I crossed off one of my bucket list items for this trip last week when I saw my first live production of a Shakespearean play on British soil. My friend Rachael and I scored tickets & transportation through Bangor University’s English department, and went up to Llandudno to watch Venue Cymru’s “Othello”. As it turns out, Shakespearean tragedies can be a bit of a downer (I cringed every time they called the villain “Honest Iago”). But the performance was especially interesting because all the characters except Othello carried musical instruments that they played and used as props. So we had live music throughout the play!
Rachael and I were surprised to see that food and drink were allowed in the theatre; people munched on popcorn, candy, and soda during the performance, just like at the movies! At intermission, we decided to indulge in our craving for popcorn, and picked up some Pringles as well. First off, the boxed popcorn was sweet. So sweet we couldn’t stand more than a few handfuls before giving up and turning to the Pringles… which were not as good as American Pringles. Now I’m cautious about getting “American” food here, because it just isn’t the same. (But I’ve enjoyed all the local/British food I’ve tried.)
When we returned to the play, I was surprised to note no big difference between a Shakespearean play performed this side of the Pond and one put on back in the States, other than stylistic differences of individual plays. Then it hit me: Most Shakespearean plays I’ve seen (not adaptations) are done with British accents! So watching Othello was the one time that British accents sounded natural to me. I’m still having a little trouble understanding some of the people I’ve met over here, but I’m learning!
With one play under my belt, I’m ready for more while I’m in Wales!