Monday, September 14, 2009

Lovin’ London

Well, I’m back in Glasgow after a fabulous trip to London. We went to present our shows to the good people of Southern England. The shows went well enough I think. My first night on was Friday and the cast felt particularly pleased with our delivery. Both nights I had friends from the Moscow Art Theatre School in the audience which made it all the more exciting for me. In the summer of 2008 I spent six weeks in Cambridge, Massachusetts just outside of Boston participating in an amazing actor training program taught by master teachers from the Moscow Art Theatre School and there I met Hayley Anne, Emma and Germaine, all of whom came to support me this past weekend. Hayley Anne is on a Masters course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Emma is a native of the London area and Germaine just arrived to a post-graduate course at the London Academy of Music and Drama. Thanks for coming guys!! Love ya!!

Performing was only a fraction of the way I spent my time in London. Wednesday I went to Camden Town. Camden is a very unique area of London. It kind of reminds me of the East Village in New York. Camden is famous for Camden Market; an outdoor market where vendors sell their goods from stalls. Camden also has loads of other markets and areas filled with vendor stalls and booths as well as a large assortment of shops and food stands. If you are looking for funky gifts, imports from around the world, handmade jewelry, goth or hippie clothing, you have a good chance of finding it in Camden. I found the most amazing natural food/vegetarian restaurant right alongside the canal in Camden. The place is called the inSpiral Lounge. The food delighted my taste buds and the staff was the friendliest, most helpful bunch I have ever met. Go, eat and enjoy the guilt free yumminess!!

Thursday I went to the Royal Academy of Arts to view the J.W. Waterhouse exhibit. I have always been drawn to Waterhouse’s work but knew very little about him until my visit to the gallery. Waterhouse was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter who lived between 1849 and 1917 and was admitted to the Royal Academy of Art in 1871. He is known for taking his subjects from myths, legends and literature. Some of his favorites were female characters from Greek mythology, Arthurian legends and Shakespeare’s plays.

After my dose of art I needed my retail release and headed to Harrods. I love Harrods. There is nothing on Earth like the Food Halls in Harrods. I was able to pick up nearly a lifetime supply of my beloved rose tea and those amazing dates I mentioned last week. Oh yeah. Delicious.

Thursday night I was not needed on stage so I went to see some other people work. I went to the West End Musical ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’. Oh what fun! I adore the movie and had high hopes that the stage version would be just as entertaining. I was not disappointed. It paid homage to the film whilst creating a blissful experience of its own merit. The costumes, the set and the over the top characters made for a fabulous spectacle. The only thing serious about this piece of theatre was the seriously big budget they must have to put on the glitz and glam of that magnitude every night. If you are looking for something profound go somewhere else but if you are looking for ridiculous merriment in glorious Technicolor check out the party on stage at the Palace Theatre in the form of ‘Priscilla’. I loved every second of it!!

Friday I went to Covent Garden and Chinatown. Covent Garden has yet another market should you want to spend more money. I ran across a quartet of string players cranking out some classics with a whole lot of personality and an ice sculpture of the London skyline on display and melting in the afternoon sun. Then I meandered over to Chinatown for lunch. A red bean bun and veggie Lo Mein made for a tasty yet inexpensive meal. Then Back to Covent Garden to meet up with the aforementioned Emma. On the way I popped in to St. Paul’s Church. St. Paul’s Church is known as the Actors’ Church and inside are memorials to Charlie Chaplin, Vivien Leigh and many more notable performers and artists. Emma arrived and we sipped Starbucks and played catch up until I had to head back to the hotel to prep for my show. She collected Hayley Anne and all of us had a lovely visit after my performance. Good Friday.

Saturday I relaxed at our hotel in Hampstead until our show. Afterwards I caught up with Germaine. Then Sunday I boarded a train back to Glasgow. Overall it was a wonderful week. There were a few moments of stress surrounding the show but all and all, a fantastic trip. Now into the final stretch of the course! Many of my classmates seem a bit concerned about all the writing we have to finish. It is a lot and we are doing the shows right now which could lead to anxiety for people. I feel pretty comfortable with what needs to be finished but then, I enjoy writing. The shows are there (they'd better be, we’ve done four already!) so, I don’t think we need to be worried about them. I am looking forward to completing the final requirements and treading a new path into the future. We’re nearly there guys! Nearly there!

This week we play Edinburgh and that’s it. I will only be working with the group three more times. One tech rehearsal and two shows! Wow! The rest of the time I’m on my own to write the papers. Two weeks left in this our fourth and final term! I am so excited!

Below you can check out some photos I took in London and I’ll report next week on our Edinburgh run.
Take care!!

The famous Camden Market

Plenty to purchase in Camden Town.

Hungry? Veggie-licious inSpiral Lounge! Check out their website:

Waterfront shopping along the canal in Camden.

J.W. Waterhouse at the Royal Academy of Arts

Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre

London iced at Covent Garden

Gateway to Chinatown

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