I have been doing a lot - and I really do mean a lot - of reading about theatre, much of it by "men called Peter."
I'm referring to Peter Hall and Peter Brook, authors of The Necessary Theatre and The Empty Space respectively. Both these men are living legends in modern theatre history...and they both work with/around the university I'm currently attending. I'm not sure whether fangirl squealing or terrified paralysis is in order...?
But anyway, their books are intense, passionate, dense stuff. I'm learning a lot, but my mind kind of hurts. It's like the feeling you get after spending an entire day in a really great museum - like, wow, that was really great! But I'm starving and my mind's going numb!
The system of British universities is a sneaky, sneaky thing. They give you a whole lot of freedom and relatively little feedback until your final grade (I kid you not), with the result being (if you're a moderately neurotic perfectionist like myself) that you work really, really hard Just In Case.
Other books I've been poring over:
Playing Commedia (Grantham)- a training guide and history on Commedia dell'Arte, enormously useful, seeing as I still feel like I'm in a little over my head with this Commedia class. It has its fun parts, though, which is a good thing, because the add/drop deadline for my classes was last weekend!
Great Directors at Work (Jones)
Konstantin Stanislavsky (Merlin)
A Director Prepares (Bogart)- all for my Stage Directions class, which is also a bit of a challenge, but my lecturer is a really cool, really knowledgeable, really organized guy. He told us on the first day of class that he's never been a professional director, but he reminds me a bit of a director I've worked with before.
Unfortunately, he also tends to reference a lot of things I know very little about during his lectures: things like the specifics of Stanislavsky technique, or French lighting innovations of the mid-1900s. Thus, the reading. That doesn't even include the reading he actually assigned us. I still have to look those up on Blackboard.
What is Scenography? (Howard)
Lighting and Sound (Fraser)- Technical Elements is looking like a class that should be easy in some bits (our lecturer spent fifteen minutes the first day driving home the importance of taking notes and being organized- psh. What do I look like?) and tricky in others. Dr. Pringle also has a habit of throwing around obscure theatre terms while he's lecturing, but he hardly gives us any homework, so to the library I go, in hopes that I'm not too badly behind.
Britain in Close-Up (McDowall)- British Life and Culture is an easier class, thank goodness, but Dr. Woods clearly has no intention of being treated like a breeze-through course. I've got a paper due Wednesday, the instructions for which I'm still a bit hazy on, and some other reading that doesn't seem to exist in the library system...? This is the one that takes us on field trips, though. And all the other exchange students are in it, too, so Wednesdays after class are a nice time to reconnect and see how everyone else's getting on.
So, that's what's on my desk this evening, along with the week's receipts, city maps, pencils, class notes, and about 50 post-its reminding me to blog about one thing or another. Tomorrow's my off day, so maybe we can crack down on some of this craziness. Until then?