Published: November 1st 2011October 26th 2011
For theatre class yesterday we were supposed to meet our professor at a pub called the Founders Arms and it was on the riverfront of the Thames River between the Globe and the Tate Modern Gallery. It was really big and there was tons of seating outside and inside the pub. I tried for the first time Strongbow which was a light cider beer and it was actually really good. After spending some time there we traveled over Millennium Bridge which is a pedestrian bridge we saw the oldest building in London that was from the time period in which Shakespeare lived and it is now the Priory Church of Saint Bartholomew the Great.
We actually repeated a lot of the same tour that we took in a previous tour with the history class that we took after we went to St. Paul's and we passed again by the memorial to the guy from Bravheart William Wallace. He was a 13th century Scottish knight who came to the forefront of the First War of Scottish Independence by opposing King Edward I of England. We also walked past St. Paul's and saw the current rioters in front of the church and surrounding it. Well they weren't really rioting but they were protesting as apart of the Occupy Movement which began on wall street. They started in the beginning at the City of London but because there are certain laws there from protesting they moved to the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral. They are doing this to show their rage against greed and inequality. Although they are doing this peacefully we saw a ton of tents and people outside of St. Paul's there were people that were giving monetary donations to this cause but that was quickly put an end to and instead they have a tent for food donations instead. It was something cool to see but I'm not so sure I would ever take part in it. Especially now because as of October 31st the church has ordered the protesters to leave and if they do no do so within 48 hours the case would go to court.
After seeing these multiple sites our classroom went over to the National Theatre to begin our tour. We learned about the history of the Theatre and how it is currently in its third location. The first theatre was supposed to be close to the Royal Festival Hall but construction was stopped after the foundation was laid because there weren’t enough funds. The second spot was at the Old Vic until 1976 when the Olivier theatre was complete. There are two other auditoria in the National Theatre building, the Lyttelton Theatre and the Cottesloe Theatre. We only saw the Olivier and Lyttelton Theatre and the next day we saw the Veil in the Lyttelton Theatre. In the Olivier Theatre the audience surrounds the stage in a little less than 180 degrees. While the Lyttelton is seated in a traditional setting or end-on fashion. I prefer the Olivier Theatre because although it is such a large space you feel so connected as an audience between the balconies and stall seating arrangements. Also, the stage design with the Drum Revolve which is where the stage is literally like a drum where the center of it lifts up and shows a storage option that is beneath the stage. What was really eye catching was seeing how they were able to store props and sets above the backstage that were the size of a double decker bus! What was also interesting in the Lyttelton Theatre was being able to go on the stage and see the props that were used in the play that we were going to see the next day. Going back stage and seeing how a stage set is created and the different stages it goes through was really complex. How they can make wood look like iron and stretch paint like material across a huge set design was neat. Everything is really detailed and organized which makes things go more smoothly.
Tonight we saw the Veil at the National Theatre in the Lyttelton Theatre. I really enjoyed being able to see a production on the stage that I was able to tour the day before. It made it so cool to know where the props were and how they made certain things. Like the tree in the background they actually had a specialist make the oak tree leaves and because Disney took most of them before they placed their order they had to use other tree leaves to fill the rest of the tree out but no one really could tell. The play was set in Ireland in 1822 about an English family. A 17 year old English girl Hannah was supposed to be taken to England to be married and save her family from financial ruin. However she didn't see herself fit for marriage because she was haunted by ghosts of the past and from other peoples past. It seems like it would be a good play but in all reality it lacked plot and wasn't the best of Conor McPherson who wrote and directed his own play. What I did like about this play though is that we were able to have a question and answer session with McPherson before hand. What was weird is that he really didn't give a direct answer to any question and remained mostly down the middle so no one could agree nor disagree with his answers. He did make a point that I liked very much though. "Our life is all an illusion (past, present, and future), otherwise it's meaningless."