So, as some of you know, I went up to Stratford-Upon-Avon again on Wednesday. This marked my fourth trip to Stratford, the first with my college, where I watched Hamlet (starring Jonathan Slinger), and Titus Andronicus (starring Stephen Boxer). I was lucky enough to participate in a variety of workshops with the Royal Shakespeare Company on this occasion, and meet most of the cast of Hamlet. The second was a year later, when I visited with my ex-boyfriend, Chris, and we saw Arden of Faversham (starring Sharon Small). After that, I didn’t visit again until this August, with my friend Jennie. We saw Hamlet (starring Paapa Essiedu) and Doctor Faustus (starring Oliver Ryan and Sandy Grierson).
This time, I went to see The Tempest, starring Simon Russel Beale, who I was lucky enough to see as King Lear at The National Theatre in 2014. I won’t share any photos of this production, as I don’t want to take away from any of the magic behind this adaptation. But I will say that from the opening scene, I could feel that I was watching the future of theatre. The Intel and Imaginarium technology is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I have seen computer generated images projected in plays before, such as in Starlight Express, but this was in a whole different league.
One member of the cast that I would like to mention is Mark Quartley, who played the famous Ariel. This is the third production of The Tempest that I have seen, and that has provided me with a real spectrum of interpretations. I first saw the play at The Watermill Theatre, where Ariel’s characterisation was more like the patient of a mental asylum then a sprite.
Then, I saw Colin Morgan’s portrayal, which made me think of some sort of creepy bird.
But Quartley makes Ariel seem so real. He has such stage presence, that despite the breath-taking images of Ariel that are being created onstage, you can’t help but watch the actor himself. He brought such a physicality to the character, something that I think the RSC are really encouraging at the moment. His renditions of Ariel’s songs were completely enchanting, really capturing the mystic element of the play.
I also paid a visit to University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute, to investigate about my postgraduate options. I know I want to study more, I just can’t decide what. I thought I had decided upon Shakespeare, but events in the past week have left me wondering if that’s how I want to spend the next five years of my life, or whether I should delve into something new?
I feel like I’m at the top of my game at the moment. My writing has never been as good as it is right now, so if I take a gap year, I am petrified that I will lose that momentum. However, I just don’t know what to do next. But anyway, enough of that. Here are some old photos of mine that I completely forgot to share with you guys! Looking back at them has reminded me that there is so much beauty in the world, so much to look at with awe and wonder. I feel like, as much as I love reading, I miss out on so much because of it.