Monday, 22 July 2019

The emotion it was electric, and the stars they all aligned

I ended up breaking my self imposed 'no theatre until NYC' rule and went to see Wicked on Saturday as several members of the cast were leaving. I wasn't originally going to go to their final show, but decided last minute that I couldn't let the opportunity pass me by and bought a ticket literally the day before.

I've grown really attached to this cast, and have seen them 6 times in total over the past 10 months. They're the cast I've seen whilst I truly fell in love with Wicked, and a lot of their portrayals are no doubt tangled up in my own interpretations of the characters themselves. Wicked and the world of Oz in general have really helped me to find my way out of a dark spot and rediscover myself and my interests, and this cast has been a big part of that journey. Back in September of last year I'd been reveling in the Wicked OBC and L Frank Baum's original novels, and although I'd seen Wicked 8 years before, back then I wasn't really a fan of it and couldn't remember much. I hadn't been to the theatre in years when I decided to go again and it felt like finding my way home. And it was this cast, and I can't thank them enough. Wicked is something that came into my life just when I needed it most, and this cast change feels almost like the end of a chapter. Not of Wicked of course, I can't imagine that, but I guess of that period of my life and the changes that are about to come.



As my booking was so last minute there weren't many seats left to choose from, so I was sat further back in the stalls than usual but it was quite nice actually. I definitely prefer being up near the front, it's just so immersive you completely forget about everyone else in the theatre and there are so many small details you just can't see further back. People kept going to the toilet and the ushers were wandering round and it was all a bit distracting this time, but I liked that I got to fully appreciate details in the set and lighting design that I usually don't notice from up close. Like the Time Dragon, I never realised that he moved so much throughout the show, I was only aware of him being used at the beginning of each act before. And a lot of things were clearer from further away, like the tornado and Dorothy's house flying past, details I was aware of but are much blurrier up close and make much more sense from a distance.

The best part of it though was definitely the atmosphere from the audience. We're generally a bit reserved in this country so I wasn't expecting much, but people were really wooping and there was thunderous applause at the end of basically every song and for Glinda and Elphaba's entrances. It really made it special and I was so glad to be there and get to experience it all first hand, it was definitely a show like no other. They also gave speeches at the end, and it was difficult not to tear up along with them, it was all just really emotional.



I was hoping to stage door and took my programme and a Sharpie with me for the occasion. I've never stage doored before due to anxiety so I really wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm really glad I did it. It was crazy busy as everyone had the same idea, and I was second row back so didn't want to bother too many people asking for photos as it was difficult. Sophie (Glinda) was kind enough to take one high enough to get me in it, and by the time Alice (Elphaba) came along people were leaving after they'd met her so it spaced out a little and I was able to get a nice shot. And it wasn't anywhere as awkward as I'd feared, it was literally just saying hello, asking to sign, I loved your performance, thank you, etc, it was so fast paced there wasn't even time for much else. So if like me you've always been too scared, don't be, there's honestly nothing to it and everyone was so lovely!




I'm so glad I made the last minute decision to go and didn't miss this experience! And the next time I see Wicked will be at the Gershwin Theatre in New York where the show first opened, which just feels so surreal to me right now!

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

'Ah, but there are three hundred and sixty four unbirthdays!'



It was my birthday last week, and I made myself a dress for the occasion from some Frozen fabric I had lying around. I spent the day down in London with my mum, and as I usually only go to London to go to the theatre it felt kind of weird not seeing anything, but my mum vehemently hates musical theatre and I'm on a self imposed ban as I'm seeing so much in New York next month. So we had a nice chill day and walked around the main city centre looking in various shops (clocking up 10 miles on my fitbit), and then had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe which I'd actually never been to before despite seeing them everywhere. We went to the one in Piccadilly, and the waitress told us that that particular restaurant had only opened 3 days before which was a funny coincidence as we were clueless. My last birthday was such an event with me seeing Roger Waters that this year was bound to feel low key in comparison, but it was still a really nice day.




I recieved some lovely things through the post yesterday, don't you love it when all of your parcels arrive on the same day? It felt like my birthday all over again! I ordered a couple of dresses from Chinese site Taobao, a site I hadn't used it years and felt terribly rusty with, but my shopping service made the process a breeze and I definitely recommend them. The beautiful butterfly collared dress has been on my wishlist for over a year and I finally succumbed, but who can blame me. And I've been after these limited edition Frozen dolls for an age as they usually sell for crazy money. But my patience was rewarded, and now I have both sets of Elsa and Hans! My two favourite characters, I just adore how they look together on my shelf.


Sunday, 7 July 2019

Eden Camp

Last week I visited Eden Camp, a WWII museum based in a genuine Prisoner of War camp that was used to hold German and Italian soldiers. I'd been to Eden Camp once before about 15 years ago with my family - my brother was into all things military, and as we were driving past anyway my parents thought it a great idea. At the time I couldn't think of anything more boring, but it captivated me and I'd been wanting to revisit ever since and so finally made the journey up to North Yorkshire.

Eden Camp
Eden Camp Eden Camp
Eden Camp
Eden Camp
Eden Camp

What makes Eden Camp so special is how immersive it is with it's interactive reconstructions that even smell like the period - you'll turn the corner and be hit with a strong whiff of coke coal or carbolic soap. It goes into these kind of details that you wouldn't expect, and shows the war as something human and illustrating what it was like for the everyday person rather than as something detached which is how I usually look at it - troops off fighting in Europe. It's a stark reminder that people back then didn't have that luxury of switching off from it, it impacted every aspect of their lives. There's even air raid sirens randomly going off throughout the day, warning you of a constant threat. It made me feel really proud of my country, of the unity, of everyone pulling together and making the best of things. And it made me a little sad too, as I can't imagine people being so selfless nowadays.

Eden Camp mostly focuses on how the war affected Britain, but there was a small exhibition detailing the effects further afield and an area dedicated to the Shoah (the preferred term by Jewish people as the word 'Holocaust' means a religious sacrifice, not mass murder. This is a good article). It was a really powerful exhibition that I found quite distressing, and at first I thought it a bit small as to me it's always felt like the biggest part of the war. But as the museum is focused on Britain and never shies away from the horrors and deep fears of what was happening around the globe, on reflection I felt that had the balance just right.

Eden Camp Eden Camp
Eden Camp
Eden Camp
Eden Camp
Eden Camp
Eden Camp
Eden Camp
Eden Camp
Eden Camp
Eden Camp

I couldn't help but notice that everything was high quality - all of the foods were packaged in tins and paper and card boxes, all of the clothes were natural fabrics, even the cotton bobbins were made of wood. You could tell the clothes were better quality than they are now (and I've been dealing in vintage for enough years to know this as a solid fact). You had to buy clothes with your rationing tokens as clothing and fabrics were rationed as well as food (fun fact: British people were the healthiest they've ever been during rationing, go figure) and there were only enough rationing tokens for one outfit per person per year. Gosh, can you imagine that nowadays?? I'm not one for fast fashion and haven't been for years and I reckon because of that I buy less than most, but even so I can't imagine! It really made me think about how unnecessary and consumerist driven we are nowadays. I loved peeking into the reconstructions of peoples living spaces and seeing open brickwork in their home, their mismatched furniture, their minimal decorative aspects. I can't even imagine owning so little. I wouldn't necessarily want to exist like that, and I think it's important to remember that these people didn't choose that life but were forced due to necessity, but it does inspire me to waste less and think about my purchases, and just try and continue being more purposeful like I've been trying to already.

The war has never been a topic of interest to me before, as I said I always found it boring as it just brought to mind the tedium of my stepdad watching The Great Escape every single Christmas. This museum really brought it to life for me and I couldn't stop thinking about it all week after.
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