Friday, July 23, 2010

on your feet

I warned everyone last night that they would on their feet all day today. And I wasn't kidding. We were. What I didn't know was what a fun day it would be regardless. It's amazing how effectively sore feet can be placated by a snooze on a train, or the right baguette at the right time.

We started the day with a workshop at the Globe. We were met in the lobby by Nick, who has no recorded last name. Nick was great. First he took us into the Globe Theatre and talked about the design of the space while two men did a courtly dance onstage. One of them was goateed and wearing an elaborate Elizabethan gown. It's sort of par for the course at the Globe. In the meantime, techies buzzed around the stage affixing tree branches to things in preparation for an Anne Boleyn play. Nick answered questions, made jokes, and then took the students downstairs for an original performance workshop. He had the students perform snippets from Julius Caesar and was very impressed with their acting. Uh, welcome to UVU, Nick! These aren't amateurs. These kids are the real deal. These here kids got it.

Then we were off to Hampton Court - a place I haven't visited since my first study abroad in 2006. The last time I went to Hampton I had Lisa with me, so I was a little lonely for her. Especially when we walked through the leafy tunnel outside the Privy Garden. Because we totally made out in there, y'all. Anyway. This year they gave us the option of wearing long velvet robes while we were in the Court, and you KNOW WE ALL WORE THEM. As the day wore on I realized we were the only people at the entire court who wore the velvet robes, but there was no visible shame among the group. And then we put on headphones, counted 3, 2, 1, (nodon'tpressplay!!!!) and tried to take the audio tour at the same time. It's more fun if we all get the stories at the same time. Until we got bored of the stories and just explored on our own.

Once we made it to the Great Watching Chamber we saw these huge stuffed pillows on the floor, and so Daniel, Nick and I sat down on them for a breather. And then we kind of laid down and went to sleep. So I'm sure other Court visitors loved walking into the Chamber and seeing three grown men wearing red velvet robes asleep on the floor. We snoozed for a bit until we were awakened sharply by some troubador who announced that King Henry was coming with his new bride Catherine Parr. So we all jumped up and then promptly dropped to one knee as the King and Queen passed through the room. And the Queen made us her servants, took us out to the Base Court, and made a bunch of speeches. I didn't make any of that up.

This guy's job is to try to get the crowd to make noise. You don't have to ask us twice!
The gardens at Hampton Court are fantastic. They are sort of Versailles-lite.
The maze is fun, and can also be traumatic:
Also you can see the world's longest living vine. (No photo.)

Tonight we saw The Comedy of Errors at the Globe. I wasn't sure how good of a show it was going to be, because it's a limited engagement and there weren't any reviews to go off of. Luckily it was kind of brilliant. The Comedy of Errors is about two sets of twins, and generally you try to cast two actors who look alike. This show only had eight actors playing all of the parts, so two actors played both sets of twins. How they had enough energy to do this I will never know (drugs?) But I haven't laughed that hard at a show in a while. Funny, innovative, creative, and such specific, trained acting. My students loved it, and I was so happy that this could be their first experience at the Globe.

I have to mention this usher at the Globe. She was the Target Lady, if the Target Lady was an usher at the Globe. She had this tiny little English voice, but with all of this energy behind it. She would tell you how to find your seat, and when you found it she would clench her fists and say "Grrrreat!" It's actually not that hard to find your seat at the Globe, but she was so excited when you did regardless. And I genuinely love anyone who takes great pleasure in their job. She was so fun to watch in action.

I took a different route home tonight from the tube stop because I was slightly detoured by a mandatory trip to McDonalds. I had to have it. And then I wanted to find a shortcut home. What I found were some really charming streets in my own neighborhood that I had never seen before. And I felt lucky, like I had really discovered something.