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Tony Grist

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What We Did Last Friday [Sep. 3rd, 2008|09:31 am]
Tony Grist
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.

[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2008-09-03 09:51 am (UTC)
I love the eighteenth century Shakespeare - and I think I discern some resemblance to the standard portrait, though with more (or at least, curlier) hair.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-03 11:06 am (UTC)
He's very buff, isn't he?
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From: nostoi
2008-09-03 12:38 pm (UTC)
I was wondering what they were doing whilst the theatre is being rebuilt.

Stratford is one of my favourite places; I love the river-side activities and the river itself, the butterfly house, architecture and that sculpture of swans in a fountain. It's got a lovely feel to it.

We must go up there again sometime, it's less than an hour away.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-03 04:32 pm (UTC)
Stratford is unique- a pleasant English country town with a cosmopolitan atmosphere.

I'm impatient to get the RSC programme for 2009.
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2008-09-03 01:45 pm (UTC)
Beautiful shots. One gets a lovely sense of continuity from that first shot, in that it's easy to imagine a similar mulling about of people in front of theaters in Shakespeare's day.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-03 04:33 pm (UTC)

The Courtyard is constructed very much along the lines of Shakespeare's Globe- with the difference that there's no standing room.
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[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2008-09-03 02:07 pm (UTC)
*stares at that statue*

*starts giggling*
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-03 04:34 pm (UTC)
I think people were giggling in the 1790s too.

The Shakespeare Gallery went bust very quickly.
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[User Picture]From: mummm
2008-09-04 01:36 pm (UTC)
They tore down his home!!! That's deplorable. But the garden is very pretty!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-04 02:22 pm (UTC)
They did indeed. His birthplace is still standing and so are various other houses he's associated with- but New Place- the house he built or bought (I forget which) with the profits from the Globe has gone.

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