I have been to the Globe twice this summer (to see Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing) and enjoyed both times immensely. I’d never read either of the plays (just looked up the plots on Wikipedia) but I loved the experience of seeing them live.
So when this opportunity arose I jumped at it. My local cinema was broadcasting a live performance of King Lear – the first time the Globe Theatre has done so.
I was impressed – the cameras always gave you a clear view and you got a good indication of what it is like to see a production live. Obviously not as good as the real thing but the equivalent of standing in the crowd near to the front of the stage. Picture and sound quality were very good and you got to sit down in a comfy seat for three hours in the warm. There’s a lot to be said in favour of that on a chilly September evening.
All the actors were very good in their roles, with the main character of Lear being portrayed brilliantly. The play, despite being a tragedy, did have a number of barbed lines by the King that raised a laugh, mainly at the expense of his wayward kin. Maybe it’s the fact that I have daughters myself that made things ring true. Hopefully my vanity and conceit are not great enough to kick off events such as these.
When I booked my ticket it was around £18, which is only a bit cheaper for me than going to a performance if I bought a standing ticket and paid my travel costs. Still, that’s only because getting to the Globe is a possibility for me. By the end of the event I thought it was a fair price to pay, especially given the small number of people at the showing, the price of tickets to the event in general and the opportunity you are given to attend a show that you most likely would not be able to get to see otherwise.
I would definitely go to one of these cinema broadcasts again for other events and I would like the Globe to do this again for other productions.
I’ve never had a particular interest in Shakespeare but earlier this year we did a family tour of the Globe Theatre, situated on London’s Southbank. We had an engaging guide and this led to taking my daughter to see a rather unconventional version of Romeo and Juliet. I had a rough idea of the plot, but in that moment the play came alive.
The one problem we had was that – despite paying for pretty expensive seats – we had an obscured view. A wooden pillar a couple of rows in front meant that I spent most of the time leaning to the right a bit to make sure I had a good view of the stage. The person next to me was very obliging.
Still, in the afterglow of the performance I booked to see Much Ado About Nothing. This time I wanted to be in the midst of things, in with the crowd, exposed to the elements, up close. This meant a couple of things:
- I got a ticket for £5 (!)
- I went on my own as my daughter refused to stand for 3 hours
Anyway, I got my clear viewpoint:
Being that close is a fantastic experience, a visceral connection. You get a face full of smoke. The gunshots ring in your ears. At times I had to shuffle forward as the cast passed through behind me to get to another stage in the crowd.
The performance was stunning, vibrant, poignant, funny. The play is set in Mexico, 1914, and was performed with such energy I completely forgot that it was in Shakespearean English and just enjoyed the spectacle:
At the end you feel elated and with the sense that you must have just seen the best show in London.
At the time of writing (mid September 2017) there is still time to see the production. If you can get tickets, I urge you to go even if you think that Shakespeare isn’t your thing. After seeing this, it will be.
Next year I will be back, regardless of what is showing.
In March 2017 I made my first visit to New York – a mammoth weekend of exploring, eating and freezing my ass / arse off in temperatures of -6C (wind chill -12C). A non-stop, full-on joy-fest with my brother that took in a lot of the main sites.
But of everything I saw, one thing stopped me in my tracks.
We went in to the Met museum and whilst exploring the Modern and Contemporary Art section I came across “America Today” by Thomas Hart Benton. I was not familiar with either.
Read more about it here.
If you find yourself in New York, do not miss this mural in particular and the museum in general. Both are superb.
Feast your eyes on the following…
Earlier this week I went to the Barbican Centre (in London) with my daughter to see the current exhibition “Digital Revolution”.
I had looked at the website but I still was not sure what I was really going to find. The thing that I was interested in most of all was DevArt, which is billed as “a celebration of art made with code” (unsurprisingly in association with Google) .
When you first walk in you have a concise history of computers, games consoles and some early music equipment, and it makes you wonder if this is going to be the focus of the whole event. However, as you progress through the various areas one thing that really comes across is that this is an art exhibition – the fact that the tools used are digital is largely irrelevant, but at the same time the defining aspect of the pieces. These works are art – interactive, involving, breath-taking, fun.
Of all the parts of the exhibition, the only aspect that was a disappointment was DevArt. Here the pieces were interactive but several did not live up to expectations – the effects did not work as well as hoped or some of the interactive software was too complex and it was not clear what you had to do. We did not experience this anywhere else.
Below are some videos I shot as we were going around. Taking pictures was not possible as the darkness in most areas made the images from my phone go far too grainy – besides, still pictures would not do this exhibition justice. Most things here move. Video is the way to go. Hopefully the clips will give you the desire to see more and go to the exhibition itself if you can. It is excellent value for money and definitely one for children too.
Here are some highlights:
Sound & Vision has many interesting items, in particular a look at some special effects from the films Gravity and Inception…
… and a full-on audio-visual experience from will-i.am:
State of Play, with its main feature The Treachery of Sanctuary (three large white screens that take your movement and add some avian magic) is one of the standout installations:
Finally, this is probably my favourite. “Marshmallow Laser Feast Forest” is not in the main building but a five-to-ten minute walk down the road; even so, do not miss this. You enter a dark room. It is filled at intervals with many long black vertical tubes from the top of which shoot green laser beams. You walk through the “forest” tapping the “trees” as you go, each pole giving off a musical note that slowly fades. Brush a number of trees and you experience a gentle musical dissonance. If you ever fancied yourself as a ringer of small bells this is right up your street.