Friday, October 30, 2015

Today is a good day

Let's pretend you're caught up, shall we? 

It'll be fun, really.

Yesterday, I finally finished my final MA research project/presentation on the intersection of Actor, Ensemble Member and Maker in the art of Bunraku Puppetry. Like you do. (Ask me about it when I come home, it's bloody rad.)

After I had a pint with the lovely incoming MA class, and arranged to start crashing their Wednesday morning Lindy Hop class for the remainder of my time in London. Le score.

Niall met me at the pub, we walked back to the flat, his pal Jane came over, and Niall fed us homemade pork-chicken-leek pie, roasted carrots, and mashed potatoes with gravy. Heavenly.

Jane and Niall head off to a gig (term used by the English to mean live music event, natch. Not them performing or anything. Silly confused Americans.) It's around 7pm.

It is at this point that I say to myself:

Well, what the hell.

I clean up all the puppet making shenanigan remains in my room, pack some snacks, some pillows and a blanket into a large waterproof bag and set the alarm for 3am.

It's on.

The alarm wakes me up and I jump into cozy clothes, grab my things and trot to the bus in what still looks like the misty English nighttime. 

The bus is late.

The bus arrives, huzzah. 

As I board the bus and grab my Oyster card to swipe it, I discover that I have the wrong Oyster card. Not mine, my extra for guests, that has no money on it. Oh Lordy.

I'm sure it's in one these bags, right? 

I don't swipe the one I have, I just stand there at the front of the bus fishing helplessly, realizing it must not be there, somehow. (Note to the uninitiated: London buses will not take cash. Since I don't use a contactless card, oyster is it. And the nearest place to top up at this hour is a mile away. I'm about to confess and apologize and remove myself from the bus when he shuts the doors and starts the bus.

I kind of stand there in shock and at the next stop he tells me to move back out of the way of people boarding.

I guess it's 3:30am and he can't be bothered to deal with idiots. Halle-bloody-lujiah.

I get off the bus, and walk to the Barbican Centre, where there are already 36 people camped out in front of the darkened entrance. It is now 4:09am. 

Let's take stock. There are generally 30 day tickets, 10 standing room, and possibly a few returns made available to folks in the queue each day at 10:30am to see Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet.   Each person in the queue can buy up to two tickets (which they'll need to show picture id both to buy and to use, to discourage scalping). This means that, in all likelihood, only the first 20-25 people in line are likely to get tickets. If I join this line I will be number 37. Never gonna happen.

But I'm already here.

I get in line. 

Flash forward to 11:26am. I am at the front of the line, with roughly a hundred hopefuls standing behind me, and all the day tickets and standing room tickets have been sold. I've made new friends, played card games, loaned pillows, shared jokes and snacks and generally had a blast.

And there is still a return ticket for me.


So here I am. I've gone home and napped and changed, and am back at the Barbican in their cafe. The show starts in fifteen minutes, and I've got plans to meet my new friends from Denver in the lobby at the interval.

Let's see what you got, Cumberbunnycat.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Running away to the circus...

As per usual, I must follow the call of the circus boys. Or, rather, boy. Or, rather, Peter. Well, technically, he didn't call me, he has no time for that, I found out he was performing in England while on a Skype call to Anandamayi in California where he has been staying...yes yes, hush. The circus calls!

You may remember Peter from my frequent FB posts about his new show in development, BOOM! (which is a collaboration with another beloved circus boy, David). Or you might remember that Peter is one third of the circus boys from my Parisienne blogging weekend in early December, while they were all studying Wutao and developing BOOM! in their off-hours. The show just closed a killer kickstarter so keep an eye out for them. It's going to be incredible, I'm sure.

Anyway, Peter is performing his internationally beloved solo show at Showzam in Blackpool, I am on a train, zipping north across the English plains, and I'll be there for the first show of his run tomorrow.


Friday, February 06, 2015

I feel strangely vindicated

I was about twenty feet from Tom Stoppard, when he was asked why, as Britains greatest living playwright, he waited nine years to write and premier his most recent play. His answer was long, smart, hilarious, and charming, and in the end he said "I didn't wait. I procrastinated." 

He was wearing burgundy and cream striped socks, he fessed up to procrastinating, and he wrote Arcadia. 

I'm done.

No, really, I'm not done. I'm on the bus now, en route to see Theatre de la Ville-Paris' touring production of Six Characters in Search of an Author. T'will be me first time seeing Pirandello staged, and a free ticket to boot. Le score.

Of course, I've only just left the Stoppard talk at the National, where I had a front-row-dead-center seat listening to Tom-motherloving-Stoppard, plus the endlessly delightful company of Alona Bach, with whom I shared a delicious post-talk Punschrulle and a pretty decent Plentille. Just sayin': the Frenchies will definitely have to pull out all the stops if they want to snag the "highlight of my evening" title. 

But, I mean, word on the street is they are badasses, so who knows.

Go Frenchies go.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Well, good thing I didn't get too carried away. FA's Othello was visually stunning, full of exciting choreographic moments, and, as soon as they started talking, it was like :-(


Granted, I am an unabashed Shakespeare nerd, so my bar is high and all, but when  people are speaking Shakespeare's text and I find myself longing for them to stop talking and go back to dancing, there may be a problem.

Still, a really exciting night of Shakespeare-inspired dance, with the unexpectedly GLORIOUS boon of running into the lovely director M. Graham Smith. He's on a brief hiatus from teaching in Barcelona and will return home to SF in February. We had a delightful drink trading stories and then took the tube together most of the way home. Serendipity never ceases to amaze me. 

Flash forward to this morning, Niall (my flatmate) made crazy Mexican-Benedict-Burrito-Bizarre Deliciousness and ran off to the football game (the one with the round ball) and I'm off to the Clapton library to whip my research paper into shape. I'm armed with a latte and a bear hat. Necessity of Co-Bodily Presence here I come. Watch out.
Not pictured: Swedish marzipan roll.
It's serious homework, people. Desperate times and all that.

Friday, January 23, 2015


I'm sitting in the Lyric Hammersmith, waiting for the show to start. Frantic Assembly's adaptation of Othello. For all you San Franciscans, the Lyric is like an intimate version of ACT. Still pretty epic tho. Check it:

The word on the street is that most of the show takes place on that billiard table. No joke.
Yes yes my photos are awful. but you get what I'm driving at.
So here's the thing:

It's a sold out house, packed with HS and College kids. On Friday night. 

They are abuzz with anticipation. 

To see Othello.
Sexy Othello. But still.

I got the absolute last seat available in the orchestra and spent £30, the most I've spent yet on a ticket here, but still less than half what I would spend to see a comparable cast, with comparable production values, in a comparable venue in the Bay Area.

I think London may know a thing or two we don't.

Here we go. Let's see how they do...