While reflecting on this past month in London, England, I find myself most affected by the live performances that I was able to view. Since being here, I have seen The Phantom of the Opera, King Lear, and My Fair Lady with my class. Too, I also saw Mad House with some friends. All of these performances were amazing, two of them causing me to genuinely cry by the end of them.
If given the opportunity, I would HIGHLY recommend seeing a play in Shakespeare’s Globe. As I mentioned, I saw King Lear. This experience is entirely unmatched, and I doubt it could be recreated elsewhere. I stood, alongside my classmates, in the pit of the theater. Basically, it is the standing room only section closest to the stage. This made the experience even better, in my opinion. Actors rushed through the crowd, looking into our eyes, before going on to the stage. While onstage, they talked directly to us. Despite this play being published in 1608, the actors performed in such a way that made it easy to comprehend not only the plot, but also the nuanced humor and drama of Shakespeare. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will always treasure from my time in London. If I’m ever lucky enough to come back to this city, I plan on returning for whatever show they are running.
As for Mad House, I feel like it was worth every extra dollar I had to spend. I felt hesitant, briefly, because I was going to pay around $100 extra to see a play. However, given the opportunity to go back in time, I would easily do it again. The experience I had seeing such a beautiful play in an intimate, ornate theater was priceless. It is easily the best souvenir I will take from this study abroad trip. Too, this play is only shown in London and features actors that I adore, such David Harbour and Bill Pullman.
All in all, the live performances I have been to have been the highlights of this trip. I found that I was transported into the diegetic world of these performances entirely. I could not recommend enough, investing in the local arts of wherever a study abroad trip takes you; it is not an investment you will regret.