Saturday, July 6, 2013

Some Updates

Life has been SO busy here.  Fun, but busy.  I am going to update you all backwards and let you know what has been going on.  Some of this is more touristy.  This entry is more touristy than educationally based... but when I have more energy, I will blog about the AMAZING workshops that we have been going to. :-) Until then, an update of Yesterday and Today. 

This morning I went to see an AMAZING production of Tube by an amazing theater company called Oily Cart.  They say that do all sorts of theater for all sorts of kids.  This is a little tid bit from their website...
Oily Cart is one of the great British theatre companies of the last 25 years. Yet plenty of theatregoers, even the most avid, will not have heard of it. The reason is simple: Oily Cart works entirely with children, many with complex disabilities, and often behind closed doors in special schools.
Lyn Gardner, Guardian Unlimited

We saw their show this morning that was for babies.  The audience was children two years or younger with their parents.  It was such an amazing experience.  It is amazing that theater can be created for children that young.  Not a child was bored.  I will admit I cried several times.  We don't have anything like that in the USA.

After we left the show, my friend Erica and I went on an adventure through London.  We walked ALL over.  Picadilly, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar, Leicester... ALL over!! :-)  It was exhausting but lovely.  After we walked around London we went to the London Eye... for those of you that don't know, I HATE heights. HATE HATE HATE.  The London Eye goes 1,300 some feet in the air.  Blech.  But I decided I wanted to do it.  It was anxiety inducing.  It was terrifying.  But it was a lovely view.  I also braved standing at the edge of the scary glass bubble to take some pictures.  It was lovely. 

Outside Buckingham Palace 
Erica and I at Buckingham Palace

All of us on the London Eye 
Me on the London Eye!

Taylor and I on the the London Eye.  I look like I am about to cry because I was. 

Me, Taylor, Erica, Rachel, Janet, Katie at the Eye

Yesterday started with a great conference session on using theater to discuss difficult topics, sexual education, and social justice issues through theater.  We then wandered through Greenwich and had "Mexican" food for lunch.  When I get the picture of what it looked like from Abby, I will write more on the "Mexican" food.  We did some shopping (burned some holes in our pockets) and walked around in the BEAUTIFUL weather!! :-)  It has been amazing weather here.

Later that evening we went to see our grad assistants from our London University partner in their doctoral version of Madea.  It was BREATH-TAKING.  Simple, full of movement, sound, music... It was just amazing.  They used theater in a way that Americans are scared to use theater for.  They had some difficult issues, sexuality, and death embedded in a show meant for youth.  It was a piece of art that would allow high schoolers to really be able to tackle tough issues.  It was inspiring.

For dinner we went to an AMAZING Belgian restaurant.  It was PHENOMENAL food!  It was a great night with lots of laughing and eating.
My friend Janet and me at Belgo


Afterwards, 4 of us went out to an old theater that had been turned into a venue for musicians. We saw a band from the US called Young Blood Hawke TOTALLY by accident.  We arrived home very late in the evening but had a GREAT time.

I still need to update you on Wednesday and Thursday which were CHALKFUL of important theater moments from this trip... but it's time for bed, so for now this will have to be it.

Happy belated 4th!!!  Here's one more picture to make you smile...

At Greenwich where our conference is.  Also where they filmed some scenes in Les Mis the movie! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Process Drama, Wagamama, and The Globe

The last couple of days were pretty busy!  On Tuesday we had our first class.  With Professor Taylor we began our process drama experience.  We did the whole beginning of a process drama with the Tower of London.  I loved talking about the different things that people learned about the Tower of London.  I still really want to go back.  That evening we wondered around for a bit and ended up at a Wagamama.  I am including this in my journal entry because my last time studying here, I was OBSESSED with eating at a Wagamama.  The only sad piece is that the reason I wanted to go was to eat the big, thick yummy noodles which OF COURSE are wheat.  Boo... However, like a big family dinner, we all sat around the table and had a lovely time.

Wagamama Dinner! 

Yesterday we had an awesome day at the Globe.  My focus while in the program is to study more about Shakespeare and use it in my classroom.  I am choosing to focus on Shakespeare for youth and how to make it accessible for younger kids.  With this in mind, I went to the Globe yesterday.   I have been there a couple times before, but this was particularly fun for me because I looked at it through the lens of the teacher and what I thought would be good information for me to know.  The exhibition is not huge but has some great information.

The most exciting part of the day was the workshop with did with Globe Education.  We worked with a man named Colin who has been at the Globe on-stage and off for over 12 years.  Not only was he clever and engaging, I loved his workshop.  It wasn't long enough and I wished we had had more time with him but he was truly the model of what a good teaching artist is.  I love that I am adding to my theater education toolbox and can't wait to try some of these activities when I get home.
Shakespeare Fan Girls 
After our workshop we saw an AMAZING production of Midsummer Night's Dream.  For those of you don't know, it's my FAVORITE Shakespeare show and one I have done with my 4th graders.  I was laughing so loud at the play-within-a-play that the boys in front of me (who talked the WHOLE show) straight up turned around and stared at me.  I couldn't help it.  It was SO well done.  AND the set actually broke in a place where there was a ton of chaos and mayhem.  It wasn't supposed to and that made it even better.  As theater people we were all watching to see how they were dealing with it. :-)  It was a reminder of why I LOVE this program and LOVE theater.  After the show we discussed our favorite parts of the show and why we did or did not like the direction.  Being in graduate school is fun because everyone is as nerdy as you are.

(Photos courtesy of the Globe's Facebook Page.  Photo credit (c) John Hayes)


Model of the Globe

Model of the Rose Theatre

Queen Elizabeth Costume
Closer up 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tower of London

Hello friends and family!

It has been an excellent trip so far.  I flew in to Heathrow business class!  Loved the little beds.  My friend Katie and I flew together.  It was great to have someone with me and we had a little pod type seats, so we were in our own little world.  We arrived yesterday but it was a bit of a jet-lag fog.  I did get to see Dad, Reagan, and my sibs which was GREAT!  I wish I could have seen them longer.  Other than that, not much to report.  Although we did end the day at a pub! Having real "London" food.  It was fun.

Today was my first real day in London.  I slept 13 hours! YAY!  Woke up, had some instant coffee with delicious London cream, got ready for the day, and met friends for lunch.  I am not sure if that is all to exciting for you to read, but there are people who really want to know what my day has been like, so I will share as much as I can with you.  If you get bored, please feel free to skip parts or stop reading altogether.  I will try and make this somewhat an interesting read for you though.  I want it to be worth your time.

I digress... We had lunch a Nando's.  A chicken restaurant and then met the group to head to the Tower of London.  We walked from our NYU in London residence to Covent Garden, a place I will for SURE be visiting again, and then caught a bus.  The weather was SPECTACULAR.  Just beautiful.  Sunny, a bit hot... Just wonderful.  Londoners keep telling us not to get used to it.

We arrived at the Tower of London and I was glad to be there but not excited.  However, when I walked into the GIANT inside that is the Tower of London my breath was taken away.  Perhaps it's a sign of maturity, perhaps it's all the DND I have been playing, perhaps it's from watching all the episodes of the Tudors, but I was mesmerized.  The history.  The bloodiness.  The fact that ANNE BOLEYN was BURIED UNDER OUR FEET!  It was just breath taking.  I couldn't believe.  I listened to every word of our tour guide.  I listened to where people were executed and where they were kept when they were taken into custody.  Some of the buildings are over 2,000 years old.  That is just amazing.  I wish that I could have stayed longer.  I didn't even get to see the Crown Jewels.  I have heard they are amazing but with the time that we had I wanted to go through all the Towers.

The people that I went with were supremely fun people as well.  We posed, read signs intermittently, listened to the tour with our own commentary, and had a GREAT time!  I am exhausted and would love to write more but I will post some pictures below.  If you have Facebook you probably have already seen them so don't feel that you have to go on.  I also apologize for any grammatical errors that might have snuck into this post.  I promise to do my best to continue posting.  Thanks for reading. :-)

Taylor, Me, Abby, Erica ready for the Tower of London!

Our amazing Beefeater who gave us the tour.  He has been in the military for over 40 years and is a proud member of the Queen's personal guard.  It would be amazing to learn all that he knows and hear all he has seen.  

The tower where Thomas Cromwell was held when he was charged with treason. 

The gate had a different name but Henry VIII renamed it the Traitor Gate because of all the traitors that went through it. 

The Bloody Tower that also used to have a different name.  It was renamed the Bloody Tower after Henry VIII was no longer reigning.  It was named the Bloody Tower because of all the people he had executed. 

Look at that sharp and scary portcullis!

Me looking "scared" at the Bloody Tower. 

In what used to be a Tudor dwelling. 

A remake of what it would have looked like.

Us pretending to be very proper and regal. 

Dana and I getting married by the beautiful stain glass! 

This Beefeater was not in the best mood.  Taylor chose to capture is feelings for us in this dramatic picture. 

It's hard to tell that there is a ghost in this picture.  It's also hard to explain what this was.  The picture shows the exact screen that we were looking at.  There was a "ghost" in the picture behind us and we look like ghosts as well.  It was very cool. 

Me holding a Crossbow! A REAL one! With no arrows! 

The crown of someone.  I probably should remember who.  I thought it was pretty. 

Katie, Dana, and I posing on one of the long walkways between Towers.  The Tower Bridge is behind us! 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Beginning Another Travel Abroad Experience

Back in college I studied in London.  It was one of my top experiences in my life.  It was amazing.  All over amazing.  I met amazing people, saw lots of shows, and changed a lot.  You can read about 20 year old Emily's experiences at my old livejournal.  It's pretty entertaining.

I decided that as I am in London.  I would like to try and blog.   So I created this blog.  I am hoping to write in it enough to keep those who want to know informed about what we are doing in London and Ireland.

I need to go back to prepping for the trip but check back soon for more entries about my new exciting adventure!