This week Physical Theatre students Heather, Emma, Jonathan, and Sean tell us about their adventures over their week long fall break!
Heather Nielsen, Muhlenberg College
Returning to Realism
After almost two months of committing myself wholly to studying Commedia, I’d begun to feel the pull back towards Realism in theatre. It wasn’t that I missed the drama that Chekhov or Stanislavsky brings, but I knew that there was a part of my theatre life that I felt was absent.
So while on fall break I decided to take advantage of the theatre scene in London and explore some new realism shows. I first went and saw Martin McDonagh’s new play “Very Very Very Dark Matter” set in the attic Hans Christen Anderson portrayed by Jim Broadbent. The play combined aspects of realism with whimsical elements of time travel and fairytales. Second I sawFlorian Zeller’s latest play “The Height of the Storm” starring Dame Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce, which focused on an elderly couple struggling to realize how life will go on after one of them finally passes away.
Lastly while in Norway I went to see Henrik Iben’s last house in Oslo. This house was where majority of his famous later plays such as “Peer Gynt”, “A Doll’s House”, and “Hedda Gabler” were written. I felt that I was traveling back in time to a moment in theatre genius history. After my week away though, I am more than ready to fill my life back up with Commedia dell’Arte and collaborate with my fellow artists!
Emma Payne, Fordham University
Before I started training at Accademia dell’Arte I was terrified of improv. I was afraid that I would say or do something stupid, be booed off stage, exiled from society, etc. etc. My fear of looking like a fool made it difficult for me to articulate my thoughts clearly when put on the spot, even during casual conversations with good friends. So naturally, I decided to spend a semester improvising with a bunch of people I had never met before. Once I arrived I realized I had found a community that would support me no matter how many times I failed and looked like a fool. I was surprised by how quickly I let go of this lifelong fear and embraced my inner stupidity. Fast forward to fall break. After spending the semester improvising in classes like Commedia and Movement, I felt completely confident in my ability to improvise my day to day itinerary for fall break. I hopped on a plane to London with few plans and many expectations. I was prepared to go on an adventure of epic proportions! I set out to explore the city, and I quickly found myself lost in an eerily pristine neighborhood trying to find cover from the slow drizzle that hangs around London like a washed up relative asking for money. As break continued I became frustrated that I had not researched more about the cities I was visiting, and my grand adventure turned into aimless wandering. After a few days I flew to Paris and set my sights on Montmartre. I was excited to explore the cabarets and the artistic scene in Montmartre, which I had learned about during a lecture we had on Cabarets at the beginning of the year. I didn’t end up doing exactly what I had planned once I got there, but searching for experiences I was passionate about got me a lot farther than waiting for those experiences to come to me. I listened to gypsy jazz, snuck into the opening of a new art collection (it was free, but still), and ended the night in good company eating crepes. It was then that I had an incredible epiphany: I love crepes more than waffles. And then I had another epiphany, even more incredible than the last: I can’t just put no effort in and expect a good outcome. Even when improvising I need to be intentional with what I’m doing. Now that break is over I find myself making more of a consistent effort to be intentional with my actions, and although I have no idea what I want to do with my life, I’m starting to make some solid progress
Jonathan Fleming, Muhlenberg College
During my fall break, I had the fortune of visiting two incredible cities! The first place I went was London, where I was visiting some of my friends studying abroad there. While I was there, I took a ride on the London Eye and captured many a foggy shot of the currently under-construction Big Ben (picture below); I visited the British Museum and saw the Rosetta stone; and, of course, saw 2 incredible shows in London, including Martin McDonagh’s A Very Very Very Dark Matter, and the musical Everyone’s Talking About Jamie! I enjoyed watching both shows as well as observing the nuances of British theatre vs. American theatre.
My second destination was Barcelona, where I was excited to be more go-with-the-flow. I decided to go to Barcelona because of the incredible culture and to finally use the language skills I had developed throughout high school and college. While there, I ate some of the most delicious food, including tapas and empańadas; I visited La Sagrada Familia, one of the most breathtaking churches I’ve ever seen; and I hiked up and around Park Güell, taking in the incredible panoramic views of Barcelona!
I had the greatest time getting to visit both of these cities, but I am excited to be back in Arezzo and working once again in the classroom. I’m grateful for both of these experiences I’ve had, and I hope to use them in the future in both my art and travels!