Today’s plan is to have another relatively low-key Sunday after Friday’s heady (and late) performance evening and a long day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon yesterday. My only real aim today was to attend orchestral mass at the venerable 1400 year old St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is an experience I didn’t want to miss while I’m right here across the bridge. I’m glad I didn’t, as both the cathedral and the mass, which was sung by Aura Nova, the cathedral’s all female choir accompanied by The City of London Sinfonia, were magnificent. A handful of the TSTP colleagues and I attended together and walked into church to the sounds of its beautiful bells and I, for one, came out feeling as if I had had a truly uplifting spiritual experience. I’ve found that some major cathedrals can have trouble distinguishing their house of God selves from their tourist landmark selves, but I saw no hint of this at St. Paul’s, whose staff did an impressive job of making sure that people who were there this morning were there only to worship. Here are some other notable thoughts and images from the past week. As always, click on the individual pictures for captions or enlargements:
Monday started with the ESU’s warm welcome at the beautiful Dartmouth House.
Friday ended with our rain-soaked but still spectacular debut on the Globe stage. We’re not allowed to videotape and putting this experience into words is a challenge at best. I only hope the pictures (and the beaming faces) can somehow convey the magic that was Friday night.
Catching an early bus (I mean coach–there IS a distinction here) to Stratford-upon-Avon from Victoria Station felt crazy after only getting around three hours of sleep, but it now seems only fitting to have gone on a literary pilgrimage to Shakespeare’s home town. I went with a wonderful group of fellow TSTP-ers, attended an incredible matinée performance of Othello at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and enjoyed my first fish and chips on English soil at the famous pub, The Dirty Duck.
I love and appreciate colorblind casting in Shakespeare plays, but honestly, I wasn’t sure how the casting of two Black actors to play Othello and Iago respectively was going to work since a large part of Iago’s power stems from his status as a Venetian insider coupled with Othello’s own insecurities about his “otherism.” It worked though; don’t ask me why. This is easily the best Othello I’ve ever seen.