Sunday, 18 October 2009

“Mountview…Musical theatre training has never been this good.”

September 21, 2009 to September 27, 2009

Mountview Orientation & “Fresher’s Week”

After months of planning and worrying about Mountview, my first day of school had finally come! There were so many words to describe all the things that I was feeling: excited, nervous, worried, wick to my stomach, encourages, inspired, and determined. The first week of school for me was just orientation so on Monday I didn’t have to show up until ten. When I first arrived I had to check in to receive all of my starting materials and then had a meeting with the entire senior staff members of the Acting, Musical Theatre, and Technical Theatre departments. After that meeting there was another meet just for those new people specializing in Musical Theatre. Here they explained some of the “ins & outs” of how things worked around Mountview. Once the meeting was over it was monologue time. For the first week I was with all of the first years (Freshman is what we call them back in the States) so that I could go through all orientation meetings and then I would join the second years (compared to Juniors back in the States) once my classes actually started. I was with 1M2 (First Year/Musical Theatre/Second Group) for orientation and so right after the meeting we had to go straight into our Shakespearean monologue for the Acting & Text tutor (teacher), the Acting tutor, and the Voice tutor. My monologue…shout out to all those people in my V&M class last year… was Romeo’s “Tis torture and not Mercy” speech from Romeo & Juliet. And that was just so much fun to do again (sense the sarcasm) for an entire group of people that I met about an hour ago…and that is all I am going to say about that. After the monologue torture came Music Theory torture. We had a music theory placement test in order for the teacher to place all the first years in different classes (it wasn’t really for me since would be joining the second years and all of their classes are together anyway). It was during this test that I realized that they call things by different names here (meaning the notes, eighth notes, whole notes, measures, ect. are called something else) so my already shaky knowledge of music theory got even worse. Wrapping up the end of my Monday was a speech about UK Equity and then another meeting by their Student Union, their “SA” or student government, about “Fresher’s Week”.
Tuesday was a dance placement day that started at 8 A.M. sharp! First up was a jazz warm up and that is where I met Her: the Devil. For almost 21 years I have thought that the devil was a man…but I was wrong. The devil is a woman and takes form in the shape of Kresida, a dance instructor at Mountview. She literally killed every single person in that room and we only had thirty minutes with her that day. I would have gone through initiation four or five times more instead of a thirty-minute jazz “warm up” with this woman! She just screams at you and treats you like you are stupid and worthless while pushing you further that you have ever pushed yourself before. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love being pushed and challenged but she just takes you of guard if you aren’t expecting it. After this so-called “warp up” (it was like running a marathon), I had a jazz class where the top dance instructors streamed me (basically looked at my technique in order to place me into the proper level dace class for the semester). After this I was finished for the day and so I headed off to Covent Garden in order to buy some dance clothes for the semester. At TU I can usually wear whatever I want to but here at Mountview everything has to be black and fit close to the body. It was on my way to Covent Garden (by tube) that I had a break through and finally learned how to use the London tube system properly and so I am no longer afraid of the tube!
Wednesday I had a meeting on personal safety since Wood Green, the area of London that Mountview is located, is not the safest part of town. It actually has one of the highest crime rates in London…but now that I’ve had that class there is nothing to worry about!
Thursday I had a sex talk, UK style. Basically a couple of people came down from the local hospital to talk to us about sex and had lots of pictures and handouts…and condoms. They were pretty much just blunt about everything. I found the whole thing a bit humorous and awkward and the same time.
Friday was a long day. The first portion of the day was a preview of what a voice class, acting class, and dance class would be like during the semester and the second portion of the day was…BLACK FRIDAY! It is sort of an initiation of the new kids that are coming into the MT program. It is a three to four hour block of time were every new student to the MT Department has to sing in front of the rest of the department (about 150 people) and to the table of faculty sitting right in front taking notes. Everyone is cramped into this tiny room (about the size of 110 in Kendall Hall at TU) and one by one everyone gets up to sing for the department. I sang “If I Loved You” because they asked for one of the songs that I auditioned with and I was not in the mood to sing “I Can’t Stand Still” (didn’t really have that high C in me that day). I was really nervous as I started to sing but by the time I was finished my nerves where gone and I seemed more than happy to be standing in front and singing for all of these people.
On Saturday Even and I went back down to Covent Garden to get a few more things for dance classes and to just walk around. I ran into a guy while I was down there wearing a Tennessee Volunteers sweatshirt and so I had to talk to him. It turned out that he was from Manchester, England and he studied abroad at UT for a semester. I just thought it was really cool…even though that color is still so obnoxious…to see something familiar from home.
Sunday was a homework day! There were several items of homework that were asked of all second years before the first day of school started and while all those who were actually here last year had ten weeks to work on it, they did not tell the four study abroad students until a week ahead of time. Now granted, I did have the whole week but like all those at TU already know about me (especially those who wrote freshman papers with me at 3 AM in the morning…Cynthia, Natalie, Lynden), I work best under pressure and with a time limit! Some things never change…

“Fresher’s Week”…the parties!

We all know that the best things about orientation in the States are the killer parties that go on (at least it was like that during my orientation freshman year at TU). The UK orientations are no different! In fact, they take the parties to the bar…because they are all legal! They call orientation “Fresher’s Week”.
Sunday was just a meet and greet at the Duke, a bar right down the street from Mountview. Monday was “Old People” night at the Karamel Club and they also had fun games for everyone to loosen up with and have a good time. On Tuesday they had what they call a “Rubix Cube” party…this was an amazing party and since I plan on bringing this back to the States with me I am not going to explain it in order to keep it a surprise! Wednesday night was a chill night at a sports bar in London City Center and Thursday was what they called the “BBQ” mixer night…Attention all Europeans: Burgers are NOT BBQ…just thought you all should know that. Friday was the big party night since everyone had finished Black Friday and was ready to let loose! That night was at Tiger Tiger, a club down in Soho. It was a lot of fun just to kick back and dance with everyone and listen to the popular dance music in the UK. Since the drinks were so expensive here, a group of us left and headed to another bar in town. By the time we left the second bar it was already 4 A.M. in the morning! I soon realized that being out in London this late was very normal. I LOVE LONDON!

To see my pictures of London so far look on Facebook or copy and paste the following link:

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