(I do not apologize for the title.)
Since my class was a Theatre class, and because we studied/performed about a thousand Shakespeare plays, of course we had to take a trip to Stratford.
We woke up early and bussed into Stratford, where we were abandoned on the side of the road near the Swan Theatre (I joke, we weren’t abandoned, we were just allowed to run free and do what we want). We all had tickets for “Beauty and the Beast” that evening, a new show being put on by the RSC, with robots and stuff. Thinking back it seems almost steam-punkish, but not quite.
(note: the next series of events are in non-chronological order, since – for the life of me – I can’t remember what happened in what order).
My friend J and I wandered around together, finding ourselves at the Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare’s bones lie. It’s a small church, but it’s got a feeling of reverence that Westminister Abbey doesn’t have (feel free to fight me on this, if you want). Also, it’s got Shakespeare’s curse! Mwahahaha!
“Good frend for Jesus sake forebeare,/ To digg the dust encloased heare;/ Bleste be the man that spares thes stones,/ And curst be he that moves my bones.”
We also saw where Shakespeare was born (thus completing the cycle). The house is where he was born, grew up, and he lived 5 years here with Anne Hatheway (not that one, the first one). There are small disks in the room where you purchase your tickets, one for each play, that are really cool and made me want to take a picture of each of them (but I did not, although now I wish I had). There are also actors who help explain what life was like back in Will’s time, while you wander from room to room.
Mostly J and I just wandered around the city. We visited the statues in the park – Shakespeare sits up top with Hamlet, Lady MacBeth, Prince Hal and Falstaff below him. We went to an Oxfam shop and a second hand bookstore. I bought a really cool copy of Frankenstein and J found a first-edition copy of the 5th Harry Potter book (she bought all 5 books while were in England).
Then we went to eat at the Dirty Duck. Now, since we were from out of town (nay, out of country), we didn’t know the dining-procedure. We walked in, sat down at a table and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, after nobody even made the slightest attempt to talk to us, we walked back up to the bar where we were told that we had to order first and sit second. We felt like idiots (hungry idiots), but the food was good. This has led me to always look around when I’m at a new place to see what other people are doing/what the proceedure is. Nothing’s worse than being ignored by the wait staff because you’re too foreign to know what’s what.
Then it was the show, which was interesting and damn well done (what else would you expect from the RSC?). So, for less than 24 hours I was in the same town as Shakespeare (give or take a few hundred years). If I ever go there again, I will definitely look up more stuff to do, although seeing Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Shakespeare’s Grave, and a play by the RSC is a pretty good plan.