Category: Theatre.

The PhD Balancing Act: One Year Down!

Papers, assignments, and coursework complete — Check!
Pass end of the year reviews — Check!
Grading and grades complete for teaching — Check!
Pass my own classes with a 4.0 — Check!

First year as a PhD student — CHECK!

SAM_6868

It’s hard to believe that I’m already a year into my PhD program and I’ve been back in Tallahassee again for nearly a full year.

This past school year flew by in a whirlwind of school work, social activities, and lots of shenanigans, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I feel more satisfied and comfortable with my life here, than during either of my two years in Washington.

SAM_7471

As the year wrapped up, some of the first year student were talking about whether or not our experiences this past year lived up to our initial exceptions and I can safely said my life here is exactly as I imagined and hoped. Sure, there were moments when I was stressed out and frazzled, or other moments when I was frustrated by various people or the system, but overall there have been no curve-balls, only serendipitous moments.

Looking back on the Letter to a Future PhD Student, that I wrote in August prior to school starting, I’d say that everything I wrote about and the emotions that I anticipated were spot-on. I certainly experienced many, many instances of feeling “stupid” or “not getting it,” and yet I persevered. I even had a moment recently where I felt frustrated because I couldn’t see the progress that I’d made this year. But then as I worked on a paper for one of my classes, I used a theoretical lens to support my own analysis and I realized I’ve actually come a long way since last August.

IMG_1760

Overall, this year has been quite the PhD balancing act. Sometimes I succeeded in balancing all the different facets of my life and other times I failed miserably, but just as grad school is about the process not the product, so is life.

IMG_9449

One of my major successes involved taking my own advice and creating a network of friends, both so I could reached out for help when I needed it and as a means of social interaction.

IMG_2217

IMG_2269

Sometimes I get the feeling that making friends and having fun isn’t always viewed in a favorable light in academia, but after my MA and two years in Washington I knew that in order to keep myself in a balanced and happy place, I need to get away from school and enjoy life every so often.

SAM_7597

Then on the flip side, one of my failures for this past year was my lack of a regular exercise routine. Despite running two half marathons, I never quite established a schedule for my running and strength training goals and as a result they were sidelined.

IMG_2133

Therefore, this summer and next year, I am going to focus more on incorporating fitness into my life.

After my first semester, I made a list of goals for spring semester, which included avoiding procrastination, being more social, and finding a roommate. For the most part, I managed to accomplish all of the tasks that I set out for myself.

While I aimed to be more social, in reality I think what I really wanted was to make some real friendships. In hindsight, I was social during fall semester, spring semester I ended up making real friends.

IMG_2302

But you know the problem with making friends in grad school? They end up leaving eventually.

SAM_7766

For the past few weeks, it’s been an endless stream of farewell dinners, goodbye lunches, end-of-the-semester trivia nights, and “we survived our first year” parties.

SAM_7788

SAM_7800

Although I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to the friends I’ve made this year (or those who only left for the summer), I am really looking forward to next year. Instead of starting over, I already have an established group of awesome friends. And while I know that school won’t necessarily be “easier,” I at least have a pretty good idea of how to handle the chaos that is the PhD balancing act.

Recent Posts:
It’s Just a Jump to the Left and a Step to the Right — My road trip with friends to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show at American Stage in the Park.
Weekend Forecast: Torrential Downpour and a Wicked Good Time — The story of Meatfest 2012.

It’s Just a Jump to the Left and a Step to the Right

Continuing the idea of how much I love traditions, growing up one of my favorite activities was attending Shakespeare in the Park by American Stage.

Every year they put on a Shakespeare play in Demen’s Landing park. Patrons were encouraged to come two hours before the show and bring a picnic dinner. My family would go with a group of my mom’s friends and we’d make it a big potluck. I have fond memories of attending as a little kid and then when I got older, I carried on the tradition with my high school friends.

SAM_7730

In 2009, I was lucky enough to get a chance to work on the Park show. By this point, the company had switched from doing Shakespeare plays to musicals, but the fun atmosphere was still alive and well.   

IMG_0840

Working the Park show remains to be one of my favorite experiences from the theatre. The friendships I made during those 10ish weeks showed me a whole new side of St. Pete and I loved working on an event that I’d grown up attending.

2903_543133479063_7201859_32667601_3549706_n

When I left for Washington, I was sad that I wouldn’t be able to see the park show. But now that I’m back in Florida, I made it a point to get a group together to go see Rocky Horror Picture Show in the Park.

By some miracle everyone’s schedules aligned during finals week and five of us were able to road trip down to St. Pete. Our plan was to arrive around lunch time and then spend the afternoon exploring downtown before the show.

First stop: Moon Under Water for lunch.

SAM_7691

Then we walked down Bayshore and went to the Pier.

SAM_7696

E saw a pelican and tried to take a picture. We pointed and stared as she did it.

SAM_7699

SAM_7704

The Pier was pretty rundown and filled with all sorts of weird machines, stories, and knick-knacks.

SAM_7706

SAM_7707

SAM_7709

Faux-photobooth!

SAM_7710

After the Pier, we met up with S and kept wandering downtown.

This next series of pictures are recreations of other pictures and I find them particularly amusing.

SAM_7715

SAM_7716

SAM_7719

Also, can someone explain this statue to me? We passed it several times and were collectively confused by it each time we passed.

SAM_7720

After our explorations, we stopped by a Publix and created a hodge-podge picnic for ourselves and made our way to the park.

SAM_7724

We had a lovely picnic and then played card games while we waited for the show to begin.

I also got a chance to say hello to some of my old coworkers and friends. I think this was the first time I’ve actually missed working in the theatre. I wish I would have another chance to work a park show, but I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon.

SAM_7734

Anyway, the show was a lot of fun. I’m not super crazy about the Rocky Horror Picture Show in general, but the park setting made the campy nature of the show feel appropriate and fun.

I really enjoyed showing the girls my hometown and one of my favorite activities. I’m hoping there will be more opportunities for road trips to St. Pete in the next few years.

A Lesson in Theatre Etiquette (and Customer Service)

American Theatre Magazine posted a video on Facebook this morning.

Warning: Not safe for work or those easily offended by profanity.
[youtube=http://youtu.be/1L3eeC2lJZs]

The video struck a cord with me. I think it is brilliant and a great discussion starter.

For the past two years I’ve taught a general ed class for non-majors, which is supposed to introduce students to a variety of different film and theatre genres and develop an appreciate for theatre. Did I mention that the size of the class is about 250 students?

It’s really hard to instill an appreciation of theatre into that many non-majors, especially on a Monday night. In order to keep the class in check, we have a fairly strict theatre etiquette policy: no talking, no texting or cellphones, no food or drinks, no sleeping, etc. Our rules are no different than those of the Alamo Drafthouse or any other theatre, we just enforce them a bit more rigidly. As is probably expected, the rule that most students have an issue with is the cellphone policy. If students are caught violating the etiquette policy We ask students to leave the class for the night.

One week at the beginning of the class we posted a message on a powerpoint slide and instructed the students to turn their phones to the highest possible volume setting and answer their phones as usual. We even conducted our pre-performance lecture with students answering phone calls and texting. Then we asked the class for their thoughts on the experiment.

The class was unanimously annoyed.

We hoped that we proved our point. Texting and cell phones during performances are distracting to their fellow audience members, the performers, and just generally rude.

In general, most students understand the reasons behind the no-texting policy. One student we kicked out even e-mailed us to apologize.

Although, the reason I love this video is because we’ve also had students who have responded the way the customer did in the video. We clearly explain our policy and the reasons for it, yet students are somehow surprised when we enforce it. We are trying our best to make the class as enjoyable as possible for those who want to watch the performance, just as this theatre was doing for their patrons. I try and laugh off the students who react the way the woman did in the video, but sometimes it’s hard not to feel “beaten up” by the comments of the indignant students.

Which is why I love that this theatre took a negative event and turned it into a positive and even comical lesson for other patrons. I also think it’s important for people to realize that when you call and leave a profanity laced tirade on a voicemail or deliver it to a live-person, you’re probably taking your frustration (whether justified or not) out on an innocent by-stander and sound completely ridiculous. Having worked in customer service for many years, sometimes I wish people realized how ludicrous they sound.

I’d love to show this video to the class and then have a discussion about it.

Anyway, so what is my point? Texting in the theatre is rude and you’re distracting the people around you. Why did you pay money to go see a movie or a theatre performance if you’re just going to text throughout the whole show? Finally, don’t take your anger out on undeserving people. Sometimes the customer is NOT always right.

Question(s): What did you think about the video? Was the theatre out of line? Was the customer out of line? Should we be allowed to text in theatres?

Getting Nailed . . . Or Not?

Rise and shine!

As planned, I woke up early and make a quick trip to Yakima before this afternoon’s banquet. Even though Yakima itself is sorta eh, the trip was much needed. It was great to get out of E’burg.

First stop: Coffee!

SAM_4291

I even resisted getting a treat. They had two of my all-time favs: chocolate chip banana bread and pumpkin scones.

SAM_4292

Once I got to Yakima, I immediately went to Wal-Mart for an oil change. It had been over a year since my last change, but since I barely drive here, I was only a little over the recommended mileage.

Now, I should be all set for my big trip.

SAM_4315  

Next stop: Target. I needed to find a dress for the banquet.

I love technology. I tried on clothes in the dressing room and sent texts to my sister, who voted for and against my various options.

I really liked this purple dress, but she said it wasn’t flattering and it made me look too young. Boo. It seems like the perfect beach dress or just a flow-y summer dress, but who knows.

photo (4)

Next I tried on this dress + cardigan combo. She approved of this choice and I ultimately went with it and wore it this evening.

photo (5)

But before making the decisions, I also tried on the same dress as above, but in coral. I really like the dress because it’s perfect to dress up or dress down. The sister vetoed the coral dress, even with the black cardigan, but despite her advice I went ahead and bought it. I think it looks nice.

photo (6) photo (7)

With the dress issue solved my business in Yakima was finished, but before I hit the road I decided to treat myself to a Sonic Root Beer float! I feel like root beer floats and summer go hand-in-hand.

SAM_4312

On the drive home, I saw a whole convoy of military vehicles. Kinda scary. Kinda neat. They waved to me as I drove past them.

SAM_4314

After my mini-adventure, I tried to get some work done on my last final, but I only got a bit accomplished. I guess Monday and Tuesday will be devoted to working on it. If I can finish everything by Tuesday night, then I can spend Wednesday and Thursday proofing.

SAM_4331

Anyway, tonight was the end of the year banquet for the department.

They give out awards for excellent throughout the year and do a ceremony called “senior nailing.” I’m not quite sure where the tradition came from, but the faculty members each recall memories and give personal send-offs to the graduating seniors as they place as nail on a string around their neck.

SAM_4332

It’s a neat tradition, but since our program is new within the department, they haven’t quite figured out how to incorporate the graduate students into this event.

What ended up happening was that for each of the graduating MA student, our thesis chair briefly discussed our thesis and our contributions to the department and presented us with a very nice watch.

SAM_4338

Isn’t it fancy?

SAM_4368

The grad students actually ended up slipping out of the banquet before the actual nailing and heading over to the Tav, since it’s just a soggy tear-fest, filled with inside jokes that we don’t really understand.

We had fun hanging out at the Tav and being silly.

SAM_4343

SAM_4346

SAM_4347

I was trying to get a picture of my side of the table and every time we were about to take the picture someone around us kept crunching on a chip. So this is T explaining that she couldn’t keep a straight face with the crunching sound happening in the background.

SAM_4349

CRUNCH!

SAM_4350

Silly faces.

SAM_4354

I wanted to take this piece of [fake] grass home with me and put it in my new place in Tally… as a reminder of WA. Why? I don’t know. It seemed like a good plan at the time. Sadly, I didn’t take the grass and I only have this picture as a memory. Ha.

SAM_4355

We ended up being at the Tav for several hours and after a while all the theatre majors and faculty started to show up. By the time we left, I think the place was filled with entirely theatre people. It sort of reminded me of high school when we used to gather at Chili’s for cast parties.

And on that note, I’ll leave you with this picture of theatre majors being theatre majors.

SAM_4363

Question: Did your school have any unique traditions for graduating seniors?

Exciting Times Ahead — kp’s adventures continue!

Welcome back! Or rather, I’m back. Sorry for the radio silence between February and May!

Clearly, I’ve been neglectful when it comes to blogging. I’ve thought about blogging off and on over the past few months, but it never seemed appealing. Perhaps it was the fact that it involved writing and that’s pretty much that ONLY thing I’ve been doing since February. Or perhaps it was because blogging would mean reflecting on the the craziness that has been my life recently. Either way, I’m putting my excuses aside and getting back into the swing of blogging because the next few months are going to be wild, crazy, and full of life changes and I want to make sure I blog about everything!

Before I dive into my future plans, let’s recap everything that has happened between February 4th and May 22nd.

I’ve been steadily working on my thesis for two years, although the majority of the work occurred in the past few months. Starting last winter quarter, in January, I began writing the rough draft. It’s interesting that even going into the rough draft phase, I still wasn’t 100% sure what my structure was or my specific angle. Then in March, once I had a mostly complete rough draft, looking back at my original chapters, I realized they needed to be drastically rewritten to match the later chapters which did reflect my methodology and goals.

SAM_4123

Anyway, in addition to the stress of actually writing my thesis, the process has been fairly turbulent for other reasons. Basically my peers and I have been figuring everything out on our own . But that’s neither here nor there. We’re almost done.

SAM_4131

Two weeks ago I submitted my final rough draft to my thesis committee and then last Tuesday I defended my thesis. I guess not surprisingly, I passed! With a thesis, the defense is more of a formality then an actual defense of my research. Essentially, we spent an hour discussing my study, methods, goals, areas of further research, and then the ideas came to the committee members as they read the thesis. Afterward, the committee discussed my project and decided whether or not to pass me. My thesis chair informed me that I passed, but I need to make one more round of revisions (for typos and repetition) before submitting it to Grad Studies. I spent all day Friday making the revisions and e-mailed it to my chair. Hopefully on Monday I’ll get any comments back, fix things, and submit it to Grad Studies for real on Monday. Even after I submit it to Grad Studies, I probably have one more round of revisions to make before the thesis is printed and bound, but I’m almost done, and either way I’ve satisfied the thesis requirement for my degree.

Whew! Aside from working on my thesis, in the past few months I’ve applied to PhD programs, anxiously awaited responses, made a decision, and started to plot my escape from E’burg.

IMG_8325

After a couple acceptances, one rejection, and one school deciding mid-stream that they weren’t able to bring in new PhD students, I made my decision. I’ll be moving back to Tallahassee and starting a PhD at Florida State in August.
IMG_8329

I’m really happy about my decision and I’m actually excited to move back to Tallahassee. I know when I originally left and I said I would never go back, but after two years in E’burg, in comparison Tallahassee looks about as exciting as NYC. I’m also considering it a fresh start. I’m not moving back with any friends still in Tallahassee and things have changed in the past four years, so it won’t be a continuation of my undergrad years, but a new beginning.

380191496_28d0599b20_o

More than anything, the program at FSU matches what I’m looking for in a program — a well-rounded curriculum, dramaturgical opportunities, teaching experience, a professional theatre setting, and lots of other graduate students. 🙂

On June 17th, my dad is flying out to Washington and helping me back up a UHaul Box with all of my belongings and then on June 21st, we will be trekking back across the country. Déjà vu?

Picture 2

IMG_2432

IMG_2440

Surprisingly, I’m not dreading the drive back across the country. I imagine dad, Charlie, and I will be listening to lots of This American Life episodes, taking lots of pictures, blogging, etc. We haven’t quite figured out the return route, but I’m voting for a change of scenery. The sections through Montana and the Dakota’s were very desolate and boring. I’d like to see Colorado this time.

The other big news in my life has to deal with my living arrangements in Tallahassee. After looking at the prices for renting a one bedroom or two bedroom place that was close enough to campus, but not too close, and in a safe area, I started to consider the idea of buying a townhouse. On a whim, I proposed the idea to my dad and long story short, it looks like I’m going to be a home owner on June 15th.

I spent a lot of time house shopping online and then at the beginning of April my parents made a visit to Tallahassee. They checked out a lot of houses in the townhouse community that I liked best. I actually lived in there twice before, in two different houses. Anyway, as my parents checked out the different listings within our price range, my dad showed me the places via Skype on the iPhone. I love technology. We weighed the pros and cons of the different places and put an offer on a two bedroom, two and a half bathroom house.

TBRMLS214674

The offer was accepted and we’ve been in the process of working through all the other steps towards homeownership. The house passed inspection, but the roof needs to be replaced. We worked out a deal for that. We are still waiting on a termite inspection and a house appraisal, but hopefully everything will work out in my favor. Right now the place needs a lot of superficial improvements. There were also two college-aged guys living in the place and so it looks like boy at the moment. The plan is to paint the whole interior of the house, including all the horrible wood trim and wood doors. Also, the carpet upstairs needs to be replaced and there is carpeting downstairs that I’m hoping to change out for laminate wood flooring.

Aside from the ample closet space (two closets in each bedroom and a closet under the stairs) and private bathrooms in each bedroom, my favorite part of the house is the huge deck!

TBRMLS214674Q
TBRMLS214674N

The deck wraps around the whole side of the house. It’s also partially shaded, which will be wonderful for Florida weather. I love doing my reading and other homework outside, so I hope to make lots of use of this deck. Also, the back part of the deck backs up to another neighbor’s fence, so it’s somewhat private. I love it. The deck needs a bit of work, but that probably won’t be happening anytime soon. In the meantime, imagine some outdoor christmas lights strung up, outdoor chairs, and flower boxes with flowers and an edible garden.

As a result of my impending homeownership meet my two latest obsessions: Young House Love and Pinterest.

Picture 1

Young House Love is a home improvement and decorating blog, while Pinterest is essentially a virtual bulletin board. I’m using Pinterest to “pin” images of wall colors I like, room arrangements, furniture, DIY projects, and more. It’s amazing. I’m totally obsessed. I’ve also realized that I’ve turned into my parents. I’m voluntarily thinking about flooring options, painting projects, gardening, and more. When did I become an adult?!

Between my graduation, my move across the country, setting up a new home, and starting the PhD program, I want to make sure I document it all, so this blog is officially back in action.

Before I wrap up this long over-due post, here is a funny text I received from my sister yesterday morning:

photo   naked house

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the house without the azalea bushes in front. We’ve lived there for basically my whole life. But the thought of my dad shaving his mustache is really disturbing. He’s never allowed to shave it. Ever. It’d be like looking at a completely different dad.

Well, check back soon. I’m going to do a better job of maintaining this little blog of mine.

And to try something new… let’s end the post with a question:

I must come up with a color scheme for my entire house and I’m trying to find some warm, happy, bright colors.

So what is your favorite or preferred wall color?

Why theatre? My ethnic group.

First of all, everyone needs to watch this video.

[vimeo 16623240]

DSCN3597

Now that that’s out of the way, I have been planning this post for a while now. This past quarter I took a class called Ethnic Drama and one of our first sessions we discussed how we define ethnic groups. I came to the conclusion that the ethnic group I relate to most, is that of theatre people. So I wanted to do a post about the different theatre groups that I’ve connected with through the years.

Also, at the end of the quarter I had a student ask to interview me via e-mail about theatre. So I want to post my responses to the student’s questions and some pictures of me with my various theatre groups.

DSCN3596 katie ashley cari in the theater

1.            What sparked your interest in theater?

I was always interested in the performing arts. I went to a performing arts elementary and middle school, but in the past I tended to focus on art, music, and singing. I also have terrible stage fright, which is probably I didn’t explore theatre right away. In high school I had a group of friends in theatre and it was around then that I realized I could be part of the theatre and not be on stage. I started in publicity, doing tickets, ushering, etc. Then when I was 16 I went to NYC for the first time and saw RENT on stage, that’s when I became enamored with the lighting. After that I knew theatre is what I wanted to do and I devoted all my free time to learning about lighting and lighting design.

IMG_6489

DSCN0243

2.            How did you decide what area of theater you wanted to pursue?

I actually enrolled as a freshman intending to get a BFA in lighting design, but after a poor experience my first semester I decided that lighting design was not in my future. I continued as a BA (generalist) in theatre for a couple semesters. As part of my degree requirements I had to take Intro to Theatre History, Play Analysis, and two additional theatre history classes. I really enjoyed my history classes and I had a professor who made even the most boring subject interesting, so I took as many of her classes as I could. It was somewhere around my junior year of college that I realized I wanted to study theatre history.

n5248827_31975006_3303

3.            What is your favorite part about theater history?

I love that idea that anything you can do in the “real world” you can do in the theatre world. Also, that theatre is a tool for social change and it serves as a mirror for society.

Two classes that I took in undergrad solidified what I love about theatre history:

First I took a class called “African Theatre and Performance.” I was able to learn about African culture, their religion, cultural beliefs, and study the history of these different African countries. I liked that I could use theatre as a lens through which to study all these different elements. I also learned about how African’s use theatre as an element of their religious/spiritual rituals, as well as a tool for change and education.

Second, was a class called “Gender, Race and Performance” where we studied and discussed how our cultural views on gender, different races, disabilities, etc. can be expressed in theatre and used to educate others. The final project that we did forced me way beyond my comfort zone, but also forever changed my perspective on the world.

IMG_5653

4.            Do you want to continue teaching or are you going to pursue a different field in theater?

Yes, I want to continue teaching. I am in the process of applying to PhD programs in Theatre Studies/Theatre History, so I can continue my education in all aspects of theatre studies. Ultimately I want to research and teach at the university level.

IMG_0914

5.            Would you recommend theater history to other young students who are interested in the theater arts?

I firmly believe that a background in theatre history is important for any theatre practitioner. Even if someone wants to be an actor, director, designer, playwright, etc. understanding and knowing about the history and background of what you’re studying is only going to improve the product. For instance, if someone were to direct, design or act in a Medieval cycle play, it is imperative they understand the point in history when Medieval theatre developed. Then they would need to look at the influence of religion on the culture of the time, who was in control of the culture, who was creating and performing the theatre, the types of stories being told, the style of the performances, etc. From there an actor/director/designer could make stylistic changes, but you need to understand the roots before you can make modifications. Also, by taking classes in theatre history, you develop the skills necessary to do the research.

IMG_0927

IMG_1491

6.            What are your life goals?

I plan on getting my PhD starting in the fall. Then after I complete my education I will hopefully get a job at a university where I can research, teaching and work in education, perhaps work as a dramaturge.

SAM_0702

7.            Did you ever consider another major?

No. That being said, as I mentioned earlier, I shifted my focus within theatre several times.  At one point I considered getting an MFA in Theatre Management as a “more practical” degree/career choice, because I was worried that I couldn’t make it in the field of theatre studies. Ultimately I decided that I would not feel satisfied in that career path involving business and management, even if it was in the theatre.

I want to be able to spend my life learning and helping others discover why theatre is important.

IMG_0228 IMG_0190

What the hell is wrong with expressing yourself?

Billy Elliot was a blast!

[The above title is a lyric from the show.]

SAM_2844

It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen a big, flashy musical and I’m so glad I sucked it up and went tonight. Not to mention watching 2 1/2 hours of ballet and tap leaves me smiling from ear to ear. I love watching people dance!

As soon as I hit publish on my last post I ran out the door, unfortunately my desire to post my entry caused me to run a bit late. I made it onto the Victoria train, only to discover that someone a few stations ahead had pulled the passenger emergency alarm and we would be stopped at the station until things were sorted out. I nearly panicked. Thankfully after about 5 minutes, we were on our way again and I made it to the theatre with 10 minutes to spare before curtain. Phew!

SAM_2849

Here are a few things I’ve noticed about British theatre:

  • Intermission is referred to as the interval.
  • Eating and drinking inside the theatre and during the show are permitted and encourage. I saw one couple eating those prepackage sandwiches and the theatre actually sold ICE CREAM at the interval. I LOVE IT. Theatre + ice cream = fabulous!
  • They don’t give out programs or playbills. You must purchase them if you want one.
  • People walked up and down the aisles during the interval selling programs, food, souvenirs.

Other than those minor differences, a West End show was very similar to seeing a Broadway show — overall, very enjoyable!

Tomorrow is my last day here, I can’t believe it!

I’m sad to go, but also really looking forward to the comforts of my own home — a comfy bed, not having my computer tethered to an ethernet cable, no more overhead lighting, a kitchen, my hair straightener, and CHARLIE!

I’ll be spending tomorrow researching, looking into taking the Heathrow Express home and buying final gifts. Oh, and I tried to mail postcards to people, but when I put them in the mail slot they got stuck on the chute. Who knows if they’ll make it to their destinations.

Seattle in London?

This morning I made the mistake of ordering Perfect Oatmeal from the Starbucks Barista. She blinked her eyes at me and asked if I meant the Perfect Porridge. Yes, apparently I did. Who knew Starbucks changed their product names in different countries. Also, I was impressed to see that the Starbucks here are all support fair trade and their menu items specify whether food is vegetarian friendly, as well as gluten free, etc.

SAM_2596

Once I consumed my porridge, I headed over to Leicester Square to see about purchasing some Billy Elliot pictures.

I found this sight, which was definitely not there yesterday.

SAM_2599

I asked someone among the group of people lining the sidewalks in folding chairs what was going on… Tonight is the premiere of The Other Guys. People were already waiting to watch the stars walk the red carpet at 10:30 in the morning!

SAM_2608

I bought my Billy Elliot tickets!

SAM_2601

And jumped on the tube.

SAM_2612

I spent the next several hours at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The museum is humongous! They have collections areas ranging from Medieval and Renaissance to Asia, India and Islamic cultures, as well as theatre and performance, jewelry and textiles. I felt like there was so much to see and I only got a taste of it.

This is a Dale Chihuly chandelier in the grand entrance hall.

SAM_2625

Jason from Greek mythology.

SAM_2632

SAM_2642

I decided to take a guided tour, but our guide was a bit too loquacious and tended to go off on tangent. He also used a maglite flashlight to point out things as he was talking, but he referred to it as his torch. Hehe.

SAM_2656

SAM_2673

SAM_2677

SAM_2700

Next up! Theatre and Performance. I did a guided tour of this area too, but the guide was a Polish girl doing her internship here and working on her PhD in anthropology. She knew nothing about theatre. I could have easily given a better tour. Rather sad, since I was hoping to learn something new.

Regardless, the artifacts were awesome. I took tons of pictures which I hope to use in my classroom.

SAM_2719

SAM_2722

A rain maker.

SAM_2728

Costumes from the Lion King.

SAM_2786

SAM_2787

Kylie Minogue’s dressing room. Ms. Minogue actually helped to recreate the dressing room so that it would be as true to her actual dressing room as possible.

SAM_2790

One of Mick Jagger’s outfits. They had to custom build the mannequin because he is so skinny.

SAM_2793

SAM_2795

Elton John’s Bicycle outfit.

SAM_2798

One of Shakespeare’s first folios.

SAM_2800

From The Producers.

SAM_2805

SAM_2812

Edward Gordon Craig.

SAM_2815

Japanese Noh masks.

SAM_2824

SAM_2829

This is the outside of the V&A museum. I actually entered from an underground tube location.

SAM_2831

Then my camera died. I did walk through Hyde Park, but I have no pictures of it. Imagine Central Park, but in London. I’d love to go running there or have a picnic.

And that’s all for now.

Clybourne Park

This is going to be short and sweet because I am TIRED.

The day started off with a trip to the British Library, you know, the whole reason I’m here. Everything was smooth sailing since I’d done all my prep work back in Washington.

I’m still not 100% sure what it is that I’m doing… I listened to the recording a couple times, made notations and decided that I need to reread some stuff that I left back at the dorm before going any further. I’m going to do more reading/research tomorrow on my own, visit the archives on Wednesday and then return to the library to listen to the recording some more Wednesday evening. Hopefully it’ll be enough.

SAM_2567

After reevaluating my game plan, more exploring occurred.

SAM_2568

SAM_2571

I’m going to use this picture to illustrate to my students the culture of going to the theatre. The pre-theatre dinner and post-theatre dessert concepts.

SAM_2573

SAM_2579 SAM_2580

I’ve been eating most of my meals at these places that stock prepackaged, but not gross, food. All the food is freshly made each day and is neither soggy nor stale. It’s also interesting that high fructose corn syrup is not listed anywhere on the ingredients lists of food over here — not even in the candy bars! From looking at the food labels it seems the Brits are rather health conscious.

SAM_2587

Then it was time for the show! Clybourne Park. It was phenomenal. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Wanderlust afterward, but I know I loved this show. It was hilarious, poignant, well crafted, and so very relevant. I love that it pulls from A Raisin in the Sun as well.

SAM_2593 SAM_2594

I think the Victoria Albert Museum and Billy Elliot are in my future for tomorrow, but for now, it’s bed time.