Today’s big ticket item is to attend Titus Andronicus at the Globe Theatre. As a result, we left early to have class at the Globe. On the way we went by St.Paul’s Cathedral. It was like most cathedrals beautiful. Since we were in a hurry to get to the theatre, we only stopped long enough to see the exterior and take some photos. Before we left I was trying get a selfie of the whole group on the steps and a nice lady came by and offered to take the photo (see below). Leaving the cathedral we crossed the Thames River by way of the Millennium Bridge which is the first pedestrian bridge built in over a century. It spans the river just south of St. Paul’s and connect to the south bank at the Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre.
We got to the theatre and got coffee so we could have class at the cafe in the Globe. Christina had purchased groundling tickets for the performance and, I must confess, I wasn’t anxious to stand for over three hours and watch any play let alone Shakespeare’s bloodiest, most violent work. In the spirit of having the experience, I felt I should. She said we would need to get in line early to insure that we got right up against the stage. Well, I was pretty sure I did not want to do that since the press on this production has been about how the graphic violence has numerous people to faint. So, if decided I wanted to be first in line to get stand near the back of the groundling area so I would also be able to lean against the rail. Several students decided to join me. We staked our claim and managed to be first in line. Since there was a large group, we determined we could take turns holding the line while we went exploring the area. I went to the Tate Modern with Christina and another student in the class. It would have to be a quick trip since we only had an hour and a half to curtain. That was enough. The Tate is London’s modern art museum. We saw just one gallery but there were several of Picasso’s painting and that was enough for me. (See below). I will go back. We returned to hold the line and let some of the others have a break. I plugged in my ipod and relaxed to wait for the performance. When they opened the gate and let us proceed to the next point, I managed to be the first in line thus assuring the best spot at the back of the yard. Of course, long before this I was already feeling excited about seeing a production in The Globe and my concerns about standing for three + hours had wained somewhat. I had prepared as best I could with shoes, water etc. When we were allowed in we got the best spot dead center to observe the action. Smoke was pouring from beneath the stage. The stage was swathed in black, mournful music and a irregular cadence of drums played until the performance began. The production did not disappoint and certainly lived up to the hype. It was violent (the body count at the end is the highest of any of Shakespeare’s plays) and bloody. The acting was top notch, the effects were stupendous and the production was a marathon. I was exhausted by the end both from standing and watching. Watching the play like that really does make you engage in a way you might not otherwise. You really do become part of the performance and spectacle. Actors were in the yard with us crossing playing scenes or portions of scenes right in front of us. For those, right up against the stage they came away blood spattered. It was an amazing time. From our vantage point though, we saw a different show. As best we could count at least 10 people did faint or felt faint and the ushers brought in wheelchairs to roll them out.
After the performance, we headed quickly back uptown for a group dinner just off Leicester Square – our first time on the tube at rush hour. Packed. After dinner, I had been invited by Vikki to go with her to see a showcase of work by students graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). There were about six and they were mostly costume. We enjoyed walking through and I enjoyed seeing the caliber of work being done here vs what I see in the states.
Vikki and I the adjourned to a pub and pint.
Sorry, the site was not up last eve. We had a bit of a technical glitch.