Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to Shakespeare

Thing Two has been on a Shakespeare kick of late. It started with his class production of "A Midsummer's Night Dream" and has continued from there, including a recent request for "The Complete Works of Shakespeare" -- all 752 pages of it. (And yes, dear reader, I did buy it, since it was only £3 at the local bargain bookstore).

The Globe Theatre in London celebrated Shakespeare's 446th birthday last weekend by opening its doors and having workshops throughout the day. Thing Two was incredibly excited about the prospect of seeing the theatre, and spent most of the weekend talking about how much fun it would be.

Thing One was less than impressed that he had to go as well. He offered up several alternatives to his time: rock climbing, bike riding, football, running around in the park. No. No. No. No. We all had to go, we told him. He had a bit of a pre-teen sulk, made it clear that he wasn't happy about our trip to the Globe-- despite the fact that his brother was ecstatic-- and off we went.

It was a beautiful sunny Sunday, and we had a great time walking along the Thames before getting to the Globe. After mistakenly sitting through a 45-minute lecture on Shakespeare play "Henry VIII," we got to see the theatre itself. We happened upon an audience participation play, with a "Dating Game" featuring Henry VIII and three wives. (He picked all three, natch.) The actors then looked for a willing volunteer to be an executioner. I enthusiastically pointed to Thing Two next to me, who also had his hand raised. But guess who they picked? Thing One, of course.

Thing One performed with aplomb, if I do say so myself. He looked nasty when directed to, swung the heavy axe when told to do so, and even waved to his adoring public when departing stage left.

Cue bitter disappointment, tears of frustration and sadness and wails of protest from Thing Two. He was not happy. You could say that it was a Tragedy of Shakespearean Proportions that he didn't get picked, given that his brother didn't even want to go in the first place, but that's overstating it a bit. It did, much like many of Shakespeare's plays, provide a useful life lesson: You don't always get what you want.

It seemed all the more appropriate that this dramatic lesson would be taught at the Globe.

Thing One demonstrating his "Evil Face" as executioner.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Best of the Volcanic Sunset Photos

This amazing photo was taken by my friend Kirstin on Friday night when we happened to run into them at Greenwich Park for the meeting of the Volcanic Sunset Appreciation Society, Greenwich chapter. Thing One is on the left, closest to the Observatory.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Beautiful Volcanic Sunset (which may or may not be lavender)

Thanks to our friends in Iceland and the volcanic ash spewing into the air, those of us in England got a few presents:
• All airports closed and flights cancelled at least until Friday night;
• Volcanic ash in the air, albeit not on a Pompeii-like scale. Just enough to get T-shirts that say, "I've sucked in volcanic air, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt"; and
• The promise of a "Lavender Sunset" tonight.

Thing One and I dutifully walked up to the top of Greenwich Park to see the "Lavender Sunset" for ourselves. The clouds were of a lavender hue, the sun was enormous and it wasn't quite what I expected, but it was absolutely spectacular just the same.

Thing One took the fantastic photo above, and I have to say that all of his photos were much better than mine. This one is his best shot. We were joined at the top of the hill by about dozen other photographers and probably a dozen more specatators.

Lavender sunset? Probably not. But for a once-in-a-lifetime event, it certainly was something.

Sunday, April 04, 2010