Sunday, June 24, 2012

Trafalgar on Saturday

...crowd at the bottom of Trafalgar waiting to get into the square ...
one group walks west, one group walks east
After buying my ticket for the theatre on Saturday morning, I went to see how the West End Alive Concert was faring in Trafalgar.

The area was closed in by a wall and there were two doors through which the concert goers could enter: one on the right side of the National Gallery and the other on the left side of the National Gallery.

The first line snaked down Charing Cross Road and around the perimenter of Trafalgar Circle and then wended its way back up to the west door.

The West door entrance line-up went the opposite way, down to the circle and then back up Charing Cross Road to St. Martins-in-the-Fields Church.

There must have been enough concerts in the square for the crowd control police to figure out how to pack the biggest number of people into queues that would work.

telephone booth painted as BIG BEN
can be seen at Trafalgar Circle
created by Mandii Pope
All bags were being search for alcohol, and for the two and a half hours I stood there, watching, the line just kept entering the square, though I rarely saw anyone leaving.

People sang to the music, swayed to the music, some danced on the streets to the music.

... the Jersey Boys dance at Trafalgar...
The performers came on stage – a full dress tap dance sequence from Top Hat.

That was followed by the clip from  Ragtime going on at Regent’s Park, done with actors in black t-shirts

The Mama Mia people were there with their “Dancing Queen” costumes on.

The Jersey Boys were resplendent in their red jackets.

The Wicked people were not costumed but held the crowd spellbound, on and on the performances went -- 7 hours one day and 6 hours the next.

... the Jersey Boys sing at Trafalgar...
The sound was good, and over-laid with the sounds of the streets: Big Ben ringing on the hour, the bells of St. Martin’s chiming a few seconds Big Ben, the sound of airplanes going over head every two minutes, an ambulance siren screaming by ... and the noise from the happy crowd.

At the bottom of the square is another of those telephone booths, this one painted to look like Big Ben. I did go to take a closer look at it.

... flags across from Trafalgar at Canada House ...
At 11:30 am I did the taster tour in the National Gallery again.

I am hooked on that event and was amazed at how few people were there – the smallest crowd I have ever seen – maybe less than 15 people.

Mattaeo's Assumption of the Virgin
“As you can see, we are doing ‘theatre’ in the square today”, the tour guide so, “so we will do it inside the gallery as well, and show you paintings that have to do with theatre and performance.”

What a fabulous hook through which to view a Lorenzo painting (1407), Reuben’s ‘Autumn Landscape’, a work of John Constables and then a Mattaeo, ‘The Assumption of the Virgin’.

Hogarth's Marriage-a-la-Mode
He had chosen paintings that had a theatrical backdrop, or a proscenium arch, or ones that had captures a satirical sequence (Hogarth’s ‘Marriage-a-la-Mode’).

There was a woman in the tour with a wheel chair. I didn’t pay much attention to her until we were leaving the second painting.

I was one of the last to leave to move onto the next spot and noticed that her wheelchair hadn’t moved.

I went over to see if she was asleep ... or dead. Luckily, it was the former and I woke her and told her that the tour was moving on and she should come with us.

I hope someone will do that for me as well, someday, whether I am in a wheelchair or not. I finished off my time in the National Gallery by seeing a new exhibit: Titian’s Flight into Egypt which usually hangs in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, but which has been borrowed by the National for an exhibit that gathers together all/some of Titian’s other work leading up to that famous painting.

That took longer than I thought, and I was getting tired of being on my feet for so long, but I knew ... coming up 8 hours of sitting at Gatz, so I soldiered on past my giving up point, knowing that I would soon be sitting in a theatre and having time to revive myself.

The Titian’s "Flight" exhibit was actually interesting – they showed his early portraiture, then his early landscape work, and then showed how he put the two together in the ‘Flight into Egypt’.

My brother-in-law, Ralph Sabey, told me the truth when he said that retirement is the best of all jobs.

Yes, the best of all jobs, rewarding and exhausting at the same time.


1 comment:

  1. Kelvin's response:

    Way to make me happy! You do find your retirement "rewarding" as well as exhausting! Thanks for sharing the rewards and enduring the fatigue. I have loved the details and am so grateful that you have spent your not unexhaustible energy so unselfishly. xxxooo