London Abroad Experience-3

3. Now that you all have had a chance to digest the Globe experience, I’d like you all to write what it was like to see live Shakespeare in Stratford and the Globe. What did they have in common; what was different? Which made more of an impact on you? What felt relevant to you as a American college student; what felt strange and unfamiliar? After your two weeks in the UK, how would you describe “Shakespeare” to your friends back home?

Having loved Shakespeare most of my life and having to simply imagine the humorous plays to the best of my knowledge, being able to see one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, Much ado about nothing, was like a dream come true. Both the Globe and Stratford were two amazing experiences, they both made me feel utterly engrossed in the play, the way that the Globe basically made the stage a part of the audience and the way Stratford used audience participation, walking through the audience adding humor to the plot. I can’t really say which had a bigger impact on me but rather that they had different impacts on me, emotionally I felt drained, in a good way, after the Globe because I felt as though I had to deal with the same moral issues as the characters. After Stratford I couldn’t feel any pain in my feet because I was simply mesmerized the whole time. As an American engineering student what felt relevant was the stage presence of being able to connect so many people together with simple things such as laughter or sadness, whichever part of what they were saying made them feel that way. As an engineer, I have to consider an audience just as the actors and see through their eyes when creating things. This is how I would describe Shakespeare, as someone who brings people together and creates a common ground to be able to portray serious matters such as civil war and bigotry.

London Abroad Experience-2

2. Now that we’re back in London, what continues to strike you about the Henry VI play? What do you feel was important about that performance?

The most striking thing about the performance of Shakespeare’s Henry VI is that there were no winners and only losers, standing as a striking reminder of what it is to partake in war- that eventually it trickles down to brother against brother. There is no winner in civil war when what you are fighting is yourself, aided by the constant switch in sides during the duration of the play. It showed the internal struggle to identify an enemy because by betraying and hating those you love it feels like the only thing being fought is oneself, causing self inflicted pain in their place. It also shadowed the words of Liam O’Flaherty about the Irish civil war in “The Sniper” perfectly embodying the same sentiments showing that being blinded from seeing one’s humanity can mean that the real enemy is oneself, when the man shot by the sniper is his own brother. 

London Abroad Experience-1

  1. If you could go back a few weeks, what would you tell your old self to better prepare for the trip? What specifically would you do differently, and why?

As an anxious person I tried to overcompensate for all the new things that were to come by staying within a certain bubble of preparation, by which I mean, I tried to isolate myself to preserve energy. I assumed that it would all be out of my hand and that I would have to follow the pace of a clearly defined pathway. This turned out not to be the case at all, in fact the majority of the experience was oriented around what me and my friends wished to do and there were only a couple of hours within the week during which we had to comply with the class requirements which were still extremely enjoyable. All that being said, what I would really like to tell myself a couple weeks ago is that “everything will go much smoother than you think” and “it won’t be draining because it’s a self-paced adventure”. Specifically I would let myself buy more things to bring home because, again, I had extremely anxiously under packed and feared that I would not be able to bring everything home and turned out to have a lot of space left in my suitcase. I would also like to warn my early London-self to not rush through everything and go into the places I wanted to even if it meant stopping the group I was with in order to voice my opinion. Overall, just enjoy yourself, you’re in a different continent, and don’t let others take away from your experience.