I had a very late introduction to Shakespeare – which might seem odd for someone with a Master’s degree in Literature. We didn’t study Shakespeare at secondary school, and when I was younger my dad judged him to be a load of old rubbish.
So, there was no Shakespeare in my life until the age of 16, while studying A-level English (it was Richard II, still one of my favourite Shakespeare plays). I’m not a Shakespeare groupie. I enjoy many of his plays and am amazed by his contributions to the English language and its literature; but for various reasons I still think he got lucky in being pronounced Greatest Writer The World Has Ever Known.
Regardless of all that, Millie is practicing for a part in a school play about Shakespeare. Not a Shakespeare play, but more like Shakespeare In Love – a play about the man. So, we visited the Globe Theatre yesterday. Not to see a play (that might be a bit much for a nine-year-old to sit through) but to get a feel for Shakespeare, his work, his background, and quite why he’s considered The Greatest Writer The World Has Ever Known.
Amber’s doing a project on the Black Death/Great Fire of London, so the Lovely Melanie went with her to the Museum of London. Millie and I left them at Bank station and headed across the river to the Globe. After a quick, freezing lunch on the side of the Thames we were glad to get indoors – just in time for the next tour…which was outside! Doh!
It’s not cheap for a 40-minute tour, but it is worth every penny. The cheerful young guide showing us around positively glowed with enthusiasm for her subject. I kept checking that Millie wasn’t getting bored or cold (because, at her age, I probably would have been), but she was fascinated, too. Indoors, after the tour, we filled in a computerised feedback form together, and Millie was so enthusiastic I kept pausing to check she wasn’t simply being nice (Millie, rather like me, lives in horror of being unintentionally rude to people).
No, she was just being honest: we both agreed the exhibition wasn’t as interesting as the tour, that it was worth the money and we’d definitely recommend it to some people, but not others (*cough*Grampy*cough*).
Despite looking at every single item they sold in the gift shop, we didn’t buy anything (although, we did splurge on some Friends of Shakespeare’s Globe wristbands for a pound). Finally, we sat (in the warm…) and watched some ladies training in theatrical fencing for another 30 minutes, before heading back over the Millennium Bridge, onto the DLR to Bank and home on the train.
It was a lovely day out, just the two of us. A lady and her young daughter sat next to us on the DLR, the daughter being regaled with compliments on her cleverness. Yeah, I thought to myself, well, I’ve just taken my daughter to the Globe – and she loved it!
No, honestly, I thought to the lady with the clever daughter, Damn it, we’ve been to the Globe and learned about Shakespeare and…everything…!