We're on our way to York! I'm currently alternating between writing this post and staring out the window of the train. Although the weather is quite different here than it would be in Decorah, I'm surprised at how similar the country here looks to that of the Midwest.
We only spent two days in Stratford, but we were able to do so many things while we were there. We arrived in the afternoon on the first day, and after settling in and having class, we all went to Twelfth Night, the first show we would see put on by the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was an incredible experience to be able to see a show that the Luther Visual and Performing Arts Department had put on last year and to see the similarities and differences between two productions of the same play.
The next day, we braved the rain to visit the Shakespeare properties in the area. The tour started at Shakespeare's Birthplace and continued through other significant properties from his life. These included the New Place, the house he bought for his family and that was the largest property in Stratford at the time; Hall's Croft, the home of Shakespeare's daughter Susanna and her husband; Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is now buried; and the Hathaway family cottage, where Shakespeare's wife Anne grew up.
That evening, several of us attended Imperium: Dictator, the second of a two-part new work based on the history of Cicero and the Roman government under Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Gaius Octavius. The final play we saw was a matinee performance of A Christmas Carol. Many of the actors from Twelfth Night were also in this show, so it was also neat to see the performers play two different roles in the same weekend.
Back to London!
After Stratford, we went back to London for a couple of days to see more shows and to visit the Imperial War Museum as a group. The museum had exhibits on the major wars in Europe during the 20th and 21st centuries, including sections about World War I, World War II, spies during wartime, the Holocaust, and the War on Terror. The museum was definitely worth visiting, but it was also a solemn visit for many of us.
That night, we saw a play called The Brothers Size that was written by the same man who wrote the movie Moonlight. The next evening we saw a one-act called Rita, Sue, and Bob Too and stayed for a post-show talk led by the director of the production and a couple of panelists who had studied the playwright's life and work.
It was a wonderful way to spend our last few nights in London, and while we're all sad to be leaving, it's exciting to start seeing other parts of the country. When you hear from us next, we'll have finished our time in England and be on our way to Scotland!