Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fake Moustaches

HELLO, readers! I knew had you guys for a reason- because when I write a blog entry full of complaints and sadness, you kick me in the pants and tell me to get over it. And I have- hooray! Twelve hours after the announcement on Monday, I no longer felt like I was being stabbed in the chest every time I thought of the list, and now, it barely twinges.

I know I still have over five months here, but WOW is time flying! It's already mid-way through my fourth week here! And in a little over two months, my classes will be finished. Crazy!

So remember the difficulty I had in Episode 2 of Rachel is Stupid, being unable to find the theatre? Well, I had to go back to the area in which I got lost last time, but to actually see the show that was at that theatre. And get this- I go down that street, looking around at the buildings I had already seen... and there was a big freaking banner for the theatre. It was obviously new, considering how shiny and unmarked it was, but I think I actually went, "SERIOUSLY?!" out loud.

Because of the mix-up, I got there an hour early, and since I now knew where the theatre was, I went into the giant department store right next to it, Selfridges. I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that Selfridges was just a clothing store, and perhaps it is, but this one was four stories high and hosted lots of different companies, from books to clothes to electronics to candy. It was crazy, and most of the brands were the kind that didn't put prices on anything because if you didn't know how much it cost, you obviously didn't belong there. They have Jimmy Choo and Chanel upstairs; I thought only Harrods did that. I did get a small bag of mixed candy (yay, sour gummy worms!) and a cute notebook with Peter Pan characters on it. After browsing through things I will never be able to afford in my lifetime, I headed over to the theatre.

I had to see A Doll's House for my Reading Theatre class, and if you talked to me recently, I probably complained to you about it. I hate A Doll's House. Besides being boring, it's incredibly anti-feminist (I know, Nora leaves at the end, but she still spends the entire play until the very end NOT doing that.) I did not want to see this show.
Once I entered and got my wristband (instead of ticket), I was at the bottom of the stairs to the theatre and there was this guy standing on the landing. He went, "Pssst!" I looked up and he said, "You coming up here?" I didn't answer. He said, "Come up here." He looked super sketchy and I wondered if I had just paid twelve pounds to walk into my death. Two other people started climbing the steps, so I went up with them. Sketchy Guy said, "They're a little sexist up there- you wanna moustache?" and he opened his jacket to display a bunch of moustaches on sticks lining the sides. "No charge," he said, and handed me one.

Upstairs, there were two rooms- one set up like a men's smoking room/bar and another as a women's dressing room. I went up to the bar to get an Orangina (delicious orange soda that's rarely found in the US). "No moustache?" the guy behind the counter asked. I pulled it out of my bag. "Oh, I'm sorry, sir," the man said, and poured me my drink.
As an actor who has done a fair amount of interactive theatre, I should not be so put off by this kind of this, but to be honest, it totally freaks me out. Is this how the audience felt when I was doing my shows?

As I said, I didn't want to see this show at all. But the set was pretty cool looking and it started in a very unexpected way- two corseted women and three women with their chests ace-bandaged did a short, simple dance and then exited. As I found out a little later, it was an new adaptation of Ibsen's work. The theatre that was doing this show did it so, so fantastically well. It was an all-female production, but the three women who played men were so convincing that I never questioned them for a second. The actress playing Nora was wonderful, and reminded me very much of Keira Knightley in pretty much every way, but especially her delivery and mannerisms. One actress switched from a female, Irish maid to a male, English doctor constantly, sometimes within ten seconds, and was great in both roles. The actress playing Torvald played him appropriately as a complete creeper. Even though I detest the play, this new adaptation made the dialogue less stilted and instead of pretending to be a feminist play, it actually was, bringing the time into a more modern setting and showing just how little some things have changed. I LOVED it, really loved it.

Seeing required theatre here is showing me how stubborn I can be about certain pieces of theatre. While it has happened that I don't want to see a production and hate it, much more often has the case been that I ended up loving it. I'm trying to see all the theatre I can here, and now that will include stuff I might not want to go and see. I'm seeing King Lear this Monday- despite my abhorrence of it, Laura wants to and there are good actors in it, so hopefully that will save it from the fact that it's King Lear :p

And now for your regularly scheduled observations:

-People don't eat on the tube. That sounds weird, but in America, people eat on trains and stuff. But no one ever eats and rarely drinks on the tube. Maybe that's why it's so clean.
-People really do say "cheers" in place of "thanks."
-Shoppers use these personal little carts in the grocery stores that look like this:



That way, they can walk with their groceries and not have the bag handles gouging into their hands. From what I've observed, in the US these are generally reserved for a few elderly people (though not many), whereas here, everyone uses them!
-They still sell hair scrunchies in regular stores.
-A new word I learned on Monday night: faffing. While it can have some cruder meanings, basically it means wasting time doing useless things, which is how I heard it applied.

And now for something completely different... I just found this video and it's awesome. It made my little actor heart feel all warm and teary.

2 comments:

Mrs. Flury said...

Rachel, I'm glad to hear you are feeling like your positive self again. You are a good role model for the rest of us on keeping an open mind. Thanks for the lesson by example!

Do you still have your moustache? I'd love to see a pic of you in that! ;D

Brenda said...

You had mentioned before you left home that you were hoping to see many plays while you were there. Now your list has just gotten longer. As you have found out,even with books, sometimes you are surprised how well you like it VS other's opinions which may have been planted on you.

As I said in our IM chat... I laughed SOOOO LOUD when I read about the banner outside of the theatre. I can see you standing there glaring at it. :0)

Continue on your journey.. you will be able to learn so much in a place you have waited so long to spend time in.

MOM

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