Wednesday, July 20, 2011

all's well that ends well

We started our day with a matinee of All's Well that Ends Well at the Globe. Actually, we started the day with class. But mostly class is me talking and balancing my laptop on a narrow television while the students eat cocoa puffs and pretend to listen. Hard as I try, there's not a lot of exciting things about class, except every once in a while someone confesses a deep and terrible secret, or Daniel tells us about ice skating disasters. But back to All's Well.

This is a really tough play. I saw it a few years back at the National, and I admired it then. It's hardly ever performed because it's basically about a really awesome girl who spends five acts chasing around this total tool she has a crush on. So it's tough for the audience, because you want her to move on to somebody a little more her equal. Someone who will actually love her back. But she doesn't. And then she tricks him into marrying her, and tricks him into sleeping with her, and tricks him into giving her a ring. Romeo and Juliet it ain't. But the National seemed to pull it off, and this year the Globe did as well. Somehow they made us care about this relationship between a charismatic, intelligent young woman and this frat bro she's stuck on. The play was funny, fresh, and surprising. And it's always wonderful to watch plays at the Globe, especially when you can lean up on the stage. Half the fun is the audience. There was a woman who kept flashing her underwear (don't ask - she was old) and a bunch of English schoolkids in uniforms that I accused of being from Hogwarts. Also there was a lady in the audience who looked like a ghost, except for her blood red eyes! I wish I had a picture so bad. You'd see what I mean. Spooky! And funny.

We had dinner afterwards at Leon. They make really great box meals for folks on the go. We weren't really on the go, but we had box meals anyway.

Our next destination was the National Theatre to watch a show called The Mill which was described as a "mind-boggling show performed entirely in a giant revolving wheel suspended above the ground." Sound exciting? I'm sure it would have been! It was rained out. But our sadness turned into sheer joy as we realized we were 25 feet away from the premiere of Horrible Bosses, the new film starring Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, and Jason Sudeikis. All of whom we saw in incredibly close proximity. I don't think I'm all that giddy about stars generally, but whoo boy. I sort of freaked out. Bateman sped by, all 98 lbs of him, but Sudeikis came over for a little chat and took a picture with Morgan. Aniston got by far the loudest cheers, and they whisked her by us pretty quickly, but she was kind and said hello while we jumped up and down like frantic monkeys. This is London. Something falls through, something else pops up. In this case, A-listers. (Look closely. In the crowd behind her are Jaron and Cherie!)
This was proved a second time tonight as seven of us headed to Holborn Station to catch the Richard III ghost tour. When we made it to the station it was raining out of control. Pelting rain. We waited for Richard under awnings and watched people slip and slide all over the streets. Kind of fun, actually. I also had a great chat with Jaron Hermanson, a student I've always liked but never known really well. We sat under a Costa Coffee overhang and talked about life. In the end, Richard III never turned up, though he claimed later that he did. But we were determined to do a ghost walk, so I led one of my own. More of a ghost pub crawl, but whatever works.

Here at the Two Chairmen pub outside Trafalgar we took our phones with ghost apps into the supposedly haunted bathrooms. I didn't get much, except sweet relief at the urinal. We felt that the ghosts may have been uncommunicative due to the Michael Jackson loop on the jukebox.

Darkness had settled in by the time we hit the Silver Cross in Whitehall. We gathered in a back corner table and avoided the waitstaff. We weren't really buying drinks and the kitchen was closed. So we were basically squatters. We huddled around a big oak table and told stories of dark shadows, cackling laughs, and spooky basements.

We ended the night at the Patisserie Pompidou just up from Embankment. I had a pizza. Everyone else had hamburgers or crepes or basic varieties of pompidou. That's code for "I can't remember what other people ate." We found the restrooms here to be spooky as well. Greg and I heard a mysterious beeping! But the scariest story at this stop came from Aubrie, who told us of a terrifying female coworker in sweatpants and frizzy hair who wrote love poems to her and loved slasher movies and bought her a teddy bear dressed like a soccer player. That story took about 45 minutes, but was worth it! And was clearly the scariest of the night.