Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Julia Caesar

The Pop-up Globe is open for business in Auckland again this year, and we decided to visit and make a long weekend of it. We’d originally planned to see The Comedy Of Errors, but there were only three shows, all mid-week. We revised our plans in consultation with Nicola’s hectic chorus diary, and decided on Julius Caesar on a Saturday matinee showing.

We flew up on Friday and spent the day in Auckland, taking a walk around the preparations for the Volvo Round The World yacht race, which was due to have a stop in Auckland starting that weekend. However, due to no wind last week, they were stuck at sea, and, at time of writing, had still not arrived. They are now expected on Wednesday 28th.

In the evening we went out to a restaurant called One Tree Grill near Cornwall Park, which contains One Tree Hill. I see what you did there. They have a wine cellar with a glass ceiling, which forms the floor of the bar area of the restaurant, so you walk over it and look down as you enter the place. They did good modern food to the required standard, although I was a little confused at the end when they asked if we’d like to tip our waiter, as we seemed to have been served by the entire staff of the restaurant throughout the meal…so which was “our” waiter?

The following morning we breakfasted at Imperial Lane cafĂ©, a bit of a favourite of ours when we visit Auckland. We had a bit of time before heading out to Ellerslie race course, so we took in the Maritime Museum for an hour or so. Luckily we’d left plenty of time to get to the globe, as there was a bus replacement service for the first two stops of our journey, which turned a 10 minute trip into a half hour. We arrived and got ourselves a cheese platter and some wine for lunch – once again sponsored by Marisco wines, so I had  King’s Bastard chardonnay.

Julius Caesar is one of the most performed Shakespeare plays. How to freshen it up? Why, role reversal, of course! All the males are played by women, and the two women’s roles (Porsche and Lamborghini…no, wait, Portia and Calpurnia) are played by men. They were rather overegging it by having them dressed in sackcloth and having their hands chained. The text needed to be changed quite a it too, to accommodate the reversal, although they kept “Friends, Romans, Countrymen”; nor did they feminise the names. Other than that, they stuck resolutely to the script, although some lines were missed. (notably “the ides of March have come”…why cut that?) We were seated in a royal box on the mid level, so were directly over the stage on the right. As usual, the arena was full of “groundlings”, who were, presumably, warned about the possibility of being splashed with blood, as the gore was distributed liberally during the various stabbings, spraying out into the audience.

We’d been in a bit of a quandary about our luggage, which we’d left at the apartments where we stayed on Friday night: the manager said he’d be closing the front desk at 5pm and we needed to be back before then to reclaim our bags. The play was scheduled to finish at 4:15 so we thought it might be a bit tight. We’d booked a taxi to pick us up fro the racecourse and whisk us back to the apartment. As it turned out, though, the play was all over by 3:45, and we found a taxi waiting, and got back in plenty of time. We then walked round to the ferry terminal and set out for Waiheke Island.

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