Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Edinburgh, the Royal Mile, and Scottish Parliment

This week the entire group and I have officially become a family under a blanket of intense classes and

rehearsals involving music, philosophical questions, poetry, movement, and 21st century discussions. We listen to each other, inspire one another, and encourage each of our artistic capabilities. Professor Cathy Thomas-Grant (our director), Alex Fthenakis (our producer), JC Marshall (our dramaturg/playwright), and our group of 18 theatre students have created a warm, and engaging atmosphere during our 6 hour rehearsal days. However, it was be great to take a day off and explore the culture and architecture around us. Edinburgh, here we come!

Today was our first field trip to the wonderful city of Auld Reekie (also known as Edinburgh to the rest of the world). Our group of 22 boarded the 45-minute express train from Glasgow, excited to visit the city where we will perform in only a matter of weeks! During this day field trip, we explored the innovative Traverse Theatre, a theatre known across the world for its support of new and innovative writing and production.  A critic from The Observer wrote that the Traverse Theatre is “one of the most important theatres in Britain”. With that in mind, it was truly an honor to walk through the backstage area with our own personal guide, Sunniva Ramsay. As I looked around the group while we walked though the hallways, which were adorned with inspirational quotes written by 14-17 year old aspiring playwrights as part of an emerging artists project, I couldn’t help but think that someone could follow the steps of great artists like Nicola McCartney by submitting new, risk taking pieces of theatre.

After the tour, we met with our Religion teacher, Donald Smith, who accompanied the group as we walked through the medieval cobblestone streets of the Old Town in Edinburgh, along the Royal Mile (a long street in the middle of the town which is exactly one mile long), which is naturally a tourist hub delightfully surrounded by pubs, contemporary stores, delicious fudge boutiques, many street performers (including an absolutely terrifying Yoda), a medieval castle, and Reformation era buildings. However, during the Fringe festival, the Royal Mile will not only serve as a location for tourists but it will also be packed with brilliant performers and unique artists who will bring their contemporary art and ideas to this Medieval town.

The Company in the Main Hall of the Scottish Parliment

As we reached the end of the Royal Mile, I saw a large, postmodern building, which clearly did not blend in with the rest of the High Street. The building before me was our next destination, the Scottish Parliament. Built on the architectural concept that the Scottish Parliament should reflect the relationship between the Scottish people and nature, the building consists of leaf shaped motifs and large windows to view the beautiful mountain in the distance. Again, we had another tour guide who walked us through the political building, discussed the Scottish Referendum and most importantly, briefly mentioned that Queen Elizabeth has a palace directly on the other side of the street. Once our tour had ended, we gathered outside the sycamore and oak walls of the Parliament as we discussed return train tickets and sites to see for the next few hours. Suddenly, we see a crowd of people who had gathered to the streets and it was at that very moment when Ms. Grant yelled,” THE QUEEN, THE QUEEN, THE QUEEN IS COMING!!!” Just another magical day in Scotland!

Karolina Keach

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