Thursday, 1 July 2010

In Which we Meet the Man From Stratford

Last night I was at Bath Theatre Royal to see Simon Callow in his one-man play "The Man from Stratford ,about Shakespeares's life.
The play is loosely based around the "Seven Ages of Man" Speech from 'As You Like It', with this used as a starting point for information about Shakespeare's life, interspersed with extracts from various plays and sonnets to illustrate the different themes.

It was fascinating - I've always enjoyed Sahkespeare and have read quite widely about Shakespeare's life - most recently, James Shapiro's '1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare' so I found almost all of the factual material was familiar, although there were one or two little nuggets of information which were new to me - did you know that on his marriage licence, his name is spelled 'Shagspear', for instance? Or that 'puking' was one of the (many) words he invented?
And of course, seeing such a wonderful actor performing even little snippets of Shakespeare was a great treat. We heard 'Friends, Romans & Countrymen', from Julius Ceaser, 'Once More Unto the Breach' from Henry V, 'If Music be the food of love' from Twelfth Night and 'She should have died hereafter' from Macbeth, to name but a few.
All in in, it was funny, fascinating and hugely entertaining and enjoyable - I could happily have sat & listened to much more.
I am no longer much in the habit of hanging around stage doors (I used to, in my youth, when I had more time, and more stamina!) but I really wanted to be able to express how much I'd enjoyed the evening, so I decided to make an exception and wait a little - my patience was rewarded - Mr Callow came out quite quickly, and I was able to tell him how much I'd enjoyed the show, and (and, indeed, seeing him in 'Waiting for Godot' last year. He was very friendly and happy to chat - there were three of us hanging around; myself, a lad named Felix who is going to study drama, and a lady from Australia, and he was charming to all of us - a real gent!
In fact, my only criticism of the evening would be that as he was only here for 3 nights I had to go on a Wednesday,rathert than a Friday, which isn't ideal, in the working week, but despite another late night I have no regrets!
It is probably as well, however, that I haven't anything in particular planned for the weekend - I suspect that some serious catching up on sleep, not to mention catching up on housework, will be required.

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