By Brigid Walshe `19
When driving around London’s West End or theatre district, it is impossible to miss the bright signs advertising theatre productions. Theatre has become a staple of London’s culture and charm, connecting both residents and visitors to the city’s rich history.
This past week, members of the Providence College Liberal Arts Honors Program had the opportunity to experience London theatre as part of the program’s annual Spring Break trip. The trip gave students insight into daily life in London, along with a comprehensive understanding of its theatrical tradition.
Students in the program went to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to see a production of The White Devil and The Old Vic Theatre to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead during the trip, both of which were enlightening.
The White Devil was being shown at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, which is part of Shakespeare’s Globe. The play is a revenge tragedy written in 1612, during the Jacobean era, by John Webster. The play follows the Duke of Brachiano and his descent into madness.
One unique aspect of the theatre was that it was lit solely by candlelight, which created an intimate atmosphere between the audience and the actors on stage throughout the show. This was perfect for the setting of the play, as it took place in between reality and nightmares and the dim lighting made it hard to differentiate between the two.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (known as solely Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) is an absurdist tragicomedy that expands upon the exploits of these two minor characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The play is being performed at The Old Vic Theatre until late April. The play stars Daniel Radcliffe as Rosencrantz and Joshua McGuire as Guildenstern.
The stage design on the play was simple, but created what seemed to be an optical illusion, making the set seem bigger than it was and creating this feeling that the play had more to it than the audience could see. The plot followed the two friends of Hamlet during the scenes of Shakespeare’s play, and the actors had the audience laughing and entertained.
Daniel Radcliffe stuck around to meet fans after the evening show, where Chris Fitzgerald ’20 waited and eventually met him. Fitzgerald says meeting Radcliffe was “the top experience of the trip, for sure,” as he and the star bonded over their similar tastes in literature.
While it is clear Fitzgerald had a particulary special trip, his fellow honors students did as well. All were immersed in the city’s dramatic history, allowing them to be transported through time—a place no plane or train could ever take them.