Did my title confuse and interest you enough?
Well, that’s okay. Here I am, officially a month after I first moved into our flat. All of September has practically flown before my eyes, and I know October and November will go just as fast. Although I did see three shows this week not much else has happened, so if you’re up to date with the performance responses then you’re doin’ ok in my book.
On Monday in Intro. to Theatre History London we discussed Father Comes Home from the Wars parts 1,2, &3. At one point Lee, my professor, turned to me and said “Are you ok? You keep making sounds and twisting in your chair like you’re mad or something.” Yes, Lee, I am okay but you have to understand that in any play discussion I will want to monopolize most of it consciously or subconsciously. Not to say that I drown out other people (Geez I sure hope not) but someone will bring up a new talking point or I will want to further explain and echo off of someone else and thus the cycle continues. Maybe I should work on it, we’ll see. It’s always a little awkward discussing and debating African-American or British-African literature in a mostly Caucasian classroom because I think the awkwardness comes from us, the Caucasians. We’re so scared to overstep and say something that would be inappropriate or offensive that usually we (in classes I’ve had so far) don’t discuss things as much. Or, my favorite, is when you see the whole class turned towards the only African-American students in the class in a somewhat desperate “Help us so we don’t feel offensive” lean that I don’t think most people would realize that they were doing. It’s so unfair to ask a small number of Black students to represent the entire race, because that is absolutely crazy and disrespectful, and yet I see it happening year after year. Seems like professors would rather generalize than push aside, although I also do not think that this is a conscious effort.
We had a guest teacher in Theatre Encounters, Emma, who is an “emerging” director in the London theatre scene. In Emma’s own words, “emerging” just means that even though she’s been directing for quite some time, she hasn’t “made it” yet. This class was definitely more what I thought this semester was going to be about. We were focusing on the physical theatre side of devising theatre-so rather than writing and inventing new scenes or characters we’re developing new scenes through suggestions, improvisation, or off of a teacher’s instructions. This class definitely brought back memories from professor Homan’s collaboration class last year. We created scenes working off of space-not only the space of the room, but the space between actors and the space. This is how I ended up smacking my head on the elevator frame as I spastically tried to keep my scene partner away from the door. Overall it was a somewhat frustrating class for me because I was reminded of all my shortcomings in my last collaboration class, and I became too stuck in my head, like always. Although we don’t have class this Monday, I’m looking forward to picking it back up next Monday.
On Tuesday I had a lovely visit from a wise friend from home, which was a much needed breath of fresh air. We went to the Sir John Soane museum which I highly recommend for all of you history buffs. Soane was an architect and collector of artifacts for most of his life, and his house is an incredible memorial to that. The house has not been changed since his death, so it really looks like it did when he and his wife lived there. During the Georgian period there was the rampant belief of the English “borrowing” system. In this system, if you found a pretty little artifact from your holiday in Greece, well, why don’t you just take it as a little reminder?! Who’s going to miss it, right? Especially because England’s empire was truly global, what Englishmen wouldn’t feel the power to snatch a piece of history? All snarky remarks aside, it was an incredible amount of history in one house. It’s a free museum, and I most highly recommend it.
Although I am still in the very fresh young years of my life, always try to give an ear to those in the fall (or winter) of their lives, because they will always have good advice for you. I think many people my age assume that because we’re beginning our 20’s that we must adventure this decade solo. Well, I’m sure as heck not going to, because I don’t plan on being homeless. I kid, but honestly, we (us youngsters) shouldn’t feel the responsibility to become a well-rounded person alone. Of course some people are unfortunate and do not know many to seek advice or look up to, which breaks my heart. Ask questions and seek help, because I firmly believe that any advice given will help you to a certain degree. It does not make you weak to ask for help.
In Stage Combat we came back to the short swords, but this week we started learning choreography! With any stage combat, one of the most important things is the ability to sell a fight. If the fight isn’t believable then your audience is most likely going to laugh at you. So far, for me, hand to hand combat is much easier to sell because of the higher level of physical contact. In short sword it’s very hard for me to sell the fight because I’m so concerned about pulling an Errol Flynn and swinging my sword like a maniac, causing possible pain and definite frustration for my fight partner.
This Wednesday was the last week of our dialect with the ever wonderful Jaime, and we studied the broad dialect of the Yorkshire/ Newcastle accent. Excellent examples of this accent is any of the Northern characters from Game of Thrones, or the Squeers family from The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby. I have assembled a very poor attempt at the three accents that we’ve learned these past weeks.Please, be kind in your criticism, for I am but a trembling flower (this is an enormous joke to all who know me). (UPDATE AUDIO WAS TOO HARD TO UPLOAD SO, GOSH, SORRY ‘BOUT ‘CHA) On Wednesday I adventured to the National to see a production of The Plough and the Stars by Sean O’Casey. On Thursday we finished up the first scene of Hamlet and went over our instructions for our individual scene study. It felt good to finish that scene, but that means some very difficult scene work is coming up for us. This weekend is easy enough to put into a few sentences. On Saturday we ventured to the Spitalfield market off the Liverpool St. station, which is right on the cuff of Shoreditch (specific name for this section of London). Spitalfield, to my knowledge, is less commercial than Camden market but most likely just as expensive. There’s loads to ogle over and dish on, from cheaply made dresses to 150 pound scarves made from Yak fur. So, it’s definitely worth a gaze, and most of the vendors are very nice even if they’re trying to sell you something. The street art is also very beautiful around this area, so I highly suggest walking around to see the small streets and colorful walls.
On Friday there was an amazing dinner given for the FSU students at Joe Allen’s, a very New York style restaurant. We had two speakers, one at the beginning of her career, and a man towards the end of his. I was fortunate enough to sit next to Phillip Franks, a “veteran” of the theatre industry, and what a lovely man he is. I tried to monopolize as much conversation with him as possible in hopes of possessing at least an ounce of his skill and knowledge. I know I have a strange obsession for Nicholas Nickelby, but I had finally met someone who was just in love with the production as me-in short, I am now obsessed with this man (just kidding Phillip Franks I highly respect you and please hire me and/or contact me in some way). I was definitely filled with inspiration as we left the restaurant. Both speakers had some really wonderful points and I’m so thankful for being able to have this experience.
Today we had ADVENTURE DAY! There were four options and I chose going back to the Tower of London, which my dad and I visited four years ago. The weather was absolutely gorgeous today, if not a little too warm! I think a lot of people assume the Tower to have a much darker history, but it really has a pretty tame history. I mean, sure, they had a polar bear and some lions but it really wasn’t as bloody as people make it out to be. Huzzah for history, huzzah for ravens, and huzzah for extremely disturbing devices of torture.