Saturday, July 4, 2009

Last Couple of Days

The internet connection in our room is spotty, so I haven't been able to post lots, and if I'm not going to be able to post pictures, I won't there.

So yesterday was a trip to Hampton Court, famed residence of the royals since Henry VIII. He had a pimped out kitchen. I mean, I though I had a grill...this roaster takes the cake.

Honestly, though, it was beautiful. The residence itself is a hodgepod of tutor, baroque, and georgian styles, so it's a little peicemeal for my asthetic taste. But my, oh my, the rooms inside are great. Here is Henry's great hall. Looking back, I wish I had took a shot that included everything, but hey, next time, right?

There are some amazing ceilings in the William and Mary part of the residence. Here are a couple of picks. One is from the main entrance of the royal apartments. The other is from one of William's bedrooms. The scene is set to be viewed from the window sill, so it's aparent that William didn't spend a whole lot of time in that bedroom.

Last night, we watched the European opening of L'Amour de Loin at the English National Opera. Quite astounding, I must say. The set was simple, yet precise. I doubt an American director would be able to use it to the extent that we saw in the prodution.

By the way, we almost saw a fight break out at half time. The lights came up and an older, frumpy looking lady who was sitting a couple of rows ahead of us turned around and said "who has that terrible cough?" A younger, 20ish young lady sitting a couple of seats down from us says "I do. I apologize." Frumpy lady says "you need to leave. Now. You should never have come here in the first place." And from there, game on. 20ish girl is screaming "I can't just swallow it, I wish I could!" and frumpy lady insisting that she needs to go. Cranky old man sitting behind 20is girls says "why don't you stop moving around while your at it, it's distracting". Man, these British people take their opera seriously. Funny thing is, I heard her coughing, but it never registered with me, and therefore, never bothered me, either, and I was three seats away from her.

This was the second fight we almost heard. After watching that craptacular performance at the Globe, we walked down to hear a talk by Nicholas Hytner. Very nice guy, very sucessful director. The talk was about his current production of Racine's Phaedre starring Helen Mirren, going on at the national. Well, its the talk-back section of the presentation, and people as asking questions about the set, about the HD broadcast, etc, when an old man says "well, I'm going to bring you back to earth. Why is it that no one can enunciate? I could only hear about 75-85% of Mirren's dialogue. What are you going to do to fix it?" Well, this prompted many booes and hisses, and people saying "bad form", etc...anyway, Mr. Hytner delivers a brilliant, impromptu speech/apology. For me to attempt to recreate it here would be absurd. However, the jist of it when like this
  • We can't achieve 100% audibility and maintain a realistic approach to acting
  • I'm very sorry that was your experience with the show. I truly am.
  • Sometimes, as we get older, we don't like to face the fact that our bodies don't work as well as they used to, which is why we don't get a hearing aid.
Again, I'm doing it no justice here. But understand that Mr. Hytner said all of this in the most respectful, apologetic way possible. We were all in amazement at how completely he answered the question, without skirting the issue.

Bravo, Mr. Hytner, for being a truly classy individual when some of your countrymen are embarrassing themselves.

Okay, time for bed. Off to the toy store tomorrow.

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