Hello to everyone back home!
Today (Sunday), the Metamorphosis cast experienced a truly fantastic adventure in Stratford Upon Avon, the town in which William Shakespeare was born and spent much of his adult life. The day started when we boarded a bus with our tour-guide, Tim, following breakfast. The two-hour ride to Stratford provided unbelievable views of lush greenery and castles as well as a chance to nap before our tour began. Once we arrived in Stratford, we took a quick driving tour through the main sights: The schoolhouse where Shakespeare learned in his youth, the house of his wife Anne Hathaway, and the small chapel Shakespeare would have attended.
We then disembarked and walked to the dell, where we saw a wonderful free performance of Romeo and Juliet by the Shooting Stars, a professional theater young theater company from London. The play ran the emotional gamut from deeply touching to hilarious, and the actors were extremely talented! It was thrilling to see one of Shakespeare’s most famous works performed in his hometown, although interestingly Tim informed us that none of The Bard’s plays were performed there until fairly long after his death. Following the performance, we got a chance to congratulate the actors and the director, and we even invited them to check out The Metamorphosis if they found themselves at the Fringe next week! (photo below of the JCHS Meta cast with the cast of Romeo and Juliet)
Next, we strolled back up Stratford’s main street to visit The Shakespeare Museum and Shakespeare’s birthplace. This was definitely one of the excursion’s high points. It started with a short walk-through museum filled with artifacts such Shakespeare’s original folio and videos presenting information about the writer’s life and clips from performances of his plays. Then we entered the house where Shakespeare grew up, a beautiful old building restored to look just as it had when his family lived there! We heard information from tour guides in period dress, and found ourselves touching the walls and repeating some version of “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe he actually stood here!” over and over again. The experience had an almost magical feel. (photo of Renee, Sophie, Ayelet, and Beth in front of Shakespeare's home.)
Then it was time for lunch and shopping before boarding the bus back to Bankside House. Some of us sipped delicious concoctions from Moo-Moo’s milkshake store, while others purchased all types of Shakespearian souvenirs including books, postcards, pins, candy, and even socks! On the bus ride home, some of us collected even more booty in the form of prizes as we tested our knowledge of Shakespeare in Tim’s Trivia Quiz.
All in all, our day in Stratford Upon Avon proved to be better than even our greatest expectations. Because we’re such “theater kids,” it’s hard to overstate our excitement at seeing this particularly theatrical side of the U.K. that we’ve heard so much about for so long!
In closing, I’ll share some of the beautiful words that we were lucky enough to hear in the performance of Romeo and Juliet today: “Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs; Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes; Being vex’d a sea nourish’d with lovers’ tears: What is it else? A madness most discreet; A choking gall and a preserving sweet.”
Until next time….