Looking Back

The Pinter play last night, Betrayal, was wonderful. For one thing, it was at a really small theater (the Donmar, not the Apollo, but you make do with the photo you’ve taken). And maybe because you are so close to the stage there, the play itself (which tells the story of a seven year affair beginning with its ending and then proceeding backward to its start) is almost too much, it being the story of secrets concealed and revealed. Samuel Beckett’s tribute to the play sums it up: “That last first look in the shadows after all those in the light to come wrings the heart.” It was an amazing evening to be at the theater.

Before that, oddly enough, I saw a matinee of Boeing, Boeing, which was an expertly done, beautifully staged and costumed production that was also about secrets concealed and revealed — only because its origins are French, the whole thing was farce rather than drama. I wonder how many French plays are set on stages with multiple doors, for all the entrances and exits of lovers in hot pursuit of or retreat from each other? Toward the end, as it gathered momentum, the whole thing was beautifully funny and although so slick, there’s something to be said for being in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing, which seems to be the case everything I’ve seen this weekend.

And here are a few more things about London:

Where else but in the UK would a chain bookstore like Waterstone’s (in fact) have an entire section devoted to nautical fiction? My husband would like that.

I love the number of people out and about. In San Francisco, when I walk through Union Square, the tourists all seem so dazed, in their matching nylon windbreakers, wondering why it’s so cold — they’re in California, after all, land of the Beach Boys. Here, in Trafalgar Square, they all seem so young, and to be having so much fun. Although their feet hurt, they look like they’re going to get up and do something great when they’re done cooling off.

I’m heading off to Italy in a few moments, for my walking trip with my friend C along the Ligurian coast. But more pictures to come, if there are internet connections when I arrive. And then it’s back to London for a few more days of theater with my boys. By then, it’ll be time for musicals!

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30 thoughts on “Looking Back

  1. The Donmar is one of the great London theatres. You will rarely find the expected there and whatever you do see will have been expertly and loving put together. I’m so glad you were able to get tickets. And I’m glad the weather has been kind to you. London in the sun is wonderful. I hope your time in Italy is as blessed

  2. Ann, it was indeed a remarkable, memorable production — one I won’t forget. There are a lot of wonderful things about where I live — the food, how beautiful the ocean and the bay are, the weather, the interesting, open minded people — but London is the city of my dreams, I sometimes think, the place where words matter most, and where you can walk out the door of your hotel and in two days see three magnificent plays. And yes, the weather was fabulous. I’m sure it was your good wishes that made it so! xo

  3. You are having the most wonderful time! Isn’t that fantastic! I saw the Pinter play here in Cambridge last year and enjoyed it, and most of all thought it was really clever. It’s so nice to think of you lapping up all that lovely theatre.

  4. So glad you’ve enjoyed your time in London. I love it when I have to show someone new around it makes you think afresh about th ecountry where you live and look at it through new eyes.
    Have a great time in Italy with all that food and I admire your sensible attitude to staying alive in London and making use of supermarkets. My sister and I used to adopt the same sort of approach when we holidayed together in our youth in cities.

  5. “I wonder how many French plays are set on stages with multiple doors, for all the entrances and exits of lovers in hot pursuit of or retreat from each other?”

    this, of course, is exactly the phrase that brings me to read you, and miss you when you’re not on shelf.

    –op

  6. I really do need to get out to the theatre more! Actually, I really need to get out more (though I am off to another noisy rock band in a small club next week when once again I’ll be a solid candidate for oldest human in the room). Though I did make it to the South Bank courtesy of some friends for a Ligeti/Reich bill.

    Anyway, glad you’re enjoying the trip – Italy should be wonderful at this time of year, and hopefully the weather will still be holding up when you swing back through London.

  7. Give my love to Italy and look forward to hearing more. You should know that a search turned up on my site today for a “beautifully mannered bloglily” – I thought that was delightful.

  8. I’ll do just that Charlotte, being in Genoa at this very moment and feeling quite a lot of Italy-love. xo

    Hey U-Dad, That noisy rock band sounds like a lot of fun. And I know what you mean about being a solid candidate for the old person in the room award. But what can we do? Certainly not stop listening to music!

    Dear Ella, What a cool machine, and a great link! I hope your summer’s lovely, by the way.

    Hi LK — I’m looking forward to catching up on all the blog posts I’ve missed, yours in particular.

    Danielle, I did not, being so stunned by the sheer number of novels — and series — about life at sea. But I’m going to guess that if you go to the Waterstones website, you’ll find a virtual version of that wall o’books.

    OP, You are the sweetest of women. I’m looking forward to having that cup of tea together on my return.

    Dear Emily, there is nothing in the world like salt & vinegar chips and a half pint of lager, nothing. Well, I take that back, you also have to be reading something good at the same time. But then… heaven.

    Craftyperson, I think that’s very true. I like it when people ask me to tell them good places to go in berkeley or in San Francisco and I wonder if they’ll get what I love about them — and also, as you do it, you’re taken back to the time when these things were utterly foreign to you as well, which is a good thing to experience.

    Hello E*star — And I’ll be interested to hear what you do, except of course I’ll be very jealous and wish I’d thought of it in time to do it!

    Dear Nova, And congratulations are due to you for your new job, I see — I’m looking forward to hearing more about that, and how things are with your novel.

    Litlove, it was clever, wasn’t it? Looking forward to our visit!

  9. I am so envious that you got to see “Betrayal” – I was in London (and at the Donmar, in fact) about a month or so before you, and narrowly missed what promised to be an excellent production featuring two of my favorite actors.

    I hope that you have enjoyed Italy!

  10. Hey homes, we missed you hereabouts! cannot wait to be in your august, theatre-attending presence. Hope you and your mijos are cuddling and joyful, singing out loud and preparing podcasts and such, and that we will get to see you all soon—MM

  11. Hmmm…I normally just feed on your blog, but had to come out of my laziness to tell you that something has drastically gone wrong with your feed… your feed is bringing posts from http://racialrealist.wordpress.com/ into my RSS (Google Reader)?

    Just thought I’ll let you know, cause I assume there’d be plenty feeding on your blog…

  12. i miss bloglily. in my spare time (the boy is asleep, the cats are fed, the puppy is in his roomy puppy prison chewing a toy) I guess I’ll post this comment…mostly to say hi, in case Lily checks, and also (selfish me) to see my avatar in large format for the first time.

  13. I thought something was wrong with your feed because nothing has been in my bloglines account for some time – but then I come here to see that you simply haven’t updated. Hope everything is all right, and that you’ll be back to posting soon.

  14. I thought I saw Bloglily walking as the Tour de France passed along the Ligurian coast. Or was it in the forests. Or perhaps it was but a figment of my imagination.

    I do hope all is well.

  15. I read about the Donmar Warehouse in news items about The Blue Room. It looks like a place where “alternative” and bold plays are done.

    Good to know that you are having fun in Genoa. The old part of the city is quite lovely, and dinners in the family owned restaurants are very enjoyable. Go light on the Limoncello if you want to find your way back to the hotel :).

    We are missing you here in the blogland.

  16. Just wanted to stop by and say that I hope all is well in your world, BL. I too have drastically dropped off in posting to my blog, so I feel rather odd posting this comment. But I hope your hiatus is not permanent and you will be back to charm and amuse us all out in blogland in the near future.

  17. I need to add my voice to the rest who wish you were back, posting to us once again! We miss you terribly here in the blogworld, and can’t wait until you return to us. (I, like Cam, have also let days and days go by with no postings…but…well, maybe we need your good example!) How can I truly work on my novel without reading you each day?

  18. Now look. Of course everyone needs some time off every once in a while. I know that, I’m no different myself. But two and a half months is a very long time. I’m good at waiting, really. But just a little impatient as well.

    To summarize: I miss you too. Won’t you come back to us? We’ll be really nice to you, I promise.

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