Sunday, May 16, 2010

Busy few days...

So here's what happened since my last post:

WEDNESDAY - Went to class. It happens. Whatever. That afternoon I was still feeling sick so I stayed in again and napped and relaxed. I was bored out of my mind. I mean, I'm paying for every second I'm here right? Not paying to sit inside. I could do that back in Utah, so its frustrating when I have to stay in. I figure, though, better to have 2 days inside getting better than be really sick for a week and not being able to move and being miserable. So that was the afternoon.

Wednesday we ventured over to the Orange Tree Theatre to see "Taking Steps" by Alan Ayckbourn. The Orange Tree is out in Zone 3. For those who don't know, the London public transportation system is divided into Zones. I think there are 8 in total for all of London. We have tube passes for Zones 1 & 2 because hardly anything is outside of those Zones and it was the most cost effective. This means we can only get on and off the tube withing Zones 1 and 2 (which are huge, fyi) but we can ride a bus (or coach) on the street in any Zone to any zone. To get off or on the tube out of zone costs extra money. It's 1.30pp to go to Zone three or it's over an hour long bus ride. So we chose to pay the extra 2.60 (roundtrip) to take the tube. It's not worth my time to take over an hour coach ride when I can get there on the tube in around 25 minutes, give or take. There are a lot of people on the trip who did take the coach. More power to them, but I'd rather not deal with hassle.

So we got to the theatre a little early and we were hungry so we found a cheap little Pakistani restaurant with whats called "doner kebab". Donner is essentially a pita that you can get with either chicken or lamb.
The meat is squished all onto this upright spit and they cut off peices for the pita. And it's DELICIOUS!! We had it on my mission, but we called it "shawarma". At any rate it's huge and delicious and cheap and greasy and wonderful.
So we got some for dinner and then went into the theatre.

Now this production of "Taking Steps" was really cool because it was actually directed by Ayckbourn himself. He retired a few years ago, but the Orange Tree somehow convinced him to do it. So the world famous playwright is directing his own show and we saw it. Needless to say it was awesome. It was so nice to watch a simple, hilarious farce. While comedy is not necessarily my personal artistic medium, I really appreciated being able to just enjoy the piece and laugh super hard for a few hours. It was a well-needed bit of escapism. :)

THURSDAY - We got up this morning and decided to go back to the Imperial War Museum because last time we only got to see one exhibit. We went with the intention of seeing everything, but again, we only saw one. We went to the Holocaust Exhibit. It was sooooo depressing. It was a very interestingly constructed exhibit, but super sad. Not that I expected the Holocaust to he happy, but you know what I mean.

Later that afternoon we went to the Globe for the "Globe Exhibition". Now I think I was confused by the term "exhibition" because I was hoping it was more of an exhibitionist situation where I got to take my clothes off at the Globe theatre. No suck luck. Well I suppose I still could have, but I probably would have been asked to leave and/or been arrested. It was a pretty generic tour around the Globe and the surrounding area. We had seen and heard all the same stuff last week on Lance's Shakespeare Walk. So that happened.

That night we had tickets to go see "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Globe. I was super excited because 1) it's one of my favorite Shakespeare plays and 2) it was happy and I needed something funny and happy after a morning in the Holocaust museum. We had actual seats this time, which I thought would be cool. Just kidding. We had the WORST seats possible. The Globe has seats on all three sides of the stage, but since it's a circle the far end seats wrap around the back of the stage slightly. Guess where we sat? We learned during the fully-clothed exhibition that these seats were built for nobles who didn't want to watch the play but rather wanted to be watched by the peasants in the cheaper seats. So the seats are intentionally bad. And that's where we sat.
The huge pillars that hold up the "heavens" above the stage were directly in front of us so we saw everything profile and about half of the action. Exciting huh?

In case this wasn't enough, the production was questionable at best. And by questionable I mean close to terrible. It was set in the 1920s and some of the concept choices were cool. There were about 7 actors who played all the parts and their costumes and set choices worked well. However, the acting was just downright atrocious. Rather, should I say, the over-acting. These actors were so ridiculously over-the-top and not in a good way. They were screaming and making stupid ad-lib jokes and over-acting to the point of becoming annoying. The worst culprits were Puck and Bottom. They were just dreadfully painful to watch/not watch since we couldn't see them half the time. While yes, it was distinctly happier than the Holocaust museum, I think I'd rather have gone to the Holocaust museum again. At least that was free.

FRIDAY - Today was another Primark day. Cheap euro-clothes everywhere! I bought a few more things, but restrained myself. I love Primark! I especially love my 3pp cardigan and my 3pp green shoes. Win and win. After Primark we met up with Miriam and Melissa and went to the National Science Museum. Like the other museums in London, it was free and it was GIGANTIC! And this one was SO fun! We went to the kids hands-on floor first (of course). It was SO COOL! We played around with
lights, and mirrors, and infrared lights, and sound waves, and colors, and bubbles, and hydrogen rockets and all sorts of stuff.
No joke, if it weren't for all the little kids everywhere this would have been the best place ever! Hahaha. I loved this museum! We also saw the history of medicine from pre-historic through 1980 with all these scary dioramas of medieval medicine and the horrendous things people did in the name of medicine, even in the 20th century. We also saw this INCREDIBLE performance art display called "Listening Post". These two artists created this piece where it's a wall of small LCD screens and the computer they are hooked up to randomly samples messages in unrestricted chatrooms on the internet. There were messages of all types, lengths and subjects coming in constantly in different arrangements.
It was AMAZING! Seriously it was mind blowing the way they presented these internet communication performers without their even knowing it. Not to mention it was visually stunning. Here is a link to the website all about it. It's way cool.

That night we tried to go see "The Habit of Art" again at the National but it was sold out, again. I am determined to see this play, come hell or high water! Miriam was planning on going to the Jack the Ripper walking tour with the supposed "world expert" on the subject. So we went. We ended up at the tube stop outside the Tower of London (Yes, THE Tower of London) and joined this massive group. However, as excited as we were for this thing that sounded really cool, it turned out to be way lame. The Jack the Ripper story is interesting, but the nice "expert" man who lead the group was pretty inarticulate and cranky and the walking tour had very little to do with Jack the Ripper. It all together was an uneventful evening. Christian, Melissa and I had fun but it was NOT worth the 6pp. They described it as this spooky, creepy retelling of the story of Jack the Ripper in the actual locations where stuff happened. And yes, we were on the actual spots where they found the bodies and where he was killing and whatnot, but the tour was not logically organized nor was the narrative well told. We jumped around all over the story and it made very little sense, and whenever you asked a question he got snippy and told you he would cover that later, which he didn't. It was a so-so night, but hey, at least we did something, right?

SATURDAY - This morning we went to Portobello Road! That's right, THE Portobello Road (like the song).
Sadly, however, Angela Landsbury was nowhere to be found and we could not find the other half of the "Spells of Astaroth" anywhere. And we looked! (PS If you don't get these "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" references I apologize and then scold you for never having seen it!) Anyways, it was a really cool little market. And by little market, I mean HUGE market. And it was packed with THOUSANDS of people. Mostly it was overpriced antiques and food, but there was also a flea market section where people just sold, literally, whatever random stuff they could find. It was like a lame garage sale. But it was a lot of fun. There was one shop that had a wall full of Venetian carnival masks that looked JUST like my concept for "Pippin", but the people who owned it were these cranky Italians who wouldn't let me take a picture. it was so cool though! I got all nostalgic and remembered how my Mask Club was way legit and how no one's, not even Heather's, could beat it (although we pretty much tied :)) But yeah, Portobello Road was CRAZY! Too many friggin' people.

So in the afternoon we had a matinée of "Eurydice" by Sarah Ruhl at the Young Vic Theater.
I was SUPER excited to see this show. It is BEAUTIFULLY written and I was eager to see it staged. We got to this small theatre in the round and it was a pretty decent show. I was disappointed with some of the characters but all in all it was great and I was definitely moved at times.

We then got on the tube and went a few stops down to what has been the shadiest part of London I have EVER been to. It's called "The Oval" (sounds ominous, huh?). We went to get tickets for the Ovalhouse Theatre, which is the UK's premiere GLBT theatre, apparently.
We weren't going for any GLBT performances, however. There was a touring show of Edward Albee's "Counting the Ways" that was done simultaneously in spoken English, British Sign Language and audio narration for the blind. It was actually a pretty cool show. Not all the acting was amazing, but a) it was absurdist theatre and b) that's not what the show was about. The company had taken the 2-person play and split it into 5 characters, 1 speaking couple, one deaf couple and 1 audio narrator named George. It was a neat to experience a play that was adapted in that way and was still pretty compelling at times. I enjoyed myself.

Plus, we LOVED the theatre. When we got there the staff was young and super friendly. They had free magazines you could take, a free book swap for anyone to either swap or borrow a book and they gave us a free button that either said "He Loves Me", "He Loves Me Not", "She Loves Me" or "She Loves Me Not". They also gave us free candy hearts at the end! Now, British candy hearts are not like American ones. British ones are disgusting and taste like Tums. But yeah, it was a very cool experience.

In between buying tickets and the show we had some time to kill so we walked not too far over to "Master's Super Fish" again and got fish 'n' chips. We wanted to sit down, so we did and discovered that the sit down menu is not only much more expensive but it's not the same. You can't even GET fish 'n' chips on the sit down menu. So we told her we just wanted take-away and got what we wanted. It was a BEAUTIFUL day out, even at 6 PM so we walked over to the park near the Imperial War Museum and sat on a bench and ate our greasy, delicious food.
It was so greasy, yet so satisfying. I love this place. If you are ever in London and want fish 'n' chips, go to Master's Super Fish on Waterloo Rd. You won't regret it.

So that was pretty much the week! It was INSANELY busy! I'm really excited for next week because it's travel week and we are going to Ireland! HOORAY! If anyone has suggestions about what to do while in the greater Dublin area, PLEASE comment and let me know!

Over and out.


  1. I like that I was mentioned in this blog...even if you still think your Mask Club was better than mine...;-)

  2. I LOVE schwarmas!!!!! :D We had them all the time in Saudi Arabia! We could have chicken or lamb. I miss them

  3. Who says candy hearts are any yummier in the US?