Thursday, November 26, 2009

London Notes 2

  • Happy Thanksgiving.  Without Thanksgiving to slow it down, the UK has long been in full-tilt boogie Christmas mode.  Inner London is awash in lights and everyone seems to be shopping--for what I'd be curious to know.  We're enjoying the festive mood and clear, cold weather.
  • We forked over $16 per person for tickets to Westminster Abby, which I've never visited.  What stuck with me:  when the place was Catholic, it was (evidently) a far more colorful place, hung with tapestries and brightly painted with frescoes.  Then Henry VIII got his divorce, the place turned Anglican, and it began filling up with tombs of the wealthy and famous.  Westminster Abby = Valley of the Kings.  The ancient Egyptians have nothing on the Brits.  I don't know the story of the little sculptures at the feet of the figures atop so many of the tombs--e.g., a lion, a lamb, a castle, a pissed-off porcupine--but I gather some folk weren't necessarily leaving everything behind, at least not metaphysically.  Religions is strong medicine.
  • Fiona Shaw is athletic, unrelenting and magnetic in MOTHER COURAGE.  Talk about strong medicine.  She and I are the same age.  If I have for myself, on stage or in life, half of Shaw's potent mix of authority of years and ageless bounce I'll try to be satisfied.  She blew the roof off The Olivier.

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