So as I mentioned weeks ago, I moved from the back of beyond in North-East Scotland down to the smoky air of London. And I am loving it. To be honest, the area I moved to (Ealing) is generally pretty leafy and it has its own wee centre etc so it’s nowhere near as hectic as I’m sure it would be if I lived in or closer to the centre. But about a 40-minute tube-journey into the centre is just fine for me. I actually like having the time on the tube to relax (when I can get a seat!). It’s still a novelty to have such regular public transport, and I know lots of people complain about delays and cancellations, but when you’re from an area where transport to anywhere else is, at the most regular, every hour, you don’t mind so much! I suppose I have my car at home, but at least here I am forced to walk places, and that’s always a good thing! It’s weird being a student again!
Anyway, like I said, London is awesome. I am having a great time. I’ve properly settled into my new house in West Ealing. There are 4 of us in total – me, Lucy, Conner and Alex. I get on really well with Lucy; she’s really easy to get on with and very down to earth so it’s cool. Most days on the way to school we won’t actually speak for ages though which is probably a bit weird, but it’s not an awkward silence, so I don’t care. We have so much to think about all the time, we’re both in our own little world!! Conner and Alex are also lovely; we have a lot in common and they’re very easy to get on with too, so we’re becoming a very close-knit household, which I’m v pleased about considering that everyone was basically strangers before moving in. The house is only a 25-minute walk to school and the centre of Ealing so it’s in a handy location, it’s a nice quiet area and I live pretty close to lots of other people on the course.
|Quite a blurry photo from the pub the other night: (l-r) Anna, me, Shannon, Sarah (all DSL-ers)|
The actual schedule of things is pretty mental. Generally we have 4 classes a day, each lasting an hour and a half with a fifteen minute break between them (or lunch). Each class is very intense, you have to go into them absolutely ready to hit the ground running, so mentally it’s exhausting! Everyone’s brain is fried at the end of each day, but then of course we have homework pretty much every night too, so we really have to be on it from the word go. We’ll cover so many different subjects in one day too so our brains have to be able to switch to a completely different way of thinking, which is why it’s good we have a wee break between all the classes so that it gives our brains a few minutes to reset! I’ll try and list all the classes we have (so far):
- TV – acting for TV, how TV sets work, who does what on a TV set, etc
- Movement – dancing, strengthening our bodies (starting with a gruelling 25-minute warm up every session), interpreting different characters through movement, etc
- Yoga – crazy stretches and core strength workouts basically (this is my hardest class)
- Acting – so far we’ve covered the 7 stages of tension (different moods basically), an exercise called Starfish which is mental and makes you go into the extreme of whatever you’re feeling (e.g. in one class, I was crying literally hysterically and uncontrollably. It was horrible), etc
- Approach to Text – basically what you do to prepare your script and character before you even get into rehearsals
- Stagecraft – another way of approaching text… too hard to explain
- Voice – how to use our voices properly for speaking and accents and muscle work
- Class scene work – actually getting scripts and putting them into rehearsal and performance
- Laban – basically running round and dancing how we want to for ages and ages until you’re almost dead and then you calm down and almost pass out, then we look at our different bodies and traits, etc
- Character – looking specifically at how to adapt and develop characters and really getting us to look really deeply into personas and back stories
- Radio – acting for radio, how radio studios work, etc
- Improvisation – Improvisation and thinking on your feet and not hesitating (even for a second), getting rid of the barrier that stops us for saying the very first thing we think of, etc
- Theatre History – going through all history (from the Ancient Greeks) and looking at how theatre fits into it and how we can see it in playwrights’ work, etc
- Stage combat – how to fight on stage (punishments and warm ups are push ups or press ups… eurgh)
- Sight reading – how to deal with getting a script then having to read it well within a couple of minutes with no other preparation
- Storytelling – how we communicate stories well and the shaping of stories (probably good for recording audio books etc)
- Dance – haven’t started this, but we’re going to be doing flamenco and salsa etc so quite excited about this
We’re also into rehearsals for our end of term performance on Monday and Tuesday this week. We have been put into tutor groups and we work on different texts each term. So my group is working on two plays by Laura Wade; Breathing Corpses and Colder than Here, and I am working on a duologue from Breathing Corpses where my character Eileen is discussing the fact my husband Jim, played by Madhav (the nicest person in the world), has found a dead body. It’s a little morbid, but a great play! I’ve really enjoyed working on this text and am really looking forward to presenting it on Tuesday.
It’s weird, because our tutor groups are different to our class groups. So there are 4 groups of approx. 12 which we stay in for the whole term. I’m in group 2, and the first week was a little weird… We were known as the quiet group to the teachers! But from week 2 onwards I think we’re probably the weird group or something! We’re all soooo different and have quite big personalities but we’re like one big family and are now really, really close, which I love. I’ve made some really good friends in the group – mainly Tina, Sarah, Kate, Fayez, Laura – so it’s going to be horrible when the groups change in October (we’re mixed up into different class group every term). I do branch out and speak to other people, but I like having some close friends too! :D
To be honest I’ve not really ventured out into London too much yet (as everything is so expensive really) but I have been to the theatre a few times. I went to some free open-air theatre next to the Thames with a few others on the course. We saw some Greek theatre – Oedipus then Antigone – which was very good. I also went to the Old Vic Theatre and saw Tennessee Williams’ play Sweet Bird of Youth which starred Kim Cattrall (from Sex and the City)! She was amaaaaaazing (I wasn’t prepared for just how good she was) and I looooved the play. And the whole year went with the school to The Globe Theatre to see Midsummer Night’s Dream which was also fantastic. So really enjoying all these non-musical theatre things! Although I have been looking at some cheap opera tickets and found that my singing teacher from university Mary Plazas will be leading the cast of Madam Butterfly in a few performances with English National Opera in October and November and there are some cheap tickets so I’m going to try to go to that! I have money right now, but I need to budget so it can last the whole year, so I need to pick and choose which performances I want to pay to go and see.
So that’s my London Experience so far! Sorry it’s been so long-coming, but I hope you’ve found it interesting. After the October hols, things are just going to get more and more hectic, so it’ll probably be even harder for me to stay blogging, but we’ll see!
Do any of you live in London? Can anyone recommend any good, cheap theatre or places to visit? I want to make the most of it while I’m here as, although I want to stay after I finish the course, I have no idea where things will take me once I graduate, so don’t want to miss out!