Training Theatre Artists to Make a Difference
So LDA ended this past Friday and therefore my time studying abroad has come to end. All of you joined this journey a little late in the game and so you got a very small look at my time in London. This experience is more then I could possibly have asked for and has been the greatest experience of my entire life.
To be honest, the last three years have caused me to flounder a little bit as an actor. I was not progressing and felt like I had stalled out. LDA has been the kick in the pants that I needed to become a well-educated and better actor. It also helped me gain confidence as a person and now I know how to remain confident in myself as an actor through all the hardships I will suffer. This is all thanks to Kathy Pogson, my acting teacher, and Leo, of course. I learned from Kathy a proper process to help character development. I spent the entire semester working on a monologue from a British play called Mixed Doubles written in the 1960s, which is an “entertainment on marriage.” I was playing a divorce solicitor. Now I know an incredible amount about British law and just how complicated it is to be a lawyer.
Kathy had us working on being animals (I was a pelican), tempo work and autobiographies in order to learn ways to create a character. It was not easy. It was, at times, both frustrating and exceptionally rewarding. Our showing, which was on Wednesday the 24th, was our chance to show off all of the work we had been developing on all term. The showing turned out very well and we were all thrilled.
My Shakespeare showing was one of the most memorable days of my life. Leo gathered all of us in the morning and told us that “today was a blank slate and you will not know what is going to happen”, which for me is one of the most exciting things about being an actor. We had our showing second and so after we talked with Leo, we went downstairs to see the other classes showing. Who should be sitting there but Ben Whishaw, one of the best young British actors! It was hard to concentrate on the other classes showings, in which they were doing scenes from Twelfth Night, because we had to stay engaged in preparation for our showing. Then we had to run upstairs and get ready for our own performance. It went incredibly well and I was so unbelievably happy with how everything turned out. During Christian M (Musical Theatre major at CUA) and Shea Ks’ (Fordham) scene from Measure For Measure, I realized just how much we had all changed in Leo’s class and become formidable actors for our young age. My Macbeth scene went very well and I had so much fun going through my Lady Macbeth craziness that it took me about twenty minutes to fully come down from the scene. Ben Whishaw was there to see it and told us that we all did excellent work. I was surprised with the amount of incredible compliments I got from audience members such as “a real sense of character” and “force of nature”. This was one of the best days I had in my time here in London helped by Simon’s (my voice teacher) note that I am “an interesting enough person to hold an audience” along with being great at playing Lady Macbeth, even at the age of 21. If it had not been for Leo, I would never have become all of these things people were describing me as.
I am currently still in London enjoying these last few days with my mother but I miss all of my LDA family a lot. I found myself incredibly close to all 21 of the people in the program and it was exceptionally difficult to say goodbye to them as they all left for the airport. Luckily, most of us go to school on the East Coast so we will be able to see each other at some point. I never want to leave these people, teachers and students, or leave London because they have all been so good to me. I will miss LDA horribly and will definitely suffer from reverse culture shock. To any Drama major who wants to study abroad, do this program. You will not regret it. You will leave with an exceptional confidence as an actor and a person.
Thank you Ellen Newman for accepting me to LDA. You have changed my life and I will cherish this experience forever.