Friday, February 21, 2014

Strategic Theatre Maneuvers

Song of the Day: Byegone, Volcano Choir

If you're interested: Geoff Marshall's Secrets of the London Tube is a good way to spend five to fifty minutes, but if you only watch one London video today, I recommend Simon Smith's side-by-side comparison footage from 1927 & 2013.


Last Friday - Valentine's Day - Kenz returned to the house with a few surprises for me.

"OK, you can turn around now!"

Aged sirloin, chorizo, and (streaky) bacon from London's #1 organic butcher!

Kenz and I have a mildly interesting relationship with Valentine's Day:

I called her on February 14th, 2006 to ask her out (I know - shameful that I'd ask her out on Valentine's Day. I don't know what I was thinking. I was young and dumb). The conversation didn't go as expected:

Me: I was wondering if you had a Valentine. 
Kenz: Nope. Do you?
Me: No - 
Kenz: - well, my roommate and I are having an anti-Valentine's Day dinner at our house. She's inviting a friend. You're welcome to come over if you want. 
Me: ... sure. 

We had our first date five days later. I didn't tell her I'd originally called to ask her out for months - maybe years. 


Part celebration of eight years together, but mainly due to my penchant for seeing good theatre, we finally went to see Jude Law in Shakespeare's Henry V last SaturdayI'd had the tickets for a year and a half, having bought them on the first day they became available. 

Kenz has had a somewhat conflicted relationship with the Bard. When we moved here, Kevin Spacey was starring in a sold out production of Richard III, and I stood in line, alone, for "return" tickets for three days straight. On the third day, Kenz joined me and we lucked out, getting two seats right next to each other. It wasn't until we sat down that she mentioned never really enjoying Shakespeare when obligated to read it in high school English class. Afterward, however, she admitted - half begrudgingly, half surprised - that she did, in fact, enjoy the show (it remains one of the best shows I've seen since moving here). 

I've held back since then, only dragging her along to one other show - Much Ado About Nothing starring James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave - which she enjoyed as well. It's a strategic move: I wait until there's a "star" taking part in the production before bringing her along (I went to Julius Caesar with Owen since it was "only" the Royal Shakespeare Company). I contend that when it's done right, Shakespeare appeals to all audiences.

She was more excited for this production than the previous two, "Jude Law is, uh, easy on the eyes. I mean...he's gorgeous." I, on the other hand, went and re-read my term paper from a college Shakespeare course wherein I compared models of leadership between Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V. And, yes, Kenz gave me endless grief for doing so, "You're such a nerd!"

Pre-show calzone

Walking down one of our favorite streets to get to the theatre. 

You can watch the theatrical trailer for the show (here) and look at the following pictures (lifted from the previously linked BBC site), but, as with any play, the experience isn't replicable. Kenneth Branagh directed and starred in a film version of the play in 1989 (which earned him Best Actor and Best Director Oscar nominations); if you're interested, I'd suggest watching it.

Afterward, everyone collected around the stage door, waiting on a glimpse, picture, or autograph from Jude. We hung around just to get a picture of the crowd; neither of us had the patience or desire to wait on him to come out. We'd already seen what we came to see: a fantastic performance.

It was the final performance, so I imagine he didn't come out for quite some time.

It was an uncharacteristically mild night, so the two of us found ourselves walking across the river via the Jubilee Bridge toward Southbank.

Lit up in red for Valentine's Weekend.


The rest of the week has been pretty standard:

Kenz has returned home to play video games...

...after having spent all day creating work in the studio.

She did, however, shake it up a bit by hosting friends for dinner & games at ours last night. I returned home just in time to take part in one last game (and some fetuccini) before everyone left.

Ragna, Teddy, Annie, Jessie, and Kenz - post Cranium extravaganza.

We played that damned name game from Christmas. Ragna told us about a fourth round: statues.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading.