Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Vacation, all I ever wanted..."

The first week of break turned out to be not very break-like, but more of a preparation for the rest of my time off from school—time off that seems like it will be pretty full, dominated by work that is going to lay the foundation for a lot that I need to accomplish in the upcoming third term.

The first few days were pretty loose and relaxed. I slept A LOT, napping more than once a day on occasion. I read the Guardian most mornings, and plodded through the web-based copy of the New Yorker I receive (thank you, online subscription). I spent a lot of time in coffee shops, trying to convince myself to go do something, then failing and not caring. One of the more productive things that hasn’t got anything to do with schoolwork: my friend Max and I have taken up jogging together on Sundays (we were at it again today). Max is a pretty big runner, and I can usually get myself out two, three times a week, but we’d both fallen out of the habit during our respective Stage Two Practices that essentially took over our hearts, bodies, and souls February onward. As one of my goals during this break was to get back into shape, having a running buddy seemed a very novel indeed, especially considering how much I loathe running. Truly: there’s nothing I dislike greater than starting running again after a long absence—but then after it becomes a routine, I start craving it like a crack fiend. Addictive, but at least it’s a healthier habit. But starting out is always so dreadful. Having company at least once a week is nice. And in all truth, we came to the decision to run together in order to “train” for a hash.

My friend Abby first told me about hashing when I visited her this summer while she was doing Doubt in Cape May, where she is huge. We got onto the topic of things I needed to do while I was over here, and suddenly she gasped and squealed out: “You have to go on a hash!” Now, before your mind wanders to illicit places, no, “hashing” has nothing to do with marijuana, though it does involve some kind of substance abuse. Essentially, you follow a path that has been laid down for you on the road with chalk markings or piles of sawdust (apparently) and you jog for quite a while. The catch is: the path always leads to a pub. So after you’ve jogged for a substantial amount of time, you drink. I think it’s genius, and all the more reason to bother with running in the first place. And I’m pretty sure Max agrees with this. Abby did tell me, however, that on your first hash, you’re meant to drink your first pint from your shoe, which sounds just awful. I’ll keep you lot posted on our progress.

In my effort to get into shape, I also registered for some yoga classes. The first day I went, I saw a London fox standing by the entry way to the studio. My deep-rooted affection for these little guys makes me believe this was a very fortuitous sign. The studio I’m going to is kind of a trip, in that the company seems to be the UK equivalent to the yoga corporation I used to work for (strange that phrase: “yoga corporation…”), which is both reassuring in its familiarity, and bizarre in some strange, almost cross-dimensional sense. “Yes, Spock—it would appear they promote the practice of yoga on this planet, too…” I hope it won’t take too long to get my practice up to snuff, and I think that the yoga will compliment the running nicely. I may even go to Pilates. But let’s not push it just yet.

But as I said, so many paragraphs ago: meetings. Wednesday I sat down with classmates Ariana, Poppy, and Loukia and discussed plans on developing work we’d started to touch on and generate during last term (a concept that is Ariana’s, so details will be scant here). Ariana is looking to have us present the piece in both London and in a couple towns in Germany this August, which means I won’t be flying home in July as originally planned. (The topic of when I’m actually going back to the states is a pretty hot one right now, but we’ll get to that in another entry.) The work that we’re doing with Ariana is new to me (here’s a hint: it’s largely NOT text based), is pretty exciting because of the newness, and I really like the concept she’s shooting for. Even the challenge of working in this manner is pretty freeing all on its own, and that’s been great so far. I look forward to more of the same over the coming months.

That evening I also caught The Lady From Shanghi at the BFI, and am once again convinced that I need a wardrobe akin to the women of Noir cinema. And a gun. Yeah, that would be good…

Thursday I met with Nick Wood, head of our course, alongside my fellow Space (in) Between cohort Mauro, to feedback on the success of the sessions, and in an effort to get The Space incorporated into next year’s first term offerings. The school is currently reviewing, revising, and re-writing the course as it stands, so there may be room to squeeze it in. Or there may not be. Either way, it was a good meeting, and it was nice to see that the head of the course would take the time out of his very busy week to discuss our findings and the possibility of adding this program to the schedule. We’ll see what comes of it.

Friday consisted of back-to-back meetings of my Stage Three Practice group, and my RMO group. In the first meeting, Chad, Maria, Hedva, Lisa and I basically discussed what attracted us to the project we’re going to be working on, and what our personal goals were as artists concerning our work for the piece. Then we generated a list of movies, plays, anything really that we knew about that dealt with a meal or consumption.

The second meeting with my RMO group was to discuss the upcoming "Great Orchidaceous Travesty," where THE BAND, our research experiment of beat-like quality, will be making its debut to an organized audience. I say “organized audience” because we always perform in public, gleaming our audience members from passers by, or unsuspecting produce shoppers, but this will be the first time we play in a venue where people will actually be watching us as part of an evening of bizarre cabaret acts. I am, admittedly, nervous. We’ve never really “performed” like this before, and will be short one group member, who’ll be replaced by another classmate who’s never seen our work and hasn’t rehearsed with us yet. It will all turn out one way or the other, I suppose. And if something does go terribly wrong, we’ll have a chance to redeem ourselves, as we perform again for a second time a fortnight later on the final night of the "Travesty." Anyway we’ll be wearing hats, so that’ll be good.

And speaking of hats, on Friday I also visited the Victoria and Albert Museum with my friend Caitlin to peruse a hat exhibit that is currently going on there. It was great, and if you’re in London reading this, please try to check it out before it goes away on June 1st.

Friday night I also caught the first half of a student production of Hamlet. I say “first half” because I left during intermission and held up in the theatre bar for the rest of the show. I may just be burnt out on the play (it is my favorite, and I even carry a miniature copy of it around in my purse—God Bless the Globe gift shop), so that may have been why I felt the need to leave. That being said, I have only ever walked out on two pieces of theatre, and this was the second. I actually have a lot of opinions on certain choices (mostly directorial) made during the time between 1.1 and the middle of 3.2 (they cut right after "Give me some light: away!"), but I’ll keep them to myself. I will say, though, keep an eye out for one George Taylor. He played Polonius and was by far the best thing up there in my opinion, and was the one actor that made me think, “Maybe I should stay...just until after the arras scene.”

The rest of the weekend was quite literally spent wholly confined to my dorm room, while I cleaned, read, and continued to sleep for a good long while, when not watching downloaded American television on iTunes. And touching on that briefly: some of you may have noted an absence in any blog entry relating to the finale of Battlestar Galactica. I have had so many random post-finale discussions, that to delve into one here just seems wasteful. Be that as it may, I will say I enjoyed it, though could have done without the coda, and that I also sobbed through the last thirty minutes or so. And no: I am not ashamed.

Rest in peace, Galactica.

This week I am meeting my RMO group to discuss how our dry run of our research presentation went, and prep a little for our final presentation. I have two meetings with the Ariana group scheduled, THE BAND will perform, and I’ll be catching the first part of Romeo Castellucci’s trilogy of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Inferno at the Barbican. I also have a couple days of transcription work at Central, typing out some research presentation or other for £££.

That was a long entry and is probably just an indicator of what the next few weeks will bring: massive fullness. But this I vow: I’ll keep finding time for naps somehow.


Zuzu Petals said...

Such a busy break! Oh, and I got your letter. Expect a response in a few days. =)

Lea Maria said...

Looking forward to it!

(...And looking forward to an end in this small bout with insomnia even more...)

Caitlin said...

Are we still up for "Caitlin learns beginner yoga"?

Lea Maria said...

But of course, Caitlin! Let us schedule a session for this weekend, yes?

Caitlin said...