I have about a million things that I could write about in this post. Doesn’t THAT make you want to read it. So I’ll start with the basics, because I don’t want you to leave, because I have abandonment issues. Here it goes.
Lots of trains.
As though I haven’t written about trains enough, I am now going to do it again. And you’re going to like it (disclaimer: you don’t actually have to like it).
Shockingly, I have good news this time around. I took a train to Liverpool last weekend by myself like a grown-up and I didn’t get lost, kidnapped, or harassed by ticket inspectors, nor did I board the wrong train, miss my train, or even mildly curse at my train.
Also, I wrote a whole short story on the trains to and from Liverpool. Entirely on my cell phone.
Actually, it only happened because I had a not-so-rare moment of general stupidity, as I did not have my notebook or even a scrap of paper on me. But when the inspiration strikes, dude, you gotsta take advantage. So I wrote a story about a girl and her boyfriend on the Tube. Because the Tube is weird (people don’t look at you, talk to you, or react in any way to you. Tube-riders are the kings and queens of deadpan).
Anyway, it’s the first short story that I’ve actually completed in the new year, which is semi-rare for me because I usually stick with projects until I freakin’ finish them. But after Privateer, I’ve just been feeling so drained and not really up to committing to anything long-term. I am like a thirty-year-old bachelor with too much money. I am a story-whore. *cringes*
Point: I got to Liverpool, vanquished National Rail Services, and had a long weekend stuffed full of the Beatles. We’re talking full-blown Beatles tour complete with memorials, a sing-along on the bus, and a guide who forced us to take pictures of residential houses because a distant cousin of John Lennon once lived there.
After this, we went to The Cavern, which is a famous club in Liverpool, and crashed a Beatles tribute band concert, thereby receiving strange looks from the tipsy middle-aged crowd. I think it’s safe to say that the Americans were the only ones belting out the lyrics to “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Field,” because as we discovered, British folks are still totally quiet even when they’re totally schnockered.
On the Monday after I returned from Liverpool, I went to see probably the best show I have seen in my time studying abroad. It’s called “Prophecy” by Baz Productions, and the most amazing part of this show was that the actors and director wrote the script together through a series of long improvisation sessions. The result was a modern and twisted take on the story of Helen of Troy and Paris, but it’s them as children before they met.
I was astonished by the amount of talent and energy on the stage, and if you know me, you also know that I’m generally a crabby old lady when it comes to theatre. The adult actors mostly played children, and did it extraordinarily well, which was a feat in and of itself, but they also doubled up on characters. Both Helen and Paris were played in drag, and the production was very Brechtian in style, minimalistic and self-aware; the house lights were up the entire time and the actors would run out into the audience when going on and off stage so that you could see them going in and out of character. You witnessed them banging on the walls and the floors to create sound effects, and yet you still felt completely immersed in the world on stage.
I could seriously rave about this show all day. If you get the chance, go see it before it closes on March 2.
Finally, tonight I got the chance to go to the Barbican and breathe the same air as Harry Gregson-Williams, one of my favorite film score composers (known for all of the Shrek soundtracks, Chronicles of Narnia 1 and 2, Kingdom of Heaven, a boatload of Tony Scott films, and more). It’s safe to say that I was fangirling in my seat. Like, literally bouncing up and down. Almost imperceptibly. But still.
Basically Harry spoke about his creative process, working with his mentor Hans Zimmer in Hollywood, and being an artist in an industry where people are constantly trying to manipulate your work. He also conducted a sixteen piece choir and world-renowned electric violinist Hugh Marsh, and I just basically melted into a puddle of glee and nostalgia when they started playing “Fiona’s Theme” from the Shrek films. I can’t describe to you how insane it is to listen to a composer play his own work live on a piano that’s twenty feet in front of you. Especially when it’s a composer whose scores have been the background music for your writing sessions for the past four years of your life.
Also, I realized at the end that I was probably the only non-film student in the room. The young man next to me asked me if I was also studying film, and when I said no, that I’m a theatre student, he looked at me with wide eyes and asked, “Ohhh. So do you know his [Harry’s] work?”
…exactly why would I be here if I didn’t?
LOL. Film students.
The kid also could have been spooked by my American dialect, but I think he was mostly just amazed that anyone besides a film major would want to attend a 2.5-hour chat about HGW’s scores.
Which I find both very funny and very sad. The whole world should love him like I love him. If you don’t, listen to this. You’re welcome.