Bye, for now.
So, I have about 8 hours until I leave my dorm room forever.
What can I say? This semester has been such an incredible experience. I’ve made new friends (inside my program and out), seen places and things I’d never thought I’d get to visit, and had the pleasure of attending a good amount of West End shows.
I’m not at all ready to leave, but that’s for more personal reasons. I’m going to miss the accents. I’m going to miss going to Tesco or Waitrose every week for groceries. I’m going to miss listening to my Stern roommates arguing politics. I’m going to miss taking the tube with Rachel and Nikita every Wednesday to see an amazing show.
I’m going to miss the “LOOK LEFT” and “LOOK RIGHT” signs on the streets; and nearly getting killed by the double-Decker buses. I’m going to miss the mediocre pizzas, cars on the wrong side of the road, the exchange rate and wanting to cry every time I look at my account balance. I’m going to miss the 15 minute walk to the academic center while freezing my ass off.
The drinking age—definitely the drinking age. I’m going to miss bragging to people back home on Facebook about the cool stuff I got to do/see.
If you’ve ever doubted studying abroad, in whatever country, if you’ve ever thought about it. Just do it. I don’t regret a single minute of this journey, experiencing a totally different culture, and meeting such amazing people. You’ll learn so much and change, hopefully, for the better.
Four months, in my opinion, is way too short and there’s a lot I didn’t get to do. But I’m so glad Hennah and Christine pushed me to fill out that application.
Until next time, London…
Without a doubt, one of the most arousing pieces of live theatre I’ve had the pleasure of seeing: an all-male, homoerotic production of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange.
The wait was totally worth it.
Last night I finally saw the record-breaking Olivier Award-winning musical Matilda, and it was everything I imagined. Based on the novel by Roald Dahl and with a score by Tim Minchin and book by Dennis Kelly, Matilda tells the story of a little girl who, with her extraordinary mind, battles her crooked parents and sinister headmistress.
The role of Matilda was performed by Lucy-Mae Beacock, a phenomenal little actress.
We had three understudies go on: Charles Brunton (Miss Trunchbull), Lara Denning (Miss Honey), and Joshua Lay (Sergei). Charles was better than I expected in his hilarious portrayal of the snarling, finger-wagging, Olympic gold medalist headmistress. I was upset when I learned Bertie would be leaving over the summer but I can wait three more months to see him do it on Broadway. And Charles didn’t disappoint.
The kids, I can’t even talk about. Incredible. Every one of them, triple-threats. The opening, “Miracle,” was fun to watch after listening to the cast recording a million times. And they really give it their all in “Revolting Children.” Standout to me was Ella Yard, who played Lavender — so precious — and it amused me how well she accomplished the high-pitched squeak at the end of “barrelina.”
There’s a reason why it won seven Olivier Awards, so go see it.
Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre
Probably the first live production I’ve seen of this musical. My view was a bit obstructed because of the overhanging dress circle — I couldn’t barely see the top of the barricade (which was such an awesome set piece)
Gerónimo Rauch and Tam Mutu were both amazing as Jean Valjean and Javert, respectively. I got a little choked up during Rauch’s “Bring Him Home.” And I might be in the minority, but I thought Sierra Boggess was great as Fantine, although probably not the strongest belter. I prefer her as Christine in Phantom.
Highlight of the show, for me, was the kid who played Gavroche. And I don’t even know which one because they didn’t include a slip nor did I see a cast board announcing it. I’m pretty sure I almost cried during his death. The laughter behind me when he gets shot was… unsettling.
And Enjolras (Liam Tamne) belongs in a L’Oreal commercial, just saying. The performance has made me even more stoked for the movie. I know what I’m doing Christmas day.
Today, I relived my childhood.
We went on a FREE trip to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London, where we took a breathtaking tour of the two studios (J and K — the guides would not stop making this joke) where they filmed the Harry Potter films.
Inside, we got a glimpse of thousands of set pieces, costumes, props, creatures, etc. used to create the magic. I even got to try Butterbeer. This might have been the highlight of my trip here in London.
The final stop on the tour, that last photo, is a giant, detailed model of the Hogwarts castle. The filmmakers used this to film all of those aerial, exterior shots in front of a green screen. Mixed with the lighting and the music playing (“Harry in Winter,” anyone?) I might have welled up a little.
If you’re ever in London, and love the Harry Potter series or not a fan but interested in film-making, be sure to go on this tour.
Nehemiah Kish and Zenaida Yanowsky in Swan Lake © Bill Cooper
Because they don’t celebrate it, I won’t be having Thanksgiving this year while in London. I haven’t really had one in the last two years since leaving home, as I’d work the Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall, especially on holidays, and a restaurant across the street would provide us with a free dinner, but I digress…
Instead of a turkey dinner, I’ll have the pleasure of seeing one of my all-time favorite ballets, Swan Lake, at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Maybe before the performance I’ll have a nice little meal at a restaurant in the area. Either way, I’m so stoked for this.
If we’re going for the whole “thankful” thing, I guess I’m thankful I get to spend a semester overseas, studying, traveling, seeing shows, with some of my best friends. Despite the amount of money I’m paying to do it, I’m glad I took the opportunity.
Fall Break Trip, Day 1: Naples, Italy