Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Trip to Edinburgh; Boldly Going Where Plenty Have Gone Before.

Yesterday I went to Edinburgh to see a play at the King’s Theatre. Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital and second largest city. Trains run between Glasgow and Edinburgh frequently throughout the day and it’s very easy to get there. The train takes less than an hour and is a lovely trip through the Scottish countryside. Along the way are rolling green hills, ruins of what were once grand buildings, picturesque villages and lots of sheep. After witnessing this live action postcard, the train delivers passengers right to the center of the city. Edinburgh is absolutely breathtaking. I’m kicking myself for not taking my camera but I’ll be back, armed and ready for visual documentation. Edinburgh is a mix of the ancient and the modern “Old Town” is an absolute must for any visitor. It is in this section of town where one finds the famous Edinburgh Castle. All of “Old Town” sits higher than the rest of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle is found on the highest point overlooking the rest of this amazing city. Walking through “Old Town” made me feel like I was in a movie. Cobble stone streets host clusters of stone structures from centuries past and an assortment of glorious cathedrals and churches reach for the heavens.

I stopped to pay homage at the resting place of Greyfriars Bobby. Greyfriars Bobby is the name given to one of the most faithful pups that ever existed. Bobby was a Skye Terrier whose master, John Gray died and was buried in the graveyard of Greyfriars Church in 1858. Bobby sat at his master’s grave everyday thereafter. He stayed by John Gray’s grave, only leaving for food, until his own death in 1872, fourteen years later. Fourteen years! The community folk took turns feeding and caring for Bobby and upon his on death he was buried in the front yard of the church. He could not be buried next to his master because there were regulations regarding animals and people being buried in the same area of land but, they got him as close as they could. A stone marks Bobby’s grave and the pub outside the church gates is aptly called Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar. In front of the pub there monument dedicated to Bobby and atop the stone column is a statue of this darling dog. Visiting this legendary spot was an emotional moment for me as I am a fierce lover of pooches great and small.

Before the puppy love however, there was a show. I saw ‘Waiting for Godot’ by Samuel Beckett. Beckett can be challenging to follow. His work is not really what one would call straight forward. I can’t really tell you what the play is about. It is all up to interpretation. There are about a million and one explanations of the meaning of the play. Have a Google and you’ll get the idea. What happens is this: two guys who don’t seem to have the greatest life show up everyday by the same tree and wait for someone called Godot. While they wait two others, a master and his servant, come and chat with them for a bit. That’s all I can tell you. The rest is all about the figuring out of it. And frankly, I’m still working on that. But I took a train to go see this show for two reasons: Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. When these two men are starring together on stage you get your train ticket and go. They were phenomenal, of course. Two of the greatest actors of our time, most definitely. And they were joined by Simon Callow and Ronald Pickup. Simon Callow is always a treat. I was not familiar with Ronald Pickup until yesterday but he was an actor not at all out of his element with these heavy-hitters. It was wonderful to see them all in action.

Monday I saw a much smaller production. Back at my favorite lunchtime theatre pub Oran Mor, I saw ‘The Deep’ by Jon Atli Jonasson, translated by Graeme Maley. This was a one man show about a young fisherman who is the only survivor of a shipwreck. It is a true story based on the playwright’s own experience and it starred the fabulous Liam Brennan. Liam, you may recall, led some Shakespeare workshops with our class right before Christmas break. He did a fantastic job in ‘The Deep’! One person shows are always a challenge because there is no cover. The actor is on stage alone and totally responsible for whatever happens. But no worries, because Liam is an absolute pro and was a delight to watch!

In other news, we dove into King Lear and Julius Caesar this past week and are off to a great start. I am enjoying our directors and their ideas for the pieces. In the coming week we continue on with rehearsals and have a voice workshop with Nadine George, the founder of the vocal technique they teach at the RSAMD.

Tune in next week to see how we got on!
Take care!

No comments: