The Final Study Trip

I’ve officially finished finals and everything now, so I’m getting around to writing all of the other things I’ve been meaning to write.

A week ago, my UK Media class took a trip to London to do two things: go on a walking tour of the places in London where Harry Potter was filmed, and visit the offices of The Telegraph, a newspaper. After a four-hour bus ride that was delayed because some royals were going somewhere so traffic stopped, we met up with our tour guide, Liam, at the Royal Exchange. As it turned out, the tour was not just of Harry Potter stuff, it was more about writers and stories that were inspired or influenced by places in London, including two ghost stories and part of the origin of Dracula (look up Countess Elizabeth Bathory if you want a pretty gruesome story). I really enjoyed it though, it gave a good idea of what London is like, as well as introducing various spots that have been culturally relevant. Our tour guide was also great, really friendly and engaging, and I think he was impressed by our knowledge of Harry Potter.

The tour of The Telegraph was also really cool. Our tour guide was a 70-year old man named George who had been working there since he was 27 and is technically retired, but still comes to work every day. I didn’t know much about what it takes to run a newspaper, but he explained it all pretty well, plus it was pretty cool to see everyone’s desks all laid out, it was an open floor plan. One of their people in the obituary department used to be an ASE tutor who taught this class, so we got to talk to her for a while, which was interesting.

Overall, it was a cool trip, although it was four hours on a bus each way, which was a little long. Today we have final tea and I have one last performance with Bath Phil, and then tomorrow the program is officially finished and we have to move out, which is crazy. But I’ll get to see my boyfriend and begin our travels, which I’m very excited about.

To London for a Show

On Friday, myself and some other ASE students went into London to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, which had Daniel Radcliffe playing Rosencrantz. This is one of my favorite shows, and I performed in it in high school as Guildenstern, so I was really excited to see it.  It did not disappoint, but I will get to that in a minute.  We got food beforehand at a Mexican street food restaurant, which turned out to be really delicious. And it was Cinco de Mayo, so we accidentally kind of paid homage to that with our food choice. Our dinner ended right around when we wanted to be at the theater, which was right across the street. I had some really good bean and cheese quesadillas and fermented corn and cheese empanadas.

We went over to the theater after that and went to our seats. My seat was very far over to one side, but there was a rail in front of us that was padded that I spent a lot of time leaning on, which I think the theater realizes, and I appreciated that they compensated for that. The set was really great, the stage expanded backwards a ton and had a cloud and sky canvas that expanded through the whole ceiling and onto the back wall and faded into the ground on the stage, and it created a rounded back to the stage. They also differentiated between the “play” and the action by having all of the “play” with a curtain that had some illustrations on it that made it clear it was in the court of Denmark. I thought the set worked really well and I loved how they used it.

And of course, Daniel Radcliffe did a wonderful job. I thought he brought a great energy to the character and made the character’s arc and emotional change throughout the play very clear. Joshua McGuire played Guildenstern, and he did a phenomenal job as well, he really carried things forward, at least in the way that Guildenstern kind of does. The cast of players was also great, they played, I think, live music that fit into the show well and also sounded really good. I was really impressed with how everyone did and was so happy with how the show was. It’s basically over now, but I would recommend it if you have the chance. We stood in line for a little while to try and meet Daniel Radcliffe, but we had to leave to catch our bus back. Overall, it was a really good time and I’m very happy that I got to see it.

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The End of Classes

Seeing as this is a study abroad program, I figured I should probably say some things about the academic side of my life, especially since I (basically) had my last class yesterday.

I say basically because I have a makeup class for Drama on Monday, but we are in rehearsal mode, so it isn’t totally a class. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, the first half of that class was about analyzing and reading plays, and the second about rehearsing scenes and monologues from them. We are all performing part of the first scene from Betrayal by Harold Pinter, I am performing the last about third of it. Then we all have two more three-person scenes (there are six of us in the class, so it works out well). We each are doing one scene from Look Back in Anger by John Osborne, I am playing Alison in mine. Then we all have a one-gender scene (as in everyone in the scene is, in my case, female), and mine is from Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, and I am playing Joyce. Then we all have monologues, I am again Alison from Look Back in Anger.

I’m really enjoying rehearsing the scenes, I haven’t done any acting since high school, just stage managing, so it’s interesting to come back to it. It is difficult though because it’s such a short period of time where we have to get a whole lot done, so while I think the scenes are going well, I’m sure that they could be much better if we didn’t have a 2 hour period to rehearse each of them and our director (the tutor) has to go between scenes to see them all. But I still do enjoy working on them and I think that our show is going to go pretty well.

My Media class has drifted a lot from what I expected when I got the syllabus, but in a good way. We’ve made it more about looking at aspects of media that we are interested in and discussing those in class, which has been really interesting. We also managed to get our tutor to show us about 10 minutes of a documentary that he and a friend made about him investigating the suspicious death of a Hollywood screenwriter, which has been pretty fun. Go look up The Writer with No Hands if you’re interested, I think it’s coming out on iTunes soon. We also have a study trip for that class a week from today, we are going to London to take a walking tour of all the filming locations of Harry Potter and a tour of the offices of The Telegraph, which is a newspaper.

In my Screenwriting class, we have finally reached the point where we have to have our whole screenplay written, which I do. I certainly have a lot of editing to do with it, but it’s all there. We haven’t actually done that much writing for the class before writing our screenplay, a lot of it was lecture-based classes on what makes a good screenplay and the elements of a screenplay, as well as watching movies and analyzing the script in them. We’ve also been doing peer reviews of each other’s screenplays, which has been pretty helpful. The tutor also has been having one-on-one meetings with each of us to go over his notes, which has also been mostly useful.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed the classes I’ve taken this semester and it’s pretty astonishing to me that we’re already almost done, things have truly blown by. We are going to be in Stratford for three days next week, which I’m looking forward to. And on a theater note, I’m seeing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead tonight in London, which stars Daniel Radcliffe, so that should be a blast as well.

End of the Week Recap

We’ve officially finished our first week of class and all of that, we don’t have any classes Friday. I am really looking forward to the rest of my semester with my classes, they’re all pretty small (6, 8, and 14 people), and all of my professors seem really excited about teaching the class and making it useful to what we want to get out of the class. I mentioned my Drama class before, but I had my two other classes today, UK Media in a Globalized Society, which I will call UK Media, and Film Screenwriting.

My UK Media is entirely women, which I actually really like because in the past when I’ve taken media courses, I’ve found that men tend to be more dominant and also dominate the conversation more, so I’m really looking forward to having an entirely female class. The professor has also put a huge emphasis on making the class relevant to our interests, which I think will work really well. A lot of his research has been on politics, including both UK and US politics, which seems a lot more relevant now than when I had initially signed up for the class.

My Screenwriting course also looks like it will be pretty good, my homework for next week is to watch Toy Story, so I’m not complaining about that. It’s a larger class than the other two, but I think it will be really good to be able to get feedback from a bunch of different people about my writing. I also used to do a lot more writing, especially of scripts, so I’m looking forward to getting back to writing, even if it’s a little bit of a different format than I’ve done before.

I’ve also begun my internship, but I think I’ll make a post about that tomorrow, which will probably be a bit less of me saying what I’ve done and more about how I feel about the arts and stuff. We are also going to a school tomorrow to make music with the kids, so I wanted to write it after that.

Also shout out to the other official ASE bloggers, check out their blogs:
https://lmarkevitch.tumblr.com/
https://transatlanticadventure.wordpress.com/
https://take-a-bath.tumblr.com