In a fit of – well, not midsummer madness, clearly – call it autumn folly, I have bought a lot of Shakespeare tickets and an accidental existential crisis.
As well as King Lear with Sheep* there’s As You Like it at the National Theatre. Should be an interesting contrast with King Lear there last year.
The there’s the RSC’s King and Country cycle – Richard II, Henry IV 1 and 2 and Henry V, with the same cast, over four days. It’s basically The Hollow Crown, only live and with David Tennant as Ben Wishaw**. I’m seeing it at the Barbican, but I really should try and get to Stratford in 2016 too.
And I’ve also booked two plays at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the indoor, candle-lit, counterpart to the Globe. And here’s the rub, because while one of them is Pericles*** the other one is Cymbeline. So, by the end of January I will no longer be Desperately Seeking Cymbeline, because I will have seen the thing.
My mother, a woman not otherwise given to grand deception, has been trying persuade me to see it on the sly, write it up, and the keep the review in a safe until the ten years are up****. I think it’s probably easier if I share my dilemma with you – I shall remain Desperately Seeking Cymbeline, but you shall all know that in fact, on the inside, I’m Desperately Seeking Troilus and Cressida, or maybe Desperately Seeking A Way Not To Have To See A Midsummer Night’s Dream…
In any case, all these jaunts mean that by the end of January 2016 I’ll have seen twenty Shakespeare plays since I started – a terrifying halfway through. It might be time to start thinking about the next grand gesture sooner than I thought!
* Can. Not. Wait.
** Other cast members may also vary.
*** Co-authored by Shakespeare, not in the First Folio, and therefore maybe counts half? Cracking plot though.
**** On the same lines as Agathe Christie, fearing death during the Blitz, apparently wrote the last Poirot novel and sent a copy to the USA for safekeeping. I have neither such fear for my life, nor such a following for my writing!