This fall break I had the opportunity to visit my cousin in London, England. I left Saturday from Arezzo and took a train to Pisa. It was imperative that my travel group stop at the Leaning Tower of Pisa and take a photo in front of the town in our recently learned headstand pose. Once in London, I expected to feel more at home because everyone there spoke English as well as all of the groceries were in English as well , but it was quite the opposite. I actually had more culture shock in London than I did in Italy. London was just enough like America to feel like home, but also just different enough to feel like I was alone. My favorite part of the trip however was all of the theatre that I got to see. Woman in Black, a mysterious, horror play which took place in London, left me with chills it was so realistic. War Horse was a show that I had research far in advance. There is a TEDtalks lecture on the making of the horse puppet in the show. As a puppeteer myself, I had such an appreciation for the lifelike affects the performers gave these puppets. Finally, the last and most moving show I saw was The Drowned Man. This London production is an interactive theatre based off of New York’s Sleep No More. The theatre space is three stories high and all of the actors have a specific track that they follow. It is up to the masked audience members to follow the actors they so choose and see a theatrical story. If you are lucky enough you will be the only audience member to follow and actor and you will get a personal scene. I was a lucky one and had a one-on-one with the character Dwayne. I was in his studio trailer and read him a letter from his lover. Then he lead me back to the group. The pieces in the show were based on dance and movement. It was cool to see all of the movement that we are learning at the Accademia applied to these performances. I returned to Arezzo on Thursday and couldn’t have felt more at home in this Villa. Definitely makes me not want to leave….and who knows, maybe I won’t. 😉
– Janie Crick
Grateful am I for having the chance to travel to Paris and London for four days each. I started this awkwardly, but I feel like any way I start will be awkward so *shrug*. I want to tell you all about three of my favorite experiences in each city.
Paris. You have not experienced the Eiffel Tower until you have seen it at night. Only then will you be smacked in the face by its rigid colossal-ness. No, that is not a word. Musee d’Orsay’s Masculin exhibit on the male nude body. As a male without much muscle (I say “much” because movement has started to make me toned! Yeah!), I felt a bit insecure. But as the exhibit began to delve away from Greek statues and into more modern art, I began to feel more comfortable about my body. It’s okay to have a body not constructed like a god’s. Also, a penis is just a penis. Palace of Versailles. Correction: Gardens of Versailles. The palace was wonderful, but the gardens were beauteous! I honestly do not believe you can see the entire garden in one day. And when they turned the water fountains on, Lawrt Cheezus! You need to go there. I also recommend bringing a loved one along. It’s wonderfully romantic.
London. See all the theatre. I only saw three shows, unfortunately. War Horse. The puppetry. Was. Incredible. Literally. I didn’t believe it. In the first 10 minutes, I shed a tear from just watching the horse in action. I hope to create life like that someday. But maybe that’s just me. I love puppets. One Man, Two Guvnors. The audience interaction in this show is pure brilliance. I’m sorry I can’t describe it more, you just have to see it. I will say, that I almost suffocated from laughing though. The Drowned Man. The. Drowned. Man. The Drowned Man? The Drowned Man! I will never stop thinking about this show. It told a story through movement. The kind of movement that we’re learning how to do! And you get to explore the place on your own, following any character you choose. Through all four floors. I’d tell you not to worry about choosing because they repeat the show, but even then there are so many characters that it is impossible to see everything. There was a clown and I never knew he existed until the final dance number! I found two secret paths, though. It was terrifying, but fun. There’s also one-on-one’s. I almost had four. But they always chose random girls who happened to be following me at that moment. Tip: Follow people of the opposite gender (if you want one-on-one’s). Male characters will not choose male audience members. I’m not sure why. Nevertheless, it was moving (no pun intended) and I can’t stop thinking about it and I want to make something like it and I want to work for them and feelings! I have feelings! All the feelings. These past two weeks have been the best weeks of my life. Dare I say this upcoming one will continue the streak? It’s very possible. We have tramonto on Tuesday and MFA’er Scotty might take me to a master puppeteer’s workshop next weekend.
– Joseph Baca
This fall break was full of adventure, magic, and smiles. I spent my break in two of the most beautiful cities I have ever encountered in my entire life. The first four days my friends and I stayed in a very teeny tiny apartment in the magnificent city of Paris. We visited the Palace of Versailles which was even bigger than I had ever expected it to be. The gardens and the fountains were absolutely breath-taking, in fact my heart told me that I had to take my very first head-stand picture in front of my favorite fountain of a dragon and a bunch of sea monsters. I could have spent all day in that garden; it was such a peaceful place. Even though there were so many other people visiting Versailles that day, it was so big that once you got out into the garden you didn’t even notice the other people. I think my second favorite part of Paris was when we took the elevator all the way to the top of the Eiffel tower at night. When we got to the top we could see all of the places we had visited in the city, and all of the bright lights made it feel like Christmas. I saw a man propose to his girlfriend directly in front of me. I didn’t know them, but I felt so special to be able to witness and experience such a wonderful and important moment in the lives of these two people. They were so happy and excited, and I was happy and excited for them even though I didn’t even know their stories. Paris made me appreciate the little details and moments in life. I would go back in a heartbeat.
The rest of our break we stayed in London. Within the first two hours of our arrival in London I got to do one of the things I have been wishing and waiting to do ever since I heard about it. I got to go and see Matilda the Musical. Growing up, Matilda had always been one of my favorite movies, and my absolute all time favorite book. This story has always been close to my heart, and I was so super excited that I could see it be performed live. The moment I walked into the theatre I was almost nervous. I had heard great things about it, but I didn’t want to be disappointed. I sat down in my seat, and the first thing I noticed was that I had a restricted view of the stage, and I was a little worried that it was going to ruin my experience. The show started and tears immediately started running down my face. I don’t usually cry when I see shows, I occasionally tear up, but I don’t think I have ever cried uncontrollably the way I did at this show. The kids were so incredibly talented, and they were living their dream at such a young age. It was such a beautiful thing to experience. Not only were the kids so talented, but my favorite story of all time was coming to life. Then Matilda came on stage and started singing the song “Naughty” where she says, “Even if you’re little you can do a lot, you mustn’t let a little thing like ‘little’ stop you.” This line had such an effect on me. For those of you reading this that don’t know me I’m a very small girl. I’m 4’11’’ and a sophomore in college. Being little can be challenging sometimes, people treat you like you’re younger than you actually are, and in the world of theatre you are always being type cast as the little girl or boy. My height has always been a challenge for me, don’t get me wrong I love being little, it’s one of my favorite things about myself, but sometimes it can be so hard. This show just put it in perspective for me that it’s really okay and that I can do anything despite how tall I am. I just have to keep reminding myself of this. I think I cried a good 80% of this show. The group numbers with the children made me remember how blissful being a child is. I never want to stop being a kid, even when I’m older I want to keep that youth like quality and heart within myself. It was the most beautiful show I think I have ever seen. It made my childhood come to life and I never wanted it to end.
The next day we visited the Harry Potter Museum at WB Studios which showed me how small the world actually is. It’s amazing that this one story is told throughout the world, and that no matter what language you speak people are going to recognize Harry Potter. There were so many people there from so many different places and they were all brought together in that one space to celebrate and appreciate the Harry Potter series. It blew my mind. There were so many things I could take out of this trip. It was wonderful to be able to share these moments with my new friends from the Accademia. I can’t wait for spring break as I continue on in my journey here in Italy.
– Karli Cole