Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Watching The Lord Chamberlain's Men"

We sat on deckchairs today, a friend and I, beside the City Walls.
We sat in the shadow of the Cathedral on Cathedral Green.
And as we waited for our treat to begin, we heard a choir singing, an organ playing and birds swooped above us in heavy leafy oak trees.

And then our treat began; people passed by, stopped for a while, went on with their day.
A nun paused on the Walls, hugging her shopping as she watched and her eyes giggled.
A girl, beside her, clapped her hands in delight; her African bracelets rattled down her arm, gingery curls danced round her pretty face.
And a tall man with long yellow hair shrieked aloud with laughter.

The "Lord Chamberlain's Men" had come; they were our treat.
They're a travelling theatre company, all young men, who carry on traditions begun when the first LCM company formed in 1597. They present Shakespeare outdoors; their set is plain and effective and their costumes just right.They revise the ideals of the original plays, bringing them back to life with humour and drama and vibrant acting.
Today they chose " Romeo and Juliet" and their words rang through sultry June air, centuries after they were written..

There was the audience: a seriously-moustachioed student following the text ( rarely looking at the stage...such a waste!.)
There was an elderly couple mouthing romantic Shakespearian words...sipping wine and coffee and holding each other's slender, suntanned, gnarled old fingers..
There were thirty-somethings wrapped up in each other.
There was a longhaired mother in a scarlet dress, feeding her baby, her eyes bright beneath a battered sunhat as she stared at the stage...
And there were longlegged teenagers sprawling on the grass; open-mouthed, bewildered, thrilled at this newness, thrilled at the wonder of oldness...

Catch these Men if you can. Find them on


Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Thank you for all this oldness and newness - a true delight to picture it all and in some way capture it for myself :)

5:07 am  
Blogger Carole said...

How come the weather is good enough for you to sit outdoors?

Shakespeare outdoors is a treat. I've been by ferry from Poole to Brownsea Island to watch Shakespeare.

I've also watched 'Macbeth'in the grounds of Christchurch Priory, which is a little closer to home.

9:38 am  
Blogger Stay at home dad said...

Ah but Jan, you obviously weren't looking at the stage either!

10:48 am  
Blogger Jan said...

It was great seeing teenagers gradually realise that R+J was equally as interesting as fiddling with their mobile phones....if not more so!!!

It was a sultry day;one minute bright sunshine, next, dark grey sky.
I had my sunglasses on/off constantly.
It finally decided to rain as the actors took their final bow...

You're quite right!
AND I always do this..!

12:57 pm  
Blogger Suffolkmum said...

I people watch too at things like this. it sounds magical, I love seeing Shakespeare outdoors (his plays, I mean!!) Loved the wonder at the oldness and newness.

2:11 pm  
Blogger Marianne said...

I had a treat organised for last Friday - 'Twelfth Night', produced by my youngest sons's school, in the atmospheric grounds of one of the loveliest old houses in the area. But you know what I'm going to say now.

We ended up watching it in the stuffy smelly School Hall and although the kids did their best, it just wasn't the same. Shakespeare outdoors in summer is such a rare treat.

Glad you got to watch yours outdoors though, interspersed with people watching

4:16 pm  
Blogger Lucy said...

Wonderful! ( Do I always say that here, it feels like I must do...)
I loved the old couple holding hands and saying the lines, and the bright-eyed scarlet clad mother and baby, and the nun, all of them containing a world of possible stories within them.

9:45 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

Suffolk Mum:
I bet there's some wonderful outdoor plays etc in your neck of the woods; I don't know it well but know it's a lovely part of the world.

OH DEAR! But the kids probably enjoyed it anyway.
The 1st outdoor play I saw was " A Midsummer Nights Dream" at Duke of Westminster's Eaton Hall; I was about 13 and the magic of that summery evening still delights me! Sounds corny+naff, I know, but absolutely true...
And anyway, Naffness sometimes brings tears to my eyes...HA! THERE'S an admission...

Yep, JUST as fascinating as the play itself...and with his brilliant skills at characterisation, I'm pretty sure Will S 'imself would've hugely approved of people watching!!

11:44 am  
Blogger Cailleach said...

That sounds magic - you can't beat simple theatre sometimes.

10:15 am  
Blogger Jan said...

Yes, quite agree.

9:32 am  

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