Saturday, 30 April 2016

The Shakespeare Walk

Pic of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre with flags from the outside

London staged a special walk as part of the 400th Shakespeare Anniversary Celebrations. A total of 37 specially-made short films played on the South Bank between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge. The event's title was The Complete Walk.

A special map showed where the 37 screens could be found. Each short film lasted about 10 minutes. Many had been filmed in Shakespeare’s chosen locations:
  •  Hamlet at Elsinore in Denmark
  •  Macbeth at Glamis Castle in Scotland
  • Henry V at the Agincourt Battlefield in France
  • The Tempest in Bermuda
  • Anthony and Cleopatra at the Red Pyramid in Egypt
  • The Merchant of Venice in Venice, Italy
  • Othello at Othello’s Tower in Famagusta, North Cyprus
  • Troilus and Cressida at the Ruins of Troy in Turkey
  • Romeo & Juliet at Juliet’s Tomb, Verona, Italy
… and many more.

There were lots of people following the walk. At times there were so many that you had to wait for the next 10-minute screening. Each film played in a loop, so you didn’t have to wait long for the next screening of the most popular plays.

The walk took me past Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, a replica of the original theatre. President Obama had apparently visited earlier that day and wondered about the absence of a roof if it rained. I was more concerned about the very chill wind blowing off the Thames that day.

There was quite a bottleneck near the Financial Times on Bankside, where Measure for Measure was playing. Isabella’s entreaties were very powerful. The large crowd demonstrated that Shakespeare can still capture our attention and connect with us today.

I encountered another large crowd near the Clink Street Bridge Arch. Here Twelfth Night was playing just a stone’s throw from the site of the old Clink Prison. The prison dates 200 years further back than Shakespeare.

Pic of seated audience in front of All's Well That Ends Well screening with Southwark Cathedral in background
All's Well That Ends Well at Southwark Cathedral
Sadly not all the screens were working as I passed and I missed some of my favourite plays. However, that meant that I enjoyed plays that were not so familiar to me. I welcomed the seating in the Millennium Courtyard at Southwark Cathedral. Here I saw great acting filmed at the Château de Lourmarin in France for All’s Well that Ends Well.

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