Daily Archives: May 1, 2016

Tina Benko

Tina Benko is an exciting and versatile actress with an incredible  dramatic range.  She has appeared recently as 3 completely different character-types and was excellent in all of them.

Tina Benko 1 (3000px)Tina Benko was Ann Putnam in The Crucible at Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theater. She was excellent as the semi hysterical housewife; totally convinced that her many miscarriages were  the result of witchcraft. She is willing to accuse the midwife, knowing full well that a conviction for witchcraft means death.

In a more modern role she was in The Starz Network’s Flesh and Bone as the beautiful former ballerina Jessica who is embezzling funds from the ballet company to support a Manhattan lifestyle well beyond her means.  This leads her into making a deal with the devil, in the form of a Russian mobster. Despite being petrified of her new arrangement, Jessica maintains the facade of poise and elegance that is a ballerina’s trademark.

In Showtime’s Brotherhood she is the slutty girlfriend of gangster Michael Caffee (excellently played by Jason Isaacs). Complete with skintight outfits and a low class Rhode Island accent, this character is the polar opposite of the ice cold, upper class,  ex-ballerina she plays on Flesh and Bone.

With her striking blue eyes and superb acting skills, the audience is immediately drawn to Tina Benko whenever she is on Stage or Screen. She is also a very hard working actor with a huge resume of films, T.V. Shows and movies.  We look forward to seeing even more of her work in the future.

 

 

The Seventh Seal movie review – the 1952 classic chess game with Death

Playing a game of chess against Death comes from the 1957 Igmar Bergman film The Seventh Seal. It is one of the most famous movie scenes of all time, and has been spoofed in hundreds of skits and shows, from Monty Python to Family Guy.

Max von Sydow plays chess against Death (Bengt Ekerot)

Max von Sydow plays chess against Death (Bengt Ekerot)

However, most people have never actually seen The Seventh Seal. Most likely the fact that it is in black and white, and  the actors are speaking Swedish discourages people from giving it a look. That is a shame, since The Seventh Seal is a beautiful movie that still holds up to this day.

Gunnel Linsblom & Gunnar Bjornstand

Gunnel Linsblom & Gunnar Bjornstand

The Seventh Seal takes place in the Middle Ages, and Max von Sydow plays a knight who has returned home after 10 years fighting in the crusades. He finds his country very changed. The Plague is savaging the countryside and people are dying by the thousands. Many of the people have turned violent, blaming witches or each other for the Plague. Religion instead of being a comfort, has become just one more way to frighten the simple people.

Maud Mansson being burned as a witch

Maud Mansson being burned as a witch

Death comes for the knight, but the knight is still trying to struggle with the most basic questions of life. The knight makes a deal with Death. If the knight can beat Death at a game of chess then the knight  can continue to live.

The knight does not want to stay alive just to enjoy pleasures. He has a deeper quest. He does not want to die yet since he is still seeking the answers to the basic questions of Life. What does it all mean? Is there a God? What comes after Death?

The story of The Seventh Seal is not really about the chess match with Death. The game takes many days, and the real plot is about what the adventures the knight has when he is not playing chess. As they travel, the knight and his squire meet priests, peasants, thieves, soldiers, actors and even a witch. All have completely different views on the meaning of life and death.

Max von Sydow & Bibi Andersson

Max von Sydow & Bibi Andersson

Do not expect the film to give you the Ultimate Answer. It does not try to force any point of view. Perhaps the most moving scene is when the knight meets a young mother and she shares a bowel of fresh strawberries with him.Such kindness and peace are in stark contrast to the evils the knight has seen elsewhere.

Sitting on the grass in the bright sunshine, the knight realizes that despite all its misery and pain, there are these wonderful times when Life can be quite beautiful.