Now that I’ve woken up again…
Play: The rendition of Romeo and Juliet was very entertaining. It was sold out, as were all showings, and I only had a seat because Tom had bought tickets two days ago. As it was, in order to get two seats together they were forced to put us at the extreme front-right corner. Luckily, the stage was only a little above knee height, so the visibility was actually quite acceptable. The choreography, costumes, and lighting most resembled a rave or music video, and so much music (especially techno) was used throughout the show that it almost seemed to be a musical. Although all the actors were Cambridge students, they managed to find an actress for Juliet who really seemed to be 14, her character’s age. Perhaps it will help convey the mood of the play that Juliet usually wore an “I
NY” t-shirt and pink skin-tight short-shorts. Actors seemed to enter and exit mostly perched atop rolling set pieces, especially the incredibly versatile bench/bed/altar/refrigerator, in costumes reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange.
Unfortunately, the play is burdened by its decision to preserve the original text, much of which can be understood only with a reference for 15th century idioms. To remedy this, actors must overdramatize sections whose emotional content is important but not obvious to the modern listener, and often simply gloss over those sections which are completely incomprehensible, speaking quickly and quietly just to get through them. The production’s solutions are sometimes clever, like having two subsequent scenes running simultaneously on stage, resulting in an incoherent jumble whose effect is achieved through tone of voice and gesture alone. In the end, the result is a little too melodramatic, with so much emphasis on the nonverbal that it resembles a pantomime. Which isn’t to say that it wasn’t great, ’cause it was.
What was the other thing?
So I walked to Trinity College, and then walked around Trinity for a while until I found Bishop’s Hostel. (“Hostel,” in Cambridge, means housing for students of a college that is a short distance outside the main college yard.) When I arrived I was the only guest except the party organizers and the birthday girl, which made me ask the question of who is the bigger loser: the person to whose party exactly one person shows up, or the one person who shows up? After an hour or so, more people began to arrive, and eventually there were a fair number of people. It was the best sort of party, with quiet music in the background, lots of food, and plenty of place to sit and talk, which is what we did.