Monday, 4 August 2014

London and the National Theatre

So on Saturday I spent a day in London with my mum. We started the day by making our way to the National Theater where we had a costume tour. My mum actually signed us up on a waiting list 8 months ago just to get a spot as it is such a popular tour. It was amazing! The tour started at 10 where we were taken where all the costumes where made.

The first room we went to was the wig room where all the wigs are made (as you probably could tell from the name), as well as the make up. An example of this is the blood and latex scars for the show Frankenstein that Benedict Cumberbatch started in in 2011.

In here we saw a few of the wig makers working away, intricately threading through the hair into the fine net of the wig. Watching them working, I got a better understanding of how much time and energy is taken to produce a wig. Our tour guide even mentioned that most wigs would take 40 hours to make, meaning basically a weeks work for one of the makers and that one wig will usually be done by one maker from start to finish.

Leaving that room, we were taken to the dye room where most of the breaking down of garments and fabric manipulation is done. I felt at hope there, surrounded by the designs for up coming performances on the walls and garments all at different stages of dying and breaking down. We were also shown portfolios of different fabric/ textile techniques which where used to create different effects for specific costumes. It definitely inspired me in making me want to do something creative when I got back home!

Next, we went to the room where everything that isn't a prop or costume were made. This means, hats, shoes, jewelry, accessories etc. are made. It looked like and excuse the french, but it was a costume makers wet dream. All the walls had all the tools you ever needed hanging from nails, there was a large table in the middle, shelves everywhere with threads, hat moulds, buttons, fastenings, buckles, sequins, material, etc. all in there own organised pots. Books for period dress and pattern pieces and anything a maker would need all in the corner away from all the materials. It was a beautiful room, and inspired my mum to make our ironing/sewing/book/spare/photo room into my brand new work room!!!! She has literally revamped it completely by putting all my art and textiles stuff neatly in there as well as her floristry stuff from when she took a masters floristry course. I think after the tour, my mum realized how competitive costume design is and is REALLY worried about me getting a job after university as I took the whole youngest child stereotype to heart and chose a career choice which what ever i do, will probably fail at. By making the work room, I feel it was her way of saying, don't wait till after uni, start working now! But in a nice way, i don't know how that sounds in writing, but I do mean it in a good, encouraging way.

Now after leaving that heavenly room, this was when the drama happened! Not actual drama as well we were in a theater, no, all the drama that happened was my doing :O

Now what you need to know about me, is that me and food, or should I say me and no food, is a bad combo. So in the morning, we were catching a train at 8 30, now since I've sort of got into the habit of sleeping in till 10 or 11, it was a serious shock to the system to wake up at 7 30. So jumping out of bed and rushing my make up, I ran down stairs and forced down some granola. Which I think is really unhealthy thing to do, as your body hasn't really caught up with your head and want to digest food in its own time.

Anyway, back to the tour, leaving the dye room, we then went to the costume designers, design area. it was around 10:30 and my whole body was just feeling faint. I was looking around trying to find a chair to sit on, drinking loads of water, but just felt cold. My face had a cold sweat and though this sounds really weird, and I have no clue if anyone else whose had a fainting spell has felt this, and i don't know how to describe it, but my arms felt skinny? Like there was no fat on them, or on my entire body. Sort of like my body was trying to tell my brain, your too skinny, eat something. But I was on a tour? It would of looked very strange if i took out the banana i had in my bag.

My mum was standing right next to me, and like everyone else, she was listening to the tour, not realizing how i felt. All this drama was literally happening in my head, but to everyone else, they were hearing about the amazing collection of VOGUES that NT have only for the designers use.

But I knew I had to leave that stuffy room, otherwise i'd faint, so I looked over to my mum, said I feel faint, and my mum bless her, had to raise her hand to catch the tour guides attention and say that we had to go outside. My mum and me ended up on the balcony where I sat of this garden chair and just sat breathing in and out for 5 minutes. But the tour was moving on, and we had to follow, they couldn't leave us in a room full of copyrighted costume designs could they?

So we left the balcony and followed them, me walking shakily, supporting myself whenever i could with banisters and walls, my mum following behind worried as hell that i was going to faint. We got to the production room where the tailoring and sewing is done. As it was a slow part of the year as all the costumes where in the stages being used, nothing was in production. The costumes, in there were destined for the NT costume hire company, and not for any of the theatre performances. However, theses costumes where still beautiful. There was a Great Gatsby 20's themes flapper dress, a showgirls dress and a corset partially made. The garments where beautiful, and yet obviously with my luck, I end up sitting on the floor trying not to faint.

At this point I just felt sorry for the tour guide, she was brilliant and knowledgeable about everything, but then there was me stubborn enough to want to stay on the tour, not caring about everyone else on the tour and their stares. She created an enthusiastic tour with interesting facts, but I guess I was her first fainter (or near fainter).

However after leaving that room, we left the stuffy area and after a few more drinks of water i could walk a straight line and we headed to the olivier theatre. I fould it interesting how NT had set one theatre (the olivier theatre) circular so the audience feels more included, compared to the Lyttelton theatre where the seats are straight rows so the audience feels more like observers than part of the action. This meant NT could show a lot more different types of shows, including shows more for a smaller stage with the Cottesloe stage which is where me and my mum went in the afternoon to see Hotel. It sort of reminded me of the drama hall in my secondary school. it was tiny! But i feel it was also good as the audience is right in the action that you immerse yourself into the storyline.

When we got to the stage, we headed back stage where we got to see the dressing rooms, where the sets are stored and the stage managers table where all the props are laid out.

Leaving to the Olivier theatre, we headed to the Lyttelton theatre where we sat in the audience chairs and had a Q&A with the tour guide. The play that was playing that night in that theatre was Great Britian and when we were in there, they were doing a sound check. I was kicking myself as I wasn't wearing my glasses, but in the show 'Great Britian', Billy Piper stars in it, and on the blurry stage, there was a blond hair girl who had a voice very similar to Billies! It probably wasn't here as, why would they need her for a sound check? But to make this story sound interesting, lets just say I SAW ROSE......I MEAN I SAW BILLY PIPER!! :)

After the tour ended, me and mum then went off to Subway!!! YUM and rebooted with the £3 deal and 1 1/2 cookies each, and don't forget the bananas we had in our bags! We then headed back to NT and got our £12 tickets each for Hotel. Now, we had no clue what it was about, we got the tickets as they were the cheapest, and as we had 1 and a half hours to spare, we sat down in the cafe and read the reviews on our phones. The first review I read said 'nervously humorous and terrifying'? That didn't bode well as I am a complete wimp! This also reminded me of a mention of Hotel from the morning costume tour from when we were in the wig and make up room where the tour guide told us that the set is completely white but end up red :O So after reading a few more reviews, me and my mum had no clue what to expect.

But for once I surprisingly enjoyed it. It was about a dysfunctional family who are vacationing on an island, where they are trying to get away from the world. The mum was this big political higher up who made all these decisions, and the press had discovered indecent photos of the fathers erm...well you can fill in the blanks *****, which had been put front page on all the newspapers, causing the mum to resign from her position which basically sums up the start of the play. The family, once at the island is then kidnapped in the villa by a jumpy shooter and a sadistic hypocritical crazy person. The rest of the play has a lot of politics and if you haven't guessed from my amazing description of the mums job, I have no clue about politics.

Anyway, I was a little disappointed about the amount of blood, as i was expecting huge splatters of blood everywhere. The way that everyone was describing it, I thought there would be barely any white left so I'd prepared myself for A LOT of blood. But no, there was barely 3 or 4 hand prints of blood. However the fire they made in the middle of the stage was amazing! I truly didn't think the guy would actually light the fire after she poured all the 'chemicals' on the footrest. I expected something to suddenly happen just before he lit it, but no he went and did it! I swear it was a fire hazard, but looked amazing and shocking from where i sat. I could also see that they had built a metal container so the fire wouldn't spread which shows you how well the sets and props where thought out, not only the costumes.

Which brings me to my next point. Even though it was set modern day, so not that interesting, the costumes where set out so well. the mother, a political figure so clothes smart, non patterned, a bit Margaret Thathery, however as they are on holiday, a little dressed down. This meant at the start of the holiday it was very business like, which sort of matched the act where she gets muddy, have her wearing white tailored trousers, GENIOUS. She then dresses into a casual double jersey dress with heels, so its dressy but casual. It also was a smart idea to have her wear a necklace which is then ripped off of her once they are kidnapped.

Now the dad basically wears the same thing all the time. He's the one who got everyone on holiday so worse holiday clothes from the get go. Trying to get everyone enthused about the holiday. The kids on the other hand I felt where very basic. Though in this type of play, costume isn't a major part.

So once the show ended. We went and peeked in into the festival of Love which was happening right were we where. It was adorable, they had built a temporary dance floor and couples of all ages where dancing, like proper ballroom dancing. We also went into a few shops as its my parents silver anniversary soon so my mum wanted to look for something silver for my dad. But once failing at that, we just decided that we where both tired and wanted to just get back home and have a coffee.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my day in London. If not, apologies that it wasn't a post about books, though I will mention that my attempt to force myself to read all the book I told myself i'd read for the book-tube-a-thon didn't work. I keep getting distracted by other series, so I don't see myself finishing any of those books in my near future. Instead I read Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead, which after absorbing and not writing my review whilst still high on adrenaline from finishing the book, I was a little disappointed. I think I bigged it up for my self too much so once i read it, then processed it, i was like, 'that was it?' I feel it was one of those books which has to be written for context, and to put a distance of time in a story line, than something epic. I REALLY hope that her last book in the series is longer, and i can sort of guess the plot from reading SS, and basically whats gonna happen. So I hope I'm wrong, and that Mead adds multiply twists into the next book. SS was just too straight forward till the last 2 chapters.

Also I've said before how much I love Samantha Young, but I seriously do. I just finished the 1st and 2nd book of On Dublin Street and am loving the series! I've been to Edinburgh twice so its really amazing to read a book set in an area you know so your like oh yes the royal mile, I remember be there when the Fringe Festival was there, and oh look at that, they're on George IV street, and they're now on the bridge, sigh*. Any who, this series is brilliant for New Adult, so university age people! I definitely recommend this series and hope you enjoy it as much as i did.

Thank You and Keep Reading!!!