Shakespeare and Stratford

Our last hotel was in the Cotswolds, about 40 minutes drive from Stratford upon Avon. Now Stratford is not my favourite Cotswold town. And I suspect that if it had not been for the bards brief presence there in childhood and later in old age, then it would be neglected by international tourism.

However that is academic, as Stratford is now on the main tourist circuit. Part of the visit to Stratford is a visit to the National Shakespeare Theatre on the river there. Now one of the problems with Shakespeare, particularly as regards Americans, is that although his name is known, his works are not. There is a certain assumption that if he was the greatest playwright of his day, and if he had masses of popular hits running, then he must have been a sort of 16th century Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The flaw in this hypothesis is that Shakespeare's plays bear no resemblance to modern plays or modern English, let alone modern American. I was one very concerned that four Americans had booked tickets to see a play in Stratford. Contact with them lead me to believe that they would not have enjoyed four hours and one short intermission. When I told them of the length of the play they blanched momentarily, then brighten up when one of them said "gee, that's OK, we can leave at the interval"

Another couple struggled through a whole performance, and when I asked them about the experience the next day said "That William Shakespeare, he is something else, he could have cut the play in half and not lost anything from the plot"

I sometimes think that it must be very discouraging for the actors, playing to a theatre full mainly of Americans - from our normal vantage point in the "gods", we look down on a sea of new Burberry, not British attire, but an American's idea of British attire.

 

                            And if you want to stay in a nice hotel by the sea in Cornwall, Corisande Manor Hotel, Cornwall

                                                                                                       Corisande Manor Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

Return to Fawlty Towers Front Page