Tuesday felt significantly lighter. We were nowhere near being done, but we had four projects out of the way (Movement, Historical Dance, Stage Combat and Dramatic Lit). But with Tuesday came the dreaded final assessment, in which each students sits down for ten minutes in front of the entire faculty as they go through one by one and tell you what they think of you. It sounds like a joke, but it’s not. We had our last Physical Theatre class in the morning, and I met my clown. She’s eager to please and somewhat proud of herself; likes doing things right and not very good at running around in circles. I wish I had more time to play around with her, but we didn’t. We also had another Tailor of Gloucester rehearsal with Richard, in which we all became very uncomfortable (as is to be expected) due to Hugh being incompetent. Richard has very little patience with him, which makes the rest of us very tense and uneasy. So that was fun… Then, half of us had lunch with Richard and Sabina to talk about the experience of LDA and living in London, etc. It was really nice to just be able to talk freely about it, what we liked and what we didn’t like, and dealing with Hugh and Hay.
After that was over, a little more Tailor and then Geoff and I had a big long break before our assessments which were later in the evening. We decided to just pick a random stop in a random direction on the tube and go there and hang out for a little while. We decided on Sloane Square (which we had forgotten was one of the most expensive places in London), and wandered around. We saw a sign for a free exhibit in some modern art museum, Saatchi, I think it was called, and said, “Hey, it’s free!” and went in.
Here’s the thing about modern art… I can’t say that it’s not “art”, because by my own definition, “art” is “art” before of the intention behind it. If someone takes a picture of a sewer and means it to be art, then what makes it less art than someone taking a picture of a lion besides the fact that I don’t like the picture of the sewer and I do like the picture of the lion? So there’s is modern art which I like, and modern art which I think is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. Some of the exhibits were cool. There was one big very white bright room that had thirteen prosthetic very lifelike old men (who looked pretty dead) going around the room aimlessly in wheelchairs, bumping into each other, with nothing but questionable sensors guiding them around. Now… I don’t necessarily like this, but it had an interesting feeling associated with it, and I could appreciate the effort and skill and thought that went into it. On the other hand, there was one “piece” that was a piece of burlap and some tap nailed to the wall. Now, again, I can’t say that this isn’t art, but I think I’m safe in saying that it’s BAD art. The coolest thing in the whole place was a spiral staircase that was made the shape of a circle, so it never ended. It was very Escher. Here, again, I could appreciate the execution of it, even though it didn’t mean anything to me except that it was cool to look at. After that, we headed to a little café and had a very simple and delicious afternoon tea. It was really nice, and made me realise how much I’m going to miss being able to be spontaneous about travel when I leave London.
Then we headed back to school for our assessments before we had a final Tailor rehearsal. When we get to school, everyone is in the computer lounge looking shell-shocked. People’s eyes are red and puffy, some are still crying, and others just keep saying “It was overwhelming, I don’t even know what to do.” As is to be expected, I started to panic. I paced and Geoff managed very well to keep me sane before I went in. I was worried about crying before I even went in, but I managed to keep it together. As a matter of fact, I was somewhat underwhelmed. I think everyone’s reactions were causing me to expect something … overwhelming, and it was just exactly what I thought it was going to be. All the teachers said what my strengths were, what I still needed to work on after I left, and it was all reasonable, logical and sensible. Not at all any kind of surprise. Not everyone’s assessments were very positive, however, so that evenings rehearsal was pretty gloomy. I can say that I was not sad to go home at nine that night.
Wednesday brought with it the prospect of our last acting class, something I was half dreading and half looking forward to. We had Tailor in the morning and then a music rehearsal in the evening (all still as painful as ever) with acting in the middle. In my acting class, we were performing our scenes for Richard. We had one run through (in which I had Tierney graciously tape my and Geoff’s last rehearsal before we showed it to Richard) and then Richard came in and we “performed” them for him. Everyone’s went so well. The difference between our first runs and those seconds ones for Richard was astonishing, and he seemed quite pleased with them as well. Obviously, my and Geoff’s rocked the world’s ass (you’ll be able to see us in the film adaptation of Stoppard’s Arcadia as soon as they get the contracts all written out). But I was sad to see the scene go. I owe Arcadia a lot, and Thomasina fit me very well.
That night, after our heroes, Geoff, Vanessa and Haley, told Hugh off for behaving as though he was constantly drugged and making life more difficult for everyone in his Tailor group, Geoff, Ann, Tierney and I went to the Greyhound Pub with Gordon, our stage combat teacher. He bought us all drinks and then we bought him one and we had our own makeshift quiz night. It was super fun, and Ann and I tied - but then she won. We ended up hanging out for three hours, and had a great time before bidding Gordon goodbye and heading home.
Thursday morning, we said goodbye to Tim Pinn, the tube guy. He told us to say goodbye to him then because he was off for the next four days, and we chatted a bit and he said he read my blog (which is awesome) and then we went off to school. It’s weird to think I may never see him again…
Our personal schedules still applied on Thursday, and this is when I got really sad, because I was beginning to realise all that I was leaving behind. In Alexander, Dee showed me a picture I had drawn of myself at the beginning of the semester, and then one I had done the week before, and the difference was astonishing. I’ve become a different person here, and I didn’t even realise it. But looking back at who I was before I came, it’s ridiculous.
We had a long lunch because our voice teacher was ill, so Geoff and I went to a Caffe Nero on High Street, and then after Sienna’s and my last class, we headed to Leicester Square because none other than the Avatar world premier was happening right there that night. Stars were supposed to start arriving at 5:30 and the show was supposed to start at 7:10, and of course we had Tailor at 7. We got really good spots right on the edge of the blue carpet and managed to stay until we saw at least Sigourney Weaver, and we could hear people shouting “Cameron!” and “Zoe!” but we had to leave before we could see anyone else.
By this time in Tailor, Stephanie and I were saying about 70% of Hugh’s lines. We had a quick and mildly painful rehearsal then home. Tomorrow was the big day.
And then it came. Friday. Our last day of classes. The penultimate full day in London. We had Tailor rehearsals all day, and by the end of rehearsals, Stephanie and I were saying 90% of Hugh’s lines. It’s better that way. We were all being surprisingly efficient and ahead of schedule, and the showing at 330 went smoothly. People really seemed to enjoy it. We had a small little gathering with everyone at the end, and Geoff did some stupid magic tricks (I say stupid in that they were very very good) and then I needed to get out of the building. It was too much. I said goodbye to the teachers and goodbye to Susan, Sienna’s aunt who came to see the showing, and headed home. London, trying hard to make it easier for me to leave, was having some tube difficulties, so it took a while, but I got home.
Saturday tried very hard not to be a sad day. I packed - very slowly… We went to the Great Ormond Street Hospital because J.M. Barrie donated the rights of Peter Pan to that children’s hospital and they have several tributes including a Peter Pan Cafe, where we were hoping to have lunch. But it was closed. We did get to see the very nice statue of Peter and Tink just outside, however, and ended up having lunch at a very nice pub thing that was delicious and cheap. We stopped by Covent Garden because we were two stops away, but man was it crowded and cold. I hadn’t dressed for being outside, so we didn’t stay, but walked to Charing Cross and took the tube home. Sienna hung out for a while while I packed and then we headed to school with Geoff to print some papers and drop some things off there.
That night, we all got together (sans Sienna who was with John, her British boy) and tried eating the food we had leftover from our stay in London. It was really nice to hang out with everyone one last time and say goodbye. Sinead got a tattoo that looks really good and people cried and all that nonsense. Tierney took a really nice polaroid of us which I can’t wait to see on facebook. And then, unfortunately, our last day in London… came to a close.
I had such a wonderful time. I became the person that I will continue to grow into for the rest of my life, and have given myself tools without which I never could have succeeded. I made friends who I will never forget and hopefully never lose, who have changed me and who I hope I have changed as well. My experiences (all of them, good or bad) were priceless and I wouldn’t change an instant of what I had in London for anything.
To all of you who I met in London, thank you for everything. I can’t believe that four months ago I didn’t know any of you, and now the prospect of going back to that life seems unbearable.
“Parting is such sweet sorrow.”