Sunday, July 20, 2014

Shakespeare's Globe, St Paul's Cathedral and Tate Modern

Today I headed south of the river to visit one of the destinations that I first added to the list when I was conceiving this trip: Shakespeare's Globe.

It's an amazing piece of theatre history and the testament to the dedication of Sam Wanamaker. It was truly magical to wander around a theatre that is almost exactly how Shakespeare himself would have seen it. I bought myself a guided tour and got a very informative talk as we walked around - and then we saw part of a rehearsal for the upcoming production of a new play, Holy Warriors. It might impress the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fans to know that this included Alexander Siddig, who played Doctor Basheer.

After that it was a walk over the Millenium Bridge to this place, one of the many iconic parts of the London skyline:

If you aren't familiar with it, it's St Paul's Cathedral, and it's a truly jawdropping spectacle of architecture. I don't have photos of the inside because you can't take any, but I can assure you I'm not being hyperbolic. I was awestruck by it all, as well as the fact it's the resting place of such people as Christopher Wren, who designed it; JMW Turner (whose paintings I'll be talking about in future posts, because he shows up everywhere), Admiral Nelson (whose column I've been taking numerous photos of) and the Duke of Wellington.

And another picture of the dome from closer up:

I climbed up a *lot* of stairs to get to the outside of the dome to take these skyline shots.

My final thought about St Paul's is that, as someone who isn't religious at all, I'd have liked to have heard more about the construction itself; the audio tour was very informative about its religious significance, but was a bit light on technical aspects - something I'm far more interested in.

After that it was back over the bridge to the Tate Modern, which I foolishly forgot to take a picture of. I spent a few hours looking through all their exhibits - the free ones at least; there was a special Matisse section but I don't like him enough to pay what they were asking - of which the standouts for me were by Miro, Picasso, Dali, Max Ernst and Robert Mapplethorpe. There was also a fascinating collection of Soviet propaganda posters.

Met up with Ele for dinner before heading back to the Globe for their production of Julius Caesar. This, as is standard for the Globe, was in the traditional style - though not so much so that they had men playing women (though that does happen from time to time). Specifics will be covered in the review post, but here's a picture I took after the show finished; it's one of the crew scrubbing the blood off the stage as the audience depart.

And then it was home to bed.

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