Courtney Manning is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Convergence Journalism major at the University of Missouri-Columbia, she is studying abroad in London this semester.
In this week's post, Courtney talks about theater culture in London and they plays she's gotten to see thus far on her program.
One of my favorite things about London is the rich theatre and arts culture here. I’ve already seen a lot of famous plays here including The Book of Mormon, Jersey Boys and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I’m also seeing Phantom of the Opera very soon, as CAPA offered us very cheap tickets for this play.
For one of our classes, we got to see an incredible production called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and through an event that I worked for my internship I was able to see an amazing and controversial excerpt from a play called Homegrown, which is about a friendship between a terrorist suspect and a writer and was cancelled two weeks before its opening night due to external pressures such as local authorities and police getting involved.
One of my friends on my trip is interning in Deptford at a theatre called The Albany, so we went to see a play there, which a one-man show called Good Dog. The play follows the life of a young black boy as he grows into a young man and experiences and observes racial injustices in the neighborhood where he grew up.
Each of these plays has held a completely different experience from the others, and I am extremely grateful that I get to live in a city with such a deep love and respect for the arts. The plays I have seen have taught me amazing things about myself and about the world around me, and I feel very blessed that I have gotten to see them.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was by far one of the best plays I have ever seen. Written and cast by J.K. Rowling, this two-part play was a daylong event that seems to be the closest you can get to actually living in the wizarding world. My friend who saw it with me and I were barely able to even form sentences after watching in awe the incredible acting and art direction. I think that this play did a much better job of bringing the books to life than the movies did.
The play we saw for our class, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, was one of the most thought-provoking and flawlessly performed plays I have ever seen. I was a bit skeptical about this play at first, but it soon turned into an experience I will never forget. The acting, once again, was impeccable, with the lead actor playing a young boy with some form of autism. The staging and choreography of the play was also some of the best I have ever seen. Never in my life have I seen such a unique play.
Good Dog, although a much smaller-scale play (the audience was about ten people), was also amazing. I have never seen a one-man play before, and the single actor did a spectacular job of changing his mannerisms and personality as he “grew up” and experienced new things in the play.
All of the plays that I have seen so far have taught me some sort of lesson, whether it be about tolerance or the plight of minorities in various countries. In my opinion, London’s theatre scene is one of the best things about the city, and I highly recommend that anyone studying, visiting or living here attends as many plays as possible.
Courtney's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.