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Thanks for the Memories

Posted by: Yocheved | August 3, 2011 | No Comment |

I would like to take the time to thank some people here, in no particular order:

  • My parents, who allowed me to go on this study abroad, even though they worried about me the whole time, and for talking and emailing me through every problem I ran into
  • The staff at Gaiety who made the program a totally wonderful experience, particularly: Patrick Sutton, Amy Dawson, Martin Maguire, Cathal Quin, Denis O’Brien, and Tom (I don’t remember his last name)
  • The staff at Kinlay House and everybody from the hostel who came to our showcase, and especially Alfredo
  • Professor John Gentile at Kennesaw State University, who is in charge of the study abroad program I was on, and Amy Bowes at Kennesaw, who helped me through the registration process for Kennesaw and the program
  • William E. Macaulay, who generously funds the Macaulay program which paid for my study abroad experience, and everyone at Macaulay who helped me: Veronica Feliciano, the Opportunities Fund Board who approved my application, Dr. Wheeler, Dr. Degotardi, and especially Dr. Ronald who helped me choose the program and submit the opportunities fund application
  • All the girls in my program who made the experience so much fun: Elodie, Margaret, Blaire, Diana, Nico, and especially my roommates Ashley, Kate, and Cynthia
  • Shira Schindel, who gave me fantastic advice about where to go and what to do in Ireland and especially in Dublin
  • The Jewish community in Terenure, Dublin, who were so very warm and welcoming, especially:
    • Rabbi Lent and his wife Rifky and their children
    • Ashley, who runs the student center
    • The Kaplan family (Charlotte, Adrian, Deena, Michelle, and Teddy), who invited me for Shabbos lunch and were especially welcoming
    • Rabbi and Narit Shulman, who also hosted me for Shabbos lunch and made me feel at home
    • Everyone in the student house who was so friendly to me– especially Eleanor, Tim, Uri, and Stav
  • The staff at El Al, for not leaving me stranded in France and for giving me chocolate cookies
  • All my extended friends and family who followed my blog and advised, supported, and encouraged me through this experience as they do in every other
  • Hashem: everything He does for me is for my own good, but it’s especially nice when He gives me an experience that is as enjoyable as it is beneficial, as in this case
under: Last Day

Last Day

Posted by: Yocheved | August 3, 2011 | No Comment |

As you can see, I’m working on getting everything updated.  Keep an eye out for more soon.

under: Week 1


Posted by: Yocheved | July 29, 2011 | 1 Comment |

Really really sorry that I haven’t blogged about this week!  I’ve been very busy with the showcase, and Wednesday was Blaire’s birthday and we went out… I think I’m going to have to finish this blog when I’m in Israel maybe.  But tonight we filled out paper evaluations of the program, and I wanted to transcribe mine here.  On a scale of 1-10, 10 is good and 1 is not good

Practical Acting Programme: Patrick Sutton– 9

I loved the drama games we played in the first week of the program.  The class was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot.  I would have like to spend some more time discussing the short Beckett pieces we did- what they meant and why he wrote them, etc.  I also sometimes felt Patrick made an external correction without really getting at the internal reason behind the mistake.  But overall it was a safe and focused environment, and I enjoyed the class tremendously.

Practical Acting Programme: Martin Maguire– 10

I loved Martin’s class.  I felt completely safe in it.  I thought the way he structured it was brilliant– everyone was working all the time, and he would watch a group from the side.  You never knew when he was watching, so you weren’t stressed, and you ran the scenes so many times in class that you learned the lines without having to put in much time outside of class.  His constructive criticism was always helpful and caring– he made your work better without making you feel that you were “bad.”

Only thing I would change– sometimes we skipped the warm-up, and I really like to have a warm-up.

I also really enjoyed the opportunity for individual attention when we did our monologues for him alone.

(If I ever teach acting, I would like to structure my class like Martin’s.)

Voice Programme: Cathal Quinn– 9

I really enjoyed Cathal’s class, but I felt that we didn’t have it often enough– I would have liked to have it twice every week.  I also would have liked a little more individual time in the voice classes to pinpoint personal areas of difficulty and work on them.  We didn’t have enough sessions to have consistent, marked improvement.

Academic Programme: Denis O’Brien– 7

I learned a lot.  I felt that the discourse could have been more advanced had we known to read the reading list before the start of the program– less time would be spent summarizing plays, and the discussion could have been more participatory.

Theatre Visits

Translations (Abbey)– 10

Molly Sweeney (Gate)– 10

Iscariot (GSA)– 7

Beckett (GSA)– 7

Plaza Suite (Pavilion)– 2

The End of the Road (Site specific)– 10

Nuts and Bolts (Bewleys)– 8

I really enjoyed most of the theatre visits.  I didn’t like the Neil Simon so much, and I wasn’t sure how it fit in with the Irish theatre curriculum– I would have preferred to see a performance of Irish dancing.  But I was impressed by how many performances the program took us to see.

Cultural Visits

Walking Tour— Good.– 9

(I didn’t actually go on the walking tour, but this was my bluff so that they wouldn’t know that this evaluation was from me.  Hope it worked!)

Temple Bar Music Session— The music wasn’t Irish.  I was disappointed.– 4

IMMA Tour— The tour was very short because we got there late.– 6

Book of Kells— Great.–8

Yeats Exhibition— Fantastic!!!!!– 11

Jameson Distillery— Good.– 7

Storytelling session— Good, but I would have liked to learn how to tell stories, instead of just listening to them–8

Glasnevin Cemetery— Great.–10

Marino Casino— Great.–10

Natural History Museum— Good, but I would have preferred to see the National Museum of Ireland.–7

I would have liked to see the Writers’ Museum and the National Museum.  But I really enjoyed the cultural visits we did, and Iw as impressed with the program for putting in so many.

Dublin in general

It’s a great city– people have been very helpful and friendly everywhere I went.  And there was so much to do that was within walking distance– Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, the National Gallery…

Temple Bar

Great location– we’re in the center of everything, which is really, really nice.

I liked the hostel, but I would have liked to have had a place to unpack– there were no closets, and it’s hard to live out of a suitcase for a month.

3 Things you would improve about the Programme:

1) Tell us to read the plays in advance– I didn’t want to spend my time here reading plays

2) I would prefer to have classes earlier and/or later in the day, so that we could go to some museums on our own during the day, when they were open

3) I would have liked to do fewer scenes, but more in-depth.  Because we hadn’t read the plays, I felt we didn’t always get as deep an understanding of the characters as I would have liked.

Would you recommend this programme to others? Yes.

Please sum up your visit to the Gaiety School of Acting: This program was excellent.  I grew a lot as an actor in both skill and confidence.  I learned an amazing amount of information about Irish theatre, history, and culture.  Everybody in the program and in the hostel was very warm and friendly, and I had a lot of fun.  I think four weeks was the perfect length– any less would have been too short, but at the end of the program I felt ready to go home.

(Or at least, to go on to Israel.  But I figured if I wrote that, it would give away who I was.)

Yes, I know they might find my blog anyway, and then for sure they’ll know it’s me.  But, although I would rather they didn’t, I don’t mind if they do figure it out.  And although I would rather Patrick didn’t read all the stuff I wrote dissing “Not I,” because he is in love with that piece, I won’t be upset if he does.  Basically, I’m not giving the program the address for this blog, but I won’t be upset if they find it through Google anyway.

under: Week 4

Just a quick note!

Posted by: Yocheved | July 28, 2011 | 2 Comments |

I figured out how to enable comments so that you don’t have to have a QC account to comment.  So now you can all feel free to leave comments on my blog!  Just click “No Comment” at the top of the blog and it should give you a box to respond in.

under: Week 1

Week 3- Shabbos

Posted by: Yocheved | July 27, 2011 | 1 Comment |

After shul on Shabbos, (and after the kiddush– they have a kiddush every week), Eleanor and I, along with three Israeli girls who are touring Ireland, were invited to Charlotte and Adrian Kaplan’s.  They have a daughter Deena, who is twenty-one and is training to be a midwife, and a daughter Michelle, who is interested in studying law but doesn’t want to do it in Ireland because she plans to leave.  They also have a son, Lee, who just decided to make aliyah– I haven’t met him.  And they have a dog, Teddy.  Oh, and there was also a man who was an artist who was there.

I asked Charlotte how her family ended up in Dublin.  Apparently her grandfather was a Holocaust survivor, and he decided to go to New York.  On his way, he ended up in Cork, Ireland.  Cork, New York– either he got mixed up, or he just decided he liked it there.  Anyway, he stayed.  Charlotte and Adrian both grew up in Dublin, and they met through Bnei Akiva.

Anyway, the food was absolutely delicious.  They had lots of salads: Waldorf salad (Gala apples, celery, and walnuts), regular lettuce-tomato-cucumber salad, cole slaw, and potato salad (made with peeled brown potatoes, not red) with scallions and not too much mayo.  There was also really good chicken, and pickled roast beef.  And for dessert: pie, vanilla ice cream (tofutti), fruit salad, and homemade chocolate mousse.  And Charlotte, instead of just asking me what I wanted, said, “What would you like, Yocheved, some of everything?”  Which made it easy to say, “Yes!”

And it was all topped off with the best coffee I have ever tasted, and that’s without adding milk.

Don’t judge me: I have been surviving on cereal, tuna, and yoghurt.  I’m allowed to obsess a little.

After lunch (which ended at around 4 p.m.– bliss!), Eleanor and I stopped off at the student center before walking to a park, because the weather was really lovely.  The park was very pretty, with a waterfall, and flowers.  Then we headed back to the student center, where I read (still on the dragon series) and slept until it was time to go to Mincha and have shalosh seudos at the shul, followed by Maariv.  Then we got a ride back to the student center.  I wanted to get back to Kinlay House that night, because Cynthia and I were planning to go on a day trip on Sunday that left at 7:00 a.m. from the city centre.  Fortunately, Tim and a bunch of his friends were also heading into the city centre for some drinks, so I shared a large taxi with them.

under: Week 3

Week 3- Friday

Posted by: Yocheved | July 25, 2011 | No Comment |

I got up early on Friday morning to walk down to the Bretzel Bakery before class and buy challah rolls for Friday night.  The rabbi and his family are on vacation now, and it’s hard for the shul to find people to host me for Friday night meals because shul doesn’t end until around 9.  So I had to fend for myself.

The weather was really nice, and I enjoyed my walk a lot– I set out around 9:15 and I got back just in time to put my stuff away and go to my 11 a.m. class with Martin.  After I bought the bread, I walked a few more blocks to hit a very important landmark on my itinerary: Portobello Road.  (If you don’t know why this is an important landmark, you have to watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks.)  Unfortunately, nobody broke out into song and dance.  Maybe I have to go to the one in England for that.

I also passed by the house where George Bernard Shaw was born, but I couldn’t go inside the museum because it wasn’t open yet.

And on the way back I passed a supermarket, and I bought 10 more of the Muller fruit corner yoghurts that I’ve discovered, because they are really good.  I also bought Ben and Jerry’s as a Shabbos treat, because it was on sale for 3 euro (it’s usually about 6 euro here, which comes to $10 for a small container– so ridiculous!)

Class with Martin was a lot of fun: we went over all our scenes and I also did my Deirdre and my Nora monologues for him (we went to a separate room to go over those), and he liked them.

After lunch we had a cultural visit to the Marino Casino.  I’m having a very educational experience here in Ireland: it’s been my first time in a bar, my first time in a casino… just kidding.  The casino comes from the Italian word casine, meaning pleasure house, and the Marino Casino did not involve gambling of any sort– it was just a beautiful summer house designed by Sir William Chambers (who also designed some of the rooms at Rathfarnham Castle, by the way, and I do hope you appreciate the irony that Sir Chambers designed rooms) for James Caulfeild, the first Earl of Charlemont.  Sir Chambers never saw his finished work though, never having stepped foot in Ireland.

Marino Casino literally means “little pleasure house on the sea,” because it was on Dublin Bay (but what used to be water was filled in and is now Fairfield Par).  The casino is neoclassical, modeled on the Greek and Roman temples that Caulfeild saw on his extended 9-year Grand Tour, and is designed with a lot of illusions– even though no gambling goes on in it, the casino is, as the tour guide said, a house of cards.  From the outside it looks like the whole thing is one floor with a large ceiling, but really it’s an illusion– there are three storeys and sixteen rooms on the inside, plus a roof that the ladies would have painting lessons on.  The glass in the windows is curved so that you can’t see in from the outside: indeed, although people on the inside had a gorgeous view of the water, Dublin Mountains, the Sugarloaf (a mountain), and the Baby Sugarloaf (a volcano), nobody from the outside can see anybody inside or on the casino.  There was a tunnel underneath the casino to Caulfeild’s house on the property that he built when he got married, and the servants had to travel from the house to the casino and back through the tunnels.  Michael Collins later practiced shooting in those tunnels.

Caulfeild became obsessed with the casino and spent loads of money on it– he had a lavish tabletop covered in lapis lazuli, which was extremely expensive, and hugely expensive woods in the floor.  All the carvings and designs are symbolic of different things.  The dining hall had a six-pointed star in the floor: one triangle pointed to statues of Ceres and Bacchus (symbolizing that you will get food and drink here), the other to Apollo and Venus (symbolizing that intellectual needs will be filled as well).  Like in Rathfarnham Castle, there were ram heads carved in the corners– some theorize that the ram heads, in conjunction with the six-pointed star, are a sign for the Free Masonites.  There was also an Apollo sun-wheel on the ceiling that exactly matched the one in the hall of Rathfarnham Castle– apparently this was a common design to have on the ceiling at the time.

My favorite room was the gentlemen’s smoking room.  It’s the smallest in the casino, but it has the horoscope signs around an oval-shaped domed ceiling, designed so that you can’t see where the ceiling ends– it seems to extend ad infinitum.  In Caulfeild’s time there was a painting on the ceiling of the constellations as they were in the sky at the time of Caulfeild’s birth, so that when you looked up you saw into an infinite Milky Way.  The floor, as in many rooms in the casino, mirrored the ceiling, and the tour guide said that if you looked up for a few minutes, when you looked down the curved design on the floor made it look like it too extended ad infinitum, and that you were floating.

Caulfeild was apparently obsessed with the view from the casino, so when he had a falling out with Charles Ffolliott, the latter built the Crescent (nicknamed “Spite Row”) specifically to block the view of the sea from the casino.  Ffolliott added mismatched and asymmetrical windows and sheds to the backs of the houses to make them more unsightly, because he knew it would drive Caulfeild up the wall.  Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, grew up in the Crescent: the tour guide said he used to be a convalescent and he had terribly high fevers, and that some think the idea for Dracula came from one of his feverish nightmares.

More info on the casino is here.

We got back from the casino a bit late for the other study abroad program’s showcase, but we were able to sneak in between scenes.  (There are 2 study abroad programs at Gaiety– the four week program I’m doing and the six-week IES program.  They ended on Friday.)  They were very good, but I think our program has more talent.

After the program, I got back to the hostel and prepared for Shabbos, then I took a packed bus to the student center.  The man standing next to me on the bus started chatting, and I mentioned that I’m leaving Ireland soon to go to Israel.  Then I asked him where he was from and he said Jordan.  I was like, “Oh next-door neighbors… maybe not the friendliest of next-door neighbors, but…”

There was an Israeli woman named Faigy staying at the center (she’s touring alone) and she and Eleanor (an Israeli who lives at the center– she works in the mall selling hand creams here) and I ate together on Friday night.  Faigy had brought grapejuice, which was good, because I didn’t have any.  After the meal we went to bed.

under: Week 3

Week 3- Thursday

Posted by: Yocheved | July 21, 2011 | No Comment |

Class with Martin in the morning– worked on our O’Casey scenes and then performed them.  I did a good job; I prefer comedy to snot and tears, probably because I’m better at it.  Then we worked on Riders, and Martin was pleased with my performance.  Then Playboy— I enjoy that scene a lot, but the other girls are struggling with the lines (the language is hard and it’s not Diana’s first language), so we probably won’t be doing it in the final showcase.

No break for lunch (but I had brought a yoghurt with me)– we went straight to the Glasnevin Cemetery and museum.  The tour was really interesting: we saw the graves of Michael Collins, Daniel O’Connell, Eamon de Valera, Countess Markievicz, and Brendan Behan, to name a few.  Unfortunately, the weather was rainy and cold, so I didn’t enjoy as much as I otherwise would have.  The weather has been pretty miserable all week.  The indoor museum was also very good.

Then back to the hostel to eat before we went to see The End of the Road, meeting at Project Arts Centre.  It was site-specific theatre that took you through the life of a man Bill, as he led you around the Temple Bar area.  It was very good.

But again, I’ll fill you in on the details from Tuesday to today another time.  I just wanted to get the bare bones down before I go to bed tonight.  Goodnight!

under: Week 3

Week 3- Wednesday

Posted by: Yocheved | July 21, 2011 | No Comment |

I had a major disappointment on Wednesday morning.  It turns out that the number one site on my must-see-in-Ireland list doesn’t exist!  I was so looking forward to going to Glocca Morra and singing the song there, and now I can’t, all because it isn’t really a place here at all.  Very upsetting.

In the morning, class with Martin; Dr. Gentile sat in on part of it.  Worked a lot on O’Casey scenes, and on Synge scenes.

Lunch- Dr. Gentile took us out.  The restaurant wouldn’t give me a fruit salad because it was on their breakfast menu and they didn’t serve it the rest of the day, so I just got a Sprite.  Then I ran back to the hostel to change and grabbed something to eat before we met back at the GSA to go to–

The Jameson Distillery.  I gave my free sample to Blaire.

Then I went back to the hostel and had dinner, read, learned the Nora monologue by heart, and added to my blog.  I got into a friendly discussion with Ashley about politics before bed.  I was totally right. Just saying.

under: Week 3

Week 3- Tuesday

Posted by: Yocheved | July 21, 2011 | No Comment |

I don’t have time right now to write down everything in detail.  So I’m just going to outline what we did for the rest of the week, and then come back and fill you in on the details a little later.

Tuesday– fast day.

Class with Martin in the morning– performed Synge scenes for the class.  Met Dr. Gentile, from Kennesaw State University, the school through which I am doing this program.  But I performed my two scenes first, before he got there, so he didn’t see them.  In the last 20 minutes of class, worked on O’Casey scenes.

Went back to hostel, listened to really good shiur from torahanytime.com by Charlie Harary about Shva Assar B’tammuz.

Yeats exhibit– so, so cool, I have lots to tell you about this.

Went back to hostel, listened to part of a shiur by Chevy Garfinkel.

Storytelling with Nuala Hayes at GSA.

Went back to hostel, posted a blog.

10:30 p.m.– broke my fast!

Talked to Mommy, read, went to sleep.

under: Week 3

Week 3- Monday

Posted by: Yocheved | July 21, 2011 | No Comment |

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has told me they are stalking this blog.  I appreciate that you are stalking the blog and not me :).  Seriously, though, I’m glad you’re enjoying.  I’m finding it to be an interesting experience writing it.  I mean, it’s definitely a bit of a nuisance, which is why I’ll go for a couple of days without posting anything and then feel guilty and post a lot at once.  But it’s nice to have a record of everything I’m doing and everything I’m learning, so that I can go back and remember everything really well.  And knowing that I will be writing everything down in my blog also affects how I look at things as I’m experiencing them– I consider how I’m going to word things, what I’m going to bother including and what I won’t, and I try to remember details.  And the details I don’t remember I just make up.  No, I’m kidding– the details I don’t remember I look up, which is another way that this blog is really educational for me.

But back to your regularly scheduled program:

All this week we have acting in the morning with Martin, and then a cultural visit in the afternoon.  On Monday we started working on O’Casey scenes– Martin gave us all Nora’s monologue (which is very long and very intense) from the end of Plough and the Stars to work on, and Ashley and I are working on a comic scene between Boyle (Ashley) and Joxer (me) from Juno and the Paycock.  I haven’t read either play (I started Juno but haven’t finished), so that makes it a little difficult, but Martin explained the stories to us.  In some ways, I wish we were doing fewer scenes but more in depth, because it’s hard to learn so much text and juggle so many scenes at once, and because I like to really know the ins and outs of the plays and characters I’m working on, but when we’re working on so many I can’t do that.

Anyway, we worked on the O’Casey scenes and reviewed the Synge scenes from the week before.  In our Playboy of the Western World scene, Blaire, as Christy Mahon, jumps into my arms in the beginning of the scene when the Widow Quin (Diana) knocks on the door– Blaire is tiny and I’m bigger than she is, so it works really well.  Don’t worry, I haven’t dropped her yet.

We had only half an hour after class to change, eat, and reassemble in front of the GSA (Gaiety School of Acting) to go to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells.  The Book of Kells is an ancient book of the Gospels written in Latin that was created by Celtic monks around 800 C.E.  The artwork and illustrations were beautiful, and we learned how they made the vellum and the different colors of ink.  They would decorate letters, but never the same way twice– they came up with new ideas each time.  There were also pages of illustrations and illustrations in the margins.  But the book does have a lot of errors in it– it wasn’t intended for daily use, but as a special occasion New Testament.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the exhibit, but you can google it if you’re interested, and I’m sure lots of images will come up.

Besides the Book of Kells, we also saw the Book of Armaugh and the Book of Durrow– also ancient copies of the New Testament.  Then we went into the Long Room, on which the Star Wars Archives is modeled (without permission, so I hear, I think they got in trouble for that).  Here’s the comparison:

epic win photos - Star Wars Archives = Trinity Long Room

The top image is the Star Wars Archive, the bottom one is the Long Room.  The Long Room is basically a library, but you can’t touch any of the 200,000 books in it because they are really, really old.  I always feel sorry for books that don’t get read anymore, they must feel so futile.  But the library, as you can see from the picture, is beautiful.  There are busts all along either side of famous people: Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, Erasthmus, John Milton, Socrates, Bacon, and more.  The Library also hosts one of the few remaining copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic and a harp that dates from around the 15th century.

The exhibition in the Long Room changes periodically, but the one on display when we visited was about the development of the study of medicine.  We saw letters and books written by people who started the first schools of anatomy and of herbology in Europe.  There was a quote from Swift: “The best doctors in the world are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet, and Dr. Merryman.”  We also saw an amputation saw, and there was a book open to Francis Burney’s horrifying firsthand account of her 1812 “Mastectomy” that took place without anaesthesia, which we had read in English 252 (they didn’t have the original letter on display, because that’s in the New York Public Library– go NY!).  If they had made us read that piece when they taught us to do self-exams in high school, I bet my class would have paid a lot more attention.

For more information on the medical exhibit, which was really quite fascinating, although I’m not remembering the details so well now, feel free to peruse the Medical Exhibition Leaflet.

After the exhibit we went to the gift shop, and then I went shopping and then back to the hostel before returning to GSA to go see Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite” at the Pavilion Theatre.  None of us was really in the mood to go see the show– it was a bit far, so we had to take the train, and we were all tired.  And Neil Simon isn’t exactly Irish theater.  The comedy was a bit of a change from all the dead babies (nearly every Irish play involves a dead baby), but the play, composed of three pieces that all take place in Hotel Room 719, wasn’t very good.  I haven’t seen much Neil Simon, but what I have seen has not made me a fan.  The first two pieces were predictable, dragged, and weren’t very funny at all.  The third piece was much better, though: it was about a husband and wife who can’t get their daughter out of the bathroom where she’s locked herself, crying, on her wedding day.  They try everything to get her out, until finally the groom comes up, knocks on the door and says, “Hey Mimsy.  Chill.”  After which she comes out all smiles.

After the play, I walked back from the train with Nico.  When I got back to the hostel, I ate a second dinner (peanut butter and Nutella sandwich) and some Vienneta ice cream that I had bought earlier– delicious!

under: Week 3

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