And you thought a challenge week sans the theatre wouldn’t happen… It’s not the same, obviously, but I did at least have two live shows and one new to make it feel a bit more like the real thing. If you were keeping an eye on my diary updates and Insta stories you’ll already have a good idea about everything that went on!
Aside from The Show Must Go Online and CtrlAltRepeat, it was quite an RSC-heavy week. Thanks to iPlayer and BritBox, a few past productions that I wish I had been able to see are available to watch, and this week managing to squeeze in Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and Hamlet gave a good amount of depth; I have a few more that I want to watch before my one-month BritBox trial ends… Also on there is the Donmar all-female Shakespeare trilogy – Henry IV was so good that I definitely have to see Julius Caesar and even The Tempest. Plus I couldn’t let the week go by without a virtual trip to the Globe! The Comedy of Errors was a really good, refreshing moment just over halfway through the week – and an opportunity to feel good about myself by carrying on supporting Shakespeare’s Globe.
Though I didn’t have a blog post for every day, as is the norm, I was trying to balance this with family time and then my return to work after leave so making sure the diary was done was the priority – as well as watching some Shakespeare and listening to a chapter or two of This is Shakespeare each day.
One real ritual was sonnet o’clock. I think this aspect of #MindTheBard went really well; I wrote a brand new sonnet from scratch every night, posting it before the end of the day. They’re obviously not high art at all, I’m not going to kid myself about that, but I am really proud of my discipline in getting them done – and with a modicum of creativity. Responding to Ksenia’s challenge of ‘pigeons’ for the penultimate sonnet was one of my favourites, as things just randomly fell into place for that one. However, I was particularly pleased with my As You Like It themed sonnet, as I followed in Orlando’s lead in using variations of Rosalind and some really dodgy rhymes – it was definitely the best tie-in to Shakespeare, and I surprised myself at how quickly it all came together!
Breakout star of the week was William Shakesbear… As soon as I got back to my room at home in Somerset I spotted him on the bookshelf and had another “brilliant idea”; it was 10 degrees cooler in the West Country than in London, but it was still bloody hot & humid – that did not stop me from doing an entire photoshoot with William Shakesbear in the garden & in various places around the house. Yeah, this has probably been the most surreal challenge week yet…
I did get some posts out, all listed here in case you missed any:
- “Who’s there?” – Hamlet preview
- The Show Must Go Online: Hamlet [review]
- As You Like It (CtrlAltRepeat) [review]
- The Show Must Go Online: “Very proud of our 50/50 gender split and diverse casting” [interview with Sydney Aldridge]
- Shakespeare & Somerset
- “What country, friends, is this?” – Twelfth Night preview
I also kicked off the week in style with a TSMGO Hamlet tweetalong, watching that amazing production with my entire family on a MASSIVE SCREEN and drinking a ‘Rosemary for remembrance’ G&T. You can watch the show and enjoy my commentary (including stellar GIF work) for as long as both Twitter and YouTube exist. Extending the week to end on TSMGO’s Twelfth Night was a great plan – my favourite Shakespeare play, plus another of the team’s party shows! I twinned with Ksenia, ate lemon drizzle cake & drank a ‘Yellow Stockings’ G&T.
There were plenty of blog ideas I couldn’t get round to – and don’t even get me started on the GIANT Microbe set I bought especially – so you will definitely be getting more Shakespeare content from me, either as part of a dedicated week or just whenever I have time & can be bothered.
And on that note…