They who dwell in th ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.
Yesterday evening we saw an abridged version of The Tempest at the rebuilt Globe Theater. Inside it was gorgeous, all solid wood with (presumably fake) guilding on possibly-marble columns. We stood as groundlings for the whole two and a half hours, but thankfully got in early enough to lean against the back wall. One interesting aspect to the theater is its open-topped nature…and the fact that yesterday rain fell all day. Our spots near the wall put us mostly under cover of the thatched roof, for which I was grateful when the rain started pattering down near the end. Actually, though, for part of the show sun lit the edges of the roof and then later we could see the moon, hazy through thin clouds. The only really bad thing about the show was that my back started hurting more than it has lately. It’s varied between aching and hurting more strongly since before I came to London, but standing for the play really didn’t help. No matter what I do – lay down, sit, stand, carry my stuff in a backpack or over my shoulder – my back hurts. It’s frustrating.
The show…was gorgeous. Only three men acted in the whole thing, supplemented with three women in black jackets and jeans who acted sometimes as props and sometimes as part of the set. The actors had to change roles quite often since the play calls for more than three people, but they did such a fantastic job you knew immediately which character the actor portrayed at the moment. A choir of about six singers provided really amazing music. A rope hung from the ceiling, which represented heaven, and they did all sorts of things with it: climbed it, hung from it, swung wildly from it, used it as a prop. Because it was an all-male cast, the woman was played by a man speaking in a kind of high voice. There was a great scene where Ferdinand asks his beloved for a name, and the actor playing her replied in a deep, manly voice, “Miranda.”
I really cannot describe the show or the theater; suffice it to say I spent half the time with my mouth gaping open in astonishment, a quarter of the time laughing, and a quarter of the time utterly confused (mostly by the ladies in black). At the end the six actors did a wonderful energetic dance, apparently a 400-year-old tradition at the Globe. We applauded long and loud; the crowd loved it. I loved it. If you ever have the opportunity, see a show at the Globe Theater here in London, and walk across the Millenium Bridge, past St. Paul’s, to get there. It’s a great view of the bridge and the cathedral.
I would post pictures of everything up to now, but I cannot seem to log on to set permissions. If I posted pictures it would just look like lots of little boxes with Xs in them. I guess when I get home in seven weeks I will just post a glut of pictures, and you’ll just have to wait until then. But trust me, they’re piling up, and as soon as I can I’ll share them with you.