17 July National Gallery Dominoes

There is no play assigned to the class this evening so, I booked a small production directed by my new colleague, Stephen Wrentmore. It could be described as a fringe production and it is bit of a trip, first on the tube and then the train. Earlsfield. More about that later. After class this morning, I was on my own so I decided to head down to the National Gallery. I haven’t been there this year and since it is Tuesday, chances are good it won’t be too busy.

I took the tube down to Charing Cross station and then across the street the museum which fronts onto Trafalgar Square.

It was indeed relatively quiet at 11:30. The first thing I focused on was a painting of a scene from Venice in the 18th century. There were several such work in the first gallery I into which I walked. I was quickly struck by how they record a specific moment in time much like the photographs I take as I walk through the city. So, that became my focus as I perused the museum. I found many works that captured those moments in time through the history of art. It also made me realize, I too often don’t look these days. I take picture and don’t really look at the paintings or works in the museum. Today, this helped me slow down and really look at the painting before snapping the picture. I enjoyed myself much more and it again became like meditation. I lingered in the museum until about 2 pm and decided I need to rest before the evening’s show in Earlsfield.

I returned to the dorm, worked on my blog and laid down for a few.

Three of the students had chosen to go see the play with me so, we met up early about 5 pm to head down with the idea of getting dinner down there. I had already checked on availability of restaurants near the theater and there seemed to be options. I also hoped to see Stephen before the show.

We walked to Warren Street station, took the Victoria Line to Vauxhall and transferred to a Southwest Train. It was a short two stop ride to Earlsfield. Stepping onto the street we found a sweet little area and the theatre was a block or two from the train station. Our tickets were not ready to be picked up and I spied Stephen sitting in the courtyard. I introduced him to the students, we chatted a bit and then we went out to find dinner since the show was still an hour or more away. There was nice little Thai restaurant a couple of doors down so, opted for that.

The production we saw this evening was Dominoes, a one-woman show written and performed by the actress. She talks about the project on this short video.


It was a fascinating play and she was quite engaging as a performer. The basic premise is she is engaged, of mixed race and has the same surname (last name) as her fiancé. In researching her family, she discovers her ancestors were owned by the ancestors of her fiancé. I enjoyed her performance and felt the writing was strong. She interacts with her grandfather, her fiancé and her best friend. The results of those conversations provide the conflict for the piece. I did feel the conversation with the fiancé was the weakest. Her performance as the grandfather and her friend seemed the most secure. As she spoke with her fiancé, I kept feeling I should see this person on stage. I’m not certain if it was writing or her performance but, it seemed the performance. The other two characters seemed very different than her but, the fiancé didn’t have quite the distinctiveness of the grandfather.

Gower Street, one block on the backside of the dorm.

On Gower Steeet you find the main entrance to RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). There is an entrance on Malet right next to the dorm.

from the National Gallery. Mrs. Siddons by Thomas Gainsborough. A quote on the card says, “Gainsborough is reported to have had difficulties painting the woman’s nose and to have exclaimed, ‘Confound the nose, there’s no end to it’.”

from the National Gallery. Sir Thomas Lawrence, Queen Charlotte, 1789. The rendering of the sheer fabrics is beautiful. I took a detail shot (see next photo) of the bodice. It has a great closure (seeming). In any case the front bodice detail is beautiful.

The detail of the Lawrence painting of Queen Charlotte.

from the National Gallery. The Lottery in Piazza di Montecitorio by Giovanni Paolo Panini,1743-4. This is on of those painting (18th century) that captures the scene at a particular moment (an event and place). How does the artist even begin to accomplish what seems to me an enormous task. I took pictures of quite a number of these.

from the National Gallery. Edouard Manet, Music in the Tuileries Gardens, 1862. Same as the previous image. Only in this painting the emphasis is on the people and less about the setting.

from the National Gallery.Thomas Gainsborough, (on the left) The Painter’s Daughters chasing a Butterfly, 1756 and (on the right) The Painter’s Daughters’ with a Cat, 1760-1. I think these are remarkable. The one on the right is more well known to me. When I saw them side by side, I was charmed. The card on the one on the right says unfinished and the outline of the cat can be seen in the lap of the younger girl but, as I am posting this and looking it seems to be the outlines are in the arms of the older girl.

from the National Gallery. Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Infanta Isabella, c. 1615. I just loved the tightness and exquisite clarity of every detail of this painting. Totally appeals to my anal-retentive nature.

from the National Gallery. Giovanni Battista Moroni, The Tailor, 1565-70. I make no apologies for including this painting in every trip. It must be my favorite. I love the simple doublet and hose, he is good looking and he’s a tailor.

from the National Gallery. Jan Van Eyck, The Arnolfini Portrait, 1434. This is one those paintings found in most costume history texts. The glass protecting it kept reflecting me. Coulnd’t ever get it out. Another one with great detail that appeals to me.

Stepping out of the museum, this is the view of Trafalgar Square from the front steps of the museum.

Tara Theatre in Earlsfied where we saw Dominoes. These are the three students companions on my trip down. The theatre was a very small thrust arrangement. Lovely little place and space.

Publicity shot of the show.

Rehearsal shot from the show.

Final shot of the station as we wait to board the train for home.