Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday June 30 2014

London! We went, we saw and once again we were conquered!  I will not go on and on about it here though. If you’ve been to London, you know. If you haven’t, it must be your top travelling priority. 

This time we did not take a thousand photos of the Globe, we did not spend hundreds of pounds at the Globe shop, we did not spend nearly the entire time within a hundred metres of the Globe, we only saw two plays not three... But it was still a visit steeped in the spirit of Shakespeare.

If I miss anything on the report this time, I’ll put it in next week.

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
  • Maecenas plays a smallish role in Antony and Cleopatra (can’t say I really remember which one he was) but in real life he was interesting for his support to the arts, providing financial support to the likes of Virgil and Horace.
  • March, the Ides of which are infamous. Poor Julius.  He should have listened to the soothsayer. 
Shakespeare sightings, mostly in London, but a few since coming home:
  • In the novel Eeny Meeny, by M.J. Arlidge, bought at the W.H. Smith on Southwark Street, read then left on the Thames wall for another reader:
    • The pathologist Jim Grieves is described thus: “the endless hand washing made him appear like a modern Lady Macbeth (albeit an overweight one).”
    • Tenacious reporter Emilia is ordered by the police to back off: She “had decided discretion was the better part of valour and given up the chase.”
  • In the book The Rules of Acting by Michael Simkins (bought at the Globe and finished as the plane was coming in to land in Stockholm; a thoroughly enjoyable book) Shakespeare is mentioned so many times that it would take a whole report to cover all the sightings so here I will just list some of the most interesting:
    • In describing ways to get into drama school Simkins recommends choosing something from Shakespeare’s plays for the classical part of the audition even if it isn’t required: “...although it might seem attractive to mess about with some Marlowe or Webster, they won’t offer you the same degree of raw genius with which to work.” He further advises aspiring students to chose a suitable part (“There’s no point having a go at Falstaff if you weigh 8 stone 5 pounds dripping wet”) and dress appropriately (“...don’t wear shorts and flip flops if you’re giving your Titania”).
    • There’s a whole section about the Royal Shakespeare Company. Simkins recommends it as a good place to work in order to learn to act.
    • He also recommends open-air festivals. “No matter that the show being staged is nearly always A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Work is work.”
    • Simkins himself has played some Shakespeare, including Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew and Cornwall to Ian Holm’s Lear
  • In the quiz program Turning Point seen in the hotel while resting (I’ve forgotten which channel if I even noticed) one of the contestants had to identify a quote in the category “Shakespeare”. The quote: “Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and caldron boil.”  The choices: Hamlet, Macbeth, or Othello. Her guess: Othello. Her explanation: “Shakespeare is my worst category.” One could say that. But she went home with several thousand pounds so she had better categories.
  • In the musical Jersey Boys seen at Piccadilly Theatre on our last day in London, Frankie Valli says to the audience about his friend and fellow Four Season Nick who has just quit the group (I don’t remember the quote exactly and I scribbled it on the program in the dark so I can’t promise complete accuracy): “Some are born great and some have greatness thrust upon them then fuck it up.” 
  • In the London Evening Standard there was a review of the ballet Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Albert Hall. Oh, that would have been good to see but it ended soon after we arrived in London. The critic gave it 4 * of 5 calling it bold and soulful.
  • In tube stations all over London there were posters advertising a stage version of Shakespeare in Love and of Martin Freeman in Richard III, both starting after we leave London. So disappointing! Would have loved to see both. If you’re in London in late July, try to see a special performance of Shakespeare in Love at the Rose Theatre!
  • On Union Street we passed the little Union Theatre which was offering performances of King Lear with Ursula Mohan in the gender-bending lead.  We really considered seeing it but the performance times just didn’t work out for us.
  • After coming home there have been two sightings in Dagens Nyheter from while we were gone:
    • On Midsummer Eve, in the crossword, the clue was “known for his music used for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The answer: Mendelssohn.
    • The photo for the article about reorganisation (and possible dismantling) of the state’s Easy Reader publications so important to immigrant learners of Swedish included the recently issued Romeo and Juliet.                                        
Further since last time:
  • Seen at the Victoria and Albert Museum: Several paintings with scenes from Shakespeare plays, photos and paintings of various actors in various roles, and in a small room discovered in the depths of the museum, a video montage of interviews with various actors, directors and others who do a lot of work with Shakespeare.
  • Seen at the Globe with Hal: Julius Caesar
  • Seen at the Globe with Hal: Antony and Cleopatra
  • Bought at the Globe:  The DVDs of two of the plays we saw last year – The Tempest and Macbeth.  They weren’t there the first time we looked but on a later visit, there they were! They had just arrived to the shop an hour earlier.
Posted this week:
  • This Monday report.
  • "The Globe x 2: Julius Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra, June 2014”

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