Hey friends. Sorry it’s been a bit. I could say I’ve been busy (and I have), but honestly I’ve delayed posting because I was struggling to figure out how to embed music in here- I wanted to share some of my favorite music lately. I’ve tried lots of things, but still can’t get the Spotify player to work (if anyone is blog-savvy, feel free to help a girl out). So instead, I’ll just share a little update on what my days have been looking like.
Now that classes are in full swing (rather than just orientation field trips and lectures), I’m starting to settle into a routine. I have a good hour or two in the morning to wake up, get myself ready, prepare some semblance of a breakfast(my berries and milk keep going bad before I can use them all, because I’m lazy and inexperienced, so I keep having to buy groceries to refill my tiny fridge), and do some reading and journaling before I set out for LAMDA. I thought I’d be taking the tube every day, but many of us like to walk in the mornings, since it’s only 20 minutes or so and the weather is still easy to be outside in. At first I grumbled because it was warm and sticky and my feet were sore, but now I enjoy listening to music or chatting with people while taking in the city every morning. It helps me feel more present when I arrive.
Classes vary each day, but the general structure is that we have various Acting, Movement, and Voice classes on Monday/Wednesday/Friday (all with the same 14 people), and on Tuesday/Thursday we have workshops, where we rehearse scenes from Shakespearean or Jacobean plays (with a different group of 14 people). So far, my favorites are:
-Acting with Debbie Seymour (we’ve only had 1 class, but her exercises are so enlightening and she cares deeply for all of us)
-Alexander Technique (a movement class where we practice releasing tension and getting rid of ingrained physical habits that restrict our bodies or voices- my teacher has a wonderfully soothing voice, and I always leave feeling refreshed (albeit a little sleepy) and free)
-Historical Dance (this one is obviously fun- our teacher was/is the choreographer for Downton Abbey and has already whipped medieval line figures and an English country dance out of us)
-My Shakespeare scene in workshops (I’m working on a scene from Cymbeline with a girl named Lauren, who is awesome and understands Shakespeare the same way I do. Our last rehearsal with our director resulted in some cool breakthroughs with the text and it just feels SO GOOD to put all of myself into acting something again)
-The first and only evening masterclass we had last Thursday with a British actor named Alex Walderman (a LAMDA grad). I entered exhausted from a full day of classes and left filled to the brim with ecstatic energy. He gave us countless brilliant insights about how to interpret the depth in Shakespeare’s monologues, and when he asked for volunteers to perform a monologue so he could work on it with us, almost everyone shot up their hand, our eagerness to learn and grow overpowering our nerves at getting up in front of everyone.
-The shows I’ve seen at LAMDA. Oh my goodness you guys. We saw some of the three-year (?) acting students perform Measure for Measure and Othello, and it was some of the best Shakespeare I’ve seen. There’s something about the way students are so eager to throw their whole selves into the work and be daring with their interpretations that makes the shows burst with life. The production of Measure for Measure was an all-woman cast, and I was skeptical about it, but they absolutely slayed me, which is the greatest feeling to have coming out of a theater.
Outside of classes, I’ve started building real friendships (not just acquaintances) with several people in my program and it’s so delightful. The coolest part is, it keeps being the people I never thought I would be friends with. Many of the people I mentally dismissed on the first day have ended up being the ones I have great conversations with and who genuinely seek to know me and be my friend, and it’s so humbling and encouraging. Every time, I feel God saying, “Hey, remember how I said I would take care of you? Still think your plans are better? Watch this.”
Speaking of God showing up in cool ways, I felt incredibly welcomed into multiple churches this week. On Sunday, I went a church that had been recommended to me by someone in the states, but knew nothing about. The service was nice, but what struck me was how welcoming everyone was. From the moment I walked, everyone from the elderly greeters to the young people drinking tea afterwards to the assistant minister to the head pastor himself approached me and wanted to know about me and my story. I got asked a lot of questions about life in America, which was funny. Someone even showed me places to get food and bought me lunch! It was (again) the opposite of the solitary, introspective Sunday morning I’d expected to have.
Then on Tuesday, I went to a student service at a local church with some Christian friends in my program (again, unexpected?!), and it was almost exactly like Common Ground (my youth group in Okinawa, the epitome of good community to me) but for college students. They’re starting actual small groups in a couple weeks. They even serve dinner! I left almost in disbelief at what a perfect opportunity God had provided for me. My doubtful self tried to tell me I wouldn’t have time, or that it wouldn’t be good, but I could hear another quietly persisting voice telling me it was too good of an opportunity not to take.
Things I miss include my theater family back at Gordon, my pets, and most of all, New England fall weather (like, every single day I have a moment where I wish I was in the woods). But it’s good. I’m learning how to buy groceries (and use them in a timely and efficient manner), engage with new people, and dress for weather that can change at any moment. (Oh, and carry my room keys everywhere. Last weekend I left them in my room and maintenance locked me out, resulting in me sleeping in a friend’s room and paying a locksmith the next morning.)
So yeah. In conclusion, God’s taking care of me. Exactly like He said.
I’ll try to post something with more pictures soon. London is a beautiful place, and I’m surrounded by beautiful people.