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!