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Violating Sanctions

An American Woman’s Listening Tour Through the Axis of Evil

Archive for the Shakespeare Category

The London Logs: Julius Caesar

August 22nd, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

“Cowards die a thousand deaths, the valiant taste of death but once.”
Sigh. I actually had tears streaming down my face when Marc Anthony grieved over Caesar’s mutilated body. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production at the Noel Coward Theatre was extraordinary: They “set” the play in an unnamed country in Africa with actors costumed in fatigues and musicians performing sultry-rhythmed reggae.

Ticket in balcony cost only £15 (about $23 US)! (I took the photos of the musical interlude before the performance began.)100_0407.jpg

After the show, I wandered around the several blocks of Chinatown. Love this city!
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The London Logs: Affordable, Accessible Art & Leisurely Lunches for a Wannabe Art Slut!

August 11th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

Tonight, I’m enjoying a late lunch of luscious mussels on Leicester Square, wondering how much more alliteration I can pack into this sentence. They’re in a wonderful cream sauce and served with pomme frittes that the Brits insist on deromaticizing by callingchips. Fabulous dinner in this outdoor corner restaurant overlooking the square is only £7.50 (about $12 US).
I’ve been here for nearly 3 hours catching up on these blogs and savoring my meal and coffee. No one cares. Londoners are leisurely diners. (more…)

Category: London, Shakespeare

The London Logs: Richard III Redux

August 9th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

After experiencing the Royal Shakespeare Company’s extraordinary Richard III in Stratford-upon-Avon last month, I was eager to see a different treatment of it. (

The Globe’s featured Mark Rylance, who was artistic director at the Globe for a decade. This eagerly awaited performance marked his return appearance. It was a traditional production, with period costumes and heavily made up men playing the women’s roles. (

I didn’t like it. (more…)

The London Logs: The Groundling View

August 3rd, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

“A kingdom for a stage” indeed! I’d have killed for a seat. I wanted to experience Shakespeare as the “groundlings” had in his day: Standing in the “yard” at the foot of the stage. For only £5 (about $7.50US), I was captivated by Henry V. Jamie Parker masterfully played a young leader conflicted by the impact of his call to war against France. henry-v.jpgst-pauls.jpgIt’s a reflective reticence I wish we saw more often in today’s leaders. Performers were inches away from me; it’s an indescribable experience making eye contact with the actors. (more…)

The London Logs: My Birthday! & Globe Theatre Tips

July 24th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

Finally, today I was allowed to open the birthday gift left by Emiko and Stephen (the owners of the home I am watching this summer). It’s a book on the history of the River Thames!london-bridge-wolympic-rings.jpg After yesterday’s riverside excursion, my curiosity was piqued about what John Burns called England’s “liquid history.” Perfect gift!

globe-theatre-thames.jpgI treated myself to a performance of “The Taming of the Shrew” at the Globe Theatre. (more…)

Category: London, Shakespeare

The London Logs: Stratford Survival Tips

July 15th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

I’ve had the privilege of experiencing some exquisite theatrical moments: Elizabeth Franz’s Tony Award-winning performance opposite Brian Dennehy’s Willy Loman on Broadway, Christopher Plummer’s Iago squaring off to James Earl Jones’ Othello in Washington’s National Theater twenty years ago, Tony winner Cherry Jones as Sister Aloysius in Doubt at LA’s Ahmanson.
Bard on a Stroll
But, the Royal Shakespeare’s Richard III was the singularly most intense three hours of theatre I’ve experienced. The staging was minimal, Swans (more…)

The London Logs: All the Bard You Can Shake-A-Speare At

July 14th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 1 Comment »

OK, as much as I want to claim it, credit for my title goes to my highly recommended chiropractor, Art Karno (, proving that he cracks not only bones, but bad puns.

The First Edition of Shakespeare's Collected PlaysStratford has certainly maximized its Shakespearean roots. The playwright’s birthplace gets more than 1 million visitors/year, at least half of whom visited this afternoon while I was there. The house is cramped, (more…)

The London Logs: “We are such stuff as dreams are made on…”

July 13th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

I was going to blog tonight about butterflies, since I just visited the UK’s largest butterfly sanctuary and am beginning to work on a chapter of my book I currently call “Butterflying” (about a 6-year-old Filipina girl who died from leukemia likely brought on by exposure to toxics the US military left behind when it closed Clark Air Force Base).

But that blog will wait. Instead, I want to write about 3 strangers I met today: Three women who “are such stuff as dreams are made on,” as Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest, his last play, and the play I saw tonight.
"The 3 Stratford Graces"

This afternoon, I joined a walking tour of all things Shakespeare led by an animated guide named David (more…)

The London Logs: What Country, Friends, Is This?

July 12th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

Twelfth Night“What country, friends, is this?” asks a dripping Viola who opened tonight’s Royal Shakespeare Company’s modernized rendition of Twelfth Night. (July 12th, get it?) Indeed, I’ve been asking myself the same question all day! Hard to believe just 9 days ago I was walking ChaCha in Mexico, then an emotional stint in Buffalo in the interim. I arrived in Birmingham at 7:00AM local time after a 10-hour layover at the Newark Airport (a country unto itself!) and an uneventful 6-hour flight.

I was worried I overdid it by booking a theatre ticket on my first night, but (more…)

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