September 3rd, 2008

What We Did Last Friday

Briefly summarised: we took a tour of the Courtyard theatre and watched the RSC's current production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The Courtyard is a great, big, tin box- featureless on the outside, state of the art on the inside. It's a temporary space- opened in '06 and scheduled to come down in '10- or whenever the rebuilding of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre down the road is completed. Our guide had to tiptoe us round because the company's artistic director, Michael Boyd, was sitting in the stalls filming an interview.

This production of the Dream has no stars and- it's seems cruel to say it- a second division cast. It's very funny, but the poetry goes for nothing because most of the actors gabble. My man Edward Bennett (Laertes in Hamlet) plays Demetrius and is head and shoulders above everyone else.

Here, have some pictures of Stratford...

This is the Great Garden at New Place- Shakespeare's house- which no longer exists because some twat demolished it in the 18th century.

And here's something odd. This piece of statuery was originally positioned over the main entrance of The Shakespeare Gallery in Pall Mall- a short-lived commercial venture of the 1790s, set up to exhibit paintings of scenes and characters from the plays- and now resides in a hedgey alcove of the New Place garden. It represents Shakespeare "seated between the Dramatic Muse and the Genius of Painting- who is pointing him out as the proper Subject for her pencil". I know all this because I inherited a print of it from my grandmother and have always loved it for its bardolatrous absurdity. I was thrilled to discover it still exists- and in such remarkably good shape, considering.