Thursday, July 30, 2009

39 steps, and then some

Today we had a free chunk of time before our matinee, and Lisa and I were not going to waste it watching Big Breakfast and whatever else is on BBC1, though we easily could have. Because if there is one thing I miss about home, it's TV. There! And I'm not ashamed to admit it! But we set out on foot for a little stroll, a stroll which I knew would culminate in shopping. So I girded up my loins and off we went!

Here is Lisa in front of the Ritz. Someday we will stay here. Someday when I stop working for the state.

Here is Lisa and me in front of the Marble Arch, except you can't see the Marble Arch because we didn't know how to angle the camera. So we could have been anywhere, pretty much. What I meant to say is that here is Lisa and me in front of the Taj Mahal:

We stopped by Marc Jacobs, and felt special because the doorman opened the door for us, and we were basically the only ones there. We didn't buy anything, because as I mentioned, I work for the state (poor.) But we did walk through Hyde Park and had a nice lunch at the cafe by the Serpentine:

And then the aforementioned shopping happened, mostly at H&M, and I got some new trousers for my birthday. Two pair of trousers, though one of these pairs would later prove disastrous. Having Lisa there was really helpful, as she talked me out of buying some mustard colored trousers. This is why I should never shop without her.

And then we hit The 39 Steps, which has sort of become a perennial favorite. Our seats this time were on the very front row, which I thought would be annoying, but wasn't at all. Instructive, actually, since I was able to see what was happening offstage, and I could see the actors giving each other winks and having a jolly good time. So that was really fun. And I always laugh really loud when the dummy drops at the end (SPOILER!)

There was only enough time between shows for a little shopping, so we went up Regent's Street to Hamley's. It's London's famous toy store. It's kind of like a really huge Build-a-Bear with escalators and a cafe. We got stuff for our kids, but I won't mention what, unless they are reading this. (hint: math flash cards and celery root)

Our second show today was Troilus and Cressida at the Globe. I was sort of dreading this, because T&C is one of Shakespeare's least performed plays. And it's easy to see why. The love story is brief and awkward, it's a war play without any war, and Troilus and Cressida are barely in it. The whole thing doesn't gel when you read it. Luckily, it's much better on stage, and I think most of my students agreed. It's not the perfect play to stand three hours for, but I have to give the good folks at the Globe credit for making it funny, visually interesting, and even musical. There were a lot of tattooed torsos and billowing maps. And I think I've decided that all of my shows, from here on out, are going to end with actors banging on drums: