oxford: week one

one of the newer building on campus

one of the newer building on campus

i am embarrassed to say that most of my photos from this week are yet again iphone photos. sorry mom.

(i've already talked about some of this, but here it is again)

oxford is beautiful, and i don't think i'll ever want to go home. on our first day here, we had a cocktail party on the cloisters lawn, rich with hydrangeas.

flowers at the victoria and albert

flowers at the victoria and albert

saturday was uneventful, minus auditions for groups. oh, and i got drinks at the turf tavern with some new friends, which is what the leaky cauldron is based on. i was not as excited as my potter-head friends were.

sunday was supersaturated with introductory handshakes and having to tell people where i'm from and where i go to school way too many times. we had a master class with fiona shaw, which was, as promised, life-changing. in the evening, we had a pimms reception on the cloisters lawn again. i am sad to report that pimms is not as tasty as i'd hoped it'd be. drinks were followed by a formal dinner in the hall (aka hogwarts). i was just about ready for someone to plop the sorting hat on my head.

we have master classes every sunday and wednesday, 4-6 pm. wednesday we don't have class, which gives us time to catch up on rehearsals and to schedule tutorials (one-on-one time) with our teachers.

i found a barn to ride at, and the school horses are so nice. the dressage horse i rode for my first lesson used to show all over england, and now he just hangs out and has the occasional lesson. his name is thomas. i think i already talked about this in my last post.

classes during the week were all introductory. the first few weeks of anything are always my least favorite, because i'm so eager to be cut loose and to get right to work... although, it was exciting to watch people make exciting discoveries in their work-- especially in voice class-- and for those who are not used to conservatory-style training to buckle down for a long four weeks. everyone seems really optimistic.

happiest blanket patron

happiest blanket patron

on tuesday, my new friends and i went to see a production of much ado about nothing in a garden, and i was overjoyed. they set it at the end of world war ii in italy, and the music they wrote for the show was gorgeous, especially hero's epitaph. it was a bit chilly, but they had blankets. at intermission, i was so happy that i skipped around wrapped in my blanket.

on wednesday, we had a master class in the meadow with julian glover (game of thrones). not my favorite; but, what can you do?

thursday and friday were fine. class, class, class. i found the best cold brew in oxford at this place called jericho coffee.

on saturday, i took the bus into london. i visited the victoria and albert and cried at danby's paintings. disappointed love was my favorite painting from the gallery. the theatre exhibit was an absolute joy. they had costumes ranging from idina's elphaba, to a 1930s much ado benedict, to the mikado. they also had a special display for vivian leigh and peter brooke.

disappointed love, danby, francis, born 1793 - died 1861 (oil on canvas)

disappointed love, danby, francis, born 1793 - died 1861 (oil on canvas)

funny/concerning/uncomfortable story: while i was looking at the peter brook display, this boy (around my age) started talking to me about a strange sketch of a bird inside the display, and it turned into a conversation about what each of us were doing in london. he was from whales, and studying at cambridge for the summer. after about twenty minutes, i gracefully said goodbye. later, while i was walking towards the tube to meet family, he walked by me on the street, did a double take, and "coincidentally" noticed me. he asked for my number and i gave it to him. i never heard from him?!?

that evening, i went to a family bar-b-que in wimbledon (i have family in london) and enjoyed a homemade meal for the first time in a week, which was such a relief. the food in the dining halls is terrible, and i always get the same thing to eat: tomatoes with balsamic, potatoes, and water. delicious. admittedly, that's also exactly what I ate at the bar-b-que, but it was better!!

today, we had another master class with elliot worrell-barnes, and he showed us this short film he made this year. essentially, it's a bunch of Shakespeare speeches and scenes stitched together to create this totally separate piece. he made this because he basically had all of these moments of frustration in high school, drama school, and the real world where he often felt ostracized by the fact that shakespeare on the professional stage-- whether it be at the national or on broadway-- was often done by "posh white men" with heightened speech. he wanted to create something that showed people that he knew, people that looked like him and the people he works with, speaking in their own dialects. for example, the man in the vest and the rings who you see towards the beginning of the piece will never get a job in this day and age acting Shakespeare if he uses his mother dialect, which is a shame because he's brilliant. watch here

next week, we start working on scenes and sonnets. i'm really excited to start working on the tempest. i'm also going to see hamlet on the west end with my cousin and his girlfriend on friday, and on saturday we're spending the day in stratford-upon-avon to see julius caesar at the RSC.


now playing: 'cherry wine' by hozier