Monday, 22 February 2016

The Trip to Ireland

Way, way back in November, my flatmate Megan asked me if I wanted to go to Northern Ireland to spend the weekend with her and her family at her home for her birthday. Any normal person would have thought great, a holiday after January exams, but for me, it was a Big Deal. I had never set foot in an airport, never been on an aeroplane and never been abroad (although that one is still true). You know that icebreaker that tutors always like to play – tell us your name and an interesting fact about yourself – well those were always my go-to! But finally, after much cajoling from Megan and my parents, I decided that well, it couldn't hurt to go to Ireland on a plane and at least I would be with someone who knew what they were doing. So the day of the flight came round, I had had a really bad night’s sleep and was sick with nerves, but I managed to get to the airport in one piece and I hadn't burst into tears, which was always a bonus! I managed to rally after a very sugary drink from a cafĂ© and was feeling a bit more up for it by the time our plane was due. But then disaster struck! Our plane had been delayed by an hour and a half due to bad weather which just meant that I had more time to worry! But after much support from Megan, I was slightly calmer by the time we could board the plane.

Made it onto the plane in one (not weeping) piece!

This being my first ever flight, I’m going to bore you with the details of my actual experience of flying – not that there are too many, it was a pretty straightforward flight and nothing went wrong! My head swam a bit because of the air pressure and I never really got the hang of how the seatbelts worked (I will admit, Megan did have to help me out once we got to Ireland!) but other than that, flying was a pretty fun experience! It was cloudy and we were just flying over sea so there wasn't that much to see but it was still fun seeing all the boats and the earth from above! Obviously it was a perspective I had never seen the earth from! Other than that, I suppose flying is pretty much the same as travelling on a train really, just a tad faster! The flight back, however, was less of a fun experience. Once again, our flight was delayed and the weather could have been better. There was some turbulence which wasn't the greatest and not going to lie, I’ll felt a bit sick. At least, since it was night-time, the lights of the towns were pretty and I managed to get some reading done so it wasn't a complete write-off! And we got back in one piece!
Genuinely terrified about being blown into the sea!

The wild Irish sea at the Giant's Causeway

Walking the Walls at Derry
The Dark Hedge
I had a fantastic time in Ireland and being by the sea when the weather was so wild was a new experience for me. I'm from a landlocked county and have only been by the sea in the summer so it was great to see it so completely crazy! And it was great just seeing new places and having a Game of Thrones tour of Ireland from my wonderful friend and her family! Definitely worth getting on a plane for!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

My Week at the Theatre

So this week has been very busy for me! You'll be getting any other post soon about my recent trip to Northern Ireland but for now, I'll tell you about my immediate trip to the theatre tonight. Also check out the new Sheffield Theatres website which is very colourful and full of jaunty angles! It's much easier to navigate and soon there will be the option to buy Live for 5 tickets online.

The Crucible and the Lyceum

Tonight I went to see King Charles III at the Lyceum. I'm going to say straight off that I'm still not entirely sure if I enjoyed this play. I mean, it’s a really clever concept but it felt a bit jolted. The premise of the play is a pretty simple one: it revolves around the immediate aftermath of the Queen's death and how Charles can prove himself as a ruler. But it is executed as if it is a Shakespearean history play, though set in the future. The writing is very much in that Shakespeare mode - blank verse and iambic pentameter. It was incredibly self-consciously Shakespearean and I felt as though it was a mixture of Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Richard II. It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, even though I'm not sure what I was expecting. The main theme was personal and national identity as all the characters try to work out who they are within the public and private spheres. The set and the acting were very good, I'm just a little unsure of the concept as a whole. This show is a touring production so is only on at the Lyceum for a couple more days. I would definitely recommend seeing it if you want to see a play that will make you think and it is a fabulous play to analyse! And for £5 (if you're 16-25) it’s worth it. If you can't make it to Sheffield, the next performance is on at Brighton Theatre Royal.

I will update this post at the weekend after I have been to see Waiting for Godot at the Crucible, but make sure to get your Live for 5 tickets for this weekend if you are at all interested!
Waiting for Waiting for Godot

So Waiting for Godot is one of those plays that most people have heard of but not many have seen performed. It’s one of those standard GCSE/A-Level texts which might put off some people because they’ve studied it to death, though may never have had the chance to see it live. Honestly, I think these sorts of texts are better to see live rather than reading them in a classroom because then you can catch the humour in the text and different theatre interpretations are always useful to help analyse the text. I find that Beckett – being an avant-garde writer – is more interested in exploring theatre rather than narrative and this was portrayed through the use of a very stark and minimal set – it seemed very post-apocalyptic. The plot is very minimal too and I think best summed up by the critic Vivian Mercier: "Waiting for Godot has achieved a theoretical impossibility—a play in which nothing happens, that yet keeps audiences glued to their seats. What's more, since the second act is a subtly different reprise of the first, Beckett has written a play in which nothing happens, twice". The plot itself is literally two men waiting for the unknown Mr. Godot and waiting in vain. The plot is so incredibly frustrating because they do not remember anything and so a lot of the speech is repeated in a slightly different way or at slightly different times. The acting was very good – Lorcan Cranitch and Jeff Rawle, who played Vladimir and Estragon, were on stage all the time and kept the audiences’ interest, even with the very minimal plot, through their humour and constant back-and-forth lines. I would definitely recommend seeing Waiting for Godot to everyone because it is a funny play, just don’t expect to understand it! Because Beckett was good friends with James Joyce, I think anyone doing the Modern Literature module this semester should definitely make the effort to go to see it because it is a great way to ease yourself into the crazy world of modern lit! And Live for 5 tickets have been extended to all performances so no one has any excuses not to go see it! Waiting for Godot is on at the Crucible until the 27th of February.