Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Hunger Games: Part 2 My Favourite Characters

The Hunger Games: My Favourite Characters

Hokay, so Suzanne Collins is definitely not a fan of creating perfect little characters. They’re all very real, multi-dimensional, have good qualities as well as bad, and make both poor and brilliant choices. There are a few characters that I have picked as my favourites.


Such an obvious choice. Who doesn’t love a good “gay best friend” character? Ok so I know there’s nowhere that says he’s gay, but he definitely falls in that ever-popular character category. He is more than just a stereotype however.

Katniss: “So you’re here to help me look pretty?”
Cinna: “No, I’m here to help you make an impression.”
Cinna wanted to not only help Katniss, but her District. He wanted to make them proud and give them all something to fight for. Later in the series, Cinna makes some pretty amazing sacrifices for the greater good of Panem. He got it. He understood that it wasn’t just about putting on a good show.


Prim is kind of displayed as a weak character, but sometimes it is hardest to be the person who is left behind. I think that as we get to know her better throughout the series she becomes a truly excellent character. She cares about the people around her, not just those closest to her. She is willing to lay her own safety and comfort on the line to help others. She hates seeing anyone suffer. In a series so full of violence and gore, she is very refreshing.


Well first of all, I have to admit that I am such a sucker for the whole “best friend romance” thing. Gets me every time. But before you think that I’m just one of the many fan girls drowning in the sultry grey eyes (it just took me a good 2 minutes to figure out what colour his eyes were) of Liam Hemsworth, I do have some legit reasons why I love Gale.

Gale is manly. He provides for his family, he works hard and makes many sacrifices for them. This is awesome. Men should do this.

Gale sees the big picture. He loves Katniss, yes. He wants to be with her, to protect her and provide for her, but not at any cost. He is concerned about his entire district, and the other districts as well. He has a strong sense of justice and is willing to fight for freedom for everyone. His passion for freedom does become misguided, and he becomes willing to sacrifice too much. However, he is one of the few characters in the book that is truly passionate about the greater battle being fought. He isn’t stuck in his own little world of himself and Katniss and his immediate family, unlike some other characters who I will mention tomorrow in…

Katniss: Why I Think She is a Terrible Example for Young Girls/Everyone.

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Hunger Games Review Part 1: The Questions

I recently succumbed to the trend and read the Hunger Games Trilogy. I saw the film in theatres before I read the book. My first impression was that it was good. I enjoyed it, was entertained, admired some of the performances, and that was about it. The more I thought about it afterwards however, the more disturbed I was by the violence and, what seemed to me, the disregard for the sanctity of human life. I read the books in the hopes of discovering the authors true intentions behind this bloody and violent series, marketed for young adults. I also just wanted some light summer reading to distract me from the bigger issues of life, ugh.

Ok so, if you haven’t read the trilogy or seen the film, here’s a quick summary. Die-hard fans please skip this because I’m sure I won’t cover all of the details you consider so essential to your survival as human beings.

The story takes place in the country of Panem. It is the only country/civilization mentioned in the book, so it’s basically their whole world. Panem is a futuristic North America, after several natural disasters changing its physical characteristics and many wars changing its politics. So we’re left with 13 districts, and one Capitol which is the seat of political power. District 13 rebelled and was annihilated by the Capitol. Every year the Capitol holds the annual Hunger Games, taking a boy and girl between the ages of 8 and 18 (is that it? I can’t remember) from each of the 12 Districts, shoving them in an arena and making them fight to the death. There is only one winner. The people of Panem are forced to watch The Hunger Games on televisions as it plays out live before their eyes.This is to remind the districts that they are powerless against the Capitol, and any repeat of rebellion will result in the death of those they hold dear.

The districts produce materials mostly for the consumption of the Capitol, including coal, electronics, food, etc. The Capitol is where the privileged live. Its citizens are obsessed with cosmetics, undergoing all manner of treatments, tattooing, and surgeries in the name of fashion. They eat and eat then just throw it up. They are dying of diseases but stay alive with the aid of modern medicine. A society which revolves around pleasure, the people of the Capitol worship the tributes of the Hunger Games as their celebrities. They are obsessed with watching the Hunger Games unfold, betting on their favourites, and even helping them by sending gifts. Winners of the Hunger Games are rewarded with a life of ease and fame.

Sound familiar?

Let the Capitol represent Western culture: we, the privileged, killing ourselves with kindness. More than half of our diseases are a result of our own mistreatment of our bodies. Our health care is burdened with caring for people who have knowingly damaged their own bodies. If someone is unhappy with the way they look, they need only pay the fee to change. While we are on the pursuit of pleasure, the underprivileged are providing us with commodities and dying of starvation, not unlike the districts of Panem.

Reality tv. It has taken over.  We watch people starve themselves, destroy their marriages, give birth to babies, get arrested, do drugs, intervene, lose themselves to win a title, and so much more all just for entertainment. That is all. Just entertainment. 

We put weapons into the hands of our children and tell them to have fun. 

It’s just a game. It’s on a screen. It’s not real. And we are sacrificing them with our neglect.

Where is this leading us?

Regardless of the authors intentions in writing the Hunger Games, I definitely think it will make people question our society and where it is headed.

More tomorrow on who my favourite characters are and why!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

another school year over

So here is the story of my life this past school year. 
The first part of my year was insane. It was like when you're in a hot tub then go roll around in the snow then get back in the hot tub. That kind of physical shock. Every Monday and Tuesday of every week. I'm pretty sure none of us were prepared for the intensity of the dance program at SLC, I shouldn't speak for my fellow MUTHers though (MUTH is our program code, so it's what we call ourselves). I know for me, my body wasn't ready for floor barre (aka ballet torture).

 Our ballet teacher is an absolutely fabulous Mexican woman who knows her stuff and is one of the most fit and flexible women I have ever met. I trust a dance teacher who can still really dance. I always thought that ballet was pretty and relaxing before I met her.
INTERRUPTION. Just had a very pathetic life moment. The other day I got this sick feeling randomly that I didn't hand in my final scene study assignment but I was all pshaw I must have. 
I didn't. Just found it in my binder. Sat down and cried.
Back to ballet. So our teacher is a huge believer in floor barre.

Floor Barre -  lying on the floor with your body in strange and unnatural positions while doing endless sets of crunches.

 We do this to develop muscle strength, but mostly to develop muscle awareness. Floor barre makes it easier to understand which muscles you should be engaging while dancing. The first few weeks we did floor barre the entire 1 hour and 15 minute class, Mondays and Tuesday. This put most of us into great amounts of discomfort. Then there was the stretching. 

Our amazing jazz teacher taught us all about PUSHING and PULLING and REACHING to make us as strong and flexible as can be. So basically any muscles that weren't already hurting from ballet now hurt from jazz. Jazz is such a fun class. We get to do and try so many different things, and the energy in that class is always amazing. Our teacher is so encouraging. I honestly have never once heard her say anything negative. She always just wants us to go farther and be better. 
I hate tap. Love our teachers. Hate the dance. Must force self to love it. 
Enter the vocals. When I first met with my vocal coach (and Masterclass professor) I told him I wanted to be a belter. He went through some vocalises with me and had me singing in my chest voice the first day (something I'd never consciously done before, I literally did not know where to "place" my voice). This was really really exciting for me as I had been told in the past that I was "not a belter" and never worked on anything but my usual soprano. 
Our acting classes are varied and with multiple teachers. We learn different techniques and styles in each class which is really fun and a great learning experience. We've had the opportunity to work with lots of different industry professionals this year, which is really important for young actors. It's encouraging for us to see different types of performers, different ways of thinking about things, and different styles of acting. Theatre is art, there's no set format or rulebook.
Music Theatre History and Anatomy = sweet respite from physical activity/using the creative half of your brain! The only classes where we do anything mildly academic. Second Semester we also had Stagecraft. What you mean sit at desk? What is that thing called whiteboard? Do you really excpect us to sit still for 2 hours??? We're only adults!
There are many things I can say about many classes, teachers, and fellow students. Not to mention our production. So much to say, I wish I had kept up better with blogging. But this post is just meant to be a summary, so I won't. I will however, include some quotes from a letter I was writing to my BFF throughout the course of the schoolyear.

"I have a headache. My coffee addiction is getting out of hand."

"Motto of my program: 'I'm OBNOXIOUS!'"

"NO MORE SCHOOL COFFEE blech blech blech"

"You know what I am afraid of? The day I am told to wear fishnet tights. Ugh."

"I just made my squinty eye face at Julija and it almost popped my contact out."

" 'I have a story to tell that is insignificant to anyone else but this topic reminded me of it so HERE ME NOW!' " - music theatre kids

"My coffee is only warm now, not hot. It makes me feel very unsettled."

"We are watching a video of the can-can song played by an orchestra. Everyone is very excited."

"If I want to make it, I have to be fearless."

"Goal of every acting teacher: make their students cry." 

"I don't know why anyone would want to teach us."

"I don't know how to always be real. When I do, I'll be an actress."