Saturday, 22 September 2012

Shakespeare can be boring sometimes

Yes, I spent the second half of the "Tempest", for which we had tickets at the refurbished main theatre at Stratford upon Avon, walking round Stratford itself, a lovely walkway past the butterfly farm, back along the river and across with the little chain ferry boat - the last of its kind in England according to the plaque at the riverside - and then to meet my other half again as she emerged from the theatre.
I had a much more enjoyable time than in the first half, when I was cramped on a high chair behind a pillar and with my head almost in the roof, with even less space thanks to the inevitable bloke with long legs leaning them over into my space, watching actors shout lines from the Great Man's mysterious last play, dressed in dull grey suits and seeming rather jaded after a long run.
Those early speeches, explaining who the shipwrecked new arrivals are to Miranda and the audience - well, they are boring if you know that bit already.

We'd browsed round a lovely market on the way, bought a few things, had time for a tasty snack at the Duck Inn along the same road as the theatre, before heading for our seats. Stratford is a lovely town, hence the visitors - they don't just come for the plays - and on a sunny late Summer or early Autumn day like this it seemed too much of a shame being stuck inside a dark, uncomfortable theatre watching a play that sent me into a doze for about 20 minutes in the first half.

If you're thinking of going to a play here, avoid the main theatre, refurbished or rebuilt at great expense. Head for the smaller, pleasanter Courtyard Theatre instead, more intimate, more comfortable, and where the actors don't feel the urge to shout everything at you.

Or just go for a walk instead. See the butterflies at the farm. Go to one of the Shakespeare houses, such as Anne Hathaway's with the lovely gardens.
Sometimes, just sometimes, Shakespeare can be really boring, especially when you're not in the mood. So give him a miss. Do something else. Enjoy the place where he was born instead.

Location:Stratford upon Avon

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