POLAHS students experienced an incredible nine day theatre tour of London, accompanied by instructors Ms. Bradac and Ms. Cardenstern. Students visited sites including the Tower of London, British Museum, Natural History Museum, Bath, Stonehenge, Hyde Park, and more. They attended five plays and participated in 2 theatre workshops (the Globe and an improv acting experience). This year they’ll raise money for a trip to Scotland, where the group will perform The Crucible!
• Why were you interested in attending the London trip? What is your favorite part about Drama class and working in theatre?
Jackie Dorman, 12th: I was interested in attending because London is a beautiful city, and I really wanted to experience being there. My favorite part about theater is being able to create something beautiful, and have some laughs while doing it.
Shersten Rosenfeld, 11th: I was interested in attending the trip because I wanted to be exposed to London’s culture and theatre scene. It was an opportunity many people don’t come across in their lifetime and I wanted to take advantage of it. My favorite part of working in theatre is testing my limits as an actress and getting out of my comfort zone. I also adore the people I meet, and most of my friends I met through the theatre program.
Amy Radinsky, 11th: I was interested in attending this trip because it was an opportunity to travel to another country and learn more about theatre. My favorite part of being in a drama class is the community - having friends all around me.
Samantha Wand, 12th: I was interested in attending because the UK would be a totally new experience unlike anything I had had the pleasure of experiencing before. My favorite part about theatre and Drama class is that I can be myself while simultaneously expanding upon my personality and allowing me to become more extroverted.
Carly Havenick, 12th: I have been doing theatre for about 13 years and I have always wanted to go to London. Growing up, I spent time in New York seeing "Western theatre," but London's West End was a completely different experience.
• Was this your first time out of the country? In London?
Samantha Wand: This was my first time out of the country!
Carly Havenick: First time out of the country!
Jackie Dorman: First time out of the country!
Shersten Rosenfeld: First time out of the country.
Amy Radinsky: This was my first time in London.
• What surprised you most about London?
Samantha Wand: I was surprised about how the foreign accents never became monotonous. I was star-struck the entire time.
Jackie Dorman: The thing that surprised me most about London was the architecture. It was absolutely stunning. A lot of the time I didn't think it was real, it felt almost too good to be true. It was a surreal experience.
Shersten Rosenfeld: What surprised me most about London was definitely the diversity. I always thought Los Angeles was extremely diverse, but after seeingand being exposed to all the cultures in London, I was pleasantly surprised about how naive I was to think that LA was the most diverse.
Amy Radinsky: What surprised me the most was how the beautiful architecture and city were both modern and from centuries ago.
Carly Havenick: I think what surprised me the most is the feeling of liberation that you get from not having to see American news all the time. I was able to take a break from what was happening back at home for a little while and it was refreshing.
• Describe some of your day trips.
Jackie Dorman: Most of our day trips included taking the Tube (England's version of a subway) and it was so cool. Most of the time we'd be outdoors, touring the city and just taking in the atmosphere.
Samantha Wand: Most of the trip is a blur because it was jam-packed with amazing activities and I was having so much fun. What I do remember is the three hour drive to Bath which started with our trip to Stonehenge.
Carly Havenick: My favorite day trip would have to be spending time in Bath. Our hotel was constructed in the 1740s, which blows my mind. And it rained that day, so the English countryside was beautiful. We concluded the night with a hilarious Dutch-English comedy show.
Shersten Rosenfeld: Our day trips always begun on the Tube, or the subway, in American terms. I enjoyed the Tube because there were so many different types of people traveling with us. I had my fair share of conversations with strangers about random topics, and I loved meeting locals. One of the most memorable trips for me was when we went to Hyde Park and went paddle boating. I had lots of fun with my friends and teachers, and it was nice to relax after all the walking we had done. Another trip I thoroughly enjoyed was going to Bath. Bath was a beautiful, quaint little city located about 3 hours from London. It was rich with culture and history, and we got to see 2,000 year old Roman Baths that the British uncovered in the 1800s. There were lots of fun and interesting people in Bath, and my friend and I tried lots of British candy, too!
• You attended five plays (Twelfth Night; Hamlet; The Play That Goes Wrong; An American in Paris or The Kite Runner; and Les Miserables). What did you learn from the plays and the two theatre workshops?
Samantha Wand: I learned how challenging it is to professionally act because the actors have to constantly be on their toes!
Shersten Rosenfeld: I learned to trust myself, and to go with the flow. Oftentimes actors stick to the script, and are uncomfortable trying new things. Especially during the rehearsal process, it is important to test the limits of your character and make it your own. Many times when I have seen a show I have admired little quirks certain actors have added to characters I had known differently before. Acting is all about experimentation and trying to put yourself in that character’s shoes. Actors often have to put themselves in situations they have never and will never be in, and the workshop helped me discover that you have to trust yourself and your abilities. It also helped me realize that by putting down a fellow actor for trying something new, you are limiting not only their creativity, but your own as well.
Jackie Dorman: In the first theater workshop, we learned how to perform based off our instincts and to not think too much before doing something. In the second workshop we learned about the different levels in acting, and the different ways you can interact with Shakespeare.
Amy Radinsky: I learned to be more open while acting. Staying open to the ideas and actions of the other actors can influence how I act and help me grow as an actor.
• Did this trip change you in any way?
Samantha Wand: The trip has made me more eager to travel and see the world, while also teaching me to appreciate being home with my friends and family.
Shersten Rosenfeld: This trip changed my outlook on the world, because I had never really thought about what different people are capable of when they come together. The saying “Unity in Diversity” is very true; London is a beautiful and timeless city made by people of all colors, religions, social classes, etc. It made me appreciate other cultures, and gave me a new respect for British people. It also grew my love for travel even more.
Amy Radinsky: This trip made me more confident in my acting, although there is always room to grow better and stronger in it. I also have a newfound respect for professional actors and actresses; they are constantly on the move and are always changing little by little, even during the run of a show.
Carly Havenick: I grew up around the notion that acting is not an ideal or realistic profession. In many cases this is true, but in England, actors are respected. There are so many more acting schools there… even just reading a program for a show is uplifting because you can see that all of the actors went to different schools specifying in performing arts.
Jackie Dorman: This trip gave me an interest in traveling. I would love to go back to London and explore even more!
• How will you stay involved in drama or theatre during the upcoming school year?
Samantha Wand: This year I plan on helping with the next school show and have already been assigned as stage manager for the show we are planning on taking to Scotland.
Carly Havenick: This will be my third year as President of the Theatre Club and I am so thrilled to work alongside my best friends to create an awesome show, raise money, and perform.
Jackie Dorman: I will be involved in theater in the upcoming school year through the Performing Arts Club (I'm the Treasurer) and by participating in The Crucible, which is the play we're performing next year.
Shersten Rosenfeld: I will be auditioning for the Crucible, the drama program’s next show. I am also working with the drama program on a show put together by
Mr. Aspinwall to be performed at a theatre festival in Scotland.
Amy Radinsky: In the upcoming school year, I will be participating in productions and helping organize fundraisers for the performing arts club at school.