I accidentally left my iPod in the park yesterday. As luck would have it, I didn't realize until late that evening, and when I went back to check, my iPod was gone. I was really upset. I filed a police report, but I don't really expect anything. Not only is my iPod my music source, it's my alarm clock, my timer, and my notepad, I literally use it everyday.
Every once in a while, when surrounded by contemporary and moving artistic pieces, I forget that it's quite alright to see or perform in a piece of theater that is purely for a laugh. This last week, I auditioned for a pantomime show. Here, pantomimes are comedies for kids (usually performed at Christmas time) in which audience participation (boos, cheers, and aw's) is highly encouraged and the fourth wall does not exist. The characters are stereotypes and larger than life.
I once heard that, if you come out of an audition and beat yourself up for not doing well, you probably didn't spend enough of that energy in the audition. If nothing else, auditions should leave you tired because of the amount of yourself that you have given. That is exactly how I feel whenever I practice my three Scots monologues in full voice. Scots is a language in scotland that is like english, but can be quite unrecognizable to the untrained ear.
When Sammy, a guy in my class, asked me if I wanted to climb the tallest mountain in the UK for charity, my first thought was, "OF COURSE!" It didn't even seem that difficult, only 3-4 hours to the top and, compared to the Rockies, that was a piece of cake. Man, I'm dumb. That rock was hard to climb and even harder to get back down, but thank God I did because climbing Ben Nevis was one of my favorite Scottish experiences (if the one that was most difficult on my knees).
I went to see Anton Chekov's "The Seagull" today at the Citizen's theater, and I nearly cried. I often get intimidated by the classic plays (Shakespeare has been know to make me nod off, but don't tell anyone). Something about the heavy subject matter and the complicated language makes me think that it's made for smarter people. I forget that these writers are so revered because they wrote about human beings and some things never change.
While studying abroad is mostly fun and exciting, it's sometimes hard. I have left lifelong friends back at college and the security of the known in the USA to travel to a place where I don't know the rules. Then, to cap it all, I've switched from taking mostly technical courses (programming, calculus, etc.) into taking all acting courses where there is no quantifiable right or wrong and our own feelings are our greatest tools.
I was privileged to be cast in a student film at the local community college, and it taught me a lot about an actor's role in a production. It is a common misconception that actor's only think about themselves when, in reality, to act I have to be more focused on my scene partner. During the film shoot yesterday, I understood that my role was to make everyone else look good. So often in life, I concentrate on how I come off and what people think of me.
I feel a deep sense of peace and magic in the ancient theaters of Turkey. These stages have seen performances for 2,300 years and they still ring with a mysticism. In Ephesus, Murat (our tour guide) led the group around to the first row of seats, and I (ignoring him completely) headed straight for center stage. "Sing us a song, Christine," he called. How could an actress possibly refuse an opportunity like that?
How in the hell did I end up here? I have asked myself this question numerous times throughout my study abroad experience but none more so than this day where I find myself on a tour through Turkey. Of course, I know physically how I got here, I remember booking the trip, but I'm still not sure why. I ddi not find the answer until later on in the tour. I have become the baby of the group (apparently this was not a student tour, but one for all ages).
This past week, I was a festival assistant for a company called ISTA who's mission is to bring together students, teachers, and professionals to experience the magic of theater. The festival was held at RCS and the kids flew in from all over Europe. Not all of the kids (aged 14-17) were drama enthusiasts (some were just along for the ride), but they were all willing and their participation was fantastic.
I don't think I've even been upset more by a play than by Gary McNair's Crunch. This lecture/test/sermon about the tyranny of money starts with a history of money and why we use it as a convenient way to give things value. Gary then holds up an envelope and tells the audience there is money in it. He says that he will give the envelope to the highest bidder. The envelope was won for 31 pounds and ended up containing 50.
I feel like I've seen my first piece of truly Scottish theater tonight. The Black Watch is Scotland's best known regiment and the play switches between a pub in Fife to an armored wagon in Iraq. It was also the first play that really gave me a sense of war times.
I boarded the Megabus taking me from London back to Glasgow, and spied two seats at the front of the bus with extra leg room. There was a woman in the window seat of each side with the aisle seat empty. I asked if I could sit down, but both women said they were waiting for friends. I sat in the row behind doubting their words as the bus was set to leave in five minutes. I turned to the girl sitting next to me and whispered, "I think they might be lying". I leaned over the seat and asked,
I have seen Mydidae which was fearless and truthful. Burn the Floor which is the most precise, energetic, and skillful dancing that I have ever witnessed live. The Woman in Black which was the first horror play I have ever experienced. Tailor Made Man, an all new musical (the first one I've ever seen centered around a gay couple). Potted Potter, a kid's show full of joy and (of course) all about my favorite boy wizard.
Today, I read lines for the role of a 13 year old character named "Hannah" to help a student director audition some older actors for the main role. While I am too old to be cast in the film, it was a freeing experience because I was able to completely focus on helping my scene partner try and reach the emotions he needed.