Unfortunately, today marks the last day that our class has with one of our tutors, John. Though we know our tutor for the next week, Vicky, is also fantastic, John has been a wonderful facilitator and he will be missed. What is significantly more fortunate is that the last two days that we were allowed to spend with him were spectacular to say the least.
Yesterday morning began with a discussion of a most vulgar and sexually explicit play, Cloud 9 by Churchill. I cannot explain the specifics of this play for the sake of my potential audience, but I can vaguely mention that the play and hence our discussion makes a lot of commentary on identity both sexually and racially, pedophilia, necrophilia, and homophobia. These topics were very forefront in the play and while the play was mature, I am proud to say that our class handled its content with equivalent maturity.
After class, we broke for quick lunch and then we were off to the Old Vic, a prolific theatre just south of where we are staying in London. The theater is currently set up as a theatre in the round, where seats entirely surround the stage on all sides. I was also delighted to know that this hallowed institution’s current artistic director is Kevin Spacey, one of my favorite actors. Though he was no where to be seen at that night’s rendition of the Crucible, I’d like to imagine that he had some hand in the masterpiece that we saw that night. I have need seen a more eerie performance than this before, and between the perfectly chosen music, the tattered cream drapes that adorned the theatre, and the mesmerizing staging, I was completely taken with every moment of the performance. This was perhaps the first modern theatre I have seen while in London, and it has left me a with a craving for more.
The evening after the play, we had a few hours to kill before we headed in for the night, so we decided to take a casual trip to Abbey Road and Regent’s Park. As many have told me before, Abbey Road, and particularly the infamous crosswalk was both entirely underwhelming and at the same time very dangerous as a result of the careless tourists that I made an effort not to be. What did excite me very much about the location though was the existence of a particular webcam of the spot that I have been a long time familiar with. There is a constant live streaming webcam overlooking the intersection that anyone can view in order to see silly tourists posing for the album cover, and I was much more excited to spot this landmark and give my greetings to the internet than I was to actually walk across a busy road. Here is a link to that live stream and a photo of myself pointing at it:
Afterwards, we walked for about an hour more through Regents Park, which was a welcome and beautiful relax from the bustle of central London. It was then that we headed home.
Today, as I said, was our last class with John, and we discussed the History Boys. Afterwards, we took a tour of the National Theatre in London. This building has three, soon to be four massive theatres. Each one plays two shows at any one period of time, so the building is constantly playing 6 shows at a time. After today’s tour, I am absolutely determined to see a show in one of those theatres before I leave. Unfortunately, because it was a backstage tour, I was not allowed to take any pictures. On a cooler side though, I now know that you can rent out old props and costumes from the National Theatre, so I will keep that in mind.
Afterwards, the four of us decided to be spontaneous and just jump on a bus to nowhere. The bus took us through Piccadily Circus where I took many photos (it was chaos) and coincidentally, we ended up near the park where we were yesterday. The trip was well spent however as we found a delicious niche italian restaurant that was tucked away. My spaghetti was amazing, in the cream puffs for desert were like none I’ve ever had.