Hello from Stratford-upon-Avon!
We have just arrived in the birthplace of William Shakespeare.
Before we left London, we saw our second play, Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen. We had all read the play before we left home, and it was interesting to see how this production interpreted and performed it. The play follows Hedda Gabler, the title character, after her honeymoon. She struggles with an academically minded husband, a scandalous judge, and an old 'friend.' She must deal with the choices she makes in life and struggles internally and externally. This performance took a modern spin on the 19th-century play. Along with an updated setting, the production took a few creative liberties with the script and blocking. It kept us all on the edge of our seats, right up until the end. We discussed the differences we saw between the original script and the performance we saw, as well as other ethical themes like personhood, manipulation, and control in class the following morning.
After discussing Hedda, we hopped on the train and went out to Windsor castle. Queen Elizabeth II resides there on the weekends to get away from her busy life in London. There we saw paintings of past monarchs, suits of armor, shields, part of the Queen's wardrobe and a doll house with electricity and plumbing. The rooms were decorated royally with gold trimming and priceless treasures. We were also able to listen to the history of the castle on handheld audio guides as we walked through. We learned about the fire that engulfed Windsor in 1992, along with people and events further back in the history of the United Kingdom, like the Duke of Wellington and the two times the castle has been under siege. It was a wonderful experience, and many of us would love to go back someday!
The past couple of days, and especially this morning, were highlighted by transportation difficulties. There was a Tube strike Sunday and Monday, causing a bit of stress this morning as we frantically tried to find transportation for 23 people. We made it to the station, though, just in time to catch our train to Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Today's adventures include visiting the place where Shakespeare was born and seeing The Rover by Aphra Behn. Fortunately, all our destinations this time are within walking distance. Hopefully, there will be no more transportation issues.