Blue Stockings, The Globe Theatre, London. August 2013.
I'd given up hope of seeing this play as it had so few performances and even fewer matinees but sometimes luck works in my favour and Mr Norfolkbookworm agreed that we could go on our wedding anniversary and he'd drive us home afterwards as he had the day after off work.
I'm so pleased that we could see this as a play about the struggle that women had in the past for the right to vote and for an education ticked so many of my personal boxes. I went to an all girls school where it was expected that most of us would go on to university and take a degree but little was made of the fact that this expectation was a recent phenomenon. I certainly didn't know just how much of a fight women just 100 years before I took my undergraduate degree had to even attend lectures let alone graduate.
We saw the second performance of this new play and from the very beginning I was swept up in the story, the conflict between the male and female students, the conflict between the classes and the conflict between the desire for an education and a love life all came to life before my eyes and it really did feel like I was seeing history rather than a fictitious story.
Today women may be able to attend university on the same grounds as men but the fees are making it as hard for some to gain an education now as it was for women 100 years ago and this parallel made the play even more poignant to me.
I think that there were two things about this play that stood out for me - firstly the story focused on women trying to obtain science degrees (and being better at science than the men) not typically female 'arty' subjects and secondly that there were many sly digs at either Shakespeare or the topics (i.e. the French) that he typically made fun of which linked the play nicely to the setting.
This was the first modern piece that I'd seen at the Globe and it has made me keen to see more of the plays commissioned for the space - I wonder if I can fit in a trip to see The Lightning Child?