Saturday, August 2, 2014

Roxy Theater Visionscape: Restaurant? Home? Pub? Disco?

    Friday night, several of us went via the tube to Roxy Theater to see the movie “Pulp Fiction”.   We bought tickets on line to guarantee a seat, never knowing in London whether entertainment will sell out.   The web site gives an impression of a somewhat fancy place.  When we arrived, there was no one at the door to check names or from which to buy a ticket.   That was somewhat surprising but, as I was soon to find out, it was in keeping with the laid back, casual atmosphere.  It didn’t take long to realize that this theater was not the fancy place that the web site seemed to imply.  That set the tone for a relaxed experience.   After we found out where our reserved seats were, it was time to order a meal.   This was similar to a pub where you order a drink and meal at the bar, give them a table number for them to deliver later.  After giving my order and getting a drink, it was time to go in and check out the “visionscape” (the total environment where something visual, such as a movie is experienced by an audience).  This was like nothing I have experienced before.  It was a blend of home, nightclub, restaurant and pub.   We were  told there was a disco there but it wasn’t obvious if the theater was transformed into a disco after the movie or if it was in an adjacent room.  My first impression was of super sized home theater with several types of couches and chairs.  Viewers were beginning to settle in and relax in their seats, drinks in hand and for some, with meals on the way.  

   “Pulp Fiction”:  This famous and well known movie does not need a review here.   Instead, personal observations will be given.   Before, I had not seen this movie all the way through, only seeing small pieces on TV.   It’s clear after viewing the movie, one needs to start it from the beginning and view it with deep attention and not view it with hyper attention i.e with distractions such as iPhone, internet, and channel surfing temptations.  The uniqueness of this theater’s visionscape provided that environment to experience the movie fully.  Enjoying a beer and later a meal provided the homey feeling of comfort and relaxation.  Not being familiar with Quentin Tarantino’s style, I was a little shocked at the violence and blood.   It did stimulate my anthropological hat, wondering what this is saying about human nature and how realistic these scenes were.  Of course, this is fiction but most of us are so lucky not to have viewed (or much less experienced) anything close to this in real life.  This type of violence on all scales from between two people, all the way to between nations, seems to be an unchangeable part of human DNA.  I caught myself remembering my studies of history of wars and violence that our and other species have experienced since the beginning of life on earth.  Why we are not able to evolve beyond violence is difficult to understand.   Trying to understand this is on my never-ending quest for knowledge.  
     The Roxy theater does not fit the usual movie theater types and is somewhat hard to classify.  This, however, allowed for a unique way to view movies.  This visionscape experience has stimulated my interest in more of Quentin Tarantino’s movies.  I doubt that would have occurred as much if viewed at home or in a conventional theater.   My only regret is that it may be a while before getting back to London to see more Tarantino and other movies of this type at the Roxy.  

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