Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lazing on a sunny afternoon

Hello everybody!

So here I am just finishing up my fifth week of classes! What the hell happened?

Monday started out as the usual torture of exercise day. We started the morning happily with Simon's class and did voice work and such. Then we moved onto Sue's class in which I was partnered with another kid from Catholic named Christian, who was our local celebrity for class because he was good at doing stuff. We then moved onto creating poses using counter weight. Christian and I's were named "Saturday 3 AM, Siamese Dogs, Last Twelfth Night Ticket, and Icecapades". They were true works of art. Later that day, we had Stage Combat in which we came up with a little combination with the swords. We ended the day with Period dance in which we learned a new 17th century dance called "Jenny Pluck Pears". The name might be the best part. Then we were done for the day but not for me! I had a Skype audition at 1 am with the Great River Shakespeare festival in Minnesota for a summer apprenticeship. It actually went really well and I liked that way of doing an audition. Then I passed out that night and slept well.

Tuesday started as usual with acting and we went straight ahead to doing the animal work. I was the Brown pelican and Kathy finally said it worked! No more searching for animals. We also did our tempos and Kathy said mine was ok, but the overall consensus was that Kathy and I both needed to analyze my character. Then class was over and we had SPT in which we finished talking about The Duchess of Malfi. It was actually quite an interesting class and I enjoyed it. That night, we went to see a show in the West End called Privates On Parade. I got to Lecister Square early and walked around and discovered some cool little things around the theatre. Then we saw the show which was starring Simon Russel Beale and was a conflicting show because I enjoyed it when I first saw it and then not later after analysis. After the show, a group of us went back to the Chandos to celebrate Sara's, another girl from Catholic, birthday.

On Wednesday, we found out that our physical theatre class was cancelled and we did not have to start our classes until 11:45 am. It was magical. We had Shakespeare and Leo gave us our speeches. It was a bit of a let down because they are all from Measure for Measure and I have one of Angelo's, a role I will never play. Then Leo went around and worked on them with us, except me, which was equally as frustrating. The we had our break and I had audition with Ros later. This made me feel better because we finished working on my Restoration piece and are now moving onto to Major Barbara and after, Richard III!!!! I am so excited about this now. That night, we had a dance workshop in which we learned the Waltz and the Quickstep at the order of Kathy. It was kind of difficult but I seem to be getting the hang of these dances.

On Thursday, Valentine's Day, we started out the day with a tour of Middle Temple, which was one of the inns of court were Twelfth Night was first staged. The tour did not start out so well because the porter told us that he didn't know or like Shakespeare and didn't know how we, as Americans, could possibly could. After that moderately insulting start, he told us some very interesting things. We then poked around Middle Temple and left to go get food. We ended up on Fleet Street, which the Musical Theatre Nerd inside me was freaking out about because Sweeney Todd is my favorite musical. I ended up stopping at a place across from a very large Judiciary looking building and ended up in the Twinings Store, which was enjoyable. I was also super happy because the weather was beyond beautiful. I then came home for a very long break in which I began my bizarre Valentine's Day tradition of watching The Departed. I then had my Alexander session in which I learned that my back and everything around it are exceptionally sore from class and my horrid bed. I did not leave this session feeling relaxed. I then returned home to finish watching my movie and do some work.

Friday morning began well with Dramatic Criticism in which we analyzed Desolate Heaven. I need not talk about that play ever again. Then we had a break and then an Elizabethan Song workshop which I was really excited about. It was the biggest let down of my life because we only sang for five minutes out of a 2 hour class!! Waste! This made me feel annoyed throughout acting when I could hear the other group singing. In Acting, we then went through two more of the Stanislavski questions and it kind of felt like the first day again. Kathy did have some good insight that I most definitely will use.  Then the day was over and that night a group if us went to a place on High Street for Rockaoke, which is Karaoke with a live band. A bunch of us sang (including me doing a great version of Cleo Green's F*** You!!) and had a great time cheering on the other people that sang. When we left, me and Summer and Laura and Mike wanted to go into Kensington Gardens which was closed and accidentally ended up on Royal grounds that no one is meant to go on. Then we came home and called it a night.

The next day, Saturday, me and Laura and Kyra went to Portobello Market and spent the whole day there. The market was massive and stretched for what felt like miles along one road. There was everything imaginable from vintage jewelry to old cameras and food. I wandered down what I believed to be the whole market and returned home happy and wishing I was wealthy. Then I spent the night in and did some work on essays (of which we now have two, thanks universe) and reading as well as watching Dirty Dancing. Then I went to bed.

Today, me and Summer and Laura and Becca went to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard which was much less exciting then we were expecting it to be. It was still amazing to be at the palace and made me happy to be in London. Then we returned home and later that day, because the weather was so exceptionally nice, went for a walk up to Kensington Palace and sat and worked on my Angelo speech out in the beautiful sun. Then I went to Wagamama and came home feeling quite flushed from my very spicy food. Then we had a rehearsal for all of our dances and combat and am now home writing this post.

And that's been my week. Onto the sixth week here!

Bye Bye!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

British Museum, had lost its charm

Hey everybody! What's Up?

Here once again we sit (King John for any Shakespeare buffs out there, no, then I'm alone) for my weekly update.

On Monday, we had the usual exercise 9 to 5 day. We started that morning with movement in which we had to carry people on our backs and have people stand on our backs while kneeling. Sounds intense but it really was quite alright. All about counter balancing and figuring out weight balances. Then we moved on to our voice class in which we worked on nasal sounds versus open sounds. Then we had period dance in which we reviewed the Almain and then learned more of the Quadrille. This was the day in which my corset decided that it actually was going to cause me major pain and the Quadrille was a mess because of directions being lost in translation. Then we ended the day with stage combat in which we did more sword work. We were already exhausted from Period dance so this was really quite a challenge to get through at the end of the day. We went back to our dorm that night and passed out from exhaustion.

Tuesday started with Acting at 11 am. In this class, we learned that we have to write an autobiography for our character that we are working on and then we did a visualization of our character and then the blasted animal work again. In the analysis, Kathy told me that my visualization was one of the best in the class but that my animal was not right and I needed to try something else. So I was back to square one with that. Then we had a break and then had Space Place and Text in which we were talking about The Duchess of Malfi. We ended up having a rousing discussion about communicating in the texting and Facebook age which really had nothing to do with the play we were talking about. The day ended with me rehearsing for my audition tutorial and returning home for another night of work and sleep.

Wednesday started with our Physical Theatre class in which we worked on the eight stages of tension which is actually an extremely helpful technique to help build a character. We then applied it to an improv about a first driving lesson which I found funny because I could definitely pick out number five, the stage manager, as the stage I was in during MY first driving lesson. Then we moved onto our Shakespeare class in which we had to tell, in full detail, the first act of Measure For Measure and then we assigned an Act to present for the next class. We then moved on to our sonnets and worked on finding the vowels, consonants and the iambic pentameter to the poem. Then I had a break until my audtion tutorial in which I went to exchange my American money that I still had chilling out in my dorm. Then I had my audition tutorial which was super successful. I was nervous before because I wasn't too off book and had never done any Restoration work before in my life. Ros helped me understand the way the women moved and stayed on book for me throughout the speech. It turned out so successful because I just decided to have fun with the speech and go over the top with it. Ros kept laughing at things I did and it made me feel really great. She then asked what I would like to work on next and when I said doing George Bernard Shaw, she praised me up and down and said how smart I was. She then told me to look at Major Barbara and find a monologue from there. After this, Laura and I went to the STA office to book our trips for Spring Break. We are now all offically booked for Paris for three days and have decided to go to Berlin for a few days. I am so excited, I finally get to go to Germany which has been a dream of mine since about seventh grade. That night, we went to a fringe theatre called Theatre 503 to see a play called Desolate Heaven. It was not a good play. The plots never were wrapped up and it ended with one girl murdering the other. It was a play about the Irish so I should have known right away that someone would die. Then when we got back to our dorm after this horrendous play, me and Andrew (my partner for the Shakespeare project) had to work on Act 5 which is, of course, the most confusing because it wraps up every plot point and brings out every character. We finished working on it and then the night was over.

Thursday morning, Andrew and I had to present our disastrous summery of Act 5. Leo liked some bits of it and felt that there were other parts that needed work, which was all very true. Then we acted out Act 1 in all of it's details as a Western. This was actually quite fun except it's so hard to remember every little detail about a play I had just read. Then we had a break and our Dialects class. We talked about the terrible play for a bit of the class and then worked on RP for the rest of the time. I love this class because Simon doesn't care that we may be terrible at doing RP and just helps out so we improve.  Later that day, I had my Alexander Session in which I learned where my hip bones actually are and the proper way to sit and stand in the Alexander way. It was very nice and relaxing and I enjoyed it. Then my day was over and back home I went.

Friday morning, we had another SPT walk, this time at Covent Garden. I was excited about the walk because the last one was very enjoyable. This one was educational but not anywhere near as fun because we spent the whole time walking around and standing in one spot in the cold listening to a lecture by Christopher. Then I had to make my way back to school for Acting. This was a thoroughly frustrating class. We started out with the animal work and this time, I was a squirrel. Kathy then asked me in the analysis if I thought that the animal work was helping me because my visualization was so good. I told her that I was not finding the animal work helpful because I couldn't find just one animal that encapsulated my character (well, yes I actually could but Kathy didn't like it so I have to change) and she tried to point me in the right direction, while confusing and frustrating me more. Then we worked on the Le Bahn tempos which also confused me and then we had to find one for ourselves and a song that went along. The only song I could think of was the song for the Marines and I only knew one line of the song, which annoyed Kathy. Then we were given individual assignments that fit our characters. Mine is that I have to go view a trial at the Old Bailey. Then the week was over and I got to relax and enjoy my comfortable bed that night after Laura and I did a little shopping on the High Street.

On Saturday, I woke up with a little time to spend relaxing and then had to run to King's Cross to meet up with one of my high school friends, Max, who was coming into London from Scotland. He was bringing along a friend from his program and another girl who was studying at Oxford and we had a great day traipsing around Leicester Square. After I picked them up at King's Cross, we went to the National Gallery and looked at the paintings for a little while. I absolutely adore that museum, it is amazing. We then had dinner at Spaghetti House which I had been wanting to try and it turned out quite good. The we wandered over to the Cafe Nero by Covent Garden and then made our way to a pub right next to the Opera House called The Chandos. It was very nice and I got to hear all about how Scotland is trying to become an independent country because Max and Ally are interning at the Scottish Parliament. We then returned home at a reasonable time and they spent the night at my dorm.

This morning, Sunday, we woke up around 11 am and got breakfast at my favorite French cafe in Kensington. Natalie then took the bus back to Oxford and I escorted Max and Ally to their hotel near King's Cross and then we were going to go to the British Museum. It was super windy and rainy and cold as we were doing this and once we found the hotel, I decided it was my time to bow out and make my way home since I was dying from the cold. I got back to Kensington as it was getting dark and got some dinner and managed to thaw out in my room. I did some work and have spent the night rehearsing monologues and trying to find a picture for acting.

And that has been my week. Hope the next one goes well.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

People Try to Put Us Down

Hey everyone!

Once again, my weekly blog update! I know it's the Super Bowl or something back in America but in London, one tends to forget about that. All I will say is, GO 49ers!!!!!!

Anyway, I had another full week of classes and such is my life. Monday as always was a very full day, more exhausting then usual. In Voice class, I finally got to read my poem which was nice and got the note I always get which is to Breathe! Then in Movement, we did our usual torture session of intense ab work, handstands, push-ups, chanting "nostrils in the knees" and the like. That class is still entertaining but sometimes it sucks to be bested by a sixty-four year old woman. Then in Stage Combat, we finally got to use swords! It was a bit frustrating though because in my life, I have worked with three different fight directors who all do the same moves slightly differently which makes it difficult to relearn moves in a different way. I was frustrated at the end of that class. Then in Period Dance, we finished up learning the Almain and then moved on to the Quadrille. The day was over at five and I felt like I had been slammed into a brick wall.

Tuesday started at a reasonable time with Acting. We were discussing our pictures that we had to bring in for our characters. The picture I brought was just not right and I was frustrated because I still have no idea what my character is all about. That's the problem with a monologue, there is no context. Then we moved on to using our animals as a character study. I had chose the Black Faced Ibis as mine and soon realized after a minute of acting it out that squatting was not a wise choice. Kathy liked what I did for my animal but thought maybe I could look at another one for characterization. That afternoon, we had Space Place and Text in which we were talking about Macbeth, my all time favorite play. I also got to act out the scene I just directed in Eleanor's class last semester which was strange but also awesome to do because I knew everything that was going on. After class, I rehearsed my audition speech and was totally thrilled with how it turned out. I returned later that night to work on my other speech from The Merchant of Venice and was happy with how much I actually knew.

Wednesday was a nice day because we had Physical Theatre for the first time in a few weeks. We were all together as a group and worked on the various elements of earth, water, and fire. Fire was the most exhausting because it was literally us spazzing around the room. After this class, we had our first ever Shakespeare class! I was excited to start and our group got thrown in the deep end with our professor whose name is Leo. He had us throwing a ball around the room and say our name both backwards and forwards. Anytime we hesitated he would yell "Don't Think! Just Do!" This man has one of the most ridiculous laughs ever and calls everyone in the class "My babies"said as one word. He also always demands that we "unwrap" which means we are not allowed to cross our legs or arms. He is very strict about no laughing and no food and no thinking, just impulses. He then sat us down in a circle and had us introduce ourselves and do a bit of Shakespeare. He then intensely worked on them with us, touching on different things for us all to work on. He just got to me at the end of class and didn't have time to work on it at all with me. After a long break, I had my audition class with Ros and finally finished working on Joan and am now moving on to Lady Wishfort from The Way Of The World, which is a Restoration Comedy. I then had to stay to talk about a project with someone and made it home at five pm.

Thursday we had Shakespeare in the morning for two and a half hours. Leo started the class by working with me and gave me the note that I needed to relax my jaw though I have a very beautiful speaking voice. I did some exercises and said one line that he loved and I was done. He then finished up with everyone which ranged from half an hour sessions to five minutes. We then began to look at Measure for Measure in minute detail and soon class was over. Right after this class, I had my second Alexander session which was so relaxing that I almost fell asleep. I could feel after that my standing was remarkably different. Then we had Voice and Dialects which was very entertaining because we were working on RP, which is the standard British speaking voice. It was a tad difficult but since no one knew what they were doing, it made it entertaining. Then the day was done. We had a rehearsal that night for the tea in acting the next day in which our group had to sing the Gilbert and Sullivan patter song, John Wellington Wells. I realized I knew a lot more of the song then I thought I did and had a fun time.

Friday started with our Dramatic Criticism class which we had also not had for about two weeks. We had a discussion about The Master and Margarita and really had to dig back in the recesses of my brain in order to remember the book and play. Then we had the reckoning day, it was the tea in Acting. It ended up being a great time with presentations of everything from social class to London Life (my subject) in the 1960s. There was even a rap created about the British rock and roll in 1960s. Then Kathy analyzed our items brought for tea which she described as random. It was true, there was an extremely random collection of things from scones cut the wrong way to Kit Kat Bars. She then taught us the proper way to make tea which is exactly the way my family does it. Then we sang our songs and my group had much more energy though maybe was a bit all over the place. That ended our day. That night, Summer and Laura and I went over to Oxford Circus and went to a pub called The Green Man and met a guy there named Gus who, when he found out we were studying theatre, told us he was an amateur screenwriter. We made it home at a resonable hour and went to bed.

Saturday morning, the three of us woke up at Five Forty Five am so that we could be out of the dorm by six thirty. We had plans to go get five pound tickets for Matilda The Musical. We arrived at the theatre over in Covent Garden at six fifty am and waited for three hours for tickets which we luckily got. I made friends with the coffee lady at Cafe Nero and also managed to finish reading one of the three plays I had to read for the next week, The Duchess of Malfi. We then came back to the dorm to relax and thaw out before the show at two thirty. It was an amazing musical and I loved it even though the talent of the eight year old leading characters was a bit intimidating. I layed low that night and went to sleep by one am (which is early for me).

Today, I woke up at twelve thirty (oops) and went shopping with Laura at Primark which I had been wanting to go to for a little bit. Never again. The store was super large and overwhelming and though I managed to get a bunch of basics for no money at all, the overall experience was not worth the prices. We then went to Eat and got food and then returned home. Then we had a rehearsal for period dance and stage combat at about nine pm. There is a super bowl party now and I will not be attending.

Anyway, that has been my week. I hope yours has been good.