To Be Continued?

Well…we’ve finally reached the end.

On December 16th, the IES students had their final showcase at the Gaiety School of Acting. We laughed, we cried, we got way too lit afterwards lol.

Here’s a brief rundown of the show!

We started as members of the “Rose of Gaiety” pageant. We each introduced ourselves with a fun little intro. We then joked about Culture Shock and the Gaiety School. After the jokes had finished, we each took a moment to say thank you to another first year in our class before performing our own version of “Hallelujah” with custom lyrics. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house and it was great.

Today, as my last day in Ireland draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on my semester. I would be lying if I didn’t say it was an emotional rollercoaster this term. But through the ups and downs, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I feel like I’ve grown so much this term and have experienced things that I never would’ve gotten the chance to if I had stayed in the states. Of course there will always be things I wish had been different, but over all this experience has helped me to grow more confident as a person and a performer.

Thank you so much to all the tudors at the Gaiety School of Acting, the IES leaders, and everyone I’ve met this term for challenging me and becoming my friends. This semester wouldn’t have been the same without you all. I can’t wait to see where the world takes all of you and I know that we’ll meet again someday.

Slán go fóill

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The Snow Queen

I absolutely fell in love with this show!

The Snow Queen is based off the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. The version by Ian Toner follows the story of a little girl on her quest to rescue her best friend. It takes place after “The Melting” so the world is surrounded by water and there’s never any snow or Christmas. Gerda’s best friend Kay discovers the book the Snow Queen and decides to open it, causing him to leave town to follow the Snow Queen to help her regain her power. This leads to Gerda leaving the walls of her city on an epic quest to find Kay, meeting a variety of creative characters along the way.

I absolutely loved this show. It’s clear that it was made to be children’s theater, but it didn’t feel like any sort of children’s theater I had ever seen. The characters never talked down to the audience or acted dumb for the sake of making children laugh or be entertained. The actors were so fully of energy that you were along with them from the very beginning. They were such a fantastic cast that you wanted to keep watching. Like Murder of Crows, each actor (besides Gerda) played multiple characters. Each character was incredibly different from each other. The supporting cast was just as interesting and exciting as the main cast and I absolutely loved it. The kind of performance I saw from these actors, was one that I aspire to achieve. Nothing ever faltered in their performances and they kept the audience engaged the entire time. I also enjoyed seeing John Doran, who we had seen earlier this year in the Aeneid. I really like seeing actors in multiple shows because you really get to see even more of what they can do. I thought everyone’s performance was amazing, but I was definitely excited to see a familiar face.

The show also did a very good job of incorporating a lot of topical subjects without outright shoving in the audiences face. They discussed global warming and the human condition without saying that’s what it was about. It taught children to learn to take care of the earth (to save Christmas of course) and also be kind to each other. It never felt to preachy and at first you didn’t even know that’s what they were talking about.

Again, I absolutely fell in love with this show and I wish I could get to that level of performance some day. It wasn’t super complicated or emotionally compelling, but it was definitely hard work. It was an incredible show with an incredible message and I hope I can see it again someday! It was adorable and I just loved it! Ok I’m done now lol

Update

Hurray for another long hiatus! A few good things have happened since Thanksgiving and here they are!

  • Uncle Visit

My uncle came to visit me the day after thanksgiving. It was so great to see him again (I had seen him a few months ago when I was in London). It was great to catch up and I was also able to see his concert with Curtis Stigers! It was such a fun concert and it was beautiful.

  • IES Farewell Dinner

So between my Uncle’s visit and the IES Dinner, there was about a week of fun/hard Gaiety work. Then IES had a farewell dinner for all of us. We got out of class and went to this really fancy restaurant by the President’s house! It was so great to see everyone again after being unable to hang out for so long.

  • Mom arrival

So after the dinner, there was another week or so of work and stress. As the semester was coming to a close, my mom came over to Ireland to see me for my last few days of classes! It was so great to see her again after 3 months of being apart. She was able to stay in my flat until we left so we got to spend a lot of time together. We got to do all the things I had wanted to do, but so far hadn’t had the time to. After classes ended we spent a day in Dublin. St. Patrick’s Cathedral was surprisingly disappointing. I thought it would be a bit more cathedral-y and a little less…museum-y? Even Notre Dame was more sacred than that. We saw the Book of Kells and the Long Room which I really enjoyed! Really made me wanna be a librarian just so I could explore the Long Room lol. After our slightly over priced lunch at the Hairy Lemon (which I told her seemed kinda touristy), we popped over to the National Archeology Museum to see the bog bodies and read up on the battle of Clontarf. After that we went to the Guinness Storehouse (FINALLY!!!) It was really cool and interesting to learn about the history of Guinness. I really liked the layout of the museum and how it made beer making and history interesting! I also appreciated how it told you exactly where to go at any moment lol. We then stopped by the flat to drop our stuff off (includingaguinnessglassthatimayhavetakenfromthestorehousenoonestoppedmeok), we headed to dinner at Nandos!

The next day we took a morning trip to Malahide Castle! I had heard very little about it, but it was really cool to see it. I always love going to castles! There’s so much life and history in them which I love. During that trip we also went to Howth! This was my second time and I was able to find the exact place where we had started our IES hike up the hill just 3 months before. After we got back, we went to the GPO (again, FINALLY) to visit the museum about the 1916 Rising. I’ve heard bits and pieces about the Rising, so it was nice to finally get more of the story. We then walked to Dublinia only to discover it was closed. We decided to try Christ Church and that was closed as well, even though it was supposed to be open for another hour! This lead to me getting progressively more annoyed as we walked to Arthur’s, the first pub I had ever been to in Dublin! We walked in and there were no seats…cue even more annoyance. But we finally sat and got our dinner which was great. I ended up spending the rest of the night with a few of the remaining GSA students.

The next morning we got up early for a tour to Galway, which I slept through most of! I was so frustrated with myself. I had been wanting to see the Irish countryside since I got here and I slept through a majority of our drive! After a brief stop in Moneygall, the home of Obama’s Irish heritage, we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher! It was so fantastic to see these amazing cliffs in person. I got super close to the edge (#rebel) and it really was amazing. We then got back on the bus and started making our way to Galway, stopping briefly at a beach of limestone rocks which I ran/climbed/jumped all over (Call me goat kid!). We arrived in Galway (after I fell asleep AGAIN) and we got to walk up and down the shopping area. It was very similar to Grafton Street, but much smaller? Almost like St. Augustine. After a bit of shopping, we headed back to Dublin (where I fell asleep AGAIN. s2g riding in a moving vehicle when I’m tired is my kryptonite). We did a little more shopping before we stopped in O’Shea’s for the evening, taking in a night of live music and dancing.

And now you’re caught up! More to come soon!

Murder of Crows

Wow. Wow. Where do I even begin with this show.

For our last week, we got to see Murder of Crows by Lee Coffey at Theatre Upstairs. It tells the story of these three young girls who are sent away on a disciplinary retreat due to their behavior. Before they go, one of their grandmothers gives them a warning about the crows and not to go on the trip.

I don’t wanna spoil the whole thing (in case you get the chance to see/read it), but this show was just incredible. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen since starting at GSA. If I had to pick a word, it would be “haunting”.

The first thing that struck me was the set. And almost entirely white background with white chairs, covered in interwoven black threads across the entire set. It was so visually stunning that you knew you were in for a good show as soon as you sat down.

The acting in the show was absolutely phenomenal! Each girl played multiple characters with different physicalities that they each pulled of brilliantly. You knew who was who just by the way they stood. They also never looked at each other until the end of the show. You wold think that may hinder the performance, but it never did. It really felt like they were talking and interacting with each other, even though they were almost always looking out.

I loved this show. I’m so glad we ended on such an excellent note because if we had ended with another Donegal situation, I would’ve been incredibly disappointed. I would love to see, read, or be in this show if the opportunity arose! Well done!