Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Daily Gripe(s)

Had to let everyone know that tonight, we FINALLY get to use our enormous air conditioning unit that I made Steve rush out and buy in June, which I've since been using as a bedside night some of you may recall, it's size is such that it could cool Belgium. Meanwhile, perversely, the appliances that you use here on an everyday basis were clearly invented by a midget hell-bent on revenge against the British race. Their fridges are little more than picnic coolers apparently only intended to house child-size condiments:

(And yes, Rana, I know we'd have more room for food if we didn't need to dedicate the top shelf to wine). The ovens are what we at home would refer to more accurately as 'toasters'. The washer is a combi washer AND dryer unit that does neither job effectively and takes a full eight hours to do one load consisting of a pair of pants and some underwear.

Anyway, I digress. It was 32 degrees today (89 Fahrenheit), which is a near record-breaking temp for Britain. I was at Shakespeare's open-air Globe theatre this afternoon, where two audience members fainted and had to be carried out on stretchers--Brits, no doubt. These people have no idea what hot really is until they've experienced NY--or anywhere else in the States--in August.

It was a great production of The Tempest and seeing a show at the Globe was an amazing experience which I can now highly recommend to anyone here during the summer months. Embarrassingly, I have to admit that I've never actually seen a Shakespeare play staged before (I know, I know--how was I an English major who spent so many years in NY without experiencing Shakespeare in the Park?) Shame on me.

In any case, in this particular production (and if anyone wants to enlighten me on whether or not this is the norm in America, I'd be grateful), only three actors played all of the 12 or so characters. As there were no costume changes or any other telltale signs--and since my Shakespearean Olde English is on par with my French--it took me about a third of the way into things to figure out that this was happening. Meanwhile, I kept wondering why Prospero seemed to have multiple personality disorder and when the shipwrecked victims that I vaguely remembered from the character list were going to appear. I'm sure now that I'm "in the know", tomorrow's production of A Winter's Tale will be that much more enjoyable.

Last but not least, I will leave you with an incredible and stunning (at least to me) fact about London that I discovered yesterday when I went online to subscribe for home delivery of the Sunday Times. Apparently, you cannot get the newspaper delivered to your doorstep here. You can get home delivery of your newspaper in a backwater town like Cheney, Kansas (population 1,783), but you cannot get home delivery of your newspaper in the cosmopolitan likes of London. So much for cozy winter Sundays spent curled up in my flat with a cup of tea reading the paper. Oh well, I'm not really much of a tea drinker anyway.


Anonymous alona said...

Don't feel too bad about not having ever gone to see Shakepeare in the Park. I've NEVER gone and not only was I an English major, a born and bred New Yorker, but I've even now got a friend who works on the plays and could get me tickets without my having to camp out the night before.
And while I've only seen 1, maybe 2 staged Shakespearean plays, I don't think it's the norm for 3 actors to play everyone but if I recall the play correctly, The Tempset involves many people pretending to be other people depending on who they're dealing with. BUt I read this play forever ago (at least it seems that way) so I could very very wrong.

3:28 PM  
Blogger The Reluctant Anglophile said...

Well that's comforting then, to know that I'm not the only Shakespearean slacker! Thankfully, yesterday's production of The Winters Tale had a full cast ensemble, with each person playing their own character--I was so relieved, because it required too much brainpower to spend the whole time figuring out who was supposed to be playing who every other second, instead of being able to actually enjoy the play!

11:20 AM  

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