Monday, September 14, 2015

Walking Along The Thames and Catching A Glimpse Of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

I've been meaning to post some photos and share some stories from my recent trips to visit Nuru's work in Kenya and Ethiopia as well as from the long layovers I had in London but time waits for no one. So as I'm getting adjusted back to life in Morgantown, I thought I could start taking some time to reflect before the memories fade. There was a lot of travel back in August, and a lot more stories to share, but for a starter I thought I'd share this photo of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London.

During my layover on my return trip back to the US, I had enough time to leave the airport, take The Tube and walk along The Thames. I walked by a number of landmarks including the rebuilt London Bridge.

So as I walked along the Thames it was simply amazing to look around and see so many historic landmarks, and to just think about the history of this city. As some already know, among other degrees I received a BA and MA in English from WVU. My focus for my Master's was largely the literature of early America, but during undergrad I took a variety of survey courses--including a course that was entirely Shakespeare. In high school, I used to love it when we would go through sections of Shakespeare in English class as well.

The reason why I loved these classes and times was because we would always dig into the drama. Even in college, we would take time each week for people to read dramatically or act out parts from different plays. We would watch scenes from movies like Hamlet (with Mel Gibson) or Kenneth Branagh Shakespearean plays, or at WVU, we were encouraged to visit the Lansburgh Shakespeare Theatre--which was amazing. Plays always seemed to have a lesson at work, and they always seemed to lend themselves well to re-reading and experimenting with different ways of presenting the words--they were always fun. They were especially fun when people would read in-character.

A flood of memories from English classes and movies came to my mind as I saw this building--The Globe--a rebuilt replica of the place where Shakespeare's plays were performed (the original site was a few hundred feet from this site). In my mind I tried to picture what that world was like. The Theatre was built right around the time of multiple explorations to the New World, and it was estimated to have a capacity of 3,000 audience members.

Even though the building I saw was a re-creation of the original, it stood as a reminder of a different time in England's history, world history, and as a testimony to the power of a good story. Shakespeare's plays are still being read and performed--they have stood a four hundred year test of time--there are not many stories that have echoed down through the centuries like this--it seems like Shakespeare understood the intricacies of human experience--both the good and the bad of human nature and could help people see their own selves (or people they knew) in the lives of the characters of the play. Maybe that's why his plays have stood the test of time, and why people have chosen to resurrect a replica of what the original Shakespearean experience might have been like.

Everyone loves a good story, and as much as it's great to hear a good story or watch a good story on the big screen or in the media, I think the world would be the better if we chose to live a good story as well. So as each of us goes about our day, may we take time to reflect not only on the good stories we have heard or seen, but may we take time to create and live a good story through the events of our daily lives. We've each been given a story to live, and we have an opportunity to live it out in an incredible way that shapes not only ourselves, but also shapes this world to be a better place.

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