A Comedy of Errors in Farsi

June began with a surprising diversion as we were invited to see an all-Afghani Farsi-version of Comedy of Errors performed in the old Palace at Hatfield; simple scene descriptions were projected on the wall so us non-Farsi speakers could follow the plot, which was acted with real power and wit. It was sad to read how the theatrical group, who had performed in the Globe Theatre’s cultural Olympiad, had experienced persecution in Afghanistan because men and women act together on the stage, which is apparently frowned on by extremists. We laughed a lot at the semi-pantomime elements in this most complex of Shakespeare’s comedies – although I naturally did not follow all the jokes that the Farsi speakers in the room did. This was a really extraordinary experience and I was pleased to have dragged the teenage daughters and some other friends who have travelled in the Middle East. This was a month of theatre, as I also went to see my step-brother Hugo Wilson directing an amateur performance of An Ideal Husband in the Compton Village Hall, a curiously potent play about trust and reputation in politics; it’s a very wordy play but I think the cast kept the spirit of the story alive, with its curious mix of tragedy and comedy; a play I had never seen before and thoroughly enjoyed.
Best Exhibitions Seen: The Search for Immortality: Tomb Treasures of Han China at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and Dickens and the Artists at the Watts Gallery, Compton, Surrey
Much enjoyed: the spectacle of the Royal Wedding, elegant and unforgettable British ritual, and amused by the couple taking the title the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

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