Goodbye, London

Posted by kiernanp at 5:04 pm on Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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1/18/10

So yesterday was my twentieth birthday. What a better way to celebrate it than in the theatre capital of the world? It was a quiet day, we had tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace. Tea is quite the affair in London. A proper English tea consists of sandwiches – ours included salmon, ham, and cucumber, all with butter on them – scones with jam and clotted cream – a very soft and extremely rich butter – and, of course, tea – we drank a fine English breakfast tea. We then strolled around Kensington Gardens, a rolling expanse of verdant fields, London’s equivalent to Central Park. It was a warm afternoon, and the park was filled with people reveling in the sunshine. It was great to end the London trip on my twentieth birthday. I had the time of my life over the past few weeks, had more than one realization about my own life, and I definitely plan on coming back soon. Til then, cheers, London!

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Last Class

Posted by kiernanp at 4:54 pm on Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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1/16/10

Today, we had a class with Sharonna Sassoon, the actress who played the Royal Skivvy in the panto “Aladdin.” She is the SUNY New Paltz alum I mentioned in my previous post. Her encouraging words motivated me to become a pantomime actor in the future. She spoke about how fun and educational the style of theatre is, and her words made me fall in love with it. I have always loved comedy, theatre, and frivolity, and the way it comes together perfectly in pantomime seems to be the avenue to go down. I am having another moment of epiphany, my second of this trip, ad I want everyone to see this. I am determined to somehow introduce this marvelous style of theatre to the American culture, especially in New Paltz. Look out, New Paltz, here comes Panto!

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My First Pantomime

Posted by kiernanp at 4:43 pm on Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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1/14/10

I saw my first English pantomime show today. For those of you who, like me, had no idea what that is, it is a form of English theatre that caters towards younger audiences. It encourages audience response, and breaks every convention of theatre as we know it. The story is that of Aladdin, the poor street urchin that finds a lamp containing a wish-granting genie. The show was nothing short of hilarious. It contained a lot of child-age humor, but had serious adult overtones. To top it all off, a SUNY New Paltz graduate was in the show. Here, in the outer fringe of London theatre, is an actress holding a B.A. in Theatre Arts from SUNY New Paltz. What a small world!

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National Gallery

Posted by kiernanp at 3:57 pm on Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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1/13/10

Yesterday was quite an eventful day. We started off with class, discussing the ballet “Swan Lake.” Alex, Tony, Molly, Shari and I then proceeded to the National Gallery, to view some of the priceless collections for Andrea’s assignment. She asked us to find a piece of artwork that greatly impacts us and bring in a memento (postcard, poster, picture, etc) of the artwork to discuss in class. I found myself immediately running to the Van Gogh wing, knowing that I would be impressed by his work. Seeing his “Wheat Field with Cypresses” and “Sunflowers” was impressive, but I was not impacted by them nearly as much as I thought I would be. After the Van Gogh wing, I traipsed through to see the Seurat section of the gallery. I was immediately taken aback by his painting “Bathers at Asnieres”. What a breathtaking image. It depicted the poor class in France bathing along the Seine, looking out to the island of La Grande Jatte, where the rich would spend their weekends. Seurat’s use of pointillism creates an enormously lush atmosphere. Instead of looking at the painting, it’s almost as if you’re looking into the painting. You see beyond the borders of the image and into the world of the individuals. Seurat paints not only sight, but touch, smell, and sound. While I sat there, admiring the work, an art historian began leading a discussion about the painting, drawing people around him. He mentioned a quote that perfectly explains not only art, but also theatre: “The purpose of art is not to imitate nature, but to express it.” It’s not about what we see, but what our brains have the ability to perceive.

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Hampton Court Palace

Posted by kiernanp at 3:37 pm on Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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1/12/10

Hampton Court Palace was the summer home of King Henry VIII. Everything about the architecture and decor was incredible, down to the tapestries in the Great Hall.
Overall, the most impressive aspect of the palace was its historical re-enactors. There were five actors, playing Kateryn Parr, Kateryn’s sister, Sir Thomas Seymour, Clark Brooks, and the magisterial King Henry VIII. Their ability to improvise all of their knowledge of the 16th century into an interesting theatrical performance was flawless. One day, I hope to have an opportunity to perform in that aspect of theatre. History and performance are two of my favorite things, and the opportunity to synthesize them into a cohesive union is one I would jump at.

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1984

Posted by kiernanp at 3:22 pm on Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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1/9/10

Last night we saw 1984 at the Battersea Arts Center. The play was directly based on the Orwell novel about dystopian life in a totalitarian society. However, it is performed as if it is the members of the “Party” retelling the horrible story of Winston Smith. The play was performed very minimalistically, with the set consisting of six movable black wall sections and a few tables and chairs. Minimalistic theatre is, in my opinion, the best. It provokes the imagination and the brain to think and create, rather than relying on spectacle to illustrate every aspect of the play. Theatre that is most memorable is that which provokes the mind to think. In my mind, theatre is not just to entertain, but to provoke thought.

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Travel Alone

Posted by kiernanp at 3:11 pm on Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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1/8/10

Traveling alone is one of the most liberating sensations in the world. Something about being alone in a sea of strangers; the solitude it brings is so comforting. This was the first time in four days I’ve even been alone, and boy, did I need it. I am currently on the way to see 1984 now, traveling on the train outside greater London to the Battersea Arts Center. I didn’t realize how much I value my solitude until this trip, and hopefully the two weeks will bring more opportunities to get out on my own.

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Westminster Abbey

Posted by kiernanp at 3:06 pm on Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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1/6/10

It is an overwhelming feeling, being inside Westminster Abbey. Passing the tomb of Elizabeth I, my breath was taken away. This woman is the reason I am able to do what I do today. Her advancement of English theatre is what shaped the art form into what it is in the 21st century. We as performers, designers, technicians, and theatre lovers owe her everything. I felt strength and warmth, and a final affirmation that THIS, theatre, is how I want to live the rest of my life. I just experienced a rare epiphanous moment in my life. All that was before Poet’s Corner. I’ve seen photographs, but experiencing the permeable energy of the area overwhelmed me. Even though Shakespeare is not buried here, the ghosts and spirits of such visionaries as Laurence Olivier, David Garrick, Lewis Carrol, Alfred Tennyson, and Oscar Wilde among many, many others are something I will never forget. I have been changed today.

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Finally have a functioning kitchen.

Posted by zzebrows at 8:15 am on Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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For a good two weeks I was surviving off the breakfast provided, a small sandwich for lunch, and going out to eat.  It was not easy on the wallet, but it was good for my tummy.  For the most part, I’m o.k. with it.  Part of the reason I came the CZ was to explore the food and beverage.  Sunday was my last food adventure I am going to allow myself for a while.  Although, The Fat Koala had delicious food and pints, but the Czech Republic was the last place I expected to eat kangaroo for the first time.

All of that was good and fun but thanks to Zuzana, the dorm mother (one of the sweetest women I’ve ever met), I finally got some pots and pans to get back into the cooking habit.  I am use to a gas stove whilst I cook, but the hot plates in the kitchenette are quite difficult to prepare rice on.  There are two settings: off and dangerous, so there is no way to “simmer” a pot for 20 minutes.  Zuzanna also showed us a great gallery at the DOX over the weekend (pictures will come soon).

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The process of settling in

Posted by petersa at 5:39 am on Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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I arrived in Perth five days ago, already, and I am enjoying every minute of it. The people are great and the weather is fantastic! I have found so much to do, and have been involved in so many activities with my flat mates, so far, that I have not had much time to post some blogs…not to mention that I did not have access to a computer until yesterday. However, when classes begin, roughly a week and a half from today, I will be in Curtin’s library more regularly (my main access to computers and the internet), and will be postings blogs much more frequently as well. Hopefully by that time, I will have transitioned from the unknowing newcomer to Perth and CU, into the more familiarized and savvy inhabitant and student of my temporary home and life. With much more to say and only moments before the library closes, I am forced to end this blog with much less than I planned to include; however, one way or another my blogs will tell the story of my adventure abroad here in sunny Perth!

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