Last night we went to Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Globe – and so concludes our summer challenge.
We’ve witnessed word play and physical comedy, identical twins, star-crossed lovers and women dressed up as men, the American Civil War and the Trojan one. We’ve endured hours of standing, resting my chin on the stage, trying not to pay too much attention to the pain of my feet or my back. And, with the support of friends and family, and buoyed up by the energy that can only be gained from a Pizza Express two-for-one deal, we’ve done it. May to September. In rain and wind. All as groundlings (well, almost all). Romeo & Juliet. The Frontline. As You Like It. Troilus & Cressida. Helen. A New World. Love’s Labour’s Lost. The Comedy of Errors. Young Hearts Season 2009.
It was a different experience this year. We weren’t stewards this time round, so no sneaking in and out during performances. No tabards. None of the vertigo of the Upper Gallery. We needed tickets and frequently forgot them. We sat down at interval, took photos of the sets, each other, and the rain of Frontline introduced a permanent squeak to our camera. We had the opportunity to introduce friends – English and Australian – to the theatre. I had the opportunity to pick ‘Lady’ from the list of potential titles given on the online booking system (which ended up being very embarrassing when we had to get the tickets reprinted at the actual theatre).
Best show of the year – that’s a difficult one. Probably Comedy of Errors for me, or As You Like It. Best modern show was Frontline – I was glad to get the opportunity to see the full show this year, after only being in the theatre for bits of it the year before. I was disappointed by Romeo and Juliet, thought Trolius was an interesting performance of a not-so-interesting play. In terms of sets and visual spectacle, this season seemed to be lacking compared to 2008. There was nothing to compare with the overhanging nets of Timon of Athens, the glowing inflatable orb of Midsummer Night’s Dream. But once again, I was impressed by the way that the actors make Shakespeare understandable, by the way I can go to a play not knowing anything about it, and still quickly pick up what’s going on.
And so, our Globe Season has come to an end, though there’s still Footsbarn’s Christmas Cracker over the winter months. We’ve got other shows coming up – comedians, musicals – but for me, no other London venue quite compares to Shakespeare’s Globe. After all those years of high school English and drama, after all those essays and margin notes, it’s amazing to be part of it.2 comments
Hampstead is one of my favourite places in London. I love Hampstead Heath, the narrow streets, the cafes and bookstores. We we first visited, early this year, I came out of the tube station, looked around, and thought ‘yes, we could live in Hampstead’. Then, as we walked past a real estate office, I read the million pound prices on the advertisements in the window, and I realised that, actually, we will never live in Hampstead.
Still, it’s a nice place to visit. And Everyman Cinema, on Holly Bush Vale in Hampstead, is a very nice place to see a movie. Even when that movie is the latest James Bond, (which I found both brutal and boring, though I know some of my fellow film-goers do not agree), it’s a much more pleasant experience to watch the movie on a two-person couch and in a cinema with waiter service.
At £12 a ticket, Everyman is slightly more expensive than a regular London cinema. But for a special film or a night out with friends, it’s definitely the one I’d reccomend.
Went to West Side Story at the New Wimbledon Theatre last night. It was the final performance of this 50th anniversary production. It was London. It was raining. There were too many people to fit in the foyer, so arriving at quarter past seven, we had to stand outside in the rain while other patrons slowly filed through into their seats.
There’s so many shows to see in London that we’ve adopted a policy of buying the cheapest tickets available. While this technically does mean that we can afford to see more, it often means that we’re unable to see less of the individual shows. Last night, we were once again up the back, near the follow-spots, and the angle of the ceiling meant that we missed some of the balcony scenes.
But while we needed binoculars (on hire for 50p) to see the actor’s expressions, the dancing was enthusiastic and the voices were superb and there was song after song I knew. The second act, in particular, packed an emotional punch and I found myself crying alongside Maria at Anton’s death.
50 years on, the language of West Side Story, with all it’s ‘buddy-boys’ and ‘daddios’, is somewhat dated. But in a city where every week there’s a story in the papers of a teenage stabbing, the plot is sadly still all too relevant.
Last night was Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Globe. I have my photograph on a steward’s pass now, but the fact that we’re volunteering at such a famous theatre still seems slightly surreal. Then again, the fact that we’re in London still seems slightly surreal. I watched the semi-final of The Apprentice earlier, and there were all the people in suits and the Gherkin, and while I’m not looking for a £100K salary, I work in that city too.
I sold programmes at the Globe last night, and showed people to their seats. And between times, I watched Puck run on and off stage, and Hermia, Helena, Lysander and Demetrius fall in and out of love. There were bright pink flowers on stage and an inflatable moon suspended high above the groundlings.
When I took a break, I had to sneak down the stairs and back up again, trying my hardest not to let the heavy wooden doors bang. It felt kind of like sneaking out of class, or being somewhere you shouldn’t be when a lesson’s going on.
When I speak to the other stewards, some have been volunteering at the Globe for four or five years already. I’m beginning to realise myself how hugely addictive this could be.