So I finally – it had been three years! – made it back to England this August. I visited friends in London and Cornwall and then joined a group of people from my university for a theatre excursion in Stratford-upon-Avon. In case you couldn’t guess from the itinerary: I had an absolute blast!
And I thought I’d share some of it with you. I saw four different theatre productions in Stratford-upon-Avon, all of which I will review here. Here’s what’s in store for you:
- Volpone by Ben Jonson
- Othello by William Shakespeare
- The Jew of Malta by Christopher Marlowe
- The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
These were all productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company and they were performed in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the adjacent Swan Theatre, both of which are fantastic locations! They each have a thrust stage – the kind of stage that expands forwards so that the actors are surrounded by the audience on three sides. I’ve never seen a play performed on one of those and I must say I really enjoyed it. It brings the actors much closer to the audience and it makes it easier for the fourth wall to be transgressed – which in my opinion is what make theatre so interesting and sets it apart from other types of audio-visual entertainment.
But since there’ll be more posts solely dedicated to the theatre aspect of my trip, I’ll now move on to a brief recap of the rest of my time in England.
I spent one awesome and activity filled weekend visiting an old friend in London. It was great to reconnect with her (it had been a while since we last saw each other) and I’m glad I accepted her invitation to spend the weekend with her. We went to all the places, did all the things and I met a ton of nice people everywhere – like that linguist I met at a rooftop party. He’d designed an original study in a field I’m very interested in for his PhD! That might not sound interesting to you, but it had me literally bouncing off my seat with excitement.
On Monday, I travelled to Cornwall, spending one of the few sunny days I’d get that week on a train. I visited another friend there and we were both really bummed about the weather. It rained incessantly and we were stuck inside more often than not. Cornwall is famous for its landscape and beautiful beaches – all of which is just not as compelling if it’s raining the whole time. At one point we even decided to have our cream tea (tea, scone, clotted cream & jam) outside in the pouring rain because we were sick of being chased inside by it. Apart from the weather aspect of things, I still had a great time in Cornwall – although I will now have to visit again at some point because I missed out on so much of the scenery.
The week in Stratford-upon-Avon flew by in the blink of an eye. The programme of the course was tightly packed with interesting activities such as pre- and post-performance talks and discussions, Q&A sessions with some of the actors and workshops (stage fighting, directing and a voice class)…not to forget the actual performances and the -somewhat mandatory – pub visits afterwards. It was intense and my brain was in knots by the end of it from all the interesting input. It was a great experience and since this excursion is a yearly event, I hope I’ll be able to attend it again next year!
…and now I’ll stop with the talking and leave you with some impressions from my trip:
What’s your favourite play?
Have you seen any of the plays mentioned? – Either performed by the RSC or elsewhere?
Have you been to any of the places I visited? How did you like it there?