It is now 2018! To keep up, or try to keep up with one of my many resolutions, here is a favourites post about my favourite things from January.
Performance Art: I attend Queen Mary University of London and our drama degree is very focussed on performance art and live art as opposed to acting. It has taken me a long time (a year and a half) to actually begin to understand what performance art actually is and I am still learning so you are not getting any definitions out of me. There have been times that I have missed acting plays as part of an actual educational sysPtem but I am starting to develop a wider appreciation for live performance art. Don’t get me wrong, I have hated the majority of performance art I have seen, but in a way that is exciting. You form more opinions and discuss things you hate a lot more critically, whereas it is difficult to say more than “I loved it” with things that you love, generally speaking.
Theatre: I will eventually write and post a review for this so I will not go into great detail about it but my favourite theatrical production I have seen this month is The Grinning Man at Trafalgar Studios. Basically, the story is of a man with a mutilated face who goes off in search of the person who did this to him. The music was beautiful and the story was captivating, it leaves you thinking a mixture of many emotions and I found myself very connected to the musical for weeks after, constantly listening to the music and always thinking about the story.
Film: This is the first time in a while that a film has coaxed me to the cinema. I saw The Greatest Showman. Briefly, the film is about a man who loses his job so begins a show with people who are deemed as unusual. It is a bit like Hugh Jackman has wandered into High School Musical and joined in for a bit before sodding off and I think they could have made more reference to the historical freak shows but overall, I loved it for light entertainment where you should not think. If I am not thinking about reasoning behind the film or any context what-so-ever then I loved the cheesiness and all of the singing and dancing between people who want to fit in. It was definitely a feel-good film despite having seen it in fear of missing out on something.
Exhibition: The Victoria and Albert Museum is currently hosting an exhibit: Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic. This exhibition is still running and I would completely recommend attending if you loved Winnie-the-Pooh as a child. Walking around the exhibition with snippets of stories and sketches reminded me of stories of Winnie-the-Pooh that I actually knew as a child and would never had remembered again without this exhibit. A lot of creativity has been used in the creation of the exhibition, making it a fun exploring adventure for children (and adults). There is a projected stream, tall tree chairs that tell stories, a slide, a bed to tuck yourself up into and read book, a darkened room where a story is read aloud: children would never want to leave.
Food: I have developed a slight obsession with Nando’s. I know I am far behind trend with this one but I really hadn’t noticed how good it actually is, especially from a vegetarian’s point of view. My obsession is with their Portobello mushroom and halloumi wrap. I normally find it strange to review food but this was amazing. In general I think Nando’s do a really good job of catering for everyone, you can practically take absolutely anything out of your wraps, burgers or pittas and then put practically anything in with it. You can eat in, take out, and something I very recently discovered is that you can order online to pick up and take away at a later date. I am now going to really struggle to not get Nando’s for dinner.
Quote: It was the first day of January, and as like every year, the quotes started clogging up all of my social media about it being a new year. However, one quote that kept re-appearing is this classic line from RENT. I don’t know why it resonates with me this year but I love it and have found it very inspiring.
Random: I am ending my January favourites with a random website that has entered my life. Moonpig.com. I have always heard about it but it took my brother’s 18th birthday to convince me to try out one of their cards and I was incredibly impressed. Again, I am very behind the times here but I was amazed with how you can literally change everything about the card to make it very personal. It is the perfect solution when cards from supermarkets don’t seem special enough.
Thank you for reading,
Sophie’s Bubble 😊
Finishing my first year of uni left me very busy and I was also working a lot so I didn’t do much writing for my blog for a few months but now I have enjoyed starting it up again so here is finally another favourites blog 🙂
Book: I am kicking off my July Favourites with my favourite book of the month. When I last saw Wicked I bought the book: The Grimmerie. Unfortunately, this is not Elphaba’s actual spell book; it is, however, a behind the scenes look into everything Wicked! It goes into so much detail with every aspect of Wicked and starts at the very beginning of creating the show. I would 100% recommend it to anyone who loves theatre!
Music: One random song I have loved this month is Teenagers by My Chemical Romance. I came across it at a club and think it is an awesome song to dance to. My main obsession with music this month has been the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack. I currently want nothing more than Dear Evan Hansen to come to the West End and have tried to limit my knowledge of the plot so I can be more emotionally invested in it when it does. I can tell just by the music that it will be emotionally brilliant and potentially challenge humanity at the same time as reforming it.
TV: My main Netflix binge of the month has been Bad Education mainly due to the very handsome Jack Whitehall. Celebrity crushes aside, my favourite TV of July is Gavin and Stacy. I probably binge watched this before July but they have just put up Season 3 so I’m not obsessed with it again. I love James Cordon’s work, I think his writing is comical yet true to humanity and his acting follows this perfectly. In the behind the scenes of the Christmas Special, Ruth Jones (who plays Nessa) said that the great thing about James Cordon’s acting was that he really plays everything down which is what makes it so real and this is the perfect description of how I would see his acting also. He can be hilarious but true and honest during serious moments which make for lovable characters and a lovable actor.
Quote: At the beginning of July (or admittedly the end of June) I read the book Mrs Whippy by Cecilia Ahern (my favourite author). There was a point where the character was describing the reality of love with reference to Romeo and Juliet and I found it very amusing, so much so that I laughed out loud on the tube:
‘My kitchen is shabby. My bedroom is a depressing disappointment that, over the years, has seen more depressingly disappointing performances than the West End. Romeo, oh Romeo, my husband was not. Juliet, I certainly am not. The only where-bloody-art-thous uttered from my gob were at four a.m. when he still hadn’t returned from a night out.’
The quote did continue but when reading it I wasn’t in a “performance” mind-set so felt like it was taking the joke a bit too far so I didn’t photograph the rest of the page but reading it back I do still really enjoy it, it is not often that a funny quote is my favourite, although it clearly has a sad meaning of a crumbling message behind it so I guess not.
Random: I have really enjoyed evening walks during July. My favourite evening walking spot is to a beach in a very shitty area that I can see the beauty in mainly when the tide is in. There are many fields and pleasant walks close to my house but I quite like a drive to a walking spot, especially on a long quiet road that has many more trees that traffic as the sun is at its brightest during a sunset. I really like the walk along a beach or seafront because I love the sound of waves, it is one of the few things that relax me but I have to physically be there to find it relaxing. I think a walk is such a nice way to end a day and it feels refreshing too.
Another random thing I have enjoyed this month is creating my own YouTube channel. Of course I had an account before not I have actually set it up like this blog. I changed my Google account to be Sophie’s Bubble and have created a 90 second review of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (which I have not written a review for on here yet). I love writing blogs and reviews but when the difference between this and filming a video is that I can actually talk in a video. Both writing and talking feel like I am expressing what I think and feel but physically being able to talk feels like I’m letting out the words I am typing, I am releasing them from the prison that is my laptop. I feel as though there are great things ahead for my blog. I may not have many people who read or watch my reviews and opinions but I am enjoying it so much. There is much more to come and that is very exciting.
Thank you for reading,
Sophie’s Bubble =D
During my second semester at University we had to attend a performance by Queen Mary Alumni. This performance was called Letters to Windsor House by Sh!t Theatre, performed at the Soho Theatre. Briefly, the play is a true story about a couple of friends who started receiving other people’s mail, opened this mail and started guessing who or what kind of people they were.
The set consisted of a projection of a PowerPoint slide that guided the content of the play with a sofa that was split in half. During the performance the set increasingly became more cluttered with various props. I really liked the setting because it made you feel like you were sitting in the house with them in the very beginning of the play and the size of the Soho Theatre (upstairs) helped this. It was also very relevant to the piece as they are talking about an event that happened in their home but it wasn’t a boring way of setting out a home, they split a sofa in half – that’s exciting! Of course the sofa would have been slit before and they just pulled it apart but the concept of this split became relevant in the last few lines on the PowerPoint at the very end.
Anyone who has been a Drama student at Queen Mary will know exactly what a performance presentation is and be pretty unenthusiastic when hearing it. Briefly, a performance presentation is a presentation that has to be performed but it cannot be too much like a performance and cannot be too much like a presentation either – it’s complicated. At first I was not sure about this type of performance being used in a professional theatre setting but I was happily proved wrong. There were many performative elements such as dancing, singing and direct address that aided in delivering a story that was pretty funny. The comedy gets you through the piece, the story is interesting but it was the character and personality of the actors that made you enjoy it.
As funny as the piece was, you started to get to know who the actors were in “real” life and this was not so jolly. I believe so strongly to the point where I think it is obvious that your personal experience impacts how you take a performance. The actors described their friendship to each other through letters to a point where it felt painfully real in juxtaposition to the comedy. I have experienced similar feelings and am in a similar friendship and seeing this performance the particular time I did made me feel rather empty. It was as if all the honesty in my friendship was being shown directly to me through two other people in a similar situation and it was not pleasant.
This is one of the reasons why I love theatre so much. Parts of who you are can be portrayed right in front of you, making you think about it in a different way than you have before. It is because of this play that I realised I had some very bad faults that seriously needed correcting and since then I have been working on correcting them. I and no one else is perfect but with the power of something as special as theatre we can understand this and work to improve.
Thank you for reading,