The Complete works of Shakespeare ‘abridged’

The Complete works of Shakespeare, abridged – watched on Friday 17th June at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City

You guys have read so much about my latest theatrical adventures lately, and the huge celebrations that have been happening throughout the world. Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary of his death has been a great year of thespian commemorations, and has seen the revival of many shows and many young touring companies taking on challenging works to pay ode to the prolific playwright.

Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield under the direction of Darren Barsby, beautifully presented the Bard’s 37 plays in 97 minutes, talking those versed on Shakespeare and those who need a bit more help to understand through his majestic romances, his incredibly painful tragedies and his brilliant comedies.

They weave the high-paced, wickedly funny stories together in one nonsensical explanation and collage of Shakespeare’s works, which strangely might feel as though they stop and start a lot, however to me it felt as if it all made perfect sense and was exactly set out to be played as such.

Shakespeare known for writing on various topics, was broken down into segments, and it was almost like peering into the phases of his life. His romances, tragedies, comedies and histories, all came at distinct times, and this play lead me to understand that division and how similar it is to stages of life. Shakespeare, a true author of life and life’s adventures.

I loved the play, I loved being able to experience all of Shakespeare in just 97 minutes, and I love the sketch type performance that we saw which broke the Bard’s works up into sections. I think that this satirical, sarcastic, analytical and even slap-stick mix of comedy brings out the best in audience participation and engagement.

It was a complete pleasure to watch it and take my darling mother to accompany me. If it comes back around I would definitely recommend you watch it, and it was definitely the cherry on top of the cake for me as the final play I will see this year in celebration of the Bard’s 400th death anniversary.

Happy reading and theatrical visits.

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The Rembrandt Spa #DiscoveryFriday

A spa day is always an absolute must and the Rembrandt delivered it beautifully!

A friend of mine and I had planned a little girly day for a while, to simply catch up and relax in a pool, a jacuzzi and have a massage, the Rembrandt in South Kensington was just the answer to our prayers.

A small spa that rests quietly in the basement of the hotel, it features a beautiful pool with columns and a fountain in the middle, a relaxation area, open gym, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. We got a twenty minute treatment, which was a massage and so completely relaxing. I really carry a lot of tension in my shoulders and need to very often have some help to relax them so this was PERFECT!

The beauty is that spas are slowly but surely becoming more accessible. We booked our afternoon with spabreaks.com and it cost us each £45, with free teas and coffees, treatment and full use of the spa for the whole day. It was great. Prices outside of London are even better and cheaper so it is definitely do-able to treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon once in a while.

So that is my little discovery for this week, let me know what you guys are getting up to.

Happy reading, writing and travelling!

Auschwitz

It has taken me a while to think about how to write about an experience as harrowing, as disturbing as Auschwitz. It was our 3rd day in Krakow, we had seen some beautiful things, tasted some amazing food and enjoyed some glorious weather, when we decided we were prepared for the camps.

Auschwitz is actually divided into three camps, one of which was bombed by the Americans and no trace of it remains. The original site remains and the second site is Auschwitz Birkenau, an extension of the camps.

The first camp was built on refurbished military grounds, in which they changed the interiors to barely usable facilities that would house Polish, Hungarian Jews, enemies of state and many others. From scattered straw on the grounds, to toilets that would barely hold the entire camp, it is a disturbing sight to imagine all those lives, all those people there.

We were shown things such as people’s hair, which was supposed to be sold for wigs but was kept and has over the years lost its colour; people’s belongings, such as pans, hair brushes, shoes, suitcases, things they believed they needed as they were told they would be going to work and somewhere else to live. They were lied to.

They showed us torture cells, cells that were 1 metre by 1 metre wide, with a door that came no higher than my knees and 4 people were forced to crawl into it and stand there together. With an area as small as that they had no place to sit, no light of day, no air. They were called the standing cells. They showed us rooms where they first tested the gas later used in gas chambers.

In Birkenau, the conditions were even worse, with the camp separating families, men from women, and even racial division, it felt a desolate barren place, where housing was made for barn animals and not for people.

Both sights were horrifying. Walking in I had mentally prepared for it to be awful, but never for the photos, the evidence, the markings on walls, the scent of desperation lingering on the walls, the faces of so many that walked through those doors and suffered those horrors. I wasn’t prepared to have such a vivid imagination, to see it all play out in my head. I feel I have no right to claim the suffering that was felt here, I have no connection to this history. I do, however, feel like many others a sense of longing for the lost lives. I wanted to come to Auschwitz to pay my respects for the horrible things that happened here in the past, the things these peoples endured because of the madness and ideas of a xenophobe and dictator. This puritan that only spoilt the world.

I took only two photos of Auschwitz, the two you see featured here. Both from the original camp, below you will see the kitchen barracks and above the entrance to the camp, which feature the infamous gates that read ‘work makes you free!’. A lie, a lie that was told to so many who thought that they could indeed buy their freedom, one day. A truly sickening sentence for a despicable place and man that deceived so many people and convinced many more that what he was doing and propelling was the correct thing to do. What I saw will forever be etched into my mind, no photos are necessary as the memory will live vividly in me and the odour still follows me to certain places.

I can’t, my dear readers, describe to you in any more detail the horrible sight that I feel the whole world should come and see. It is truly a place to behold and take in, one aspect at the time, for that is the only way you will survive such a treacherous place, and even though you cannot understand fully the horrors that were here committed, the idea of it alone makes mt blood boil, nails curl and skin crawl. The pits of my stomach cry in agony for the pain that was inflicted in Auschwitz, but nothing could have, ironically, been more enlightening. A reminder of the madness that was committed during WWII that should serve as an example for the rest of the world, should they forget. I sincerely hope they do not forget and mistakes as such can never be performed again.

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Knebworth House, Jousting #DiscoveryFriday

Just a quickie today, for Father’s day a few weeks ago we decided to spend the day watching Medieval Jousting in the grounds of Knebworth House.

I personally love Knebworth House, a lavish Tudor home that was once the home of Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer Lytton. It brings great historic context to the area I live in and provides a host of cultural events throughout the year for all tastes! From an adventure playground and dinosaur trail for children, to visiting the house itself for all historians and lovers of the Victorian era, to events such as the jousting and even big rock festivals – Sonisphere has been held at the house’s grounds for a very long time.

It is a truly phenomenal venue and it is beautiful for a summer’s day celebration and family time.

So here is my little discovery for the week, a day to celebrate my wonderful father who I celebrate every day, and enjoy a picnic with my family in beautiful grounds with great unique entertainment.

Read more about Knebworth House and their events here.

Krakow, my new love

After my first African adventure ended early this year, I have been spending a lot of time getting to know Europe. My second European trip took me to Krakow, Poland where I had an amazing time. First of all I visited the beautiful city with my mother on a strictly no boys allowed holiday, as we left behind our men we were able to soak up the polish treasure that is Krakow.

This is the first city I have been to where I didn’t see a shred of rubbish on the pavements, it seemed almost clinically clean at first, however it is warm and welcoming. With a smile at every corner, people invite you into their premises for traditional food without bombarding you with information. All drivers stop to let you cross, and even the trams stop! The buildings are colourful and bright welcoming facades urge you to enter their doors and discover more.

There is so much that can be said of this beautiful city and so much we will explore together. Its location and history are complicated and devastatingly sad, but in no person do you see a hint of anger. Most of our tour guides spoke of the history with, yes, a hint of sadness but there is no bitterness and no thirst for revenge or a desire to right their wrongs. It is taken as a recent and awful history that needs to be remembered and respected so as to not be repeated. This beautiful population takes it as an unfortunate past but don’t look at anyone with any malice. Stunning and inspiring, they have really changed my perspective and I respected the polish before, but now, after visiting places like Schindler’s factory and Auschwitz, they hold a special place in my heart where they have tugged its strings and filled me with humility and a great appreciation for life.

Krakow, my new love, before we break down my trip into segments and places, I have to devout some time into simply admiring your beauty and how much you moved me. More so than Berlin, Krakow sang to me a song of sorrow and regret, but also of survival and peace. I cannot tell you guys how much I hope you take some time to visit this diamond city, and discover its treasures and secrets. One of my top contenders and current favourites, it will take a really special city to knock the admiration I hold towards Krakow.

So before we get into the trip here are some photos to wet your palate, the posts on Krakow start now!

Happy reading, writing and travelling.