British Library

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Last Days: The Stage, The Law, The Entertainment

Published August 8, 2011 by Aker

I will be leaving England in a couple of days…boohoo! So I have been trying to pack in a few more sights before I leave. Yesterday, I went to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre for the tour and exhibition. It was interesting to learn the history of the Globe theatre. It opened in the 16th century and was very popular, but it burned down a century later when a canon was shot during a performance. After it was rebuilt with a tile roof, but later closed and demolished when theaters were closed during the reign Puritans. In the 20th century, an American actor name Sam Wanamaker, who loved Shakespeare, wanted to rebuild the theatre and spent the rest of his life raising funds and planning for it. He died in 1993, but his dreams came true in 1997, when the theatre officially reopened. However, it was hard to build the theatre the way it is now because of the thatch roof, which easily catches on fire (the English have been fearful of fire ever since the Great Fire of 1666), and not knowing the exact look of the original theaters. Also, I found out that Wanamaker’s daughter Zoe appeared in the Harry Potter films as Madame Hooch, and that King Charles II had a thing for actresses (if you know what I mean) and was involved pushing to have actresses be in plays (only men could act before that). Supposedly a lot of the aristocracy were descendants born out of his fascination for actresses. Haha!

Speaking of fires, I woke up this morning to find out about the student riots in East London over the weekend. Buses, cars and even buildings were set ablaze, including the Tottenham High Road’s Carpetright Shop. Several are saying that it started after a black man named Mark Duggan was shot and killed by police, but the causes behind the riot actually have been bubbling up for some time. We are very close to it, since we are staying on the east side of London. Wow! Don’t worry, we are all safe. In fact, the whole day went by smoothly as if nothing happened, but I wonder what that area looks like…

Also, today we went to see a trial at Old Bailey court near St. Paul’s cathedral. It was interesting to see that the judge and the lawyers (barristers) wore powdered wigs and that the defendant was kept behind a glass wall as well as the witness. We sat in on a murder trial for a man named Charlie, who is allegedly stabbed a man named Abraham. Most of what we saw was the witness, Angela, who stayed in a flat with Abraham, discuss what happened. All I can say is she was a bit erratic (they did a lot of crack).

The end of my day, I went to the British Library, which is huge! The library has a few intriguing exhibitions, such as for Alice in Wonderland, poet Mervyn Peake, and Out of This World, history of science fiction. To top it all off, a Nigerian engineer student flirted with me, but I did not feel a connection, so I left. Then I explored Russell Square and Covent Garden, where I watched a few buskers, including a hilarious man in a red tutu dancing with two other men and a young girl in tutus. So yes, I have had an eventful past few days!