Sunday, April 30, 2006

Shakespeare the Inexhaustible

Tumbled on a new set of Shakespeare quizzes the other day at the Bantam Shakespeare site. They are a bit more tricky than the ones on the Shakespeare site administered by Amanda Mabillard and there is a catchy musical background and suitably acerbic mock Elizabethan comments to your answers. Just hit this button. When you get there choose the quiz you would like to try. The illustration accompanying this note is of the statue of the bard in Leicester Sq. in London. It is a 19th century copy of the one in Westminister Abbey.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

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Pictures Pictures Pictures

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More of the London We Love

On one level our trip was a theatrical splurge. We saw eight plays in the seven days.
Most exciting perhaps was Dame Judy Dench in Noel Coward's Hay Fever. Most scenically entrancing was the new production of Peter Schaffer's Royal Hunt of the Sun at the National Theatre. Though well reviewed a new piece called Southwark Fair directed by Nick Hytner at the National seemed to us pretty thin and unappealing gruel. More compelling was the National's revival of a Harley Granville Barker play called The Voysey Inheritance. It was written in the early 1900's but its story of a lawyer who has stolen from the estates entrusted to him in order to enrich his and his family's fortunes is as modern as Enron. Timothy West was a marvelously enigmatic former spy in a revival of Alan Bennett's 1977 The Old Country. I can't wait to get a chance to see his History Boys that just opened on Broadway. Other well known stars were also on stage in the West End. We saw Dame Diana Rigg in a drama about adultery and a disintegrating marriage and Jeremy Irons in an almost solo tour de force titled Embers.

Art of the visual kind took up a fair amount of the days. We visited the Royal Academy, the British Museum, the National Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Birthday Bill!

William Shakespeare: born April 23,1564. Died April 23, 1616

On our trip to London last week we saw eight plays and four major art exhibitions. This was my 17th visit to the city that never ceases to beckon and to delight. As we try to re-adjust our time clocks and restore our depleted energies, I am reminded of a line from Bob Hellenga's new novel PHILOSOPHY MADE SIMPLE that I finished just before we left. He said, "Getting ready to live is easier than actually living, just as getting ready for a journey is easier than actually going on a journey."

We went and we returned and tomorrow is William Shakespeare's birthday. That is worth celebrating for a number of reasons, but for this year it is because one of our exhibition stops last week was a delightful show at the National Portrait Gallery called Searching for Shakespeare. The show was put together to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the National Portrait Gallery and the subject was the first picture ever given to the gallery--the Chandos Portrait of William Shakespeare. The exhibit gathered together literally all of the surviving portraits of the bard plus a number of documents and prints covering Will's life and times. All told a feast for any theatrical historian.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

How Could You Get Tired of This?


Watch this space as we give you a bit of last week's quick trip to London. Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 03, 2006

Now Here's a Headline

Mon dieu! What next?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Town and Counry Art Show--Buchanan Center-Enjoy

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Music and Art to feed the Soul

Saturday saw the opening of the Buchanan Center for the Arts "Town and Country" Exhibit. Over 700 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures covered every spare inch of the Buchanan gallery from floor to ceiling. The work was submitted by Monmouth and Warren County school children and it was so full of color, joy, and optimism that for at least a moment one could believe that the younger generation was going to finally make good things happen and fix the mess that we have handed them on so many fronts.

Sunday saw the final concert of the year for the Quad City Symphony. "Sublime" would be the best description. Brahm's German Requiem with a chorus over one hundred voices strong could not have been more beautiful. You were bathed in etherial sound. It was a fitting finale to the season and left us eager to sign up for next year's series. I am not a musician and have no real tecnical understanding of music, but I would not be surprised if heaven sounded a lot like this.

Now for chaos as we try to clear the calendar so we can head off for a week's R & R in London.