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Tony Grist

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Stratford [May. 25th, 2008|08:39 am]
Tony Grist
We just got back from the Open University Shakespeare Society's day school in Stratford- where we work-shopped scenes from King Lear and a Midsummer Night's Dream. Acting Shakespeare- even if you're doing it really, really badly- is a magical experience. And I'm using "magical" in its technical sense. The way I felt after playing Puck- after a single scene in which I spoke half a line and otherwise kicked my heels and pulled faces- was how I used to feel after doing a Wiccan ritual. Shakespeare takes you into another world- where you are transfigured and bound in close fellowship with the other actors- and it's a harsh experience coming back. 

We did the tourist thing. We walked along the river, visited Holy Trinity- which is a lovely church and well worth visiting quite apart from its Shakespearian connections- and had a very good dinner at The Vinter- allegedly the oldest restaurant in town and the place where Shakespeare used to buy his wine. Stratford is this curious combination of quaint old country town and cosmopolitan centre. I was prepared for it to be tacky, but it's not. You can't cheapen Shakespeare; he's bigger than you are- and this town belongs to him.





 
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2008-05-25 10:57 am (UTC)
The workshop sounds like a great experience. I can imagine you as Puck, actually.
I was also fearful of Stratford being a type of tourist trap but you are right. It's just not. It's lovely, and yes, there are shops, but it's all in good taste mostly and the Shakespeare presence is so strong and alive. I need to return as we had only a very short visit there.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-25 06:31 pm (UTC)
We're booked to back later this summer- and this time we'll actually be seeing a couple of plays.
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