There were few people outside my theatre friends who could understand my excitement at having spent 6 hours watching Shakespeare performed in Dutch. But it was brilliant, and it was at the Barbican theatre.
Barbican Theatre lockdown March 2021
The Barbican is one of only a few big theatres in London I actually like. The auditorium is not only spacious - no cramped seating and having to stand up every time someone wants to get to their seat - but it also has great sightlines.
Its size means it can have big productions, epic in fact hence the 6 hours of Shakespeare.
That was Ivo Van Hove's Roman Tragedies where he cut and shut Coriolanus, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, so you got to see how all those stories interrelate.
It was the follow up to Kings of War which had been a mere 4.5 hours and took a similar approach to Henry V, Henry VI and Richard III (with a smidge of Henry IV part 2 at the very beginning). In hindsight, Kings of War was just a warm-up act - but a bloody good one.
These productions could legitimately be called 'event' theatre. They were more than long plays, they were a new play watching experience.
Ivo Van Hove broke the taboos of theatre. You were allowed to Tweet and take photos during the performance (except during particular scenes). The audience was invited up onto the stage at certain points to sit among the actors and see the drama unfolding close up.
He used cameras - handheld in some instances to get close to the actors and take the audience into otherwise hidden corners of the set and stage.
And alongside that, you get Van Hove's naturalist directing style and contemporary setting which brings a new dimension to Shakespeare.
In fact, when I rummage through my archive, the Barbican has become the stage for epic Shakespeare.
It's become the London home for the RSC, and it was where I got the opportunity to watch the King and Country Cycle: Four plays in two days - Richard II, Henry IV part 1 and part 2 and Henry V.
Seeing them like that, you got to appreciate the little treatments that carried through all the plays and the 'full story' of Henry V from the landscape he was born into to his most famous victory.
Another epic production, but more so because of its star lead, was Benedict Cumberbatch's Hamlet. Memorable for the ticket scramble and (smugly) managing to get tickets to see it more than once.