Weeeeellll, Weeelllllll, Weelllllll.
It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
I didn’t realize I hadn’t done a weekly update until I was gently reminded by a family member of my slacking efforts. My most profound apologies sprinkled to you all.
Remember how I had a friend visit two weekends ago? Well, last weekend my father came into town and stayed for the rest of this week. No rest for the wicked, I guess! On Saturday we briefly stopped by Camden Market, although the crowds were a bit more than we expected so we headed over to walk around Hampstead Heath, which is a lovely large park about 20 minutes away from Camden. The paths can be very deceiving in this park, and my only piece of advice is to pay attention to the maps as much as possible. Although spontaneity is usually welcomed in my life, sometimes it’s not so fun realizing you’re lost in a park with the sun ever so quickly setting. It was fine, of course, but I may have been going over escape plans as we stumbled through the park. We attended a lovely service at St. Paul’s the next morning and then spent several hours walking around the Victoria and Albert museum. My favorite sections were the Theatre section, a European sculpture section, and the circle of clothing spanning several decades was beautiful. There was a room filled with some huge Raphael paintings, which although very famous and important paintings, didn’t hold my attention as much. I love the incredible detail work of statues, from Mesopotamia to Rodin, the detail is what I love the most. Sometimes I wonder what a sculpture exhibit would be like if it were a collection of boring sculptures. For example, an exhibit of sculptures describing the day to day activities of a homebody. Or, sculptures of sleeping people. Maybe I’ve found my new calling in life…
Monday was Intro. to Theatre History and Theatre Encounters as usual. In Intro. we discussed Shopping and F**king from a couple weeks before. I present my discussion on Blue Heart tomorrow, so I’m very excited for that. In Theatre Encounters we continued work on our devised projects. We began class by getting in pairs and creating two different relay race-style games. Once we taught them to the group we made it into a strange obstacle course of many different games. These games help the group get our energy and focus up before we actually start any work. It also helps kick our creative gears into action by having to create these games. It was unfortunately Emma’s last class teaching us, and she shall be missed. Emma taught the devising style that I was familiar with from my previous experience, which is more movement based than text based, like Mark’s teaching. It’s been great learning both styles from them, and I hope I will continue to find ways to create little pieces of theatre like this in the future. On Monday night we saw the great performance of No Man’s Land, starring Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian Mckellen. It was a really good performance, and I’m so fortunate to have briefly met Mr. Mckellen.
Tuesday brought a day of work, per usual. It would awesome if I could use Tuesday to explore new parts of London, but unfortunately my work load doesn’t really allow that. In Stage Combat on Wednesday we added scripts to our hand to hand choreography. My partner and I chose a scene from The Duchess of Malfi for our fight. During the class we worked on both fights and trying to solidify the choreography. Usually there’s at least one moment in the semester where the teacher stops class to give a talk to the students. That was this Wednesday for us, unfortunately. Rachel said nothing incorrect, she was completely right about our lack of energy and effort in practice, but it still stings a little to hear that coming from a teacher. All words to inspire us, I know. I wish we had this class at least once more a week, but I’m not sure if my thighs would be too thankful about that. On Wednesday afternoon we had our first studio session with JP! JP is one of our voice over teachers in the Voice Wheel course. He co-runs the SOHO Recording Studio pretty close to our dorms, so we walked over right after stage combat. The studios were so cool, in face the whole session was a ton of fun. We started with all doing a voice over for the same commercial, but then we were given specific commercials to record. I know I sound mature for my age, but I was tickled when I received to very “mom” commericals: one for Cheerios and the second was for a weird Kia Picanto ad. We would do a cold recording with no direction, and then three more recordings with direction from JP. Sometimes he would try different songs for a commercial, and it was crazy hearing how easily the mood and context of the ad. was changed. It was also really rad to just hear my friends doing these ads, because as soon as I would listen, I would think “Yeah, that’s a regular ad. for a chocolate bar!” Our instructors chose some really well-fitted commercials for us to record. Wednesday night we saw King Lear at the Barbican theatre starring Sir Antony Sher and many of the actors from a production of Cymbeline that I saw a little over a month ago. King Lear was incredible, and we had some really great seats for the performance. Maybe it’s the semester catching up with me, or my disregard for a healthy sleeping schedule, but I kept beginning to nod off during the first act. The actors were inciting, exhilarating, and exciting, but for some reason my body was starting to shut down on me. So after a quick caffeine refill I was up and ready to give over 100% attention to this awesome show.
Ah, and here we land on Thanksgiving. A holiday that is turning more and more into a meal that historically should make most people cringe. Of course the sentiment is a giving of thanks, love, and gratitude to those around you, but we all know what really happened when this tradition was started. I started off this British-American Turkey Day by attending the staff vs. students futbol game, which sadly, the staff won. Nothin’ like beginning an American holiday than watching some live sports, huh? Our program hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for us at the National Gallery cafe, posh I know. Although we weren’t really served a “Thanksgiving” dinner, it was very nice of them to host anything at all. This is my first Thanksgiving away from home, but between having my father in town and celebrating with my FSU/ UConn family, it wasn’t too bad being away from home. Although of course some elements of home can never be replaced, which is why I will always intend on attending my family’s holiday celebrations.
Bright and early Friday morning my dad and I headed to Warwick Castle. A couple of decades ago it was bought by Madame Tussaud, so I was a little worried about the tacky factor of the whole experience. Other than the well hid “dungeon,” the experience was quite nice. The wax mannequins added some very nice detail to rooms that may have been easily looked over by most. Even on this cold morning there were swarms of wretched school children screaming and stampeding throughout the castle. I only feel bad for the saintly parent volunteers who had to accompany them on this trip. Unfortunately the main tower, Guy Tower, was closed, but it’s still a really beautiful castle surrounded by some very nice grounds. We were lucky to have such a beautiful blue sky that day, although the cold made sure we didn’t want to stay outside for too long. On our way back to the train station we stopped at the Thomas Oken tea house, which is where I have had the best scones of my whole life. They were freshly baked, sweet, and soft yet dense. The homemade clotted cream and strawberry jam just enhanced the amazingness that was hitting my taste buds. On Saturday afternoon we saw a matinee of the musical Half a Sixpence at the Noel Coward theatre. Boy, what a show it was! I left the theatre with a tune in my heart and a smirk on my face, what a fun show that was. We ended his trip with a delicious Punjabi meal in Convent Gardens.
Finally, today, I have done no more than kept my head in my laptop as I’ve been scrambling to go between finishing blogs and rehearsing scenes with my group partners. It’s a lovely life I live and I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve gained throughout this semester.