Thursday, 23 February 2012
Day Three - Layers
The theatre has a rather elegant and restrained decorative scheme; its a real contrast to later Victorian decorations which are more familiar perhaps - lots of gilt and velvet and curlicues, statuary and tassels. This theatre is quite simple with very little to distract the eye from the stage. There's also a lovely example of early scenery - rather Gainsborough-esque 'woodland scene' which is the UK's oldest-known theatrical scenery; apparently all the trees in the scene can be identified as specific types.
But what is nice is that you still get a sense of the old theatre underneath the restoration - one of the guides pointed out a place where the original paintwork has been deliberately left to show through. Its as though you can look through all the layers of history back to when it first opened. I find that fascinating; its almost as though you could stand on the stage and feel the past through the layers of years. I feel like that about memory - you can stand in a place and know that you were exactly there, 20 years ago, and wonder if you can sense that presence of an earlier self, hear echoes of words spoken all that time ago.