Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

About Migraines

his work.
I am the writer, director of 'THE EYES OF VAN GOGH', a full length film that was just released. There is nothing in Vincent's letters to indicate that he suffered migraines. Regarding the statement that his paintings were influenced by cataracts, insanity, etc., I invite you to check the Notes section of my website, Theeyesofvangogh.com, to get real insight into his mental condition and how it may or may not have influenced

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Response to the Folger production of King Lear by the Classical Theatre of Harlem

To equate the character of King Lear with Fidel Castro or Saddam Hussein is ludicrous. If we accept this interpretation, then Lear is a king who has brutally tortured and murdered his political rivals and has committed genocide. If true, it would make a mockery of the character of Kent, a man of unquestioned integrity,who obviously worships Lear and who would willingly give up his life for him. Imagine Kent, who vehemently protests Lear's disinheritance of Cordelia, tolerating for one minute the behavior of a Castro or Hussein. And what of Cordelia, Lear's favorite daughter, a woman of great courage and impeccable integrity, who is too honest to humor Lear's ego and vanity. Imagine her tolerating a Castro or a Hussein. Her love and concern for Lear is so great that when she hears of him being endangered, she mounts a foreign innvasion in order to rescue him. The attitude and relationship of Kent and Cordelia towards Lear Gives us great insight into Lear's true character and worth. Ultimately King lear is far more than a political play or the nature of devotion within a family. It's themes are of the most profound nature: redemption; self realization; the myth of universal justice; fortuitousness in the battle between good and evil; the nature of evil. The 80 year old Lear has been king for many decades. During his reign he has slowly and inexorably become blind to reality. He is a man of vast potential; a man of enormous passion, humanity, dignity and strength who has been inundated with lies flattery, unchallenged obedience and false adoration. His purpose and control have been eroded by his increasingly irrational emotional state. By the end of the play however, he achieves self realization He repents for his past errors and bad judgement.Most important, he comes to understand and feel deep empathy for the down trodden and misfortunate of the world. Equate this with Castro, who has never expressed regret for any of his odious deeds, or Hussein. who was defiant to the very end. Preisser's evaluation is a misreading and an insult to the character of King Lear who at his worst rises far above them. Lear is an 80 year old with the heart of a gladiator, who fights an epic and magnificent struggle against overwhelming physical and emotional turmoil and whose implacable refusal to surrender make him one of the greatest, most towering and pasionate tragic characters ever created. Posted by Alexander Barnett January 16, 2007 12:20 PM

The Eyes of Van Gogh: Still from The Eyes of Van Gogh

The Eyes of Van Gogh: Still from The Eyes of Van Gogh

Still from The Eyes of Van Gogh


Alexander Barnett as Vincent van Gogh in The Eyes of Van Gogh

Still from The Eyes of Van Gogh



Alexander Barnett as Vincent van Gogh and Gordon Joseph Weiss as his brother, Theo van Gogh.

Still from The Eyes of Van Gogh

Alexander Barnett as Vincent van Gogh and Lee Godart as Paul Gauguin

Still from The Eyes of Van Gogh


Alexander Barnett as Vincent van Gogh and Roy Thinnes as Dr. Peyron

Alexander Barnett

The Eyes of Van Gogh
THEATER REVIEW;Winners and Losers In a Seamy World

By ALVIN KLEIN Published: November 19, 1995, Sunday New York Times
WHAT I'm saying, what is our life?" (Pause.) "It's looking forward or it's looking back. And that's our life. That's it. Where is the moment?" (Pause.) "And what is it that we're afraid of? Loss. What else?" (Pause.) "The bank closes. We get sick, my wife died on a plane, the stock market collapsed . . . the house burned down . . . . What of these happen . . . ? None of 'em. We worry anyway. What does this mean? I'm not secure. How can I be secure?" (Pause.) "Through amassing wealth beyond all measure? No. And what's beyond all measure? That's a sickness. That's a trap. There is no measure. Only greed."
That's Richard Roma, top salesman, talking, venting, philosophizing, sans scatology. It comes next. To spare.
Welcome to David Mamet territory, where words -- weapons for the inarticulate -- speak loud, but action speaks louder.
In "Glengarry Glen Ross," a savage comedy about sleaze in the real-estate racket (or perhaps game, but not, in an acceptable sense, business), Mr. Mamet has written one of his most complete, most unarguable plays yet. Like "American Buffalo," it excludes women, thus freeing the playwright from the specters of ambiguity and misogyny.
Here are seven men: five salesmen, one detective and one customer, a pushover.
A woman's presence in a Mamet play presents a fierce challenge, usually unmet, for directors and actors to fill in the open-ended seething phrases. An all-male contingent can just go at it in a combative world of openness. Men outshark one another, "to try to earn a living," in one of the salesmen's words. The battleground or the carnival -- "All it is, it's a carnival," Roma says -- is a contest. It's about selling worthless land in Florida. The winner gets a Cadillac. Two losers get unemployment.
Where the action is in Mr. Mamet's 1984 Pulitzer Prize winner is in plotting to steal leads and ransacking the office, in the threat and the treachery -- more bile in an hour and a half (intermission included) than is packed into a blood-letting Elizabethan epic. The rampant ethnic put-downs are yet another extra. And nobody dies, except spiritually.
In this production by National Stage, a fledgling nomadic professional company, Andrew Lionetti (Roma) has the alternately cool, slick and manic staccato Mamet style down pat. In a show-stealing performance, the actor represents the playwright's views on the "ways of the world." Roma is a "member of a dying breed, a world of men."
Alexander Barnett (as Shelly Levene) and Jeffrey Norman (as George Aaronow) play the losers. Levene is actually a loser turned winner turned loser. Mr. Barnett invests the role Robert Prosky created on Broadway and Jack Lemmon played in the film, the character whose "bad luck runs in streaks," who then gets hot, scoring a Pyrrhic victory with a poignant sense of need that reveals a life of obligation outside the amoral confines of his job. The heart of Mr. Barnett's work is in sync with the playwright's nonjudgmental view of all the salesmen trapped in a demeaning system.
But no two performances have a right to be at the center of an ensemble piece. Chris Firriolo's staging is thus unbalanced, more formulaic than stirring.
If Mr. Barnett is jittery, Mr. Norman as the most hapless salesman -- an unwitting accomplice to a criminal plot "because you listened," as he is told -- is close to the edge and ready to jump, stammering to an obviously overplayed fault.
At a vulnerable point in its emergence, National Stage is trying to start a theater in earnest. It would be damaging to overpraise it. It is important to notice.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stills from the new film about Vincent van Gogh called The Eyes of Van Gogh by Alexander Barnett

The Eyes of Van Gogh
by: learfirst in entertainment
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The Eyes of Van Gogh

Alexander Barnett
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1 comment
An engaging portrayal of Van Gogh from his own perspective, 6 March 2007

Author: sayitwithmusic from United States History
tells us that Van Gogh, like many artists, was a very intense and troubled personality. Barnett takes us into the heart and mind of the man in a way that causes us to empathize afresh with his feelings and struggles. Barnett the film-maker deliberately refrains from any cutting from one camera to another, enhancing the viewer's being drawn into the world as viewed from Van Gogh's perspective. The score is also effective in painting an aural picture of what is going on inside the artist's mind. In this film we see Van Gogh, not just as a troubled soul, but as a sensitive and caring person who never quite found the way to break free of the demons from his past that haunted him up to the end of his life. Barnett's portrayal of Van Gogh is both believable and engaging. Despite the film's length of almost two hours, it holds the viewer's attention and moves the heart.

Review of Olivier's King Lear

Author: alexanderbarnett from United States
*** This comment may contain spoilers ***
King Lear is Shakespeare's greatest play and very likely the greatest work in all of literature. Its themes are of the most profound nature: redemption; self-realization; the myth of universal justice; fortuitousness in the battle between good and evil; the nature of evil. The 80-year old Lear has been King for many decades. During his reign he has slowly and inexorably become blind to reality. He is a man of vast potential; a man of enormous passion, humanity, dignity and strength who has been inundated with lies, flattery, unchallenged obedience and false adoration. When the play opens, Lear's psychological state is such that he is often incapable of controlling his strongest emotions. Lear has always been a man of towering passion, but had the incredible mind and will to match it. Now, however, his purpose and control have been eroded by his increasingly irrational emotional state. In any production of King Lear, we must see the lion in Lear and his raging battle between his age and failing mind. There must be a constant struggle between the Lear of old and the present Lear. If we don't see the towering Lear we're left with the ill, debilitated, sorrowful Lear and the conflict is gone - we never see his basic nature, which is the cause of decline. What makes him so fascinating and exciting (there is absolutely nothing fascinating or exciting about Olivier's Lear) are his tremendous extremes of temperament. First and foremost he must always be a fighter and never give in to adversity. Olivier's Lear could never have been a towering figure, only a whining, crying, feeble, self pitying grouch. In fact, this is exactly how he saw the role. In an interview at the time, he said, "Lear is an easy role to do. He is simply an old fart". This, about a man who fights an epic and magnificent struggle against overwhelming physical and emotional turmoil and whose implacable refusal to surrender make him one of the greatest, most towering and passionate tragic characters ever created. And the most difficult portrayal in the entire Shakespearean canon. The actor portraying Lear can't drive the torment, confusion and bewilderment that emanates from Lear – they must drive him. No amount of brilliant faking will work. It's either real or not. We must see the torment. Olivier's whimpering, faked performance is totally devoid of this. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast is also totally lacking. The actor playing Gloucester has four qualities throughout: grief, bluster, loud and louder. His voice is so unpleasant it's unbearable listening to him. He plays the same boisterous level continuously without the slightest nuance. Gloucester is an undiscerning, selfish, credulous and superstitious man. He is basically decent, but with a weak, impressionable nature. If Gloucester, as here portrayed, is loud, crude, obnoxious and stupid, a catharsis is impossible. Edgar, Gloucester's legitimate son, is a totally trusting, inexperienced and ingenuous soul who has vast, untapped potential. He goes through an incredible process of development and maturity. This Edgar comes across as a demented, weird, dull-witted creep. The idea, at the end of the play, that he may possibly become one of the leaders of Britain is too ludicrous and frightening to contemplate. Edmund, Gloucester's bastard son is willing to do anything to achieve his nefarious ends. He is not immoral, but amoral. He has the uncanny ability to unleash each woman's full sexual potential. This, plus his physical attractiveness, his feigned but convincing warmth and concern, his self-confidence and sense of humor make him an ideal, consummate lover. With the obvious obsession that Goneril and Regan have for Edmund, nothing less will suffice. In this version Edmund comes across as a weak, boyish, obviously villainous child who lacks the charm, confidence, fearlessness, dominance and supreme ability to dupe others. To think that this innocuous little boy conquers Goneril and Regan and comes within a hair's breadth of assuming the throne of Britain is hilarious. Albany, Goneril's husband, is a decent, sensitive, ethical and intelligent man who prefers to avoid altercation and acrimony. Unfortunately, he is portrayed here as a lethargic, pedestrian slow-thinking dunce with no obvious appeal or perception. Cordelia is not, as here seen, a sweet, frail, delicate ingĂ©nue. If she were, Lear would never favor her. She is, rather, much like Lear: resolute, dignified, proud, outspoken and fearless. This is why Lear adores her. Indeed, she must match Regan and Goneril in strength and tenacity. It's inconceivable imagining this Cordelia leading an army to rescue her father. The Fool comes across as analytical, sober and objective, when he should be a creature of nature. Pure instinct. Spontaneous, unpredictable and uncontrollable. As written, Goneril is the dominating sister; here we have the opposite. This Regan would have killed Goneril before she allowed herself to be murdered. The directing is abominable and senseless. Just a few examples. After Cordelia blatantly attacks her sisters' hypocrisy, they all embrace warmly. Ludicrous. When Edmund and Goneril are leaving together for Goneril's castle, Regan blatantly embraces Edmund in front of Cornwall, making clear her feelings for him. Absurd. Regan and Edmund could not have been alone together, much less been intimate, since Regan and Cornwall arrived at Gloucester's the same night as the blinding of Gloucester and the wounding of Cornwall. Regan walks out on Cornwall, leaving him to die after he's wounded by one of his men. Their last lines (which of course are cut) belie this. The fact is Regan and Edmund become intimate after Cornwall dies and Edmund returns with Goneril's message. I could cite numerous other examples. Suffice it to say that the direction is devoid of nuance, passion and intelligence. The blocking is pedestrian: stilted, simplistic, unimaginative and unmotivated. Ultimately, Lear, the 80-year old with the heart of a gladiator, should arouse in us, not tears, primarily, but awe that such a man could exist. Unfortunately, Olivier achieved his vision. This King Lear is indeed an old fart.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Creating The Eyes of Van Gogh

As the director and author of this new independent film, I welcome your thoughts and questions about the process and am always interested in further exploration of van Gogh and Gauguin. Please visit my website, www.theeyesofvangogh.com or my blog, http://theeyesofvangogh.blogspot.com/ or reply to this post.

Alexander Barnett