I’m behind and the days are not as full so, I am combining a couple of days in this post.
Victoria and Albert Museum
This morning we took the class to the Victoria and Albert Museum for class. This tends to be trek especially when you have the entire class in tow but, it’s certainly worth the trip. We picked up some snacks and coffee in the museum and set up in the courtyard. It was a beautiful morning and we had a great discussion.
After, everyone was dismissed to explore the museum. I went up to the theater exhibition but, didn’t remain long. I’ve seen this in the last two trips so, I visited a couple of galleries before getting lunch in the museum café.
I had intended to see the exhibition on Frieda Kahlo but it was sold out. Will have to try and return another day. I explored a number of other galleries trying to find things I had not seen before or new pieces. Of course, I went the fashion timeline. It hasn’t changed radically since my last visit.
We did not have show this evening so, I headed back to the dorm in late afternoon for tea at the Waterstone’s book store on the corner and spent the evening catching up this.
Sifiso Matzubuko and Pity
In this morning’s class we had our first guest speaker, Sifiso Matzubuko. Sifiso is from South Africa. He attended Ohio State. We meet with the group from that university and share some of the guest speakers. Two years ago, he spoke to the groups and at that time he was appearing as Marvin Gaye in Motown, the Musical. At present he is the stand-by for the roles of Hamilton, Burr and Jefferson/Lafayette in Hamilton. We had a lively conversation with him and our students presented him with some excellent questions.
After class, the leaders of the OSU group and Christina and I went for lunch with Sifiso at The Green Room restaurant behind the National Theater. It was leisurely so, we didn’t finish until almost 2 pm.
I had work to do so, I returned to the dorm and spent most of the afternoon getting caught up. After tea at Waterstone’s again, we headed down to the Royal Court for our next production. Pity is a new play by Rory Mullarkey. We did not have any information going into this production, since it is a new play. We saw the second preview performance. Press night is 18 July. The production was fascinating. It obviously needs some work and I think it might be interesting to see it after press night. Sure they will continue to tinker with it during these previews. I, personally liked the production. It is a little hard to take at times. The playwright is obviously making a statement about the current world conditions regarding politics, violence and where he sees things going. Must say, it’s pretty bleak picture. The absurdist style helps to convey much of his thinking and while it begins humorously it becomes very dark and the ending leaves you with a little hope. Unfortunately, for me, not enough. The transitional period in the play when it became more serious goes on too long I think but, I’m not clear as to how much you would cut. This part of the production is very tricky: cut too much and it wouldn’t have the time to transition to the seriousness of the situation. Overall, I appreciated the importance of the subject and the deftness the director and playwright uses with the protagonist and his dilemma. I felt great empathy for the character (should say characters because his wife in all this goes through it as well but, she is a secondary element) and the situation in which he finds himself. Through it all he perseveres and I empathized with him throughout the journey.
There were some elements that seemed obvious but, not certain that was a problem in this absurd style. I will be curious to read reviews when they are published.