Posts Tagged Shakespeare

Through the RIFT with no Spoilers

I am very fortunate to know some incredibly creative people in London, which meant I was lucky enough to be one of the Alpha-testing audience members for RIFT’s new, and already sold-out, immersive event.

Macbeth.

Macbeth RIFT All rights reserved.

Moving on swiftly! 🙂

If you’ve never experienced it before immersive theatre puts the audience right in the middle of the action and is something for the more adventurous theatre goer. In this case we were met in the street by release form bearing stewards who walked us down to the base of an imposing 1980s tower block in Tower Hamlets.

There we were greeted by a rambunctious Eastern European Military-styled chap called Uri who wore an extremely large hat and advised us how we may experience some disorientation moving between worlds. Moments later we were walking through the Rift itself into an alternative reality somewhere in the early late seventies early eighties.

Being a bit of an old hat at the immersive theatre malarky, from the hugely elaborate big-budget Punchdrunk and Secret Cinema events to many others, I was still blown away by the logistical challenges the RIFT team have overcome with an exceptionally clever running schedule enabling backstage teams, and teams of actors to seamlessly create a completely believable, if utterly bizarre, world around their expertly rotated audiences.

Throughout your trip you are chaperoned by a guide; we were very fortunate to have the wonderful Anushka taking care of us, who told us about life in the reality we had found ourselves in and guided us through the labyrinthine maze of rooms in the “Castle”.

The play itself takes the Macbeth many of us are familiar with and turns it on its head, actors stride and argue and fight amongst the crowd, drawing audience members into conversation, then drift into the main storyline as domineering ghosts; playing out a tragedy the audience and their guides are powerless to stop.

Having been part of the first audience to set foot in this strange new world I recommend comfortable shoes, an open mind, and a willingness to interact with your guide and their colleagues. Participation will make your experience all the more (un)comfortable and intriguing as you become caught up in the strange alternative reality that has been constructed around you.

As mentioned before their show is currently sold-out, however should the run be extended I recommend that get yourself booked into this strange and discombobulating fantasy world and let your imagination get taken for a ride on a challenging and clever interpretation of the Bard’s work.

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London to Paris to Rome and back again without the aid of an aeroplane

I would do a complete disservice to the memory of this holiday, and bore you dear reader senseless, if I were to even try to recount each moment of this epic trip to Rome. All the touristy stuff you can read a million times on other blogs if that’s what you want.

So instead a few of the more surreal and unusual aspects:

Waiting for The Kick.
For those who have seen Inception picture sitting outside a Parisian cafĂ© relaxing and drinking tea on one of the islands on the Seine surrounded by the classic grey roofed buildings watching giant bubbles soar over the connecting bridge as clouds begin to roll into the city and “Je ne regrette rien” suddenly begins emanating from the cafe…

Voulez vous dormir dans une coucette avec nous sur le train?

The opportunity to see the French and Italian countryside should not be missed, however If you decide to go for the cheaper six-berth carriages on the sleeper train from Paris to Rome it is advisable to bring snacks and drinks and books and to have experienced and survived the last day of a large festival. Lets just say that there are a lot of people on this 17 hour train journey (expect a delay of at least two hours each way) which in itself makes for quite an unforgettable experience.

Oh, and for those new to multi-lingual environments, remember that whilst you may not speak the languages of your cabin mates, a smile and a bit of pantomime go a long way…. and don’t forget whilst many people may not express themselves in English chances are they understand at least some of what you are jabbering on about. In other words, be nice.

And then I found myself inside a painting.
One of the most bizarre experiences I have ever had, which had me double checking with my travelling partner and staring like a rabbit in headlights trying to solve a cryptic crossword puzzle. “What is this witchcraft of which you speak?” I hear you ask. “Villa Borghese” I reply, “I assure you I jest not”

So what was going on? Well the stone pines, exceedingly tall trees that look like up-turned hands holding aloft green clouds, can be found all about the undulating bright green gardens and in front of a gorgeous building of peach coloured stucco and white stone. This array of colours and lines mixed with the Mediterranean sunshine somehow conspires to flatten and slightly blur the perspective from the middle distance onward and everything looks exactly like an impressionist painting, as the photo from my camera phone can attest:

Oh and there is a full sized working replica of the full sized working replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre tucked away behind the trees just to the side.

Kamikazi Eating.

Unsurprisingly there are some awesome places to eat, and boy did we do our fair share to keep the local economy ticking over! Cul de Sac in the centre of the city and CIAK in the Trastevere district are the two honorable mentions that I would definitely head back to in the future; both were informal and completely delicious.

Having a wheat intolerance, one may find Italy with all its pastas and crusty breads to be a somewhat strange choice of holiday destination, but I would not have missed it for the world. Possibly unwisely, I decided to throw caution to the wind, dose up on a concoction of anti-spasmodics, digestive enzymes, probiotics and analgesics and decided to see what happened. Thankfully I managed to eat everything going and get by with only three notable episodes of ouchy bodily retaliation during the four day trip.

However for those with much more severe reactions, with a lower tolerance to pain, or more sensible than I, it is not impossible to avoid wheat for the duration: think salad, cheese, meat and icecream as you main food groups and you’ll do fine. Quite delightfully we did discover that the dinky supermarket just around the corner of the piazza where you find the Spanish Steps does a small selection of gluten- free items, tasty even if they do disintegrate in your hands.

The word of the holiday will forever be “Prego!”

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