Othello Plays UT Austin (TX), Franklin and DePauw (IN), & UNC Charlotte (NC)

Well, here we are with only two weeks left having travelled across the country to Austin, Texas. We have survived Halloween at DePauw University, Greencastle, although trick or treating had to be postponed to the Friday night because of the horrific rain, which might have confused the beasties!

The past 2 weeks have been relatively quiet, as we have only had 1 show. The previous week in Charlotte we had 4 shows, which all sold out! A triumphant week, which, was rounded off with a visit from Professor Matthew Davies and some of his students from Staunton.  Matt is on the board of AFTLS and it was a while ago that we did our first showing to the guys in London so there were a few extra nerves that Saturday night, but by all accounts we did him proud.
After Charlotte we went on the Franklin, Indiana. This was AFTLS’ first trip to Franklin, University and I think it will be the first of many. We were met by Dean Ellis and taken to the University via lunch at a diner. And then on to student accommodation – which was a bit of a shock, especially later,  on the morning after the show, coming out of the showers, wrapped in a towel to be greeted by a very excited student, gushing with wonderful words about the previous nights performance of Othello!!!!

Everyone was so lovely and one night we were invited to the theatre by one of the professors – (thank you Gordon) to see ‘ The 1940’s Radio Hour ‘ – not something I would normally have chosen to see but it turned out to be great fun, very little plot more a concert of 1940’s classics. We spent the weekend after our Franklin week in Broad Ripple, a beautiful town/village that sums up what you kind of think real America is going to be like, this may not make sense to anyone else but I suppose it looked like so many small towns in films.

Richard and myself continued our traditional Sunday afternoon walk to water and visited The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park. A beautiful park around a lake with added treats and curios including the abandoned boat and ‘lifeboat station’ with everything left just as it was when the ‘disaster’ happened.

After our weekend in Broad Ripple we were picked up by Ron and driven to Depauw – another beautiful campus – especially in the autumn, sorry fall – with the bright red, almost luminescent, maple trees.

We did a great show on the Tuesday night, slightly edgy as we hadn’t done one for a week, and a bonus moment when Bianca’s shoe came flying off her foot and ended up on the floor at the audiences feet – luckily for us we had a theatre pro, 12 year old Simon who graciously retrieved it for us and handed it to Cassio so he could return it to Bianca. Simon we owe you!!! I personally had an amazing teaching week, with two additions to the usual fabulous university classes.
On the Thursday Anna and myself had a trip out to a womens prison  – it turned out to be a great class, and not in anyway threatening as we thought it might be. We took the willow scene with us and worked through it with them – unfortunately we ran out of time so couldn’t get them on their feet to show the work in progress and It was decided that we would show them our version of the scene, which was well met!  We had an email from Kelsey who organised the programme and had been back at the prison on the Friday, she said:
 ‘had a lovely time at the prison on Friday listening to everyone’s excited chatter about your visit.  As one of the women said, “For those few minutes, I wasn’t in prison anymore!”  ‘ 

Very rewarding. Also rewarding was the trip I took on Friday to Cloverdale Middle/high School as part of the Fall Festival of Shakespeare,  they are doing ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ Grace, who is directing it is brilliant and obviously loves what she is doing, has directed it with a cartoon theme, complete with ‘Pow’, ‘Bang’, ‘Thump’ cards to be held aloft during the fight scenes. And we spent some of the afternoon choreographing the reactions from the whole room in the last few scenes, with the gasps and looks of shock when the wives disobey their husbands and the screams of shock horror when Katherine appears! The students were deeply involved and enjoying every minute of it. I was really glad I got a chance to see them at work and looking forward to seeing the finished performance ( via video in December)


On Sunday I continued my tradition of a waterside walk with a trip to the nature Park, after a quick trip to see the East College, dating back to 1870, stunning hall – like an old chapel And the original university building, sooo glad we got to see it. Thank you so much Nathan and Emily for our guided tour.







Othello Visits to Wellesley and the US Naval Academy


So we had the most wonderful week in Wellesley, we were greeted with a gathering and a lobster supper, being a bit squeamish about my food, it was a bit of a challenge but I did manage my dissection although I wasn’t sucking out the crevices like my instructor!  During the week when we weren’t teaching or doing the show we were able to walk round the amazing grounds, made more


stunning by the changing colours of the autumn leaves.  The show went down really well and one night we were invited to join the members of the Shakespeare Society in Shakespeare’s House, who would have thought Shakespeare used to live in Wellesley! Anyway we had a lovely evening. The ladies of the society are putting on their own version of Romeo and Juliet on the 14th-17th and 21st-24th of November, I wish we could be there to see it and hope it is a great success.

After Wellesley we headed off for The US Naval Academy, Annapolis. I have to say it wasn’t my favourite journey, to start off we were delayed for over an hour, the reason being bad weather on route, we managed to avoid most of it but there was one point in the journey that was particularly bumpy, and I spent most of that bit with my head in my hands chanting ‘ I don’t like this! I don’t like this! ‘ until I was reminded by Jack who was sitting across the aisle from that ‘nobody liked it’ – sorry to everyone who was in hearing range!!

Midshipmen Arriving

Anyway we made it and had another great week. We only had 2 shows in the beautiful theatre on Campus but we had the most amazing reception, we were nearly blown over backwards by the applause and cheers at the end and considering a lot of them had been up since 5 in the morning, nobody I could see had fallen asleep so we have done our job!!


Othello Tour Update

ALamo More Jack Jacks Birthday Wellesley-2



Well we had a fantastic week in San Antonio, I had some great classes, including one on Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls – after some speedy research, it ended up being great fun, the whole class were up on their feet playing various, debating birds! I have to say their squawking was more coherent than some Parliaments I can think of!!
We also had a cast birthday – Jack celebrated his 24th, 32nd or maybe it was his 50th I’m not quite sure, so many numbers were thrown around! We planned and executed a surprise party which was a surprise,  he didn’t realise anything was going on until he knocked on Richard’s door for ‘the academic meeting’ and had to wait ages to be let in, as we all ran round trying to light candles, put on party hats and generally whisper a little bit too loudly for the game not to be up! We partied hard that night but did manage to have our academic meeting too!
We also managed to sell out on Saturday night for the 1st time in 5 years, a little amble along the river walk and a trip to the Alamo on Sunday finishing the week with some sight seeing – who could ask for more!
Up early on Monday morning for flights to Boston and then here we are in Wellesley – the most beautiful campus I have ever seen.

San Antonio

San Antonio RiverwalkHere we are in San Antonio, the 90 degree heat hasn’t slowed us down and we have had a great audience reaction to the show, I would like to say a special hello to Drew and his mum, who came to chat with us after last nights show. It was his first ever Shakespeare play and he loved it, I asked him if he understood it all and he was very honest and said not all of it, but that he was with us the whole way through! What more can we ask! Here’s to Drew!!!

That Town That Won’t Let You Down

ChicagoA little catch up – we had the most fantastic weekend – I for one am madly in love with Chicago! We travelled there in style – after a great show, we got into our Limo! – we had bought a few supplies for the journey, and so the party weekend started as we left Notre Dame on route for Chicago.
The whole weekend was great fun, and we managed to see a bit of the city, including an architectural boat trip along the river, art Museums, Millenium Park with it’s ‘Bean’ and Jun Kaneko Sculptures, a trip to Boys Town and to Shaw’s Crab House – we were spoilt rotten! I also think a spot of shopping was done, but we shall keep the names of the ‘over – participants’ secret to protect their modesty!!
On Monday morning, we set off to the airport, for the next part of our trip. Unfortunately the flight was delayed for an hour so we saw slightly more of the airport than we would have liked but eventually arrived in San Antonio Texas…….Chicago