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“If it be true that good wine needs no bush, ’tis true that a good play needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes, and good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues.”

-Shakespeare, As You Like It

This (last) post is coming at you from my own bed in Kansas City. I got in about 24 hours ago, and so far I’ve slept, mostly unpacked, gone to an audition (and gotten a callback!), and somewhat gotten back on central standard time. It’s 8:30 and I’m exhausted, though, so that last one maybe not so much.

I really didn't want to leave, guys.
I really didn’t want to leave, guys.

After I finished my blog last Monday morning, I headed out to do some souvenir shopping. I spent a while doing that, including stops at the National Theatre bookstore and the Globe shop. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon at the Tate Modern. I was honestly surprised at how much I loved it! Usually I prefer more classical art, but the Tate was super cool, especially the “Energy and Process” and “Citizens and States” collections, and a video exhibit on the restoration of a vandalized Mark Rothko painting.

Probably my favorite painting in the Tate Modern, "untitled" by Laura Owens
Probably my favorite painting in the Tate Modern, “untitled” by Laura Owens

Tuesday was a really exciting day. In the morning I went to the National Portrait Gallery, something I’d been wanting to do all semester. I spent a long time there, looking at portraits from the 1500s all the way up to present day. I thought the coolest part was a temporary exhibit, “Face of Britain,” with five different galleries scattered around the museum, each focusing on a theme of Power, Love, Fame, Self, or People. I also really liked the Victorian section, and of course, the portrait of Shakespeare. That afternoon I got to go to the National Theatre Archive, where they keep records on past productions. I’m doing an independent study project on the play “Greenland,” which premiered there in 2011. I got to look at the technical scripts, the costume bible, the programme, and even watch a DVD of the show! It was such a great experience to get such firsthand information for a paper, and to get a peek behind the scenes of a theatre we’ve seen so many shows at this semester. Then that night we went to see an honestly terrible production of “Macbeth” at the Young Vic, which I really don’t want to talk about…

Wednesday I had a slow morning trying to convince myself to brave a third museum in three days, but I’m so glad I ended up going to the Victoria and Albert. It’s a massive museum that I barely got a taste of, but it was so worth it. I spent most of my time in the historical fashion exhibit, where they had extant garments from as early as the 1700s. After that I had a little time left over to explore the Theatre and Performance section before rushing back to have a quick dinner before a very exciting evening. We saw the Book of Mormon! It was great! I’d seen it before in Chicago, but it was an interesting experience seeing it in London. The audience seemed less scandalized by some of the language, some of the ad-libbed references were different . . . the actors did a pretty good job with the American accents, though!

I got really excited about the Theatre and Performance exhibit at the V&A.
I got really excited about the Theatre and Performance exhibit at the V&A.

Thursday I went back to the Natural History Museum to see everything I missed last time . . . and even then, I couldn’t do it. In the end, we had time to do Dinosaurs, Mammals, Human Biology, “Creepy Crawlies,” and Ecology, which felt like a pretty thorough afternoon. I liked the dinosaurs and mammals a lot . . . the centipedes and scorpions, not so much. We kept busy in the museum until closing time, and then we headed out for ice skating just outside the museum! It was really fun and pretty with all the lights, and we were proud that we didn’t fall throughout the whole session!

We're basically pro skaters.
We’re basically pro skaters.

I spent Friday packing up all the stuff I’d managed to scatter throughout the week, and trying not to be too emotional about having to leave. We watched Bill Murray’s Christmas special (I’d recommend it) and went out to the food market in St. Katharine’s Docks (basically right downstairs from their flat). That night we went to a really cool bar called The Alchemist, where they do science-themed cocktails! I had a color-changing one where they gave me two tiny mixed drinks in little Erlenmyer flasks, one yellow and one bright blue, and when I poured them both into my glass, it turned pink (complete with dry ice to make it bubble)! After that I had one last pint at the Dickens Inn, a pub I went to several times over the semester, and went to stock up on British cookies and candy to bring home.

Saturday morning came too soon, and we were off to the airport by 7:45. I think I was awake for something like 20 hours by the time I finally made it to bed last night. I don’t think I’m completely back on KC time yet, but I’m getting there.

Back in KC!
Back in KC!

So, to sum up: I took 11 challenging classes, saw 21 plays, made 19 great new LDA friends, spent probably around $500 and countless hours on the Tube, rode 6 roller coasters, wrote 4 papers, learned 4 new monologues, went to eight museums (by a loose, exhausted count), took hundreds of pictures, and fell in love with one great city. Don’t worry, London. I’ll be back.

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