We enjoyed a cultural weeked away, did Mrs P and I. There was something very Mexican and something very English in it for both of us. First stop, Shepherds Bush Empire to watch one of Mrs P’s favourite Mexican bands, Cafe Tacuba. Shepherds Bush is a part of west London that has yet to be gentrified, although the flashy new Westfield shopping mall is perhaps a first step in that direction. I quite like Shepherds Bush. It’s like a lot of the London I remember from my childhood. Edgy, alive and full of character.
Yesterday, the Globe Theatre in London was graced with the presence of Viscount and Lady Denness. Disappointingly, there was no red carpet awaiting us. On the plus side, we weren’t arrested for attempting to pass ourselves off as nobility. We simply had to rub shoulders with the hoi polloi and watch the show alongside everyone else. The show was Taming of the Shrew – a Shakespeare play, of course.
There are two ways to do Shakespeare. As he wrote it then, and as he would have written it today were he alive. These are two very different languages. It should be said that old Willy created hundreds of brand new words during his career – so even if he were a 21st century bard, there’s no guarantee it would make any more sense.
The play is performed in olde English of yore. I’m in two minds about this. On one hand, the Globe Theatre is a reasonably accurate recreation of (one of) the original theatre. It’s meant to enable us to travel back in time for a few hours, to hear and see it as it would have been done. On the other hand, the audience is far more cosmopolitan that would have been the case in the 1500’s. And I suspect many come for the occasion as much as the play and may get a bit lost in the language. There are digital displays on a couple of walls, which run through the script, to allow us all to keep up. Although perhaps a translator would be a better idea. Having said that, I did keep up with the storyline and I suspect most others there did too.
Mrs P and I went to the show with a little trepidation. Neither of us are Shakespeare fans. And we had standing tickets. Neither of us are fans of standing still for hours either. Other reviews, admittedly of other plays, weren’t all positive. But was the play any good? Fantastic. Brilliant. Hilarious. The actors were superb and their performances blew us both away. Anything lost in language was more than made up for by the acting.
I throroughly recommend going to see the Taming of the Shrew. I cannot speak of any of the other plays which are regularly put on. The big decision is whether to sit or stand. By choosing the standing option, you do pay just a fiver, as opposed to a score. And, if you’re early you can lean on the stage. Plus, the actors regularly charge through the yard, so you might even get to participate. But then….standing for three hours is pretty tough!
Photography is allowed, but only during intervals. I got told off for taking the snap below, when the minstrels took the stage prior to part two beginning. But then, I’m used to being told off. I have a shrew of my own. Be in no doubt, I went to see this play to take notes and learn, not solely for purposes of entertainment! The other handful of photos are on Flickr.
When I’ve travelled abroad, I’ve gone to see things that I would find most objectionable. Bull fighting in Mexico City, for example. In a couple of weeks I shall do something similar here, and go to see innocent people tortured for several hours. I am going to go to the Globe Theatre in London and watch a Shakespeare play. The Taming of the Shrew, to be precise. I’ve mentioned my dislike for Wills before on these pages. I’m in the minority, I know. I won’t rehash my reasoning today though.
I suspect I’ll enjoy the play though, and the occasion too. I’ve decided to ‘play along’ with it all and get myself into character. You see, here in Blighty we have so many more choices when we book tickets to go out. We don’t just get to choose the seating. There are other options available. And let me tell you, I don’t see why I have to be boring old ‘Mr’ every single time I book something when there are so many more glamorous salutations to choose from. Mr Denness will not be visiting the Globe. Allow me to introduce you to Viscount Denness. I could have gone for a more senior noble title I suppose. But I just like the sound of Viscount. It looked good on the tickets when they came to. I could get used to being a Viscount, very easily.
Now, one truly hopes that the Globe appreciate such prestigious patronage and will afford me the rightful amount of respect and reverence upon my arrival. I’ve seen how the stars are greeted at the Oscars and I expect nothing less. The Globe might have been built upon the principles of 16th century England, but there’s no excuse for their tech not to be 100% up to date. Communication is everything, and if they don’t have a business engineered telcom system that’s up to snuff I suggest they seek out a fixed-mobile convergence here. People are going to be making calls in to get things right for me, and those calls need to be answered at the right time by the right people. The latest tech makes all this perfectly possible. But I don’t want my ticket prices to go up, thank you very much, so the value they offer with hosted calls will suit us all.
They will need it. I want carpet, hosts to remove our jackets and see us to our place, I want drinks pronto and of course I want to hear slavish ‘yes, your lordship’ as an answer to my every whim. You know the routine. I’ll say jump, they’ll ask how high. Etc. Of course, there is an alternative ending to this story. There’s probably a law against pretending to be a noble. Maybe I’ll be greeted at the gates by police and carted off to the local nick! Although that really would require a complete and utter lack of humour whatsoever!