I cannot believe I have just returned from a two-week-long excursion through Europe! And what a time to be traveling! I was in Paris during the anniversary of last November's horrific shootings, during the results of the American presidential election, and in London during the turbulent process of Brexit. Amidst all the turmoil and contention I happened to have a series of amazing cultural experiences and am beside myself in witness of the support and thoughtful exchange of ideas I was afforded during my time abroad.
Traveling on Halloween day, I visited London with my family where we piled into two small hotel rooms just outside Paddington Station. The rooms themselves were quaintly "efficient" and perhaps the most festive part of the accommodations was the daily breakfast service complete with typical "bad English cuisine" like toast and beans, basted egg, ham, and a banger of unknown origin. If you could beat the jet-lag and rise by 7am, the downstairs breakfast hall was your oyster!
I had six days to experience London so I sought to learn and experience as much as possible! I started with a Big Bus tour to get an overview of the city and gain my bearings for the time to come! Yes, the bus was red. Yes, it was "hop-on-hop-off". Yes, it was a double decker. This proved to be a great way to see the city and the audio tour was especially helpful in gaining insights about the city and its history.
One of the first places we stopped was the National Gallery, a free museum located in Trafalgar Square showcasing a wide range of world art. The "Beyond Caravaggio" exhibit was currently on display so for a little extra I got to see the works and derivatives of this very influential 17th century artist who sparked an international phenomenon in the art world. Common themes in many of his paintings are deception, dishonesty, and the moment before a physical confrontation might take place. Needless to say, they make for some very captivating pictures!
I cannot end this post without speaking about my favorite experience in London which was seeing "The Play That Goes Wrong" at the Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly Circus. This is an absolutely spectacular example of English humor and physical theatre put on by Mischief Theatre. It is a non-stop farce that takes every element of clowning, physical humor, and stagecraft to the next level incorporating amazing set design (and malfunction), stage combat, ridiculous slapstick, quick witted dialogue, and precisely coordinated physical gags into an amazing piece of theatre. This show is what theatre is to me. I fell in love.
Having just settled back into Chicago, I have an incredibly busy week ahead full of auditions, rehearsals, and meetings but I will do my best to find time to catalogue more of my trip to Europe. Thanks for catching up with me! Cheers!