Tuesday, June 26, 2012

the stuff that dreams are made on

Today was out last day in London, or at least our last day together in London. Tomorrow some folks head home (for Taco Bell, which everyone seems to miss passionately) some are traveling on to other European spots, and some are coming with me to Paris for three days. All the same, it was our last class together, and we spent some time discussing and voting for the London Tony's, which are Tony awards we give to the shows we saw here this summer. The group was split about many of the awards, which is part of the fun of it. But here were my votes:

Best New Play: The Collaborators, National Theatre

Best New Musical: Matilda, Royal Shakespeare Company

Best Book of a New Musical: Dennis Kelly, Matilda

Best Original Score: Tim Minchin, Matilda

Best Revival of a Play: Long Day's Journey Into Night, Apollo Theatre

Best Revival of a Musical: Kiss Me Kate, Chichester Festival Theatre

Best Perfomance by an Actor (Play): Jonjo O'Neill, Richard III

Best Performance by an Actress (Play): Laurie Metcalf, Long Day's Journey Into Night

Best Performance by an Actor (Musical): Bertie Carvel, Matilda

Best Performance by an Actress (Musical): Imelda Staunton, Sweeney Todd

Featured Actor (Play): Simon Russell Beale, The Collaborators

Featured Actress (Play): Kirsty Bushell, Twelfth Night/The Comedy of Errors/The Tempest

Featured Actor (Musical): Adam Garcia, Kiss Me Kate

Featured Actress (Musical): Rosalie Craig, Ragtime

Best Direction of a Play: Nicholas Hytner, The Collaborators

Best Direction of a Musical: Jonathan Kent, Sweeney Todd

Best Choreography: Stephen Mear, Kiss Me Kate

Best Scenic Design: Rob Howell, Matilda

Best Costume Design: Robert Jones, Kiss Me Kate

Best Lighting Design: Jon Clark, Twelfth Night

Best Musical Director: Peter White (duh)

After class I headed out for another day of errands. These errands involved buying precious items for precious people, so I can't be specific. But if you were a four year old girl who was obsessed with cats, or a fourteen year old boy obsessed with ironic t-shirts, you might guess what I was picking up. I knew it was going to be a day on my feet, so I fortified myself with lunch at Byron. I've never been to Byron, but it's a very swank little burger joint by the Gloucester Road station, so I gave it a shot.

As I sat down I noticed that the big group of college kids at the table next to me got strangely quiet. I even caught them exchanging indeterminant glances. My initial thought was that they thought I was odd for eating alone, but I do it all the time and never feel it's strange at all. Gradually they began to talk again and it only took me three to four minutes to peg them as BYU students. I was thrown at first because they dressed uncharacteristically hip and seemed to have a working knowledge of TV and film. You can probably guess that I listened in on their conversations, because that's my special hobby. As they left, one of them, the only girl at the table, came to me and said "You're Chris Clark, right?" I said I was, and that I had already worked out that they were cougars. She then told me that they were film students, and they had been working on "Pretty Darn Funny," a webseries that Lisa produced and I had a really small part in. So that explained the awkwardness. Some of these kids had probably stared at my face for hours at some point. Imagine if I'd had Lisa with me! That would have been a real celebrity sighting!

Then I was out on the town. I went to Primark and it was mayhem. Mayhem on a Tuesday morning. Madness. Never seen anything like it. I bought socks and a tie. Then I peaced right out.

I walked around Piccadilly, went to Islington, and then headed to Spitalfields Market. What took me thirteen words to write in the previous sentence took me three hours to accomplish; so I felt like I deserved a reward for walking. Walking is hard, you guys! So I played in this fountain a little:

And then I bought a pastry and sat by this goat statue:

The pastry actually squeezed all over my shirt. Oh well! It was taaaaaaasty.

After a trip to Hamleys, which is insane and packed and never brief enough (I'm no fun) I finally made it to Chalk Farm to have a quick dinner with my friend Gary Reimer. Gary is English and lives in London, but once upon a time was my student at UVU and BYU. You might recognize Gary from that very special episode of the reality dating show Excused, where he was evicted for being chaste and pure and LDS. No girl wants that! Anyway, Gary and I shared some chicken and had a great chat. Then I sent him on a very unique mission which I can't go into, because that would be a present spoiler, but it's for a seven year old boy who is obsessed with The Phantom of the Opera.

Tonight we saw our third and final show at the Roundhouse: The Tempest. I acted in the Punchdrunk Tempest back in 2001 and I directed The Tempest at UVU in 2006 (which you can watch, in entirety, here) and so I'm pretty familiar with it. But I must have been confused because I remember that play being magical and funny and exciting. Not some boring old rocks and wood planks and actors taking giant pauses between all of their lines. Let me put it this way: I had three Diet Cokes at dinner, took two caffeine pills before the show, and I still needed a Red Bull at intermission. The second half seemed to wake up; there some loud fireworks and some people dressed as rabid dogs and some semi-naked goddesses on swings and, most fantastically, Ariel dropping from the ceiling dressed as a giant terrifying bat. I loved that! But it was almost too much too late. It was fun to see these actors for a third time (and I even ran into the actor who played Trinculo at Sainsbury's before the show - very nice guy) but it was not my favorite show. Topher, Nick, and Rob laughed a lot at intermission, but other than that it was grim pickings.

To celebrate our final evening, Kate gathered us in a circle after the show and thanked all of the students for being such a great group. Kate, Micheal, their daughter Miranda and her friend Mallory all leave for the US tomorrow. They were so fun and I'll miss spending time with them. Then we walked through Regents Park to the top of Primrose Hill and, on a grassy patch overlooking the lights of London, we had a little impromptu talent show. Nick did the famed Chattanooga Choo-choo, Rob did some of his own poetry, people did cartwheels and tricks, and I performed the rap solo from "American Boy" by Estelle featuring Kanye West. It was fun, and the night was warm, and we all realized how much we were going to miss each other.

(Incidentally, the reason I took this picture isn't very easy to see. But can you see the dude massaging the girl's foot? Where I was sitting it looked like he was massaging the feet of the the man in the white t-shirt. Kind of a funny optical effect. But my camera didn't catch it very well. Anyway, Nick's having a nice time.)