Back from Croatia and Montenegro, the most beautiful places I’ve seen yet! Luckily today is a bank holiday so I have a day off from my internship and can recuperate from a busy week and weekend. Monday, I saw Macbeth at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and unfortunately it was extremely disappointing. The groundlings (audience members who stand around the stage) were covered with a black sheet where there were holes to stick their heads through; thus, they became part of the set which was simulating hell. In the beginning of the play, a few blood-smeared actors popped up from among the crowd themselves, groaning and swaying in agony. Although the scene should have been stomach churning, it was hard to take it serious as the groundlings, mostly teenagers, couldn’t stop from giggling or screaming every time an actor brushed by them. Overall, the play seemed focused more on violence and sex than the actual story, and the main characters were flat and unimpressive. The most memorable lines, such as Lady Macbeth’s “unsex me here” soliloquy, were presented with the wrong gestures and emotions; sometimes the words trickled out of the actors’ mouths so that you could hardly hear, and other times the actors splattered you with passion that did not fit the moment or the character. Furthermore, our more expensive seats proved to be terrible, at least from my perspective which was blocked by a nice large pillar. During intermission I went to stand with the groundlings for the second half of the play so that I could have an unobstructed view. And no, I did not stick my head under the black sheet, but stood around the perimeter of “hell” instead. There was a groundling who fainted during the first half of the play, and people have been known to get sick so there are stains on the sheet, gross! Tonight I will be returning to the Globe to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream so hopefully it will be better!
Tuesday, I went to a mosque with my Contemporary Britain class and the people were so welcoming. The individual who spoke to us about the Islamic religion was very informative, but he talked about terrorism so much it was exhausting! He kept saying suicide bombers are not true Muslims and explained how Islam teaches people to love their neighbors, no matter what religion; therefore, terrorists would not be following this practice and should not represent the entire Muslim population. It was sad that he had to put so much effort into convincing us that he, his family, friends, and other followers were not terrorists! Nevertheless, the visit was interesting, and they fed us a feast after the talk. There were ten of us and twenty bowls on the table of food, which was spicy and delicious, followed by ice cream!
Wednesday I saw the play Women Beware Women, which I really liked, minus a few things. Unfortunately, the director omitted a humorous section from the play and changed the ending, but I enjoyed it despite these alterations. The plot is quite complicated, but I’ll attempt to give you a synopsis of this Jacobean tragedy: A poor agent, Leantio marries Bianca, a wealthy heiress, without her parents’ blessing. While Leantio is away at work, the Duke sees Bianca and requests her presence, eventually resulting in rape and an infuriated Leantio when he returns home to find his wife so closely attached to the Duke. Meanwhile, at the Duke’s court, Fabrito has chosen a foolish Ward for his daughter Isabella to marry and when she consults her aunt, Livia for advice, Livia falsely tells Isabella Fabrito is not her real father. Therefore, Isabella does not have to follow his commands, but better yet, she now believes she has no blood relation to her uncle which results in a secret relationship between the two. Eventually secrets are discovered and the characters become thirsty for revenge and death. The ending was especially fantastic due to the revolving stage and violent dance that resulted in a massacre. Because of the play’s dark nature, the black angels that appeared enhanced the shadowy mood and their unearthly movements were synchronized with live jazz music.
Thursday was class as usual and Friday I left for Dubrovnik, Croatia! We arrived at sunset and the view from the bus taking us to our apartments was stunning. The sun looked like a glowing red cherry, reflecting across the Adriatic sea and lighting up the sky miraculously! Once we got settled in, it was already dark so found a place for dinner and walked around the area for a bit before heading off to bed. The next morning, we walked around the city walls and toured the area until lunchtime. Then we were off to explore on our own, so after some souvenir shopping, Katie and I took a short boat ride to the island Lokrum, which is a nature reserve. The area was beautiful and there were peacocks everywhere! Plus some rocky beaches (including a nudist beach, ha!) and a lagoon for swimming. The views were also fantastic and we dipped our feet into the clear turquoise water before heading back. Later, we had dinner on the water at a nice restaurant with a live saxophone player and pianist.
Early Sunday morning, we took a bus to Montenegro which was even more breathtaking than Dubrovnik with magnificent mountains in the background. We had a good tour guide who told us a lot about the country’s history and I learned there are only a total of 700,000 people living there! This became evident when we got off the bus to walk around and realized the area was very quiet, but tourism is just starting to return to the country after its borders were closed during the war between Bosnia and Croatia. For lunch, we ate at a “five star” restaurant which was set in a lovely area, but unfortunately the service was lacking a bit. The food was very good, but we did not get to see a place on our itinerary due to the slow service, so that was a bit disappointing. Soon enough we had to make our way back to the airport and I couldn’t believe the trip was already over! I had a great time and would love to go back someday, especially to Montenegro so I can climb the 1250 stairs to the Illyrian fort, Castel St. John!