19 July Sam West Hamilton Julie

This morning’s class was our second guest speaker, Sam West. He is a well-known actor in the UK and can be found in any number of films and televisions shows that come across to the US. Most recently I saw him in The Darkest Hour. We may be seeing him the next season of The Crown. He talked about auditioning for that show during his talk this morning. He is always a great guest speaker. He is very engaged in current politics particularly as they regard the arts and funding for the arts in Britain.

In the afternoon, I go to see Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theater. I managed to get tickets several months ago while trolling Ticketmaster regularly. It was an amazing production totally living up to the hype as the British reviewers said some months ago when it opened in London. There were a number of standbys in the cast this afternoon including our previous guest speaker Sisfiso who played Burr. It didn’t matter. While I recognized Sifiso the others did not register till I perused the program the next day. I was totally mesmerized by the show, the performances and the design. It was a bit surreal watching this show dealing primarily with the American Revolution in London but, the audience loved every moment of this production. Having seen The King and I just a few days earlier made me appreciate even more how far we have come with the musical theater genre. So grateful I was finally able to see this remarkable show and hope to see it again soon.

After the show, I headed down to the National for another production. One that couldn’t be more different but, nevertheless just as intense. Julie with Vanessa Kirby (from the Crown) is an adaptation of Miss Julie by Strindberg. This production was fearless. It left me a bit uneasy at times but did not fail to deliver on the drama. All the performances are strong. I was particularly impressed with Thalissa Teixeira the young woman that played Kristina. She is the smallest of the three characters but, she gave a stellar performance. The production was also populated with party-goers as Julie is entertaining a group of raucous friends and some non-friends in a drug and alcohol fueled birthday party for herself. They come to symbolize the disease infesting the house.

After an powerful day of theater, it felt good to walk home and enjoy the cool evening of London.

Our guest speaker this morning, Sam West.

The Victoria Palace Theater, London’s home of Hamilton (probably for a number of years now).

Opening scene from Hamilton, Image is from the web. I DID NOT PHOTOGRAPH DURING THE PRODUCTION.

The Schuyler sisters in Hamilton, Image is from the web. I DID NOT PHOTOGRAPH DURING THE PRODUCTION.

Burr and the ensemble Hamilton, Image is from the web. I DID NOT PHOTOGRAPH DURING THE PRODUCTION. The ensemble was incredible.

The National Theater on the South Bank.

Marketing image for Julie at The National Theater.

Vanessa Kirby as Julie. Production photo found on the web. I DID NOT PHOTOGRAPH DURING THE PRODUCTION.

Thalissa Teixeira as Kristina and Eric Kofi Abrefa as Jean. Production photo found on the web. I DID NOT PHOTOGRAPH DURING THE PRODUCTION.

I was cool evening as we walked across the bridge home.