17 July 2009

July in London 2009: Getting Ready for the Fall Semester

Well it is midnight on July 17th the beginning of my next to last day in London. I arrived July 2nd and have been spending these past two weeks getting things ready for the Fall Semester. I spent most of the first week moving into my flat which is in Stockwell. It is a great flat and neat location. The first night I went to a fantastic Tapas restaurant around the corner. One of my neighbors is Joanne Lumley from Ab Fab. I haven't seen her yet, but I hear she shops in the Sainsbury's (local supermarket) all the time. Last week I met with Steve Dykes and 5 of the 7 Rose Bruford students who will be studying at St. Mary's this year for dinner at Pizza Express behind the National Film Institute. We had a great time together. They are all very excited about attending St. Mary's this year. I also have seen a few plays: Arcadia by Tom Stoppard at the Duke of York Theatre for free. Jonathan scored us tickets. I was very tired and jet lagged but made it through the production. Got to see the red carpet for the premiere of Harry Potter and managed to see most of the cast. Just happened to walk upon it not knowing it was going on. Waiting for Godot has to be one of the highlights of this trip. It is starring Sir Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, and Simon Callow. Incredible acting! It was what theatre is all about. McKellan was especially wonderful. I also saw the musical, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert based on the Australian film. Very fun and campy! Last night I went to see The Black Album at the National Theatre. It is about the rise of Islamic radicalism in the 80's in London. Both funny and intense. Already booked tickets for our students to see it in the Fall. It is co-produced with Tara Arts where we are performing Vanities in October. We are being advertised in the National Theatre's programs in the Olivier and Littleton Theatres. Tonight I went to see Jerusalem starring Mark Rylance, former artistic director of the Globe Theatre and one of my favorite actors and MacKenzie Crooks from The Office (London version). It wasn't anything that I expected. I was expecting Gaza Strip conflict and it was about a guy living in the woods in an RV....Pretty funny and tragic. Great cast. Highly recommend it. Wish it was playing in the Fall. Hope they extend the run. Tomorrow night, my last night in London, I am going to see a new musical called Too Close to the Sun which is being lit by my friend and landlord Mike Robertson. It is about the last two days of Hemingway's life. Looking forward to it. I am also going to try to see Harry Potter in the morning. Have spent the rest of the week dealing with BT getting a phone line, O2 getting broadband, booking all of our day trips and buses and booking plays for the month of September! Students have some good shows to look forward to. More later! Cheers! Enjoy the pictures below.

Tom Stoppard's Arcadia at the Duke of York Theatre

Exhibit I went to at the National Portrait Galleryf

Still a few phone booths left in London

All the trees along the South Bank covered in red with white dots

Claire, Jen, Kelly from Rose Bruford who will be studying at SMU this year!!!