Saturday, December 22, 2012

Journey's End and Lovers Meeting

I just returned from a 2 week adventure in Australia to find my diploma waiting for me in the mailbox. It is official! I have earned my Master of Arts in Shakespeare Studies from the University of Birmingham. Now, onward to future adventures!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Goodbye England! Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Today I return to California. The ending is bitter sweet. I shed a few tears last night after several celebratory rounds of drinks with my friends and colleagues. I will miss them all very much. I am looking forward to seeing my folks and having some time to relax over the holidays. It has been a wonderful year. I have met the best people in the world, learned more than I could have imagined, and completed a dream. This has been the best year of my life (so far).

Things I will miss most:

1. My girlfriends

2. Pub Nights

3. The Shakespeare Institute Players

4. The Royal Shakespeare Company

5. Walking by the Birthplace every morning

6. Fancy Dress Parties

7. Laura's Antics

8. Cappuccinos at Gusto Ricco's

9. My Flat Mate, Jude

10. History Everywhere I look...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A little touch of Narnia

Today is my last full day in England. What a sad sentence. So, to take my mind off of things, Kristy and Beth took me on a little road trip to Oxford. While we were in town we had Tacos - something that I can get at home but my American friends here very much miss. Beth ate to her hearts content. We then snuck onto campus so Beth could point out her old dorm room and check the lost-and-found for a pillow she left behind last summer. Before we left, we stood below the window of C.S. Lewis' office and took pictures with the nearby lamp post, said to be the inspiration for the lamp post in The Chronicles of Narnia. I wished as hard as I could, but the Narnian's said I am far too grownup to enter through the wardrobe. Now my only wish is that I could stay in England forever.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Today is the Day!

After months a blood, sweat, and tears, my dissertation is complete. I feel relieved!

The finished product!


When I brought my final copies to the Shakespeare Institute today, the office staff rewarded my efforts with a lollipop! I feel like a kid again!

After we submitted out dissertations, we headed across the street to the Windmill Inn (aka the Windy) for a couple bottles of wine, laughs, and relaxation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Tempest at the RSC!

Last night's performance of The Tempest at the Royal Shakespeare Company was magical, but not in the traditional sense. Jonathan Slinger as Prospero delivers a haunting performance. His staff was little more than a piece of driftwood come ashore and his coat a dirty suite jacket. Under the direction of  David Farr, the production delivers an intelligent interpretation of William Shakesepare's final play.

The tropical island described in the text appears as a muddy wasteland. The concept feels modern, but not labored. Prospero's cell, and the sea, resemble a large refrigerated unit or fish tank placed upstage. The walls convert from opaque to translucent. The cube created unique visual images of life inside the tempest.

Sandy Grierson stands out as the doppelganger of Prospero, subtle and still in his portrayal of Ariel. His performance delivered the mysterious supernatural appeal of Ariel, struggling with human emotion - a very smart choice and dynamic in his simplicity.

All in all, a very successful production.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Circle Walk from Ilmington via Chipping Campden

Yesterday, Tanya, Kristy, and I embarked on a 11.5 mile walk through the heart of the Cotswolds. We began our jounrey in Ilmington. Kristy was kind enough to drive us to a lovely starting point near a little Roman Catholic Church.

From the Church, we took a path along a small lane. Of course we had to take a picture in front of the sign marking Grump Street. Who knew that the sign would be a precurser for the day! Yikes!

Before we were even 30 min into our walk we started climbing Ilminster Down, the highest point in Warwickshire. I was winded by the time we reached the top and had to ask my friends to stop for a moment and take a breath. Needless to say, the company and the views were beautiful.
The mud along the way was quite significant. The first leg of the trip was very slow going, tedious, and dirty. We were all exhausted and hungry by the time we reached Chipping Campden. We were very pleased when we saw the town in the distance and were greeted by sheep in our trek across the final field.

We had a lovely lunch, complete with tea in a little cafe in town. Since the first half of the walk had been so gastly with the mud and insects, Kristy decided to take a cab back to Ilmington, while Tanya and I continued on. She would meet us back at the Roman Catholic Church when we reached the end of our journey.

The way back wasn't easy. Finding the Public Footpath signs became more and more difficult. We often lost the path, as it seemed less traveled and less maintained. But Tanya and I kept smiling through it all.


We were very pleased to get back to the car!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Haworth ~ Brontë Country

Last Sunday I went on a magical trip to Haworth, home of the Brontë family, in West Yorkshire. The Brontë sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and Ann) grew up in Haworth, the backdrop of the moors of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

During my visit I spent time in the Brontë Parsonage Museum, rode a steam train to Keighly and back, and walked 8 miles into the moors to visit the Brontë waterfall, bridge, Emily's seat, and Top Withins. Below are some pictures from my adventure.

Haworth Main Street

Haworth Steam Train

Parsonage Museum

Haworth Reservoir

Brontë Bridge

Brontë Bridge

Looking down on Brontë Bridge and Waterfall

Hiking to Top Withins

Jude and I at Top Withins

Top Withins

My new friend in the Brontë Parsonage field...