Graceland University England Trip: Devised Theatre
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Travel Time! I fell asleep before I had finished packing yesterday so I finished up my packing. Braden had stayed the night with me so when I was done my dad drove us both to the airport. We arrived early but the school busses somehow beat us. We got in the long line for ticketing and waited for our boarding passes. The first flight left and arrived on time in the Dallas, Fort Worth airport. This flight was the first flight that had in seat entertainment options, I opted for my music and a little computer work. In Dallas, one girl left her passport on the previous airplane, thankfully she was able to retrieve it in time to get on the London airplane. We boarded but had a delay due to mechanical issues. The pilot said this wouldn't be a problem as we were going to have a good tailwind that would have put us in London early. After the repairs were complete, we took off. I watched a few movies on the ride over, mostly Sci-Fi. I watched The Minority Report, Hunger Games Mockingjay part 2 and Dumb and Dumber. After watching these 2 movies I realized that we only had 2 hours of the flight left. I tried to get some sleep but I had a middle seat so I could not sleep. After my attempt, I played some games and listened to music for the duration. Once touched down, we quickly went through immigrations. Unfortunately, one girl's carryon bag was picked up by someone else. Thankfully there was nothing super important in it. I exchanged my money for Pounds and we got on our bus at about 7 am.
First day in London England we got on the bus to go to the hotel and I slept the way there. Yea for a side seat. The hotel is very interesting. It is smaller than a Graceland dorm room and includes a full (not really) bathroom. We walked around and grabbed some food from a tourist area a few streets away from our hotel. Then we boarded the bus to go to the play. Click Here to read my play review.
After the show, we went to the Mitre Pub for a standing dinner buffet. The buffet consisted of various dishes of local quinine such as beef and horseradish, Pork pie with mustard, Halloumi Papaya and Chicken Goujuns.
After sleeping well through the night, I went down to enjoy a wonderful English breakfast. With a cup of hot tea, I enjoyed wonderful fruit, hash browns and real sausage. I found that I do not like fried eggs. I started my journals today and launched my GU England Trip: Devised Theatre website.
After breakfast, we left to go on our Shakespeare walking tour. We meet our guide Peter at the London Monument. He first took us to the site of the original London Bridge, the bridge Shakespeare would of know. All that was left of the bridge was a single foundation support. We also saw a replica of the bridge inside of the church next to the site of the original bridge. We then crossed the 3rd generation London Bridge and exited the City of London. As theatre was not allowed in the city because of Catholic law, the site of the theatres was across the river among the docks, taverns and brothels. We were told stories of the events that influenced Shakespeare work. We learned of traveling shows at George’s Pub, the oldest pub in London. We were told of the executions outside of the Clink prison, and were told that some of Shakespeare’s plays that required hangings used actual prisoners to hang. We finished our walking tour at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The theatre had been created 1997 using original construction techniques to give an authentic feel and now shows audiences Shakespearian plays. We will see a play there tomorrow.
After the tour, we went back to the hotel to get lunch. After lunch, we headed off to the next play. The tube was packed. So packed that I got on a different train car right behind the rest of the group. Unfortunately, this spelled disaster. One station away from our transfer point, the train was stopped due to a downed train. I was having a nice conversation with a local woman while we waited for the trains to resume. After a long time of no movement, I looked into the car that contained the rest of the group. They were gone. Thankfully, I saw two other Graceland students, not a part of the theatre group, get off as I looked into the car. I got out and asked them where the rest were. They told me that the rest of the group had left about 10 minutes before. I knew the stop I wanted to get off on to transfer lines was but, I did not know where the final destination was located. All I had was the ticket with the name of the theatre. I got out and walked to the next tube station with my transfer. I also bought a SIM card on the way but I could not call Gary with the plan I bought. Once I got to the station, an employee pointed me to the correct train and station. After I exited the train for the last time. I asked another employee for directions to the theatre. He pointed me the correct direction but I missed a turn somewhere and had to ask again. Finally, I found Gary and the rest of the group outside the theatre. There we watched The Maids. Click Here to read my review.
After the show, a group of us went out to get food. We chose a restaurant that was accidently a little out of our price range but we did it anyways. The meal was wonderful. I had veal with potatoes and got criticized by our resident vegetarian. Apparently ordering water cost about 7.5 pounds or $10 so we found that we needed to order tap water instead. Good to know for later. We then rode the tube back to the hotel.
When I came to London with the theatre group, I came to see and produce shows. We had the opportunity to buy half price tickets at TKTS so I went. We got 3 tickets for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, 3 tickets for Doctor Faustus, the show I went to, and one ticket for The Kinks.
We then ventured into the area that we toured the day before. We got food at an open air market. I got a wonderful spicy Ethiopian dish. We then went to see A Mid-summer Nights’ Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Click Here to see my review.
After the show, we planed to get back to the hotel. A couple of wrong turns left us with not enough time so we went to the next show of Doctor Faustus. Click Here to see my review.
We returned to the hotel after a long night and I promptly fell asleep.
Today was the day of our bike tour. We took the tube to Waterloo Station and then headed outside. We then proceeded down a couple of alleyways into a graffitied tunnel. Our bike tour started here. Graffiti had been legalized in the tunnel and many artists came through to paint. We followed our guide throughout the city. We saw great views of the parliament building and Big Ben. We saw the front of Westminster Abby in which I would later tour. We the saw the house of the writer of the English Dictionary and learned about the English architecture. We then cycled and got to see the changing of the Guard at the Queen’s Palace. The Queen was in that day as noted by her royal flag being flown instead of the Union Jack. We then cycled to the base of the London Eye and then went back to our starting point.
After the bike tour, we walked back to Westminster Abby and went for another tour. Thankfully we had a guide so we bypassed the huge line. The inside was amazing. We were guided around the entire church and saw many tombs, monuments and even the royal coronation chair. The tomb of the unknown soldier was also located here. After the tour, we grabbed dinner and went to the play Into the Hoods, As always, you can find my play report Here.
Today was a calm day. I got breakfast and worked on play reports. At 2 we took the tube to the National Theatre. On the way we picked up a HUGE futból crowd as well as two police officers to maintain them. They sang songs and smelt of beer. Thankfully we got off quickly after that. At the national theatre, we found our seats amongst the haze filled room.Click Here for my play report.
After the play we returned to the hotel. I went out to find some dinner and settled on McDonalds. Everywhere else is expensive. It was interesting how they had specifically “American” Flavors such as Tennessee burgers and Red White and Blue McFlurries. I will say that English French fries or chips are better than ours. After that I returned to the hotel and played some video games. I finished up my day by watching a few episodes of Dr. Who. Apparently I am behind a few seasons.
Today was travel day. I woke up and grabbed breakfast. Packed and worked on my journals and show reviews. At noon thirty, we headed out for Dunfield. The trip lasted 4 hours with a half hour lunch break. I got some good reading done on Robots and Empire by Isaac Asimov. The house is smaller than I expected. It is a three story building. The dining room, church, kitchen and sitting room are on the ground floor, the girls are on the first floor and the guys are in the attic. Most of our doors are under 5 feet tall and have beams that we have to step over. It feels like bulkheads on a battle ship. We had a good dinner and met in our class groups for the first time as a class. Then we fought with the non-existent WiFi and had wonderful scones. Now I write this as the day draws to a close. I cannot wait to start the creative process in my theatre class tomorrow.
Woke up after an ok sleep. I went down to breakfast and had porridge and tea. They make porridge better than the states. We the realized that there was a hot breakfast as well. “Second Breakfast” we exclaimed at the table. After breakfast we went to classes and wrote plots, dialogs, we begins, and characters. Then we mashed them together to create funny stories.
After class, we played some games and threw around a Frisbee. I accidently threw it into the stinging nettles. After getting long pants and proper shoes, I plunged into the thicket and retrieved the Frisbee. Tomorrow we are going to Hereford, Pronounced Here-Ford, to tour and shop.
I don’t know why but I am super tired in the morning. Maybe I should go to bed before 1am. I missed Breakfast but made the bus for Hereford. I listened to music the way down that I had saved to my phone. When we got there we toured a large cathedral, the main cathedral for that area of England. We then spent time touring the city. I walked the streets for a while but didn’t find anywhere that I wanted to shop. There was an old building in the center of the square properly named The Old House. I was a free admission and it was raining so I went inside. The house was built in the 1600’s and was filled with items of the time. After avoiding the rain in the house, I went back out. I bought Ice Cream and waited for everyone else to get done. Then we returned to the house. I played video games as it continued to rain. I think I built a decent space ship.
Missed breakfast again. This bed way is too comfy. Today’s writing prompts were very interesting and thought provoking. As a part of the class, we went to watch sheep. The fields around here are filled with them. Shaw tried to get really close to one but they kept running away. After walking through poop laden fields, we returned to the house. Now I catch up on my journals and show reviews as I need to turn them in by tomorrow at breakfast.
After a good breakfast, we headed out to the Welsh Coast. The journey was two hours long and I listened to music and dozed a bit. Towards the end of the ride, we got lost. The bus was also too big to continue down the road we wanted to travel. We found a trailhead and started our hike there. I am way out of shape. I remember doing these hikes as a Boy Scout with ease but apparently my lack of exercise has left some of my necessary muscles unused. The hike was beautiful. We were right on the cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean. After visiting the coastal village, we returned to the bus. Chelsey slept on me for the until we reached a town to get food. We were all given 5 pounds. As I had not had the Fish and Chips (fries for the uncultured Americans) experience yet. We found a shop and took it to a plaza. Chelsey fed the pidgins with the extra chips. We then returned to Dunfield and chatted in the main room.
Today is the day! The day of our performance. We practiced the show twice and then we had our live performance. I was not nervous at all as I was in the one act plays. The play went smoothly and the audience enjoyed. There was some confusion on some of the continuity throughout the play, but overall it was good. Later I went to the poetry reading that the poetry class had. Around a large campfire amongst falling raindrops, poems were recited and appreciation was shared. I finished that night with a few more reflexology sessions and caring for an overly intoxicated person.
Today we went to Stratford upon Avon, the home of Shakespeare. I ate my packed lunch at the local river park beside the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre. After, I strolled the wonderful garden and river before going into the theatre for our performance of Hamlet. Click Here to read my review. After the show, I wondered the shops with Megan and met up with Carrie. We settled on McDonalds for dinner. Their BigMac tastes the same as ours although their medium sized drinks are the same as our small. We then saw the grammar school that Shakespeare attended and I bought my first and probably last souvenir. We then went back to Dunfield and retired.