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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!

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