I wish I could recommend Sheffield as a holiday destination but...I can't. I arrived Tuesday at about one-fifteen, only to discover the woman who's B&B I was staying at was out. Her daughter seemed nice and offered me a cup of tea (she had no idea what room I was in) which I accepted...until I sipped it and tasted soap. As in, "this wasn't rinsed out very well..." Then, as I was sitting there in the EXTREMELY MESSY and DIRTY living room--the family part of the house, not the guest part--I started playing with the little kitten. I forgot that I'm actually allergic to cats until the little scratches she gave me started to puff up like mosquito bites, at which point I started wondering if I should seek elsewhere for lodging. The answer became a glaringly obvious YES!!! when I looked over and saw Kitty having an accident on the daybed where I was sitting. The woman seemed a little surly and uncooperative when I asked her to call me a taxi...can't imagine why...well, I booked it out of there and ended up staying at the Priory House Lodge, which I am more than happy to recommend. My en suite room was clean, the hostess didn't offer me tea, and best of all--they had a big dog named Charlie. :)
With that start to the festivities, it was no surprize I venutured out that night considerably depressed. I did a little window shopping (I had no heart to buy! That's how down I was!) and ate a Weatherspoon's before heading to the theatre. You'll remember the whole reason I was in Sheffield was to see "Assassins" for my essay. I had also arranged to interview the music director afterward. The Crucible Theatre is a beautiful facility--it actually reminded me quite a bit of North Shore--it's part of a several building complex where they do all kinds of different shows. "Assassins" was amazing to see live. I understood the show better than I ever had before, and had several insights into the text while I was sitting there. My favourite moment had to be when John Wilkes Booth tells Lee Harvey Oswald: "Now, I am an actor, and I am a good actor--" and you could hear every bad review he'd ever had in his voice. Nice. David Shrubsole, the music director, was very intelligent. He offered a lot about this particular production, as well as what he felt the show had to say about American society in general. I think he was a little surprized though when I told him that I didn't belive in Booth's shoes. Too modern.
Wednesday I had to get up so I could get breakfast. (I love English bacon. It's so much greasier than American bacon--the rasher I had this morning was literally pooling with grease, and the eggs are cooked in oil or butter or something, and they serve it to you on a plate singing, "Screw you arteries! Ah-ha!" Too much grease? Soak it up with your bread, Yankee.) Then I locked myself in my room, drank six cups of coffee and wrote my essay. Well, the first draft anyway--but it's all there. Hurray for writing vacations. Afterward I rewarded myself with a shower, naked naptime and some TV. I've forgotten how to watch TV. When I got back from the show last night I put on some music, opened a book, and it was only when I looked up ten minutes later that I remembered that--hey! I could turn my brain OFF for awhile! (by the way--the British comedy "Green Wing" is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. Like "Scrubs." But British. And therefore better.)
I went to see "Assassins" again last night...after talking with Mr. Shrubsole the show resonated even more. As I was standing in line to go into the theatre, I suddenly realised I was standing next to...John Wilkes Booth. The Slate I had consumed ordered me to say something to him. So, as politely as I could, I said, "Break a leg tonight, Mr. Booth." Which is FUNNY because during the course of the show, the character ACTUALLY DOES BREAK HIS LEG. He looked a little surprized, but he bowed genially and gestured for me to go ahead of him into the theatre. Which he would, because he is a Southern gentlemen, and even if they do have a penchant for assassination, that's the best kind. All of the assassins entered with the audience, which meant they were literally pulled from out of our ranks, reinforcing the idea that anyone can grow up to shoot the president. (all of which, by the way, made it into my notes--which I had to scribble on the back of my hand from the front row as the actors were looking at me curiously.)
Then today was the black hole of sucky train traveling. I can respect that London is a big confusing city, but if you have a group of nineteen people, only none of whom speak English, do NOT stop on the stairs when I am coming behind you with my suitcase and discuss loudly whether or not this is the right platform. I'm so glad to be back. I mean, I'm glad that I went and saw the show (and got a dog fix!) but honestly, right now it just seems like a big hassle. I suppose I'll feel differently tomorrow when I go back and look over the glorious 4,000 words that I managed to bang out, but then again...it's good to be back.
PS: While I was gone, Angus posted some pics of the show...so here it is, the moment you've all been waiting for: the duct-tape corset. Mom, if you don't want to print this one out and show Grandma...I'll understand. :)