April 8, 2003
One Language Barrier Down, One to Go
The third time was a charm for me this week, as my hapless effort to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace finally paid off. There I stood, camera in hand, ready to bring you all the fanfare that I had heard so much about. But the whole experience, to be candid, was pretty disappointing. The ceremony was not as firmly rooted in history as I had hoped. It was instead big surprise here intended to cater to tourists. This was made painfully clear when the marching band played a few Andrew Lloyd Webber numbers. The highlight for me, as it turned out, was the chance to pet one of the horses carrying a patrolling officer. The horses, of course, are another piece of the very calculated plan to bring tourists here. As is the throwback design of the taxi fleet. And as is dare I say it? the persistence of the monarchy itself.
My course on British theatre took me on Tuesday to see Shakespeares Pericles at the huge National Theatre. To my discredit, I was not very well acquainted with the story line before seeing the production. And Ill have to confess further that I didnt even have a firm grasp on things when I went home that evening.
Its not that I didnt pay careful attention, and its not that I didnt enjoy myself. Its probably because this performance was in Japanese. Yes, a Japanese touring company came to London to mount a visually stunning and, on the whole, interesting production. Some in our group were a little weary after the three-and-a-half hours, but we all appreciated the different perspective. Next time, barring any last-minute surprises, its back to English.