Tuesday, January 23, 2007
mayor anthony williams, richard III, and steve teague's birthday
so it's just before the performance starts of the opening night of the shakespeare theatre company's production of richard III at the lansburgh theatre, in d.c. my friend saleem, has very generously got rebecca and i tickets to join him as guests, as our christmas present.
so i go to the bathroom and am standing, taking care of number one. there is only one other bloke in the men's bathroom, and he is standing in the next stall. as you do, you perform the cursory sideways ' face glance', to my surprise, i recognise that the guy next to me is none other than the ex-mayor of d.c, anthony williams. "hmm. well, i'm not going to be a twat and say anything. let the bloke take a wazz in peace", i think. and so he finishes, walks to the paper towels, takes a very quick one-two drying rub, deposits the barely touched paper towel in the trash, and exits.
"hang on a minute!" i think. "he hasn't washed his hands!" this is the ex-mayor of d.c., and i imagine that this man is going to be shaking a lot of hands this evening...he just wiped them a couple of seconds with a paper towel and that was it. (bet he didn't think the bloke that he was standing next to would be writing all this...or perhaps he would have made sure he washed his hands)
i wash my hands (sufficiently) and take my seat and immediately inform saleem, rebecca, and saleem's friend, may. the following opening night production of richard III somehow already seems 'special'.
as for the production itself, i'd rate as a 6 out of 10. i think it's incredibly difficult for an english person to really enjoy any foreign production of shakespeare having been 'brought up' on the royal shakespeare company. the guy portraying richard is excellent, as are a couple of others, but the two children are simply terrible. prince edward being less of a nightmare than the younger brother, who is not only unable to act, but as soon as he opens his mouth, it seems he has a bowl of plums wedged in it. the only thing being murdered on stage at that moment is the queen's english. it's impossible not to want to harpoon them both from where i'm sitting.
shakespeare is undoubtedly very difficult, even at 'home' so perhaps it's too easy to be critical, and richard III is probably one of the harder plays.
afterwards, we went to rosa mexicano, for some rockin' guacamole dip. suddenly, a mexican waiter inserts a margarita into my hand and insists on telling me about a british comedy tv series of fifteen years ago entitled 'only fools and horses'. this comedy show is completely and utterly inappropriate to the environment i'm in...
the guacamole and finger foods are delicious, and there's the expected fawning on the so-so actors. my hatred for the youngest child only deepens when he enters the restaurant wearing some sweatshirt zipper with a union jack design. i inform my friends that at this point in elizabethan history, there is no union between scotland and england, and no child acting this part in britain would have ever worn such an offensive item. i think this part of english history is completely lost on americans. they simply think of england as the same as britain! i bet 95 out of 100 americans are unable to even describe an english flag...
then, it was jump in a cab and head to science club and celebrate steve teague's birthday. happy birthday, steve. we love you lots! great to see a lot of faces we hadn't seen for too long.
lovely evening. great to end it at science club with a lot of friends. shame the ex-mayor doesn't have the common decency to wash his hands after using the bathroom. you know, people don't change their personal hygiene habits, especially so at an opening night at the theater, which makes me shudder to think of all the people that have touched their mouths and faces after shaking hands with mayor anthony williams...