Towards Shakespeare’s Late Romances!

My first two months of 2016 have been hectic from the get-go, and the next two will be similarly jam-packed with teaching, conferences, public-speaking engagements, developing a new game, and submitting my PhD thesis to the academic deities. Late last year, having foreseen this constant and pressing 2016 whirlwind, I made a concerted effort to schedule some time away during a relatively “quiet” period, and although I was grumbling to myself while wrapping up some work yesterday, I am now buckled up on a plane to London, grateful for the temporary reprieve, and super excited about my next few days–because, Shakespeare!

My main purpose this long weekend is to see Shakespeare’s four late romances at the Globe’s indoor theatre (to which I’ve never been). These plays are, in the order I will see them: Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, Pericles, and The Tempest. At first, it might seem a little counterintuitive to leave behind my work on Shakespeare so I can charge ahead into four live performances, which will no doubt be gruelling (particularly as I have standing tickets for three of them)–I mean, isn’t a break from work supposed to be…well, a break from work? Why aren’t I gallivanting off to a spa resort instead of filling my overflowing mind with more Shakespeare?

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Well, I guess I’ve grown quite fond of the old fella… That, and to a Chinese-Australian like me, the prospect of going to four Shakespearean romances in a reconstructed Renaissance indoor theatre over a long weekend is nothing short of a dream (which will soon be realised, with my first play in 3.5 hours!).

Part of my desire to attend these upcoming four plays is their staging during this wonderfully celebratory year of Shakespeare’s 400th death anniversary. Quite different from the comedies, Shakespeare’s late romances exude magic and maturity alike, with a range of characters and situations that might seem extravagant or beyond belief at first, but, at least to me, eventually feel justified and natural. To make things even more exciting, these will be staged in the Globe’s Sam Wanamaker indoor theatre, which will offer a completely different experience from the outdoor Globe–how immeasurably exciting!

I’ll be sharing my post-play thoughts over the next few days, and while they might be a little rough around the edges (having only my phone with me during this trip), I’m quite certain they’ll be full of excitement and passion!

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