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Violating Sanctions

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

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

The Author By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | July 12th, 2012 | 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 I wanted to take full advantage of the RSC’s schedule in Shakespeare’s hometown. Fortunately, this production was a laugh-out-loud adrenaline rush. The traditional first scene was dropped and the play opened with shipwrecked Viola hoisting herself out of an actual pool of water at stage right! The stage itself looked like an aging ship ready to split at any moment. It listed slightly starboard and rose significantly at the back toward a narrow point resembling a boat’s bow. I didn’t even know the storyline when I sat down, but the actors (wearing modern-era costumes) delivered their lines with such impeccable timing the play popped.

The folks who own the B&B where I’m staying have sold it and are moving tomorrow. As I’m their last and only guest, they upgraded me to a lovely quiet double room in the back of house. I’d had only 6 hours sleep during the last 2 days and I immediately sunk into the pillowy bed. There’d been a break in the rain and I could see the clouds playing chase outside my window. For one delirious, delicious moment, I wasn’t sure if I was watching clouds or sleeping in them!

Tomorrow, the Royal Shakespeare Company continues its “what country, friends, is this?” festival – part of the World Shakespeare Festival that’s celebrating the Olympics – with The Tempest. I’ll be there!
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