Wednesday, May 25, 2011

School for Scandal vs. Charles Dickens

This morning in class we discussed School for Scandal, a humorous play by Richard Sheridan, and part of Oliver Twist by the wonderful Charles Dickens. Then, we headed off to visit the Charles Dickens museum a few streets over from Bedford Square.
The house was very quiet and quaint, and we almost walked by it because it was so unadvertised. We were able to look through four floors. In the basement, I watched a film chronicling the life of Charles Dickens, and then got to wander through a library full of Charles Dickens books, of varying editions and titles.

The rooms of the house were furnished much like they would have been when Dickens was living in the house, and one room showcased a recent production of Oliver!
I really enjoyed looking at the details of the set and costume construction, some of which were featured in this glass case. There were also a couple costumes on display, and a miniature layout of the set design. My days from Lancer Productions came back to me, and I got a little homesick for the theater.

The house also had a tea shop and garden in the back of the house, where some there were several small tables and some beautiful flowers.

After we all looked through the museum, we headed off on a little walking tour of the area, where we saw some areas that are featured in Oliver Twist. The idea of the walking tour was good, though a little unorganized. We broke from our tour in the early evening, heading off to different places for supper before we all gathered to go to a showing of School of Scandal. One small group of students went with Doctor G down to eat dinner on the river. My group, one that met back at Bedford place before leaving, left with what we thought was plenty of time to reach the theater.

We arrived at the theater at 7:20, and discovered the show started not at 7:30 but at 7:15. Normally, latecomers are not admitted at all, but since our group was five minutes late, and the other group one minute late, they agreed to let us in at the first break. Being a theater individual, I was seething. Not only is it disrespectful to show up late to ANY show, but being Americans, I felt it was an even greater disgrace. My anger kept growing, not only at the lack of organization and miscommunication concerning the play, but the disappointment of what I had thought would be the perfect 'night at the theater.' However, in the dark, waiting to enter the theater late, I took time to give my anger to God, since I could not enjoy the show with anger. God took my anger, and allowed me to not only enjoy the play, but also allowed me to release some previous anger.

The play was wonderful, a combination of modern and historical staging and costuming. Having read the play for class, I was able to catch up quickly and anticipate some of the events.
Another pleasant surprise was that one of the characters in the play is the actor who played Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films. Cue another Harry Potter geek moment for HP fans in the class.

What can I say? We're Americans and we've been deprived of seeing the sights of Harry Potter for far too long (at least in my group's case).

For now though, I'm just appreciative of going to the theater. It's such a wonderful experience every time, one that I should do more in the States. Two more shows are planned for the class - Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing and Chekov's The Cherry Orchard. And who knows, maybe I'll go to one more mystery show when my Mother joins me!

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