March sees the official beginning of Spring and we seem to have been lucky enough that Spring has edged its way in just a little ahead of the vernal Equinox, giving us two weekends of sunshine in a row. I went for a couple of healthy walks this weekend and admired the way the magnolias in our village have come out in only the last seven days:
On Sunday afternoon, I took the Lovely Daughters up to London. Lovely Daughter #2 wanted to know why everything in the Underground is rounded. Isn’t it easier, she wanted to know, to build things in straight lines?
“If this train were square, there’d be more room for my head.”
I have to admit that I’d not explicitly thought about the shapes of the tunnels before, but this question prompted us to remember that an arch shape is more stable than a flat shape and that lots of houses in our village have arches, windows or otherwise, held in place by a keystone. In fact, I think you can just see such an arch in the corner of my first picture.
We were on our way to the Peacock Theatre in Holborn to see a Sadlers Wells hosted production of Shadowland by the American Dance company Pilobolus. As it was such a nice day, we got out at Covent Garden station and walked. Covent Garden was really busy, with lots of people taking advantage of the blue skies.
Covent garden in the sunshine, sans Dr Martens store
I was looking for the six storey Dr Martens store to show to Lovely Daughter #1, who practically lives in her classic black boots (luckily they are allowed to wear DMs to school, which I think is great – they are sturdy, long lasting, and have lots of room for young feet). Sadly I think the London of my youth must have faded to memory and dust, as when I turned the last corner expecting to see the DM store in front of me, I found an Oakley in its stead. On the plus side, the fact that I clearly don’t remember much about Covent Garden means that when we do have a bit more time to visit London, we will have somewhere new to explore 🙂
Shadowland is about a teenaged girl who goes to bed one night and is sucked into a world of dreams. In this world, she journeys, is pursued, captured, escapes, and finally “discovers herself”.
Some of the dancing takes place in front of the screen, but most of it is done behind it, with lights at the back of the stage projecting the shapes of the dancers towards the audience. The dancing at the front of the stage mainly equates to “real life”, while that behind the screen is mostly representative of the “Shadowland” of dreams.
It’s fast paced, and I can only marvel at how athletic the performers must be. Also impressive is the choreography, which must have been meticulous to get the relative sizes and positions of the shadows correct. When you look inside the programme, you can see how different the dancers’ actual positions are to what we see on screen. I still can’t fathom how they managed to make this elephant:
There was a clever motif whereby our heroine was transformed into a girl with dog’s head quite soon into her dream. There were hints that this might be representative of the girl’s situation in real life. Perhaps it showed that she had her own desires, but found herself more the subject of other people’s plans than she would have wished. I think that’s a common situation many of us can identify with…
All in all, it was a good show, and I really admired its technical brilliance. When filling in the post-show questionnaire emailed to us by Sadlers Wells, Lovely Daughter #2 said that she would give the show 4 out of 5 stars. Bearing in mind that she has seen some roller coaster thrilling shows in her time! I thought her judgement was spot on. For us, the show just lacked the emotional pull that would have made it perfect.
However we’re all looking forward to choosing our next trip out. Dance is a good choice, as I think a lot of theatre would probably go over their little heads. And it was nice to see Lovely Daughter #1 enjoying a trip out. For a long time, she’s been really grumpy and unwilling about going out, so long may this new spirit of positivity continue. Maybe that’s what some Spring air does for you?
There’s a clip here, uploaded by Sadlers Wells, if you want to experience your own taste of Shadow Land.