Monday, April 29, 2013

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life

Hey everyone!

Sorry I have been MIA, but I was traveling and finishing up LDA. It is not over, I am not back in the US, I AM IN DENIAL!!!!! Anyway, I made it back to the US yesterday and am now in an existential crisis about where I am. Anyway, such is life.

So the last week of LDA, here goes.

Monday began with our final voice class with Simon. My class got the unfortunate luck of the draw and still had class at nine am. That really isn't bad considering we started class at this time every day. We did a little vocal warm up and read out 19th century instructions on how to act properly, in our RP accents of course. And that was it. We were supposed to have an extra long Acting class that afternoon but Kathy was dreadfully sick (my fault) and so the rest of the day was ours to work on stuff.

Tuesday began with another four hour Shakespeare class and we worked on transitions for our scenes and then did a run through of all of our scenes.  Leo then told us that we should not under any circumstances run our scenes until the showing because we were all needing an audience for our scenes to be good. Without that, we were just spinning our wheels until we got that audience. Then we had a little break and then had an exceptionally long Acting class, which we all wanted since we had lost out of the one the day before. I was nervous about my monologue and really wanted to have a chance to work on it. We did a basic blocking of the entire showing and got the room set up for the showing the next day. Kathy was not thrilled with me because I had no idea what my set up would look like and because I accidentally messed up the order. This was not a good way to feel. Then we got our autobiographies back and Kathy hated mine. I was very upset about it and talked with her about it and she said not to worry. Anyway, that's done. Then we were done for the night and some of us had to go to a party at one of the funders of the London Centre. He lived in an incredible flat over at Sloane Square and it was incredible to see something of such wealth. We were only there for about two hours and then we came home to get ready for the showing.

Wednesday, we all decided to have a run-through at 9:30-ish so that we would feel confident for our showing later that day. We were surprised that we all handled it quite maturely and all did our thing. Then we had a lunch break before our showing. Then we got there about an hour before to get everything ready for the showing. Then it was time and we began to do our animals, tempo, and visualizations as people began to meander in for the showing. The weather was beautiful so we had all of the gardens to use for our animals. Mine went everywhere because I was one of the first scenes and needed to keep any eye when we were starting. I got distracted at one point because Leo came up and was standing next to me as I was being a pelican and I was so aware that he was right next to me. Then the showing began and I did my monologue. I did not think that it went very well but the audience loved it and the entire showing. Dee told me that I had a strong presence when I was on stage and that I did great Alexander. Ellen was amazed because we were all speaking, without meaning to, in Standard American. We then had to get the rooms organized for our Shakespeare showings and then Andrew and I had a long conversation with Ellen about the whole experience. I love that woman. Then our Shakespeare class met to do a music rehearsal for the showing and it was a hysterical disaster. This happened when we went on to rehearse "Blue Jay Way" because Leo wanted it hummed and Shea started humming it and it was so off-key that we all dissolved into laughter for the rest of the rehearsal.  We then went into Leo's class super giddy from our showing and rehearsal. We then got our shit together and managed to do a cue-to-cue of our showing and then Leo let us go so that we could go home and not work on our scenes. That night, I watched Mrs.Doubtfire and listened to Monsters Inc while Kyra and Scott watched it. Then I went to bed in prep for the next day.

Thursday was the Shakespeare showing and it was one of the most memorable days of my life. We started that morning with a vocal warm up with Simon then we broke into our sections to talk to our teachers.  Leo gathered all of us and told us that “today was a blank slate and you will not know what is going to happen” which for me is one of the most exciting things about being an actor. We had our showing second and so after we talked with Leo, we went downstairs to see the other classes showing and who should be sitting there but Ben Whishaw. It took me awhile to process this information.  It was hard to concentrate on the other classes showing, in which they were doing scenes from Twelfth Night, because we had to stay engaged in doing our own showing and were super nervous about it. Then we had to run upstairs and get ready for our own showing. We could not talk to anyone in the other class and just had to go and do our thing to get ready. It went incredibly well and I was so unbelievably happy with how everything turned out. During Christian and Shea's scene, which was from Measure For Measure, I realized just how much we had all changed in Leo’s class and become formidable actors for our young age.  My Macbeth scene went very well and I had so much fun going through my Lady Macbeth craziness that it took me about twenty minutes to fully come down from the scene. Ben Whishaw was there to see it and told us that we all did excellent work. I was surprised with the amount of incredible compliments I got from audience members such as “a real sense of character” and “force of nature”.  This was one of the best days I had in my time here in London helped by Simon’s (my voice teacher) note that I am “an interesting enough person to hold an audience” along with being great at playing Lady Macbeth., even at the age of 21. If it had not been for Leo, I would never have become all of these things people were describing me as an actor. I was on an acting high for the rest of the day. Then the business school threw us a party which was a nice gesture but super strange at the same time. I was finally able to drink again and enjoyed hanging out with the people I loved and getting free food. Then we decided to go out for our end of showings hurrah. We went to a place called Roadhouse and had an incredible time dancing and singing to all of the songs we loved. Then we traipsed all the way to Trafalger Square to try and get the bus and Becca, Danny and I got bitchy and annoyed and then decided to to take a cab back to Atlantic house. We got back there and then went to bed.

Friday morning began with my evaluation with Leo. It was great because he told me that I did really well in the showing and that I made a huge jump in his class to become a strong actress. He also told me that he really did like me as a person and that I needed to have more faith in myself. He gave me some books to read and later told me that he saw that I really needed to play Lady Macbeth which he saw on the first day. It was nice to talk to him without the pressure of the class. Then we had a break and had a meeting with Ellen in which we evaluated the classes and then we had our goodbye party. This party was super sad and happy because Ellen gave us all gifts and we talked about the term and got food. Dee also gave us cards with notes on our progress through the term. We all dressed up and loved being able to relive moments from the term and I told the story of my crazy audition. Christian had to leave for the airport in the middle of the party and that was when the tears began. I then had a long and very funny talk with Leo about his teaching style and made him laugh a lot. Then the party was over and I returned home to cry and pack. That night, we decided not to go out and instead drink the rest of our alcohol and talk, laugh, the usual. We all managed to reach our goal and then the night was over.

Saturday morning, everyone was getting ready to leave and I helped Summer lug her suitcase to the post office to ship it. My mom was landing at Heathrow that day and I went to meet her at the hotel. The weather was exceptionally beautiful and I wore one of my new London dresses and then we walked around Piccadilly circus and went to Borough market in which we got an incredible meal, because my mother was paying. She was jet lagged so she went back to the hotel and I returned to Atlantic house to see everyone. We all went to dinner in which I partook in Harold Pinter's new play known as Last London Dinner with Mike, Noah and Andrew. It was incredible quiet and awkward and I was really not digging the vibe. We then decided to go to LDA late that night to see the place for the last time and talk about the term, which we never ended up doing much to my chagrin. Then we returned home when the security guard came to the room and told us we had to leave. We continued our meeting down in the common room and started to say goodbye to people that were leaving early in the morning, this being Danny and Kelly and Scott. It was a very sad moment and I hated it. Then I went and said my goodbyes to everyone, just in case, and went to bed.

Sunday morning began bright and early because I wanted to make sure I had a chance to say goodbye to everyone. I wandered around for awhile and talked to people then escorted a large group of people to the tube and met up with my mother at the tube. It was really hard to say goodbye to everyone and I am still very sad about it. Then my mother and I walked around Kensington and went to Da Mario's, the Victoria and Albert, LDA and then took my luggage to the hotel. That was it and I was moved out of the dorm, my London home. We then chilled at the hotel for a little while and then went to the Birthday Whirlygig for Shakespeare's birthday at the Globe Theatre. Johnny Flynn was playing and Laura and Shea and I decided that it would be fun to go. I had to say goodbye to those two there and that was also sad. Then my mother and I returned to the hotel, got some tea and went to bed.

Monday morning, I took my mother to The Breakfast Club and it was amazing as usual. She also loved it. Then I tried to take her to Spitalfields market, but it was less awesome as it usually was and instead we went in Collectif and she bought me a sweater! Then we wandered down Brick Lane which I wish I had done before because it was amazing. There literally was a vintage store every other store front.We then made our way back to the area near the hotel and then walked around Piccadilly and Covent Garden and Lecister Square. I finally went and did Afternoon Tea and got to eat my favorite pizza for the last time. We then ended at the Chandos and made our way back to the hotel to sleep. It was a very nice day.

Tuesday began with us checking out of our room. This was my last day in London. I couldn't believe I had got to this day. We then went to the Southbank and walked around near the National Theatre and Westminster and ate our last London meal at Wagamama's. I managed to fling food in my eye while there. Then we walked up to Covent Garden from there and made it to the Cambridge Satchel Company store. Then it was time for us to make our way to Heathrow for our flight to Dublin. We took the Heathrow Express out of Paddington and that was that. I was gone from London. I'm still dying. I am much better suited to London then I am to the US. I want to go back, why am I in Sonoma?

And that is the end of LDA. So it goes, that's all she wrote, case closed, that's a wrap.  It has been the greatest experience of my entire life and I am having trouble being back in the US. I met incredible people while here and I miss seeing them every day like I have been for four months. I learned I was a great actress and now have the confidence I need to go back to Catholic and kick everyone's asses, even if it is only secretly.  My trip to Dublin will be another post. And that's it for the blogging from London. I will go and cry about this now.

And for you all, a group picture of LDA Spring 2013, in human form.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunshine gives me a lovely day

Hello everyone,

So here I am in my last week at LDA. NO! I refuse for this to be a thing.

Anyway so last week was an interesting week for me.

Tuesday began with my last Alexander session at nine am. It was brutal because I was dying of my sickness and kept coughing and stuff. Dee did table work with me and gave me some cough drops to help me out. Then that was over and my day was over because I had worked on my acting stuff the day before and someone else could have my slot. So I spent all day working on my Dramatic Criticism paper and chilling out and working on acting. I was super sick and needed to chill out. Then my day was over.

Wednesday morning started out with four hours of Shakespeare, in which we worked on Measure for Measure the entire time, as usual. We did an Oprah style talk show in which we asked the Angelo's and Isabella's questions about their lives and tried to help them create characters. I wish Leo would do that with Macbeth, we are seriously shafted in that class. Then we looked at one of the scenes from Measure that we work on every session and the four hour class was over. It was not too unbearable and was kind of fun with the talk show. Then we had SPT in which we talked about Mrs.Warren's Profession and it was like every other class. Through Christian did have to read my speech from Voice and it was super strange to hear someone else say the speech. Then Danny and I rehearsed that afternoon on the scene in Loyola, which is a giant hall not made for rehearsing that scene. I was dying by the end and called it a day after working on that.

Thursday morning started out with Shakespeare as usual and this time, Leo had us broken into times so we could go off and rehearse our scenes. Danny and I had a slot at 11:30, about half an hour before the end of class, and we did exceptionally well in it and Leo kept telling us to "print it" which means to set actions in stone. Leo also told our whole class that he wanted us to sing a song at some point during our showings. Great, we'll just go and figure that out. Then we had a long break because of the faculty meeting and we had our last SPT class ever, in which we were talking about Top Girls. Naturally, it was a straightforward class and then it was over. We then went to see Peter and Alice that night starring Dame Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw. Their acting was both incredible, even though the play was flawed. Then we lucky students of LDA got to meet Ben Whishaw and have a lengthy conversation with him because he was one of Ellen's students at RADA. He is an exceptionally nice man and very down to earth. Sometimes the idea of being a celebrity makes me forget that someone is still a human being and capable of human feelings. Before leaving, I managed to tell him that his Richard II was one of the most incredible things I had ever seen and made me love the play. It was well worth it. Then I went home and had to edit my Dramatic Criticism essay.

Friday morning started with our last Dramatic criticism and we discussed both of the plays we had seen that week. The most enjoyable moment of the class was when we were discussing the use of a live baby in A Doll's House and someone stated that they did not think the baby was a believable enough actor. OK, you got me there. We turned in our journals and papers and that was that. I am going to miss Simon's class a lot and I don't want to think about things ending. Then we had Shakespeare and Acting, except I just had Shakespeare because Kathy was sick and only wanted to look at certain scenes. So Danny and I finished working on our scene with Leo and then we all had to pick out songs to use in our transitions. We decided on "Blackbird" and "Blue Jay Way" by The Beatles for our song. Sense was not used in the decision process. We then presented our songs to Leo and he liked them and wanted to tweak them around as usual. Then my class day was over and I went to the doctor later that day. I decided to suck it up and pay the 65 pounds to see the doctor. It was quite an experience. His office was really just someone's house that was turned into an office. It even had a fireplace and nice looking things in the office. He checked out my lungs and said they were fine and told me that it had to do with my sinuses. He gave me a prescription for some antibiotics and ended my consultation by saying "No fags, no men, and no alcohol; and you will be fine". Sound advice sir, sound advice. I then went to Boots to get my meds and got a hold of them and proceeded to spend the res of my night relaxing and trying to get better.

Saturday began nice and early with some pills and then I woke up and decided to go to the Southbank. The weather was quite nice, though a little cloudy and I had a grand time. I walked from the Embankment tube stop across the bridge to the Southbank and walked past the National theatre (went in the bookstore for the last time), the Globe (and walked into their bookstore quoting Measure for Measure in accident) and then made my way to Borough market. It was a joy to be there as usual and I enjoyed some high quality foods. Then I turned around and walked back the way I came but kept going past the London Eye, which was surrounded by low budget, somewhat strange people dressed as characters (mostly squeaking ones), and crossed the bridge in front of Westminster. It was nice to see the incredible government building from this angle and kept walking to St.James park. I stopped there for a little bit and watched what I believed to be pelicans for a little while. Then I kept walking up to Piccadilly Circus and walked up to Green Park to catch the bus. I am obsessed with the buses in London and will sorely miss them when I leave. Then I made my way home, got some dinner, and continued to relax while my amazing meds continued to rapidly fix my health.

Today began with me waking up and taking meds and discovering that the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Like really, it was 63 degrees and all I needed was a cardigan to stay warm. I wore a skirt and walked around Kensington Gardens for awhile and watched all of the birds flying and the kids playing. I watched one kid get reprimanded by his father for accidentally kicking a soccer ball in the pond with his father saying "See what you've done!" I kept saying this over and over to myself because it was funny. I then ran into Mike, someone from my program, chilled with him for a little bit and then walked home to wait before going to a party at Ellen's. Then we left to go to Ellen's flat for a little party in which most people were cooking food and we got to have a nice homecooked meal for the first time since we had been here. Ellen has a gorgeous flat up at Highgate (near Hampstead) and we chilled out there until late tonight. Most people were drunk when we left but since I'm taking my joyous meds, I am not allowed to drink until Thursday. Well, things could be worse.

Anyway, that has been my week and I go into my last one here. I will cry, so help me god. I feel a lot better health wise and will keep you updated.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Now I've got that feeling once again

Hello everyone!

Sorry this is a day late, but I have been sick all week and sometimes health concerns are much bigger then blog concerns.

Anyway, so our Monday back from our Easter break we had Acting for the last half of the day. It was the only class we had and our class time amounted for about twenty minutes out of the day. I had to finish physicalizing my scene and that was that. It did not go as horribly as the one the week before. This was good for me because I felt like I was slowly dying from the sickness that I had within me. Clearly, this was a very thrilling day for me because of my sickness.

Tuesday arrived and I had Alexander nice and early that morning at nine am. We did our usual thing with table work and other stuff (clearly it was exciting since I remember nothing). Then I had a little bit of a break and then had Acting with Kathy. This time, we dropped the whole physical aspect and just sat and did the monologue with her responding as the plaintiff. It went very well and was nice to just sit and work on it without all the other bells and whistles. Then that was over and I had a bit of a break before my last audition session with Ros ever. I am still depressed about it. We worked on Lady Anne and she really got me to work on not performing it and just being in the moment. It was nice to do because I got to implement all of the things I had learned from Leo's class into the speech. Then we had a rather tearful goodbye and that was that. Later that night, we went to see Trelawny of The Wells at the Donmar Warehouse and it was much better then I was expecting it to be. It is a Victorian comedy that looks at theatre in the 1860s and was both funny and thought provoking. Then we got home and Danny and I rehearsed very quietly in the common room and for not very long because we had had a nice long rehearsal the night before.

Wednesday began and this turned out to be one of the worst days I had had while at LDA. In the morning, we had Leo's class and I was so angry the whole class because Leo had not worked with me for three weeks and we had really only worked on the scene once and he spent this entire class working on a scene that had been worked on many more times. He wanted all the scenes to be top notch for the run-through which was not fair considering how little he had worked with me. So I was annoyed. Then in my Dialects class, I made an idiot of myself by commenting on my work before starting my speech and made Simon annoyed because I had ruined the good work I had done by using humor prior. I was upset about that for myself. Then during lunch, my right ear became clogged like someone had stuck a wine cork in it and while I could still hear out of the ear, I could also hear my own voice within my head. I was super worried about this and had to go to class panicking over my ear. Then in SPT, we found out that we had all read the wrong play and that we had to talk about Trelawney of The Wells, but not the production we had seen but the text itself which is very different. Every time I tried to express an idea, Christopher would cut me off to correct me even though I had not finished my thought. I was annoyed after a while about this. Then class was over and I decided that I would go meet my high school who was going to be down around Covent Garden that day. I met up with them and spent a little bit of time with them before they were going to see Peter and Alice. It was nice to see them after the rough day I had had. Then I went home that night to rehearse with Danny and get ready before the next class, which Leo told us we were definitely working in.

Thursday started out with Leo's class, as usual. and Danny and I were first up to work on our scene. We showed all of our work to Leo first and he said that he could see that we had done a lot of work but that I needed to focus on the structure and the emotional intensity of the material. The structure was difficult for me and Leo worked on the emotions by having me walk around the outside of our circle of chairs and "lash" Danny with my tongue. It was super exhausting and way more then I thought I would need for the scene. Then we were done with Leo after an hours work and watched the rest of the scenes get work done on them. Then we had a break and then a masterclass with Timberlake Wertenbaker, the famous British playwright. She was very interesting to talk to and told us how she managed to get some scenes from the play and her reasons for writing Jefferson's Garden, the reading we had seen. Then this day was done and Danny returned to rehearse our scene once more. I felt bad for Danny because I was getting very frustrated with all the notes Leo had given me and trying to make them all fit along with what I wanted out the scene. The last time we did it, I finally got what I wanted and it turned out well. Then we returned home and called it a night.

Friday began with Dramatic Criticism with Simon in which we were discussing Trelawney of The Wells. We all came to the conclusion that the play judge the characters created in it too much and that it would have been more endearing had they not passed judgement on the play. Then this class was over and we had a break. This day was rough for me sick wise because I had a nasty cough, congested nose and had lost my voice a little bit. We had Acting later that day and Summer and I opted out of our sessions so a scene could finish doing their work. It was nice to have a break from that class for once. Then we had an added Shakespeare class in which we were finally doing the run-through of scenes. I was nervous for this because Leo is so intense and when giving notes after the Measure for Measure run, he told someone he felt that the kid was wasting his time. Then it was time for our scene and I knew that I just had to power through my sickness for my scene. It ended up working in my favor and Leo told me that I had excelled a lot since the class the day before. Then the day was over and I got to go collapse in my room for the rest of the night and try to recover. I ended up just watching movies and such and going to sleep.

Saturday, I had a strange waking up because of my sickness and fever and eventually realized that the day was beautiful and I needed to get up and do stuff because I have so little time left in London. So Laura and I enjoyed the beautiful weather (and my somewhat better feeling self) and went to Abbey Road!! It was amazing to see but the actual crossing is super scary to cross because there are no traffic lights and people keep zooming through. We saw the studios that are there and enjoyed watching all the people try to take pictures in the road and almost getting hit. Then we ventured onto Borough Market and got to enjoy the delicious food present along with the beautiful weather. Then we returned home and Laura went off to see Macbeth (lucky girl......) and I stayed home and rehabed some more. This meant watching movies until I felt ill and went to bed.

Sunday morning started out much the same but once I fell asleep again and woke up, I felt much better. Laura and Sara and I decided to go to Camden Market because we had been meaning to go for quite some time. I found that it was not quite to my liking. Wheres Spitalfields Market and Portobello Road have some unique things and charm, Camden lacks. I may have just been under the weather or not seen enough, but it was just too much for me. I was happy to get on the bus and come home to take my Sudafed. And the night was spent much like that, rehabing.

Monday morning, today, We had Acting and Voice. In Voice, we were going to be presenting our speeches as our final assessment and since I still had no voice, I thought I would be unable to do it. I realized that I could and it actually turned out quite well for having a sick sound to it. Simon said it actually allowed my voice to be more free. Then I worked with Kathy on implementing the animal work into my monologue and did this until Kathy told me to go rest my voice. Then I went to Boots and got more medicine to take and it actually has made me feel a little bit better. Less coughing! My days been over for a while but we are going to see A Doll's House tonight at the Young Vic and I am excited, especially now that I feel somewhat better.

Anyway, that has been my invalid week. Here's hoping I get better soon.