As our time here reaches to the half-way point, the wonder hasn’t worn away yet, but a sense of comfort and content has set in. I feel that we all know our way around the immediate area of the city fairly well at this point. We all take less pictures, we look up less, and we probably look less like tourists as well. Somehow, in only a week’s time, we don’t feel like tourists any longer either. It is interesting how quickly the city makes you part of it.
Inherent with this development of comfort and stability is the increasing difficulty to want to find new and interesting things to do. I don’t think we’ve become complacent, but I do think that our state of constant amazement has plateaued. The positive sides of this of course are that we are all engaging in our classwork with much more depth and effort. It seems that our seminars continue to improve as a result.
Two of my peers and myself facilitated today’s discussion that was centered around a play that self describes as a scripted improv, living newspaper, moral discussion of nuclear warfare, and documentary all at once. This play is called ‘Uranium 235’ by Ewan MacColl. The play was very freeform in nature as it was a loose outline of a series of improvisational performances that framed the events leading up to the development of the Nuclear Bomb. These events were episodic in nature, hence why it could be called a documentary, but the play contains many elements of humor, it is very self-referential, and insults the audience on multiple occasions. These devices are used frequently in the ‘agit-prop’ genre of theatre that Uranium 235 belongs to. The actors were often aware they were actors, the audience was treated as the protagonist itself and in fact this is explicitly stated, and the intelligence of the audience is all but directly challenged on multiple occasions. These are all hallmarks of a form of theatre that is inherently political in nature.
After a very eventful class, the rest of the day was spent working on the presentation that the other Fulbrighters and myself are expected to give at the end of the week. This time was again spent at a cafe- I have started to wonder as a result of the concentration of cafes in this city whether anyone ever actually eats food, or if they all simply are fueled by caffeine alone. It certainly would explain the urgency that London constantly has.