the terrace – a Sunday at the end of September

October 4, 2010

What a treat – early on a Sunday morning some of us were able to enjoy a performance of ‘As You Like It’. I discovered I rather liked viewing and listening to some theatricals at this time of the day. Great, because after we clapped  as the cast took their bows, I had the whole day ahead of me instead of, as usual,the end of an evening. The group, the Mercatoria Company usually perform in the open air in St Leonard’s Gardens and other outside venues in the neighbourhood. They put on this special performance for friends on the terrace. I hadn’t remembered that the play was set in the a French duchy although the most memorable scenes are played out in the Forest of Arden. We didn’t quite have onion sellers but there was a distinct French flavour to the production . . .

. .  Rosalind and Orlando . .

 . . .  Phoebe and Silvius and a small member of the audience who wanted to join in  . . .

 . . good profiles – the accordion player and William or Adam, not quite sure – but good disguise, make up + costume – honestly thought it was a bloke! 

An invitation to dance . . .

. . . not quite sure what is ‘appening ‘ere . . . it was bitterly cold and then the rain arrived but it didn’t manage to dampen spirits. Some of the important members of the audience sheltered under a rather theatrical canopy . . .

 . .  all lining up for the final curtain call . . Bravo, bravo! . . . The terrace really enjoyed it, merci.

On my way back, I thought I should make a record of the small patch of waste land at the rear of the terrace before the inevitable happens. Planning permission has been granted for single storey housing based on the fact that some cottages were here a very long time ago. Everybody has objected but we’ve been ignored. Strange as St Leonards has many empty buildings – some of a good architectural standard – but we must have more low quality housing thrust into every tiny unoccupied patch of land. This little waste land has become fully inhabited by sparrows, starlings, foxes and rather lovely vegetation – some indigenous and some decorative invaders. 

This is a modest piece of land that was flattened by bulldozers and diggers last spring. A colony of valerian, verbascums, feverfew, teazles, grasses and asters have seeded and thrived in the poor soil . . . behind security fencing . . .

. . a rather charming tapestry of self seeders. Antirrhinums and marigolds make their presence felt with strong colour  highlights . . .

. . . and the stem and branches of the trashed ivy seem to echo the famous speech by melancholic Jaques.

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.    William Shakespeare.

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