Friday, 20 February 2009

Good News

I once again let time slip away, so I'm going to have to fit much more into this blog than I should. It's going to be a good one, though. Trust me.

I was looking forward to this week for a long time, as I mentioned in my last blog. Tuesday night, we all went on an excursion to see Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" in London. It was a terrific production! It never ceases to amaze me that after all this time, Shakespeare's writing is still just as entertaining and moving as it was when it was written. It was absolutely hilarious, and Derek Jacobi played a fantastic Malvolio. He definitely could have stolen the show with his yellow stockings!

Wednesday was another fun-filled day of theatre. Lydia and I bought tickets to "Spring Awakening" in London, so we hopped on a train that morning and headed off. It was the first time I had seen London in the day time, and I took my first ride on the Tube. Public transportation here is surprisingly nice. The train and the tube were both really clean, much nicer than anything I have experienced in the states. I'm glad Lydia was with me to show me the ropes because I would have been totally lost otherwise! The London Tube is much bigger than the DC metro!

Anyway, we arrived at the Lyric Theater and found our seats. She had a front row ticket, and I was in the second row. I was so excited about being so close to the stage. I've never had such great seats in a large production before. Usually I'm up in the nosebleed section because it's all I can afford, but here tickets to shows are incredibly inexpensive. It's fabulous! There were even seats on the stage for this production. Lydia mentioned she might come back and buy those seats if the show was really good. Anyway, so I was sitting in my seat waiting for the show to begin, and a woman who worked at the theater told those sitting in the front row that there were two seats on the stage available. Lydia turned and looked at me, I nodded, and five minutes later we had put our purses in lockers and were sitting on the stage! We were both so excited, we didn't know what to think. I was literally shaking as the opening song began.

We were literally a part of the show! The actors sat among us, and we could feel the energy on the stage. It felt so intimate. I have never been so connected to a show before. I didn't feel like I was watching a performance because I was immersed in it. And it was such a moving production. I didn't know much about "Spring Awakening" before Wednesday. I had just heard good things about it, and I knew it was about sexuality and coming of age. Apparently, it was written in the 1800s and was immediately banned upon its initial release. It tells the story of teenagers growing up in the early 1800s who are discovering sexuality for themselves because no one will explain it to them. They are sheltered, so they have no choice but to experiment in order to learn about life and love. Their individual stories are heartbreaking: abuse, failure, suicide, star-crossed love. I can see why the original story was banned upon its release. It was one of the most provocative shows I have ever seen.

So imagine all of that drama juxtaposed with music and dancing reminiscent of "High School Musical!" The actors were dressed for the time period, but instead of an orchestra there was a rock band. Neon and black lights decorated the stage, and the actors pulled out hand-held mics from their costumes when they sang. It was so creative and absolutely wonderful. I would definitely go see it again. I just might!

In my last blog, I also mentioned I was going to a debate entitled, "This House Believes that Promiscuity is a Virtue, not a Vice." It was definitely interesting, but the proposition did not present its case well at all, so most people (including myself) voted against the resolution. It was a really cool atmosphere though, and I plan to go back to more debates at the Oxford Union. We are very privileged to have membership to such an organization. And of course there are other perks, like the Pancake Party we will be attending next week. Unlimited pancakes, ice cream, and toppings. Yum!

The week ended on a good note today. I had tutorial for The Holocaust, my favorite of my two tutorials. When Christian arrived, we sat down and he said he didn't have much to say about my paper because it was "brilliant!" I was so excited! He said he only had one question for me, which kind of worried me. I always get nervous in my tutorials. I said, "Yes?" He responded, "Can I keep it?" I couldn't believe he actually wanted to keep my paper! Of course I said yes. I was so honored that he thought it was good enough to keep. It was a great reassurance that I'm not a terrible American student at Oxford (at least not in this tutorial; I'm not so sure about Political Philosophy). My paper was about the German resistance during the Holocaust, and it criticized the Goldhagen Theory that Germans are inherently predisposed to hate Jews. Interesting, right? It really is; I promise. Anyway, so he liked it, and I was super happy! Madison baked a cake this afternoon, so I'm about to treat myself to a big slice as a reward.

Tomorrow I have my Political Philosophy tutorial. I'm not very excited about it. I'm trying my hardest, but I'm just not a political philosopher. Well, I'm not a philosopher at all. I'm sure it will all work out though. This week I read Thomas Paine, and I really liked it because he was straight forward and had some great ideas. I hope I'll be able to perform well tomorrow, since I understood the reading a lot better this week. I'll let you know how it goes.

So that's what I've been up to. I miss everyone at Jewell and at home, but term is almost over! I can't believe there is only one more week left in February. It's a good feeling. I can't wait to go travel and see Oxford in the spring. It's already getting warmer and staying light later in the day. I even saw someone wearing shorts today (although I think it's a little premature for that). I'd love to hear from any and all of you. Shoot me an email! I'm going to hit the books now. Fun Friday night, right?

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