Well then. I think it’s safe to say that this particular challenge week didn’t go according to plan!
I did do a Shakespeare thing every day, to be fair, and this was the first challenge week to head outside of London for the last couple of shows – so that’s an achievement. I was on the back foot starting on the Sunday the day after The Who’s big gig at Wembley, but I had to do that to plan around the Cricket World Cup (which came in rather handy when I ended up somehow winning a pair of tickets to the final!), and the trip to York was more tiring than I’d anticipated. A bunch of excuses, but it’s my challenge week so I can do what I like.
I’d hoped that The Merry Wives of Windsor would be on at the Globe during my challenge week, but unfortunately I had to wait until the Monday after to see that, so I had to kick off the week with Henry V – could’ve been worse! Was great to be in the yard for this one. It’s always nice to have something a bit different in the evening, so when the Research in Action event came up I knew it was the right thing for this week – and then there was the bonus of former Sunny actor Dom Tighe being part of the acting troupe performing short scenes involving letters. I obviously managed to get two of the big productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream into the week, getting lucky with the weather in Regent’s Park and not chancing the promenade experience at the Bridge, and even had a press engagement that gave me my first theatre trip to Clapham. Shakespeare’s Rose at York was the best way to round off a week of the Bard, with two top notch productions: my favourite, Twelfth Night, and a great classical take on Hamlet – plus some time to hang around Shakespeare’s Village.
I think I definitely ended up saving the best for last: the Bridge’s Dream and my trip to York. Three days of some of the things I love best about theatre, let alone Shakespeare – I felt properly engaged with all three productions, they had a clear focus and executed everything immaculately. Plus it was nice to see Marcello back with the Bard again! The whole week was brilliant though, and can be neatly summed up in the following Shakespearean manner:
On Sunday did I start this Shakespeare week
By watching Harry win at Agincourt,
Then Monday I learned how letters can speak,
It’s the folds, seal, material and more.
My first Dream of the week in Regent’s Park,
A creepy way to show the lovers’ plight,
On Wednesday things got all tragic and dark,
Othello the boxer was out to fight.
Another Dream next, but wild to behold,
Queen T and King O switching up their roles,
Lastly to York, Twelfth Night jazzy and bold,
Monochrome Hamlet, how many lost souls?
From London to York in just seven days,
All in pursuit of some great Shakespeare plays.
One of the odd side effects of seven days of Shakespeare was that I started hearing random lines in my head; Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream were the main offenders, thanks as much to recall from ‘living’ at Emma Rice’s Globe as anything. It made a change from songs being stuck in my head, but admitting this does make me look rather more pretentious than I’d like! (And also crazier, I’d imagine.)
As this ‘week’ has been dragging on, I wouldn’t blame you if you missed a post every now and then. You can have a look through my Instagram stories and #MindTheBard, plus all of my blogs are here for you to catch up on:
- Day 1: “Frailty, thy name is woman”
- Day 2: “By your leave, wax…”
- Day 3: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre)
- Day 4: Othello: Remixed
- Day 5: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bridge Theatre)
- Day 6: Understanding Shakespeare
- Day 7: Playing Shakespeare
- Additional posts: Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre and A Summer of Dreams