Saturday, 23 March 2013

Home alone

I've been left home alone, since Matthias is raving it up in the Fatherland, and Jamie is off doing fieldwork in Sweden. Luckily Becky is still around, since I definitely would have locked myself out this morning had it not been for her lending me a key once we got to the library, meaning I could avoid this face for now: 

Over the last couple of weeks I've mostly been adventuring in academia, and not much else, not even frisbee practice, which is slightly sad. Unfortunately my battles into the underfunded world of arts research has been short lived. But it's OK, because I am planning different adventures, either into the job market, where I would like to find something that will keep me busy 9-5, Monday-Friday, so I can spend the rest of the time reading and thinking, because I just haven't gotten enough of that yet. Or into the actual world, do some TEFL and some nomading around Africa with my PoCo course mates. Both of which would be exciting and enriching in their own ways.

However, in my attempts to be an interesting, cultured and well rounded individual I have done some of that going to the theatre stuff, which is actually the main point of this post. Not that you might have guessed.

I went up to Durham to stay with some friends for a couple of days, which I've actually done a couple of times now because I have an incredibly accommodating friend who lets me stay in her house and generally looks after me. She is pretty amazing. Also, we look pretty similar from behind. Fun fact.

Anyway, so I went up to stay with her, and while I was there I got to go see another friend in a musical adaptation of the Sweeney Todd story. But not the one you think. It was actually really cool, they did that walking theatre business everyone seems to be so into at the moment. My guide through Fleet Street, otherwise known as Durham Indoor Market, was called Mildred, and she was utterly delightful in a toothless kind of way. We got to see various people singing and acting and we got pie and ale and it was generally brilliant. If you'll allow me to be ponce-y and English student-y for a moment, I thought it was really interesting because it broke down what it meant to be in the audience of a musical, due to the audience participation, which didn't seem forced and actually furthered the plot, and also I thought it was interesting that the musicians interacted with both the actors and the audience, which is unusual since usually they at least get relegated to the pit where they belong. Despite the fact that some of the singing was a little, um, raw,  I genuinely think it was one of the most innovative and fantastic things I've seen in quite a wihle. Granted there were some flaws. The narritive structure was interesting, although in all fairness, the suspension of dis belief was such that I didn't really notice until after I left. Also, it was a little bit distracting to see one of the flautists having a technical moment half way through a song. And, worst of all, some fiendish scamp stole my pie!

I also got to watch the Durham Choral Society sing Bach's Magnificat and Beethoven's Mass in C in Durham Cathedral. Which was absolutely spectacular. I don't really know enough about music to comment on it in detail, but it was one of those things where you realise how wonderful classical music can really be. And it made me disproportionately happy. The choir was amazing, the soloists were pretty fantastic, and it was all just wonderful.

Lastly, back in York, I went to go to see the RSC's travelling production of The Winter's Tale. I have a soft spot in my heart for The Winter's Tale since I was in a production of it back in secondary school. I wasn't too impressed with the first half. Sicilia was oddly Persian, with the men increasingly dressed in suits as the psychological drama increased, which was interesting but seemed almost a little token. Maxmillian was brilliant. And I thought it was super interesting that the only not white actor in the production was cast as Paulina. However, the second half was absolutely brilliant. There were inexplicable sherlock costumes, lots of bawdy humour, a random lady wandering around playing the bassoon, morris dancers, and lots of silliness. The way Shakespeare should always be done really!

I can't think of an interesting and satisfying way to end this post. So I might just leave it there.  

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