Monday, 22 November 2010

“All great things must come to an end…"

December 7, 2009 to December 14, 2009

Wednesday night I saw We Will Rock You. This show was pretty good. While the plot line was terrible, the singing was nice and I think brings Queens songs to a new generation.

Thursday night I saw Legally Blonde. It was in previews and so it was only the sixth time that they had had a live audience. I love the show and the music. This production was a bit rough though. The leads were famous pop stars from Britain and that was why they were in the show. Hopefully they will replace them soon and actually put some musical theatre people in there.

Friday was the Mountview Christmas Concert. This was sort of an emotional night for everyone. The Mountview kids were upset since their headmaster was leaving to start another school and I was upset that this would be the last time that I would see most of these people that I had grown so close to in the past 4 months. A few of our IES Administrators were there to see the show and I was able to say goodbye to them as well.

Saturday I moved out of Chester House. This was the last time that I would see the Kellys. Evan and I told the girls goodbye and they headed off to the airport. I’m not gonna lie, it was a little sad to tell the girl goodbye. I mean, people that I had shared so much time and life experiences with that I had only known for four months had come to mean so much to me. Hopefully our paths will cross again! Since I wasn’t leaving until Monday I went to spend the next two days with Leonie. Evan and I took the bus down to Wood Green together. I was heading to Leonie’s and he was heading to Alana’s. This would be the last time that Evan and I would see each other. He was the first one of the group I met and the last one I would leave. He was the only other guy from the States and we actually had a lot in common, more than I feel like he led on to. Evan was a great guy, had fun where ever and whoever he was with, and had an amazing spirit about him. I left Evan at the bus stop in Wood Green. He walked one way and I the other. At last, I had left the only other study abroad student and headed to Leonie’s. That night, Leonie and I made dinner and fell asleep while watching Steel Magnolias, a movie she had never seen before.

On Sunday I played Beer Pong with the Brits! J We set up the table in the kitchen of Leonie’s place and I proceeded to teach them how to play. The entire day was wasted away with drinks and friends. It was so nice to spend my last day with Leonie, someone that I had grown so close to while in London. I’m not sure why, but I absolutely fell in love with Leonie. She is such and caring, sweet, fun, loving person who absolutely loves Americans and our culture (I guess that gave me a one up! J). That night, Leonie and I talked for hours…I mean like we didn’t fall asleep until 4:30am! We sat in her bed, looking through her skylight to the stars, and just talked about life and the end of my journey. While some say that I should have gone out and had a crazy night on my last night in London, I couldn’t have imagined anything better than just lying in bed with Leonie and spending my last night with my best friend in London.

Monday I flew home. Oh how I will miss London! Went to bed at 4:30 and was up by 7 am to get to the airport in time. Leonie was going to travel with me since she was heading back to Bath and her tube stop was only one stop past mine. We left Leonie’s place and headed toward the Airport with all of my luggage as well as Leonie’s things. I had two big bags and two carry-on items and she had a bag and two smaller bags as well. Getting on the tube with all of our stuff was hilarious. The tube was already crowded and trying to squeeze in there with all of our luggage wasn’t easy. I had to stand up on the tube, holding my luggage for at least 20 stops. Once we were on the outskirts of the city on the west side, I was able to read adjust the luggage and grab a seat. When I got to the airport it was time to say my final goodbye to Leonie. This was more difficult that I thought it would be. We unloaded my bags onto the platform and then just looked at each other for a few seconds. It was obvious that neither of us wanted to say goodbye. We hugged for a few minutes and allowed a few tears to fall from our faces. This was hard, the hardest of all of the goodbyes. But hopefully this won’t be the last time we see each other. She promised to visit me during her 3rd year, my senior year in college. Hopefully she plans on keeping that promise! J

I boarded the plan around noon and went straight to watching my first movie, 500 Days of Summer. In the middle of this movie, the captain came on the intercom and said that the engineers had found a problem with the plane and that it would be a few more minutes. A few more minutes turn into an hour or so and I finished my movie. After the movie, the plane was finally ready and I flew home. Seeing Momma and Daddy in the airport was so nice, but a little sad too. The trip, this amazing opportunity, this semester abroad, was finally over.

This was it. This was the end. This was the final part of study abroad experience. I couldn’t believe it was over. Something that I had planned and worked so hard for was over. I had traveled to several countries, seen friends from home, made new friends in London, partied and drank in London club and bars, worked hard for Mountview, and found a new drive in my theatre training. I have learned so much about theatre and about who I am as a person. I struggled through a lot during this time but feel like I grew and came into my own. I can’t explain it fully in words but this trip, this journey, changed my life.

“This week…Anything Goes!”

November 30, 2009 to December 6, 2009

With classes now out of the way, we moved off of the normal timetable and on to something new. This week’s focus was all on our show, either Anything Goes or Me & My Girl. I, along with Kelly McCue, were in Anything Goes.

Monday was really rough. We finally finished working scene by scene and put the whole thing together in a run (and we open on Thursday…wow we’ve got a long way to go!)

Tuesday I saw Little Voice with the original cast. It had one of my teachers in it as well. Once again it was really neat to watch my teachers from class on the actual West End! SOOO COOL!

Wednesday saw the Postgraduate at Mountview do their “Song & Dance” Performance. On Wednesday night I saw La cage a Follies at the Playhouse Theatre. This show was amazing! I didn’t think that I would actually like it but it was incredible!

Thursday I saw the other group of second years perform Me & My Girl. After their show finished, we quickly transformed the room into our set up for Anything Goes and had our dress rehearsal. The first years sat in on this run.

Friday was our performance of Anything Goes and the other group of seconds years and all the musical theatre staff sat in on it. After the show, we all headed to the Duke and celebrated. Good to know that nothing changing from country to country…we’re all Drinking Majors with a Theatre Problem...

Saturday the four American took a trip down to Abby Road to take the a photo just as the Beatles did so many years ago. After that we headed to Harrods just to see it one more time (first time for the girls). That night the Kellys and I headed to Alexandra Palace to go ice skating! That was the first time in my life that I have ever ice skated! I actually only fell once and that was only after an hour and a half of already skating. They started to play a Micheal Jackson song, I started dancing, missed placed my feet, and fell…but it was worth it. I loved ice skating and I can’t wait to do it again.

“Last Week of Classes”

November 23, 2009 to November 29, 2009

Class wise, this week wasn’t too terrible. I had a song due here and a paper due there, but the main focus of this week was seeing as much theatre as possible.

On Monday we had a Christmas party in Pylaties.

On Tuesday I saw Priscilla Queen of the Desert. One of my teachers from Mountview was the understudy of one of the major roles. He did an amazing job! I was so impressed with the show. Probably was one of my favorite shows while I was over there!

On Wednesday I saw Mountview’s third year musical theatre students in A Chorus Line. I have actually never seen the show before but the did a great job! Scenery was very simple which allowed for the acting, singing, and dancing to really shine through.

On Thursday I saw Parade in a community theatre in London. It was awful! I mean awful! From the dialect to the singing, it was terrible. I started thinking about how bad a community theatre production of a show with a British dialect in the States would be and tried to enjoy it just a little more. Amazing show…terrible production.

Friday was my last day of classes at Mountview! On Friday I saw the other half of Mountview’s third year musical theatre students in Into the Woods. Once again, not too bad. The concept though was weird though and I didn’t really enjoy it. I feel like they took risks and made decisions, it just wasn’t the right one. The students were very talented though. Wish I could have seen the other cast as well.

On Saturday I went to Brick Lane Market with the Kellys and Chloe, one of the girls in my class at Mountview, to get vintage clothing for our shows the following week (Anything Goes & Me and My Girl). On Saturday night I saw Shawshank Redemption and it was the second to last performance of it on the West End.

On Sunday I saw Jest End, the West End equivalent to Broadway’s Forbidden Broadway. It was so funny!

Like a said, a full week of cramming in theatre!

“Wow, only a Month Left!”

November 16, 2009 to November 22, 2009

Yeah, only one month left so it is time to get down to business and make sure that I’ve seen and done everything that I wanted to do. On Monday night I came home and made a list of everything that I had to do before leaving. The list was long but I knew that with organization and planning I could do it!

On Tuesday I had a realization in Song Presentation class. I figured out the reason why I love Mountview so much: the other students you are studying with want you to succeed as much as you want yourself to succeed. This week in song presentation we had to bring in songs that where challenging for us through either the notes or the style and so people brought in songs like “Once Upon a Time”, “Pity the Child”, and “Defying Gravity”. When someone was up there working on the song with our teacher, everyone else was on the edge of their seat, so excited with the progress and the risk that everyone was taking. I love that they aren’t sitting there hoping that someone will crack or forget their words or just give up. Even if someone does crack or forget a word or two they just continue to encourage and push each other up. Everyone does the work outside of class and so in class we are able to take things to the next level! That is why I love this school so much. Also on Tuesday we had our “Acting Performance Night”. It was a night were everyone had a scene or two from Heda Gabbler that they had to rehearse on their own and then perform for all the staff and the rest of the year. It was a wonderful night to see everyone else’s work and progress on the scenes as well as getting and giving feedback to one another.

On Wednesday I got my ticket to see the midnight showing of New Moon in Wood Geen. I was really excited about seeing the show especially since I would be able to see it six hours before it was even released in the states. I probably wouldn’t have seen it at midnight if I was in the states but I really wanted to Facebook a few people back home after I saw it just to make them a little jealous. J

Friday started every early…at midnight actually. Kelly R and I went to the theatre in Wood Green to see New Moon. I ended up like the movie a whole lot more than I thought I would. I mean, they changed a few things here and there but that always as to be done when making a book into a movie. Overall, I felt that they did a great job and the acting in this movie was much better than that of the first one. After we left the theatre it took us almost an hour to get home since it was 2:30 in the morning and we had to take several different night buses to get back to Muswell Hill. After I wonderful little three hour nap, I was back up to get ready for school. The second portion of my Friday ended up being a very long day after not sleeping so much the night before. Not saying it wasn’t worth it, just saying I was a little tired, that’s all. Despite the fact that I was tired, I had the best singing class that day. The head of music, Rob Archibald, filled in for our normal teacher who was sick that day. Instead of going over our Christmas carols like we were suppose to, we had a singing improv class. It was the best class that I’ve had at Mountview. By the end of the class, each of us had come up with several different scenes for a new musical, an opening song for that musical, as well as one of the main songs in that musical. It was so nice to kick back and enjoy making music with everyone else in the class. That night I went and saw The Laramine Project down at the Strand Theatre. I’d never seen the show before and thought that it would be interesting seeing it from the perspective of people from another country. When I got there, I realized that Rob (the head of singing) and Sam (head of dance at Mountview) where there. I didn’t realize until I got there that Rob helped direct and put music to the show. It was a special performance that was for charity and so afterwards there was a talk back with free wine. It was so interesting to hear everyone’s thoughts on the show. Three of the cast members where Americans so it was nice to talk to them about the show and to hear their responses to working on the show.

Saturday was a busy day of checking things off of my “London To-Do” list. I got up early that morning and headed into London city center to go to Westminster Abby. I spent several hours in the Abby that day going from chapel to chapel to see all that there was to see. At the Abby I saw King Edward's Chair (the throne on which British sovereigns are seated at the moment of coronation and has been used at every coronation since 1308), Poet’s Corner (where I saw the tombs and memorials of Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, David Garrick, Sir Noel Coward, T. S. Eliot, and Oliver Goldsmith), the oldest door in London, the largest, oldest, and best preserved medieval floor from the 13th century, Henry VII's Lady Chapel, and the Nave (a tribute to those who have severed in the British Armed forces and where they have a their Tomb for the Unknown Soldier). After leaving the Abby I walked around the city center and made my way toward Trafalgar Square and then on toward Fleet Street and Drury Lane. I finally found myself in Covent Gardens and I decided to see Woman in Black, a show that has been showing in London since a month before I was born.

On Sunday I work on a couple of things for school and planned out my week so that I could make the most of my last week of school.

“Back (Dancing) on My Feet”

November 9, 2009 to November 15, 2009

This week started off with dancing and I felt like I continued dancing for the rest of the week. On Tuesday, all the second years at Mountview had to perform in “Choreography Event”. It is basically a dance concert that is made up of only the second years. We did the entire thing on our own from choreographing it to performing it. Many hours were put into rehearsing these numbers and having several dress rehearsals and in the end the night was a wonderful success. I was told by several of the staff at Mountview that it was one of the best choreographic evenings they’ve ever seen. So hats off to all the MT Second Years at Mountview!

On Friday night I went out with a group from Mountview to a place in Palmers Green called Inn on the Green Pub. It was a great night out to reward ourselves for a great week and job well done with choreographic evening. There was lots of dancing, live music, drinking, and fun to be had.

On Saturday I headed to Harrods for the day to do my Christmas shopping and get all of the souvenir shopping out of the way. That place just amazes me. It is so big and once you go in, you spend hours just looking at everything…just looking though because you can’t afford it. Anyway, three hours and a drained bank account later, I headed back to Mussel Hill. That night I headed to Leonie’s for a birthday party for one of the girls at Mountview. It was again just a really great night to chill and enjoy being with each other. It was at this party that I realized that I only had one month left in London…my days were numbered.

“A Rough Week Back”

November 2, 2009 to November 8, 2009

This week was a hard week right from the start. From readjusting to getting up early to catching up with schoolwork, I just felt like I was running a race in which there was no finish line and that wasn’t even dealing with any of the emotional rollercoaster I was on. While I knew there where plenty of people that I could talk to and get help from in order to move forward, not only with Papa’s funeral but also with classwork, I just felt alone. I felt like I just was so far behind that there wasn’t a way out of this. But I took each everything one day at a time. I did only what need to be done that day and then moved forward. By the end of the week, I was caught up class work wise but emotionally I hadn’t exactly smoothed out yet. I took that weekend to write and catch up with my blogs. I was able to take that time to finally say what I wanted to say and to help me move forward. Once I finally had time to sit and actually reflect on what had a happened, I was able to cope with it just a bit better.

That week was also Novemeber 5th, Guy Fawkes Night (or "bonfire night"). Basically there was a plan called “The Gunpowder Plot” to burn down Parliament. It was led by Robert Catesby, but Guy Fawkes was put in charge of its execution. He was arrested a few hours before the planned explosion, during a search of the cellars underneath Parliament in the early hours of 5 November prompted by the receipt of an anonymous warning letter. The commemoration of the failed plot is held on 5 November in the United Kingdom, during which an effigy of Fawkes is burned, often accompanied by a fireworks display. “Remember remember the fifth of November/ Gunpowder, treason and plot./ I see no reason why gunpowder, treason/ Should ever be forgot...”

Coming Back

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 to Sunday, November 1, 2009

The plane right back took forever. Not only was I traveling at night and couldn’t sleep on planes, I also didn’t want to come back. I still had this overwhelming desire to stay home and be with my family. But I couldn’t and Papa wouldn’t have wanted to me stay at home. When I finally landed in London, I jumped on the tube headed home. For the first time in almost twenty four hours, I was able to sleep. Probably wasn’t the safest thing to sleep on the tube but I was so exhausted and I had thirty-five stops on the tube to go so there was no way I was going to make it the whole way awake. Once I was back at Chester House, I took a proper nap on my crap of a mattress. That night, I tried to go see Silence the Musical but didn’t make it to the theatre in time. On the way home, I grabbed a bottle of wine and when I finally made it back in I crawled into bed and watched a movie as I fell asleep.

Thursday morning I decided that I was going to do something with my day. It was the last few days of my fall break and I had to get myself up to do something. With a new found since of adventure, I headed to the city centre of London. My first stop of the day was St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is a huge church in the middle of London that had the best view in London…only after five hundred and twenty-eight steps to the top of the Cathedral’s dome. The church is also full of other cool things to see such as the tomb of the Duke of Wellington, the Whispering Gallery, the American Memorial Chapel (dedicated to the US servicemen based in the UK who died during WWII), and the St. Faith’s Chapel, also known as the OBE (Order of the British Empire) Chapel. After I left the church I headed towards the Thames River to walk the River Walk. I took the River Walk heading in the east and finally ran into the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. I ate lunch at a small cafĂ© right outside of the Tower of London, next to the Thames River, looking at the Tower Bridge. After lunch I figured that since I was down there already, I might as well do the Tower Bridge Tour. It wasn’t anything too special besides the amazing view from the top and the part of the tour that takes you underground to see the inner workings of the bridge. I walked around the City Hall area for a little while and then headed north toward the Gherkin building in London. By the time I took a few pictures of the Gherkin and walked a few more minutes, it was time to head home to get ready to go out for the night. That night we celebrated a couple of birthdays for the week from Mountview. We went to a couple of different bars down in Soho and ended up having a great…crazy…night!

On Friday I packed up a few things and headed off to Bath, England with Leonie, one of the girls here at Mountview. She actually lives in Wiltshire with her family, a small city right outside of Bath, and that is where we stayed for the weekend. On Friday we took the bus from London to Bath and her dad picked us up at the station. This was the first time I’d been in an actual car here. I’d of course been on the bus to get to and from school but riding in the car was so much different, I actually realized that I was indeed on the wrong side of the road! After a wonderful dinner of fish and chips with the family, Leonie and I headed out to the bar with one of her best friends from home, Ollie. The next day Halloween and was our day out on the town…well, countryside. We went all over the area seeing Lacock Abbey (where the first two Harry Potter classroom scenes where filmed in), Silbury Hill, the locks of Wiltshire, and Avebury Stones. The most interesting part of the day was when we went to Avebury Stones and walking into a cultish gathering of some sort…it was Halloween and they were all wearing capes and had staffs and where all chanting something. They starting out just telling stories and it was very interesting to listen to but as soon as one of the guys said “Let’s all join hands and sing” I decided that we should probably peace out. That night we stayed in and enjoyed the company of her family as we watched The X Factor (Like American Idol…only British) and The Patriot. I would just like to say how much fun and awkward it was to watch the Patriot with a room full of the people pulling for the other side. It is interesting though the things that you end up debating with them but in the end, it is simple: you lost, we won. End of Story. The next day was our last day in Bath and seeing as how we had to leave by noon, there wasn’t much of a day to be had there. But there was still one thing left to do in Bath…the reason for going there in the first place…Stonehenge. When we got there, the weather was crazy! The wind was blowing so hard that it was knocking me over and the rain and hail mix that was coming down at the same time didn’t really help out either but it was worth it. I mean, Stonehenge is just a bunch of rocks and is much smaller than I thought that it would be and we had to stand behind a fence to actually see it, but it was nice to see it. It is one of those things that I wanted to see just to say that I’ve been there, you know? After we finished at Stonehenge, we headed back to Bath to catch the bus home. While I had had a great time in Bath this weekend, it wasn’t enough for me to forget about my journey back home and move forward. This next week of school was going to be rough.