Archive | July, 2012

Shakesbeer talk

19 Jul

Can you talk about Shakespeare and not get all serious? Can you meet fun people when you’re in love with the great Bard? Some time ago, I’d probably say that Shakespeare is far too serious to be discussed over a beer. And I’d probably think that only scholars do the Shakespearean smart talk. But guess what, if I said that, I’d be really, and I mean REALLY, wrong. But since this year has been seriously Shakespearean for me, I can say that Shakespeare connects people. And not only scholars! When I first started posting on my blog, I thought there’d be hardly any people reading my posts. Why? Because, and now I’m only being totally honest, people are bored with Shakespeare, think his plays are obsolete, or just don’t like him. Nobody can blame those people, high school loves Shakespeare and it’s that awful and painful kind of love. But my love for Shakespeare is true, sometimes may seem a little bit obsessive. And once you reach that obsessive love level, you’re always a nut. A Shakespeare nut in this case, or, in other words, a Sheek. Then I’m a Sheek and suddenly I started meeting people like me. People who are now my friends or at least we keep in touch. And so now I can go to a pub, sit down and chat with friends who share my interests. And I did so when I was in London. I was there with my friends: Filip, Julia, Monika and Joanna, and we were having so much fun. It’s funny, but in some way if it hadn’t been for Shakespeare, we would have never got so close. And in London, we were a perfect dream team.

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Love Electroshock

6 Jul

I went to Roundhouse right after seeing “The Taming of the Shrew” at Shakespeare’s Globe. When I got there, I was already tired and sore, after all I spent the past three hours standing in front of the stage, in sunshine and in rain. But I needed some more energy for the next performance, “The Dark Side of Love”, so I sat down for a moment and then got back to the magical world, to meet the three legendary couples: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Ophelia, Othello and Desdemona.
I was the first one to enter the promenade – Dorfman Hub. I went inside and I was absorbed by the new, wild world. The flashing, bright lights dazzled me for a second. I felt like I could see the voltage flares. I went under a ‘human bridge’ – one of the actors put his hands and feet against the brick walls of a narrow corridor. The electro music was slowly dragging me into some world of insanity. I didn’t know where to go, where to look. The corridor was round, and all of doorways were covered with torn sheets. I peeped through one of the tears in a sheet, I saw a young girl. She stood there in darkness, in pouring rain. She did hold an umbrella in her hand, but it looked rather like a frame consumed by fire, so it couldn’t protect her from the raindrops. Right in front of her, there was a small table. And on the table was a heart. My eyes were running from the umbrella to the heart, then back to the umbrella… I just couldn’t focus on what she was saying, so I went to the next doorway. I stopped there and I heard someone taking short breaths and rubbing his hands. He was right behind by back. I turned to him and found myself standing face to face with a tall, young man wearing a suit. But he wasn’t elegant. His hair was a mess, his face was dirty, and he was barefoot. He didn’t say anything, but he was looking around nervously, rocking. I went back to the doorway, and the second I got there, a beautiful girl ran towards me and stopped no further than 2 inches away from my face. She looked me in the eye and kept shouting in a language that I didn’t understand. And I was just standing right there, shocked, waiting for her to go away. When she did that, I went on. I went past a boy playing a piano, a girl speaking through a megaphone and got back to the point where I first started my journey – under the ‘human bridge’.
And then I heard my most beloved words “To be or not to be…”. On the floor, just near me, sat a girl who was watching all the passers-by, and asking herself the answerless question, wondering if killing herself would be fun. I was listening to her, trying to detect the parts of her lines that actually come from “Hamlet”. I was listening to her, but after a while her voice was drowned out by the sound of metal hitting the cement floor. Just a few metres away was a boy kneeling on the floor, he was wearing a gas mask. He was throwing mines on the floor, moving them around, playing with them as if he was playing draughts. I squatted just near him when he took off his mask, and I was looking at his face when suddenly someone grabbed my arm. I thought it was someone from the staff, moving me to some other place so that I wouldn’t be in the way, but my heart stopped when I was dragged into a dark doorway. It was that barefooted boy, practically carrying me all the way to an unknown place, holding me tight and whispering “Shhhh…”. Then he just pushed me through a tear in one of the sheets and there I was in a small, round hall, watching a film screened on large cloth.
When the actors tore the cloth, somebody started screaming. And we were surrounded. Surrounded by teenagers in love. Girls with boys, boys with boys, girls with girls. Dancing, laughing. They created some kind of relation between them and the audience. We were keeping the balance, getting closer, moving away. We were watching the pain of these young people, the hard falls of their first love. So much pain. So much violence. “You’re my air”, one of the girls said these words to a boy, and the next moment she was on the floor, pushed away by her dearest love. I was trying to turn my back on everything that was going on, but the image of contempt just wouldn’t get out of my head. I felt tears coming to my eyes, I held my breath, unable to control my crazy heart. And then I saw a heart, a real one, a dead one. A thin boy came out of the dark doorway, holding the heart in his hand, blood was dropping on the floor. He put the heart in a jar filled with water, and then they all disappeared.
It’s just a performance, it’s just theatre, I know that, but never before have I been hurt by a show. I was moved, or amused, but watching a performance never hurt me. And “The Dark Side of Love” really did heart, like I was pinched in the heart. I knew that being in London would enable me to ‘touch’ live theatre, to see something experimental, but I never expected to see something like that. And I wasn’t expecting to react in such a way as I did, either. The last performance of “The Dark Side of Love” will be shown on the 8th July, so hurry up, you still can see it. It’s really worth it to let yourself dive into this narcotic world of crazy teenage love, to feel electrocuted with this ‘high voltage’ between two actors. It’s a beautiful, and dangerous, world.

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Around the Globe

2 Jul

When you’re in London, you surely know that there are some must-see places, like the Tate Gallery of Modern Art. But for me even sitting on the lawn in front of the Tate was just a nightmare. It’s not that I don’t like art. It’s just that I was sitting there, while an inner voice in my head kept shouting “go on, just a few metres more, the Globe is in the neighbourhood!”. We finally made it to my destination, and the moment I saw the theatre, I grabbed my friends hand and whispered, “Monika, Monika, he was here, Shakespeare was here”.
Before I got inside the theatre, I had to stop for a while. Well, how could I go back home without a picture with Shakespeare? I’d had a perfect occasion to take such a picture before, but somehow nobody thought of it at that time. There is a beautiful portrait of the Bard on the Charing Cross underground station. When I first got off a train and saw that portrait, I stopped there, put my hand on his cheek, and laughed, saying “why are you dead now that I love you?”. I like being a psychofan, it’s funny. But now back to the Globe. So I stopped right there near the poster. And I had to stop for plenty of reasons. Firstly, it was such a creative image of Shakespeare. I’ve got quite a collection of similar drawings at home, so that one had to be in my collection, too. Secondly, it was pink. I like pink. Finally, that moustache a la Shakey. I once wore such a moustache on my friends’ birthday party.
When I finally got back to reality, we went to the theatre to collect our tickets for “The Taming of the Shrew”. And then we ran straight to the shop to spend all the money we had left. And then I just burst into tears, typical. I get emotional = I cry. When I thought that I was starting to cry a river, I started blinking and taking deep breaths to calm down. Then back to shopping. And once again, as always, I fell in love with Hamlet. A beautiful copy of the first folio was right there waiting for me. And it still is waiting, there was no way it would fit into my suitcase. But this wonderful “Hamlet” will be mine.
I’m really glad that I didn’t go to the Globe on my own, I was there with my friends. Our London dream team was missing one person, but emotions can be shared on the phone too, luckily. And it was all about emotions. And the performance – a masterpiece. There wasn’t a single spare seat, I was standing in the yard, about 3 metres away from the stage. Everything was so close. I was getting impatient waiting for the show to start, when I heard the drunken singing of some charming man who got onto the stage, pissed on a pillar and some people from the audience, and passed out drunk. Someone from staff came to carry him out, and at that point I had no idea if that was happening for real, or maybe it was just part of the show. But it was a part of the performance, luckily. I can’t, and I don’t really want to, tell you all about the play. I hope that everybody gets a chance to see at least one performance at the Globe. The main character, beautiful Katherina, was, let me (mis)quote: the angriest wench ever (the actual quotation wasn’t as subtle…). “The Taming of the Shrew” is the most outrageous of Shakespeare’s comedies, and it’s just brilliant. I was laughing so hard that I started crying. The actors were excellent, and so was the audience. We were shouting, clapping our hands, we were  a part of the show. Not a disturbing part, more like fans, and we were cheering for the love of Katherina and Petruchio. We didn’t even care about the rain, all that mattered was the amazing atmosphere. I’m so coming back to London to experience such a thing again. Since “The Taming…”, my world’s been centred around… the Globe.

photo: Manuel Harlan for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
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