazi side) the doctor invites Guido to be a waiter on a special evening for the Nazis. Guido (and myself) assume the doctor is going to help him – he even mentions to his son they may leave “the game” early – but the Doctor turns out to be a ignorant cunt. In a tragically powerful scene, the Doctor begs Guido to help him solve a riddle – and you see for one of the first times Guido lose faith as he realizes the Doctor isn’t going to help him.  I have to mention another powerful scene that I can’t get out of my head because it is that powerful; Guido is walking back from waiting at the dinner, his son falling asleep in his arms, after just losing faith because of the doctor, and still manages to try focus on the positive whilst he is talking to his son about how it may all just be a dream and he may wake up with his wife the next day in their home. He then walks forward through the mist and in front of him is a enormous pile of dead bodies. Guido is silently horrified and then slowly backs off back into the mist to find his “dorm”.

On their last night, as havoc is breaking lose, Guido tells his son they are in the lead but Joshua needs to hide for one last night and takes him to a secure hiding place. When Joshua is safe Guido tries to find his wife. He puts a jersey over his head to disguise himself onto the woman side. He is then caught and a solider takes him away. They pass by where his son is hiding, and although he knows he is on the way to get shot, he makes eyes contact with his son for the last time, winks, smiles and walks away playfully as if it is all a game. Then he gets shot. In the morning the Joshua comes out of hiding and sees a big tank coming up and thinks he is won and is eventually reunited with his mother.

I haven’t cried so hard in a movie in years. I honestly did not see it coming. I was convinced that Guido would survive and they would all be reunited and have a happy ending. It was painful to watch but such an amazing film.

The title “Life is Beautiful” is very misleading yet accurately spot on. Roberto said that the title comes from a quote by Leon Trotsky, who when he was about to be killed saw his wife in the garden and wrote “that in spite of everything, life is Beautiful”.

And I think this film teaches us that. Have hope and be optimistic because life is beautiful in spite of tragedy. Joshua got through one of the most tragic situations happy because of his amazing courageous father.

The director and writer (I told you Roberto Benigini was a genius) had the great mix between being light hearted and intense as fuck. It is a film that will stick with you. It even won 3 Oscars which is amazing.

5/5 Stars for this film.

Wellington on a Plate – ATA Rangi Winemaker’s Dinner

I am a very lucky girl. On Thursday I had the most amazing night at the Ata Rangi Winemaker’s Dinner event which was part of Wellington on a Plate.  Note: I apologise for the sub-par photos I took from my iPhone – one day I will get a good camera!

It was 5:41pm on Thursday Night. I had just finished a detox (The Saturday before I was at a Birthday Party filled with Chocolate Cake, Pizza and Wine and I couldn’t have anything – it was torture!).  I was just about to start making my dinner when I got an AMAZING tweet:

2015-08-23_10-01-17

I was over the moon. Within an hour my mother and I were at the Museum Hotel where the Hippopotamus Restaurant is. Now I have heard a lot about Hippopotamus – it is one of the top restaurants in Wellington. The restaurant is beautiful!  C’est magnifique! Also, as a bonus it is a French restaurant and I love anything French.

On arrival, we had the 2014 Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc this was my mothers favourite wine of the night she loves a good dry Sauvignon.

  IMG_8100IMG_8103

After enjoying the beautiful view of the harbor we were seated. They have a few large tables so you sat next to different people. We had a lovely couple across from us, they informed us this was the best event of Wellington on a Plate!

The first course was Le Sashimi de saumon “a ma facon” served with 2010 Ata Rangi Craighall Riesling

IMG_8104

I love Salmon – so this dish was perfection although I could of done with Wasabi. The Riesling was stunning. In my opinion this was the best food and wine match of the night (although they were all wonderful).

The second course was  Poitrine de porc confite, tortellini a la langouste, Bouillabaisse et puree de mais served with a 2011 Ata Rangi Lismore Pinot Gris 

IMG_8105

The pork belly was amazing and mixed with the sweet corn puree was heaven. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Cray Fish so my other ate mine (she adored it!) The Pinot Gris was okay, it was quite dry in my opinion but it was very popular amount others on the table.

Now to my favorite wine of the night I could of drunken the whole bottle 

The third course was Filet de dorade poele, coques de Cloudy Bay, langoustines sautees, perles de safran et sauce Homardine served with 2008 Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay 

I didn’t get a photo of this course because I was distracted by how fucken divine the Chardonnay was. It was probably the best wine I have ever had. Sadly, I was left heartbroken when we discovered the 2008 Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay was no longer available. The Snapper was brilliant, everything in that dish worked well. 10/10 – Best course of the night.

Next was the Confit de cuisse de canard, magret pele, pomme a la tomme, saute de petales de choux de Bruxelles creme de haricot blanc et served with 2009 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir

IMG_8107

I love a good Pinot Noir – did not disappoint. The Wine and the Duck were marvelous together. My only complaint would be the disappointment over having one Brussel Sprout. As they are my favourite food I was sad. This was probably the best meal of the night.

Fifth Course was a Ossau-Iraty, petite poire pochee au vin rouge, compote de poire epicee et gougere served with 2010 Ata Rangi Syrah

IMG_8109

So funny thing about this meal, my mother and I both thought the long white item was the poached pear – then I bit into it and figured out it was Cheese! My mother later commented “Hm. This pear tastes like cheese” … I just had to laugh and explain that it tastes like cheese because it was cheese. Everything on the plate went so well together – I am envious of chefs who can create dishes that work!

Sixith and final course was Jardin d’Argumes served with the Ata Rangi Kahu Late Harvest Riesling 

IMG_8113

A perfect wine and dessert to end the night. I hardly ever eat dessert, and before Thursday I hadn’t had sugar in a long time but “Candied citrus, white chocolate mousse, matcha genoise, hibicus jelly, chocolate crumble and gin parfait” Perfection. Dessert wines are often good, the Riesling was the perfect match.

I highly highly recommend anyone who hasn’t been to Hippopotamus Restaurant to go. Their chefs are brilliant and the waiters are excellent. It was an enjoyable evening from start to finish. Also check out Ata Rangi’s wines – http://www.atarangi.co.nz/, they are definitely in my top ten now.

And although Friday was a pretty painful day at work –  I am so grateful for Wellington on a Plate for choosing me as their winner! I am glad I got to take my mother out for an amazing time.

Till next time xx

Shauna

IMG_8114