Today (Tuesday) was a little more difficult. My cold has taken hold and I can’t break free. So, I decided I needed to sleep if possible. I stayed in my room and tried my best to sleep. I don’t think I did much but, I did get some much needed rest. At 3, Kerri and I went to find a restaurant. By then I was ready to eat something. We enjoyed a good dinner at an Italian restaurant down on Charlotte Street.
We met with the students wanting to head down the National Theatre. This is a longer trek so, we headed over to the Warren Street station. It was 6 pm and the overflow out of the doors of the tube station was a little disconcerting. It was log jammed from people trying to go through the turnstiles. Every time you enter a tube station you must swipe your Oyster card for entrance and swipe it again when you leave to exit. Once we got in the crowd dissipated somewhat. We traveled down to Embankment and walked across the Thames on one of the many bridges spanning the river.
It was very overcast and cloudy since it has been raining most of the day. The weather has been exceptionally cool that last few days and looks to be that way for several more. Reaching the opposite bank we turned left and headed down to the National Theatre. Along the way we were surprised to come face to face with Sir Ian McKellan. Since I was leading the group, I saw him first and had this momentary, “is that who I think it is?” Sure enough it was. As he passes almost brushing my shoulder, I turned to see most of the students also recognized him and their faces were a mixture of astonishment and delight.
We stopped in front of the theatre for quick photo with Sir Olivier’s statue (sorry I cut off his head) and then went into wait and browse in the bookstore before the show. I was still struggling with cold but, I was prepared with mints, water and tissues.
The production was beautiful, understated and incredibly powerful. It reflects many of the mid-century plays of playwrights such as Miller and Williams but, is distinctly British. The performances were powerful especially Helen McCrory as Hester. I saw her two years ago in the very stunning production of Medea. She is reunited with the director from that production. The play is The Deep Blue Sea by Terrence Rattigan. The actors make a strong ensemble and the design is stunning to say the least. The two-story structure evokes memories of the original design for Death of a Salesman.