Lungs and late at the Tate

Sometimes a play’s title sheds light on what’s to come. Sometimes it doesn’t. Last week I saw a play that fell into the latter category: Lungs, at the Old Vic. I still have no idea why it’s called Lungs.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it! Ninety minutes of Matt Smith and Claire Foy angsting over the question of whether to have a child. There was also a subtheme of environmentalism, which I frankly didn’t think was nearly as interesting as the complexity of two humans trying to figure out what having a baby means to them as individuals and a couple.

Also, both of them are amazing. I’ve only seen them in TV programmes before (Dr Who, Cromwell, The Crown) but they were terrific on stage. Foy, in particular, was a dynamo and I could have watched her all day.

Since the play was only 90 minutes, it was still quite early when we got out. So instead of rushing home, I decided to walk through London’s south side toward the London Bridge station. I hadn’t anything in particular in mind, but I had the great luck of stumbling upon what was basically a late night party at the Tate Modern. Apparently that’s where the cool kids hang on a Friday night…

I nipped inside and enjoyed what I could see of the Olafur Eliasson exhibition . . .

. . . and soaked up an enormous fountain that was essentially a postmodernist riff on the sort of grandiose fountains that so often commemorate the world-dominating exploits of the English. It was magnificent and disturbing, with the water jetting from the woman’s breasts and cut throat.

I stopped in the gift shop on the way out and was intrigued by this little book of William Blake’s poetry and artwork. I’ve always remembered one of my English professors talking about Blake as a visionary, and this seemed like a good opportunity to learn more. Although I aspire to be a person who reads poetry, I’m not very good at it. I get impatient and want a plot that I can get to the end of. Maybe I can sit long enough to take these in.

But no sitting in the museum when it closed! Back out into the night. The north side of London was glittering on the Thames and I soaked it all in. It felt like the sort of night that would only happen in London.

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