S A T U R D A Y, 3 0 S E P T E M B E R
Radio One began today. Big thrill.
At three, Ma took me to Lucy’s. After tea we got the train to Waterloo where we met Hilary by W H Smiths. The tubes were utterly claustrophobic. Got to the Mermaid, and were rather surprised to see how derelict it was. Still, the theatre’s super – scarlet seats and bare looking with the open stage and old brick walls. It’s miles smaller than I ever realized.
At six, 'Nathan the Wise' began. No scenery, just two lovely friezes on the walls. The play, written in 1779, is a religious argument about which religion is the right one. The characters are a Jew (Nathan), a Christian (the Knight Templar), and a Muslim (Saladin). Nathan gives the answer that they are all right and basically all the same by telling the story of the three rings. There’s a love story too, between Nathan’s daughter Rachel and the Knight Templar (an awful snazz). It was so funny because the chap who did the lighting was right above us and we could hear all his mutterings!!!
We were just going down the empty, dimly-lit street when we heard these footsteps behind. “We’re following you, girls,” a man said - it was ghastly! Got tube to Waterloo. London at night is full of queer types, Lucy said it’s like the Paris metro with old men hanging around. Waterloo is utterly depressing, it’s so sad to see the crowds of people there at night, they all look so alone. The music seems to make it worse, I don’t know why. If I could write, I’d write a poem about it.
Went to the phone boxes and Hilary and I rang up our Ma’s and Pa’s. I couldn’t get through though so I rang up the operator. Thinking it was Ma I went “Mum…Mum?” He was so funny, he said, “thought I was your Mum, did you?” When I said “yes,” he said, “I must have a very light voice!” Hilary and I got the same train together. She’s so nice. She saw John Lennon and George Harrison on David Frost last night, and the Mahigagi Yogi (however you spell him), and said they were terribly interesting, especially GH. They seem to be great thinkers though John Lennon is very bitter.
Hilary wishes long dresses would come back after seeing the play, I agree, but I wouldn’t like them all the time. How about long dresses in the winter and mini-skirts in the summer?
"Once banned by the Catholic church and almost entirely forgotten is Nathan the Wise, Gotthold Lessing’s deeply moving play of 1779. Its eponymous hero, a Jewish merchant living in Jerusalem during the Third Crusade, uses a fine theological mind and sweet reason in argument with Saladin and a knight templar to reconcile the conflicting claims of Judaism, Islam and Christianity." - Philip French, The Guardian, 2010