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All the World’s a Stage

All the World’s a Stage

                                                  “All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players.

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts.”

– Shakespeare, As You Like It

Wow! It has been a ~wild~ first week of classes, and sitting here on a Sunday evening thinking back on it, I am so excited to see what the rest of the semester brings!

Obviously I’m still enjoying playing tourist.

First off, they’re going to be keeping us quite busy! Mondays we have Period Dance, Movement for Theatre, Voice and Diction, and Stage Combat (I think the goal here is to get us as sore as possible for the rest of the week). Tuesdays I just have Acting and Acting for Shakespeare in the mornings, so I think I’m going to set the afternoons aside as my grocery day. Wednesdays we’ll do Speech and Dialects, Physical Theatre, and Space, Place, and Text. Thursdays are usually some type of workshop or extra class, and then I have individual sessions for Audition and Alexander Technique before we all join back up for Dramatic Criticism. Fridays we have more Acting and Acting for Shakespeare, and sometimes a walking lecture somewhere in London. And of course, weekend day trips, evening theatre visits, and endless hours memorizing once we really get into the swing of things.

The highlight of this week for me was absolutely our visit to the Globe Theatre on Wednesday night. We got to see As You Like It in (a reproduction of) the space it would have been performed in during Shakespeare’s time. The theatre is open-air, and it rained pretty heavily on-and-off the whole time, which was annoying but also in a way only made the experience more powerful. The actors acknowledged the rain, incorporating the space into their performance and connecting the world of the characters to the world of the audience. I was honestly awed by the fact that hundreds of people made the choice to gather and stand getting rained on for three hours all to see a piece of theatre. I will definitely be returning to the Globe before the semester is over.

It was a comedy and I still cried.

Friday was another interesting experience. We had our first walking lecture to the site of the Rose, another theatre of Shakespeare’s time. Today the Rose serves as a small, functioning theatre space, set on a balcony that overlooks the excavation site. It was found in the 1980’s, photographed and catalogued, but they had to basically rebury it to keep it preserved. When they have the funding, they plan to re-excavate. Currently it sits under a layer of basically dirt, with water on top to keep the environment moist, and LED lights outline the footprint of the walls and the stage, to give visitors an idea of the space it used to be. After that, we visited the site of the original Globe (down the street from the reconstructed Globe of today), Southwark Cathedral (the church that Shakespeare and lots of other famous English writers went to), and the ruins of Winchester Palace. We also stopped by St. Paul’s Cathedral, for more tourist photo ops.

LDA friends at St. Paul’s

Last night a group of us went out to see The Bakkhai at the Almeida Theatre, not through school but just for fun on our own. It was… well, it was a Greek tragedy. The production value and the performances were great, and like any show, I think it’s easy to learn about acting and theatre from watching it. But as far as entertainment value goes, I was mostly invested for two reasons: one, the Greeks are such an important part of our history as actors, so you basically have to appreciate them even if the plots and themes aren’t always easily accessible to contemporary values and sensibilities; and two, it was so gory and uncomfortable that it was hard to look away. Naturally, we all went out to the pub after.


Now onto a very full week of shows and our first weekend day trip. Cheers!

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