August, 2013

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by Harumi Okochi.
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Shakespeare Tree Garden
Elm tree and the tablet upon it.
Thou art an elm, my husband,
I a vine.

Hello, friends.
I have long wanted to go to England to see Shakespeare's birthplace.
This June, for the first time in my life, I went to Europe with my husband.
This is a small report of my Shakespeare Pilgrim.

Please join me in my Shakespeare trip.

My Shakespeare Pilgrimage
London and Stratford upon Avon
June, 2013

Miniature Globe Theater

On the day, there was no performance. Instead, we could see a lecture of movements and pauses. An instructor was making students move. Stretching out the arms, turning the face, standing still, turning round, kneeling down on the floor...in joy or anger, sorrow....
It was quite interesting. Looking from distance, we could understand that this person was in despair, or in extreme delight.
Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London

We joined the guided tour of the theater.
The guide lady's explanation was wonderful. It was as if we were watching a play. Her strong voice, rich expression, and gestures!
In Southwark Cathedral, in London, we saw a tablet for Sam Wanamaker.

It says:
In thanksgiving for Sam Wanamaker
whose vision
Globe Theater
on Bankside
in this
The market nearby, full of fruits and vegetable,
cheerful voices, smiles, and vigors to sell and buy.
Next day, we moved to Stratford-upon-Avon by train.This was where I really wanted to go for many years.
On Henley Street, Shakespeare's Birthplace is.
Quite a big house.
The backyard of the house. Wisteria was in full bloom on the wall when we visited here.

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
(Sonnet 73)
Shakespeare's father, John Shakespeare, was a glovemaker.
This room shows the tools and leathers for glove making.

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.
O that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek.

(Romeo and Juliet, 2.2.23-5)

A guide who wears Tudor time maid's costume.
I talked with an actress in the garden. She played Ophelia only for me and my husband for 10 minutes.
A group of students came into the garden, and the actress played Juliet this time for the young audience.
What a wonderful gift! The students will never forget.
The garden is not from the original time, but the flowers and trees are deliberately chosen to express the Shakespeare's time.

Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owedst yesterday.
Othello (3.3.368-71)

Hall's Croft
An elegant 17th century house where Shakespeare's eldest daughter, Susanna, and her husband Dr John Hall lived.
Study of Hall's Croft
A rich family'
Living room of Hall's Croft
A happy family!
Holy Trinity Church

Outside of the Church
Inside of the Church
Glasses were so beautiful, and there were many things to see about William Shakespeare.
William Shakespeare was buried here in 1616. Later, his wife and other members of his family were buried next to his grave.
It could be done because William Shakespeare became a layman priest in his last years.
The River Avon with narrow boats and swans, seen from the Rooftop Restaurant of the Royal Shakespeare Theater.

What did thy song bode, lady?
Hark, canst thou hear me? I will play the swan.
And die in music.

(Othello 5.2.284-5)

We had dinner here quickly before seeing the play.
At the entrance of the theater.
The ticket of Hamlet
Our seats were close to the stage.
The stage, before the play starts.
Brochure of the play.
It was done in a modern style.
Actors were wonderful.
Next morning, we visited Anne Hathaway's Cottage and Gardens. Anne was William Shakespeare's wife.
What a charming house!
Old furniture was quite attractive.
I wish I could stay overnight here in this room.
Then, to Mary Arden's Farm.
Mary was William Shakespeare's mother.
A rich family. Large estate, many buildings, each is still alive as a real farm.
We saw two women in Tudor clothes working (pretending) in the kitchen.
The smell of fresh vegetable, firewood, and cheese make me feel as if I am the guest of this house to share a meal.
The last visit is Nash's House and New Place, where William Shakespeare spent his last years of life.
Here, too, we saw wisteria in full bloom, on the brick wall.
This is the breakfast tables of Woodstock Guest House, where we stayed when we were in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The English Breakfast here was superb!
Denis and Jackie welcomed us.
This B&B was the best among the accommodations we took while we were in Europe this time.

30 Grove Road
Warwickshire CV37 6PB

Thank you very much for joining me.

I hope you will visit us again next month.

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