England feels like home to me. It is not my home. Though it was briefly. I grew up in Virginia and I live in New York City. And yet England can feel more like home than either of my homelands feel sometimes. Is there something to an ancestral homeland? I have many many ancestors from England. Do I have some English loving DNA? Some DNA that recognizes its roots and starts shooting them down the moment I arrive on English soil. Some DNA that gets very upset every time I have to return to my own country because immigration laws don’t care about my feelings or my ancestral roots. They’re like, “Y’all people left on that damn Mayflower – and now you want to come BACK here? Nah. Nah. That ain’t happenin’.” I don’t know why the immigration authorities of the U.K. sound like Southern folks from my hometown but apparently they do in this make believe scenario.
I try to get back every year but I don’t always manage it. This year, though…get ready to shake, roots, we’re going to England.
My sociology professor in college was this badass feminist scholar with fun spiky hair. She told us a story about when she married her husband and they warned the clergyman that if he so much as came close to saying, “Man and Wife” they’d be outta there!
And I remember laughing but also being confused. The phrase “Man and Wife” had such a familiar ring to it – it took me a little while to work out what was wrong with it. It’s man and wife. Man and Wife. That’s what they say in marriage ceremonies on TV! But then I thought it through and realized that man and wife were not equivalencies. Equivalencies would be “husband and wife” or “man and woman.” “Man and Wife” implies that the man is a man but his wife is his possession, his wife. She is his but he is not hers. He retains his identity while she gives up hers. But “Man and Wife” is such a familiar song, I still have to double check the difference every time I hear it. And it is a big difference.
Mine is pretty great. And I’m not just saying that because she might read this one day. She really is pretty great. It has been documented in many ways. She is beloved by many people and organizations – this person/organization the most. The Society of Loving my Kick Ass Mom.
It is a little piece of funny patriarchy that men find being called something feminine insulting. Hamlet calling his stepfather “Mother” is meant and understood to be a challenge. However, if Hamlet were to call his mother, “Father,” it would just be odd.
I love the meme going around that has pictures of men doing jobs like firefighting and astronauting…and then their name, age and “firewoman” or “spacewoman” as well as a quote implying that the firewoman understands that firewoman includes him too.
In a few weeks I will be in my beloved England. It gives me a little bit of relief to think of it. Whenever I return, I feel newly at home and it gives me a kind of peace. “Ah, this!” My system says. Something in me relaxes. It’s like I breathe more deeply somehow.
I kind of love the idea that there are little angelic children hanging around the Danish Court, seeing into people’s ulterior motives and such. It might be an interesting production to have them actually visible – not just in THIS moment but at other moments when someone is delivering a lie. We’d call it the Cherubic Hamlet and it’s just chock full of little chunky children with wings, checking out the scene.
The other thought I had was; What if cherubs are freshly born angels? That is – are they the newly dead? When a person dies and they go to heaven, what if they came in as angel babies? In which case, that cherub would be Polonius who would very likely in fact know what Claudius’ actual purposes might be.
News can be good. It is good to remember that sometimes surprises are good. One can get used to surprises that disappoint or upset but some of them, some of them are good.
For England I have love, like love for a member of a family – deep and complicated. I understand that it is not perfect but I feel at home there.
I don’t have the life there that I do in NYC, where I live now. It can be lonely, it can alien – but I’d drop everything in a heartbeat – For England.
I love the joking Hamlet. I do not understand the guys who play the super serious morose depressive romantic Hamlets. He has jokes! This one, for example, is a beautiful dark funny thing. It just begs to be played with a nice wry flavor. You could play it in a humorless way but why would you?
So where exactly has Hamlet stashed body? On a landing of the stairs? Seems an odd spot. Maybe in a nook by the stairs? Or a closet?
And I’m also interested in the architecture of this building. You go UP the stairs into the lobby? Why is there a lobby in this building? It is not a theatre or a hotel or an office building. Or is it? I find I need a lesson in the origins of lobbies. I think of a lobby as being a public open space that provides the introductory room to the rest of a building. The public aspect seeming to be the most significant part of that definition. And maybe this lobby is a public space.
And maybe it isn’t.
But it is definitely upstairs.
Which is unusual for most lobbies.
Lobby was, it turns out, previously a covered portico…like a loggia. And it evolved to be a monastic cloister. But again – we don’t have a mini monastery at Elsinore, I wouldn’t think. So this lobby upstairs is in this funny moment of evolution with this word. It would appear to be an architectural reference – and that is all. Not monastic. Not public. Just a covered open arena. I think.