I apologize for the late weekly update. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate myself to write these when a lot of the time I feel like I’m dumping an online journal into the dark abyss of the internet.
Last Monday we got to tour the National Theatre, or theatres, I should say. There are three theatres within the huge ugly concrete building. For us nerds we would touch whatever rehearsal floor or “sacred” door in hopes of being rubbed with a theatre luck. All three spaces are so gorgeous, and huge! Even the smaller theatre, The Dorfman, had very tall ceilings. I wonder if being a full-time tour guide ever becomes a boring or arduous job?
This Monday (the 31st) was a long day! Voice Class from 9-12, Intro. to Theatre History from 12-3, and Theatre Encounters from 3-6. This Monday and last Monday in Voice Wheel were very similar for me. In class we did more breathing exercises and practiced our songs. With me specifically I was working on opening the head voice so that I could easily mix the head and chest voices into somewhat of a belt. It soundedpretty similar to the scratch of a record, but hey, somethin’ was there! It felt so wrong to hear that kind of sound coming out of my voice, because it really is something that I’ve never heard before. In most of the productions that I’ve ever been in, I usually blow my voice from using my vocal chords and other muscles incorrectly. So as soon as I heard this sound emitting from that area, I immediately thought back to those performances where I sounded like a smoker. After every class I never felt strain or a tickle in my throat,so I guess it worked? Now that I know that I can make this sound, I really want to work on it and try to develop it more. However, voice lessons are very expensive, so we’ll see.
In Intro. to Theatre History we discussed The Merchant of Venice and The Red Barn. I always feel slightly embarrassed after writing my blog, because in class someone will always offer up a really insightful perspective that I hadn’t even thought of! Not in a competitive way, of course, but rather a Homer Simpson “DOH!” moment. I’ve realized that I really love having discussion-based classes because it forces you to share your opinion, debate with others, and analyze something all together. In our extremely P.C. world, it’s rare that you see a platform with open and fair debate and discussion. In Theatre Encounters we continued working on developing our devised pieces. Any piece of collaborative theatre is a long and winding journey, and usually the end product is extremely different from the starting point. We started with the phrase/title Scenes of Change and Those Left Behind. We wanted to explore and create scenes around families forced to move out of towns because of a factory closing,or scenes of general decay. Although I still think this was a good idea, it was way too broad to make just a fifteen minute show out of this idea. A member of our group brought in an incredible article that immediately stirred all of our imaginations,and without a thought we dropped our old ideas and started running with this story. This story still follows the need to move on because of a decaying past, but it is much more specific. Our new question/theme is At What Point Do We Move On? I’m really excited to start developing this new project. Our next step is to start framing and filling our piece with about 10 scenes or movement pieces. It feels good to start creating moments when you finally land on the goal that everyone is passionate about. Who knows what might change next! In Stage Combat on Wednesday we learned the rest of our rapier and dagger choreography for our certification test. Every class period I have a moment where I stand in appreciation for my teachers. It’s so inspiring to have two incredibly awesome teachers who inspire me to get better and work harder every class. To have two (three counting our substitute teacher one week) female fight choreographers in a business that is still mostly male dominated is so inspiring. Tomorrow (Wednesday) we’ll start learning the single sword choreography, and then it will most likely be hand to hand combat. Exciting!
Last Thursday night we saw The Red Barn at the National Theatre on the South Bank. I always forget about the south bank, and I have absolutely no idea why. I’ve discovered that I really love going and doing work on my computer in the cafe of the National, it makes me feel like I’m somehow apart of this theatre community. The South Bank is an awesome place to walk if you want to see pretty things without spending too much. Although the South Bank is lined with (expensive) quirky restaurants, bars, and art centers, it’s just as nice to walk along the Thames. This Saturday me and two of my flatmates went to Camden Market, which is definitely worth all of the hype it’s given. I feel like Rick Steve’s travel guide when I talk about these tourist attractions, but why not describe my experiences?! I would definitely suggest at least two hours to walk around and eat from the labyrinth of food stalls. For me, at least, I’m much more likely to actually peruse shops when I’m with friends, so I do think that this market is best to visit with others. It can be quite draining as you walk through the brightly colored stalls with different pop songs blasting in your ear as the smells of different ethnic foods waft into your nose. Lots of
things happening all at the same time, I guess. Although there was some typical tourist stalls, there are also some really cool local artists who set up shop every weekend. On Friday I walked around Regent’s Park for about an hour, which is no where near enough time to navigate through this gigantic park. I stayed around the corner closest to Baker St. and Regents University. If I ever need to escape and journal or just take a moment to breathe, the fields and gardens of Regent’s Park would be a great choice.
As an American in London, I was really disappointed by the lack of Halloween festivities. If I hadn’t been looking for decorations, I could’ve easily missed Halloween altogether! I was intrigued by the costumes that I saw as I walked around Monday night. Almost every costume I saw was somehow bloody and tattered, with lazy face paint or delightful masks. With the incredibly horrible Purge series and the recent clown activity in the States and the UK, I was baffled at the high amount of these costumes on Halloween. Of course there is nothing wrong, of course, with bloody and tattered costumes, but I was just surprised by the noticeable trend. I actually felt more disappointed in an English Halloween because I had dressed up, but maybe if I had carried on with my day my heart wouldn’t have felt as betrayed. I can’t believe there’s only six weeks left of my semester, that’s crazy! I’m just recently starting to feel like London is a home for me, why must I be dragged away from London! It’s so tricky feeling torn between two wonderful homes, and I must realize how lucky I am to be able to have this “dilemma”