Monday, May 3, 2010

Hail, hail, hail!

So Saturday started out with a freezing cold trip to "The Monument". Sounds ominous right? It's actually this HUGE pillar in the middle of a random intersection off the beaten path that's like 310-steps high and is dedicated to remembering some huge London fire. After a careful reading of the inscriptions and whatnot, this monument was NOT erected in honor of those that died or or lost their homes or anything. Oh no. It's a monument dedicated to the fire itself.
They are honoring the flames that engulfed the city. Not it's victims, the flames. Wierd right? Well, from there we went on what Lance and Rodger deemed a "Shakespeare walk" which was supposed to have us wandering all over the Borough market district of London seeing important stuff that Shakespeare mentioned in some random history play that no one likes. It's about as cool as it sounds.

We did see a nice replica of Sir Francis Drake's ship "The Golden Hinde" and the original spot where the Globe theater used to be. Well, where they think it used to be. Yeah. It was a less than eventful trip. But thats ok. We put Rodger in charge of navigation for a small group of us and we got lost a lot and it was hilarious. So that was fun. We also had like 30 minutes to wander through the Borough St. Market which is an INSANELY crowded open-air market where they sell lots of random things like mushrooms, and Greek food and lots of things in jars that don't really seem to be edible but apparently are.

So after that meandering adventure came the REALLY cool part: "Macbeth" at the Globe (or the reconstruction and relocation of the Globe). This production was AMAZING. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty bitter about having to be a groundling (meaning we had to stand in the pit the entire 3 hour show). But we get there and this was no ordinary groundling experience. The director had inspired her production with a painting of Dante's inferno depicting the 7th level a hell a place where everyone is undead and frozen in a lake of eternal black torture.
So they covered the Globe stage and pillars in black fabric and spattered it with blood. And the really cool part, there was this big fabric membrane thing with lots of holes cut in it and the groundlings put our heads through the fabric so we were essentially these undead souls in hell with our heads floating in the "ice". It was SWEET!
So there we were, standing in the 7th circle oh hell waiting for the play to begin, when this ominous bell starts tolling and the three actresses playing the witches start running back and forth under the canopy of fabric so we can't see them and they are poking us and pinching and cackling. Creepy! And these were no normal witches, one was an old woman, one was a young-ish woman who was obsessed with drinking blood and the third was a midget (or little-person, whichever term is better)! They were crazy! Then! Incase this wasn't creepy enough, the witches moved onstage and there were these large holes in the fabric that we had to leave clear, and from those holes burst these half-naked men literally DRIPPING in blood! They burst out and starting writhing and screaming in torture as the witches laughed and mocked them. It was SOOOO cool.

Now here's the best part: when we first walked into the Globe, Christian suggested we move as center stage as possible. Good idea right? So we stop at a spot directly next to one of these larger openings. And it had this metal frame around it under the canopy so that people didn't stand there and we assumed it wasn't gonna be used for anything so we thought "Cool, we can rest our arms on this."
The picture shows exactly where that large hole was. So imagine my suprise when a screaming, bloody, 20-something year old pops out and begins to writhe and twitch, literally, on top of me. I got blood on me. IT WAS SOO COOL! They also used that same hole for the midget witch to pop out of at intermission, a bagpiper, and the oldest witch during the cauldron/apparition scene popped out of it and placed crowns on our heads. I got a free souvenir! They also had Macbeth burst out of it at the very end when he was in hell. He crawled under there with the witches and I could see them getting him all bloody and ready to pop out. They got blood on my jeans, but it's ok. It was TOTALLY worth it!

The production itself was incredible, besides the bloody bodies everywhere. They used lots of blood onstage too. :) It was an AWESOME production. I kind of want to go back again. It's only 5 pounds and totally worth it. There was only one downside. As the play went on it went from very sunny skies to greyer and greyer until around the middle of act 5 it started raining. And not just rain. Hail. It was literally hailing on us in hell. Hahaha. We got frozen and drenched, but it was worht it!
At the very end, once Macbeth is dead, Macduff comes onstage and starts a speech with the words "Hail, hail, hail!" He decided to make a joke out of it and made a direct reference to the hail outside. It was sooooo funny. The whole audience was rolling. It was SUCH a cool show!!

Anways, after being soaked to the bone, we all took off in separate directions to see shows that night. I was gonna go see "bash: latter-day plays" with Heidi, Andrea, Richie and Rodger, but they all bailed so I went alone. So I got on the train and wandered up to Camden town for a while. I got there early so I wandered the streets to find an underground music festival going on! I just kinda dallied around and listened to some bands play and got hot chocolate.

Then I went to the show. I talked before about this theater, but inside was even cooler. It was a small converted gymnasium that say maybe 75 people all together. When I got there, I was the ONLY person in the theater who didn't know everybody else there. It was really neat. I met a bunch of random middle-aged people and it was really neat. The show was really good too. Some of their American accents were questionable at best, but that's ok. We struggle with British ones, right?

I really enjoyed it too, because I got a lot of nuance stuff that I never had considered before just reading the play. It was great. Afterwords I met all the actors (and one nice actor tried to take me back to his flat with him, which I politely declined) :) It was a great night.

So it was a REALLY long Saturday but SOOOO awesome. I love that I can see all this theatre and have such a good time here. I hope to see as much as I can while I'm here! I'm so grateful to be able to be on this trip and have this truly once-in-a-lifetime experience :)

1 comment:

  1. That tarp...or the black icey sea in probably one of the coolest things I've ever heard of. Do you think I'll be able to have a giant black tarp over my audience when I direct at a high school? :) You should tell me more about Bash! Email me or something. I just want to hear about it! haha