Tag Archives: theatre

Church of the Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon, at Night


During our stay in London last month, we made a day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon for two plays. Shakespeare is buried in Church of the Holy Trinity. Of course, in November, in England, the sun sets around 4:20 p.m. After the first play and an early dinner, the church was closed, and the sun had long set. But I walked with one of my daughters from the theater to the church, where I remembered, in a very dark churchyard full of tombstones, that Shakespeare’s grave is inside the church. I had been there, and made it inside, about two decades before. This time, locked out and sentimental, I was sure to put a hand on the church’s stone exterior. It was a good walk with my daughter from the theatre to the church and back—a good memory for us.

Last day in London, connecting yesterday’s Dr. Who Experience with tonight’s ‘Much Ado’

Today didn’t go quite as planned. We were going to join a London Walks guided tour to Stonehenge and Salisbury, but I began to feel ill. Most disappointed was Audrey, 9, but she got over it.

Instead, Maggie (11), Kristi (forever 29), Tom (father in law), and I (feeling a tad parenthetical) picked up a two-hour walk from Embankment, across the Jubilee Bridge, along Southbank, up to the top of the Oxo Tower, and around to my in-laws’ temporary neighborhood near Cornwall and Stamford in Lambeth, not far from Waterloo Station.

Tonight, we’ll see David Tennant in Much Ado About Nothing. Speaking of Tennant, yesterday I took the girls to see The Dr. Who Experience. Tennant was the most recent past Dr. Who. My 11-year-old is a fan of that enormously successful British television franchise. The Dr. Who Experience will impress any fan. It’s a walk-through experience (guided, segmented funhouse with special effects and video appearances by the current Doctor) followed by an exhibit including the strange creatures, items, actors and information from the series. The gift shop had plenty of DVDs from the series, old seasons from decades past as well as new.

Another use for a church: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in and around St. Paul’s Church Covent Garden

Study for The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania by...

Image via Wikipedia

Tonight Kristi, Pat, and I saw a performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream that took place in three locations in the churchyard of Saint Paul’s Church Covent Garden and ended inside the church.

This open-air approach had a few advantages.

First, the sets are set and don’t (necessarily) have to be changed.

Only one of the three locations in the churchyard had a scene change. The other two locations kept the same sets throughout the play.

Second, the audience moves with the cast during the performance.

No one has to get completely cramped while waiting for the rescue of the intermission. Fresh air is nice, too!

Third, the actors can easily enter from all sides of the stages or performance spaces.

Even with actors entering from the back or sides of the audience in a traditional theater, the options fixed by the physical structure of the theater. Especially in one of tonight’s churchyard locations, the cast entered the performance space from four points, like the points of a compass.

If you’re in London sometime between now and August 5, check out this performance. The good news is, London is fairly cool right now — not at all like summer in the States!

Max McLean talks about playing Screwtape

Screwtape is a plum role—part Noel Coward . . . part Hannibal Lecter . . . part Iago. C. S. Lewis described the process of writing Screwtape as difficult, but playing him is a lot of fun. I remember hearing Malcolm Muggeridge speak of “fictional good” as dull and boring while “fictional evil” is fascinating and engaging. He also was clear to say that in life it is quite the other way around. Perhaps that is one reason film depicts so much violence and evil.

-Max McLean, writing about acting the part of Screwtape from C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, in this article. The show at Lansburgh Theatre in Washington, D.C., wraps up Sunday.