Monday, October 8, 2012

Shakespeare Staging the World

... see the corkscrew on the side of the lunch menu ...
...fork at bottom / knife at side ...
My compliments to the cruise planner, Greg said to Wyona when he woke up this morning. The three of us split up after we picked up our evening tickets to War Horse– Greg went to see the 2012 Olympic Site (they were taking down temporary buildings, so he didn’t get a chance to see everything he wanted to see); Wyona to shop (she looked splendid in a new outfit tonight) and take a nap.

I went to the British Museum to see the exhibit "Shakespeare Staging the World".

I know when I first knew I loved Shakespeare. I still remembeer James Mason in Julius Caesar at the Plaza – black and white. I will never forget Brutus’s speech, “This was the noblest Roman of them all ...”. I had learned those lines in Grade X as part of an English assignment to learn 10 lines of Shakespeare. I liked Shakespeare when I had to sit by Kelve and help him know what the gossamer wings were in Romeo and Juliet. I was doubly enamored of Much Ado about Nothing, since at the lake it was Charise’s TV and that is all she watched one summer – and so it was for every other cousin who wanted to see something on T.V. I loved the colour palette on screen of the scenery when Burton and Taylor did Romeo and Juliette. Remember how many of us saw MacBeth in the outside theatre – really outside – on a farm just outside of Enderby. At the university I heard Grant Patterson do an hour set of Shakepeare’s sonnets. And that is just off the top of my head, the moments I can remember.

Theatre Royal Promenade
Greg has asked 3 times
if we can go to Shrek while we are here
The British Museum has mounted a display of objects– paintings of people who lived in Shakespearean time, small clips of plays read by famous British actors (Cleopatra’s suicide speech, the patriotism of St. Crispian’s Feast in Henry V, more from Brutus in Cleopatra). There were tapestries, Venetian glass, black marble busts of Othello. I saw Oldcorne’s silver eye reliquary – people tortured by having their eyes pulled out, boiled and then put in a silver box for others to see what happens to thieves. I saw the Robben Island Bible. When I saw Nelson Mandella’s name inscribe therein beside his favorite passage, a tear might have slipped out of my eyelid.

I was topped up with the tears – could feel them at the tops of my bottom eyelids when I stepped into the exhibit at noon– the water there was those fullness-of-life tears, where a person reflects on their life and then thinks – all of those moments I spent in the texts of plays or helping some resistant child with an essay on Shakespeare – and now here everything is before me – all the background knowledge I could have used tin the past and now, here it is, about to unfold.

I didn’t leave until the exhibit guards were coming through, telling everyone the museum was closing.

... a baby buggy filled with flowers at Drury Lane ...
They said, “Please leave. We want to go home.”

So I slipped away to walk up and down Drury Lane until War Horse started.




  1. thanks for telling about this... it hadn't started before we had to leave. will it still be on in March? I hope so!

  2. On a more serious note, my sincere gratitude to you for all the homework help you gave me on Shakespeare.

    The other day I asked if so-and-so had two sisters, Goneril and Cordelia. Julie said, "How on earth can you remember those names from King Lear?" How could I explain?

    Shakespearean immersion as a child.