Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Third Rocker from the Sun

Oh dear: two-day update. Monday: Woke up and got to the PMC for class with Sandy - interesting discussion of our detail assignments, what we'd seen, and what we will see. Then a free afternoon! I went home to Hughes Parry to read (some of) In Celebration for the evening's viewing, ate a cheese and cracker lunch, then promptly fell asleep for two hours. Woke up, got dressed and Cassie, Jenny Mac and I took a bus through the rain to Trafalgar Square, where we fell into a Pizza Express for dinner. In spite of it's name, which sounds cheap and tawdry, Pizza Express is inexplicably the nicest chain of sit-down restaurants I've yet discovered. A good dinner, then the short walk to the theatre to see In Celebration, a revival of David Storey's 1969 play about a coal miner and his sons starring... Orlando Bloom. So the theatre was packed with young women. Thank goodness we weren't confused with fawning groupies... uh. Yes. The play was... er... not good. As in dead boring. And Orlando was an awkward middle school actor with straying hands and out-of-control eyebrows. It was his theatrical debut, and he thankfully didn't demand the biggest part, so I suppose I should have mercy. I'm sure he'll get better if he works at it. We then went to a pub for a bit before walking home to watch the YouTube democratic debate on CNN Online - it was really well put together, and featured some great questions and some great (and not-so-great) answers. Joe Biden kicked butt, and Obama didn't do badly either. It ended at 2 AM our time, so bed was next.

Tuesday: Woke up for class with Professor Roach - interesting discussion of The Pain and the Itch, Betrayal, and In Celebration, featuring the head of the Theatre Department at Warrick Univeristy, an old friend of Joe's. She said some good things. We were released at lunch, and Cassie and I wandered down to Covent Garden, where Joe was to meet us at 2:15 for a tour of the area. Pardon the reference and what it suggests about my degree of coolness: Covent Garden felt like Diagon Alley - full of new and strange and specialized shops ranging from a miniature theatre/doll house shop to a cosmetics store with wooden chests of glitter hanging on the walls. Incredible. We met Joe for his tour, which ended at the "Actor's Church" in Covent Garden, where the likes of Boris Karloff and Vivienne Leigh and Sir Charles Chaplin and Sir Noel Coward are memorialized. I said a little prayer here. We then had a few hours to kill before a talk with a Shaw expert at the National Theatre, so we meandered to Trafalgar Square and sat in the sun under Admiral Lord Nelson. We made it to the talk, which was pithy, and then stopped at a super market for dinner. On the way to said super, Paul and I walked past John Lithgow as he hurried to some performance or other at the National. He made sincere eye contact as though sizing us up and passed quickly on. He is very, very tall in real life. We ate by the Thames before going back to Hughes Parry to regroup. A few of us took the subway out to Camden for some underground rocking: five boys in skinny jeans and long hair performed for some minutes before the DJ came on, playing great tracks that ranged from The Who to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. All tuckered out, Ariel and I struggled to find a bus home, and made it safely, and now bed - a long fieldtrip day tomorrow!

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