I'm going abroad! To Italy! I'll be studying physical theatre at the Accademia dell'Arte in Arezzo for this exciting spring semester. On this blog I will write about things I eat, places I go, things I eat, people I meet, things I eat, classes I take, and things I eat. You may read and be hungry. MUCH LOVE AND I MISS YOU!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

body weather training and 70 degrees at the villa

i lied. you get three posts today. in addition to spring break, this week of classes has been amazing. first of all, we returned to the villa sunday to find that arezzo had burst fully into spring - every day has been high 60s or even 70s, and eating lunch out on the roof of the teatrino or having movement class in the garden has been pure bliss. the picture below shows my feet in the villa's hammock during lunch break.

also, we have one week of something called "body weather training" this week. it has been one of the most intense workout experiences of my life, while also being really artistically enlightening. kind of like zuumba or jazzercise or any of those classes where you move continuously for 2 hours without stopping, except that it's led by a woman named franziska who has an extensive martial arts and acting background. she has formulated this method of training where the ensemble goes through a series of continuous movements for roughly 2 hours through which i have gained an unprecedented awareness of my body's interconnectedness and movement along with an amazing sense of group movement. kind of hard to describe i suppose, but it's been great and i'm very sore from it. yay excuses to eat lots of gnocchi!

lastly, we had our other movement class outside yesterday afternoon and it was wonderful. we were working on partner cartwheels and funny other ways of flipping over each other, but all in a gorgeous garden/lawn space with a giant blue sky above and luscious green hills all around. i have almost never been happier. i feel a little bad writing all this because most of y'all are sitting under snow right now, but it's been so wonderful i just had to share.



lucky you - two blog posts in one day! but this deserved its own blog post. i semi-unintentionally ended up on italian tv! it was one of the most hilarious evenings of my life. backing up a few steps, my roommate jeremy is an insanely talented tap dancer - definitely the best one i've seen ever and he's fantastic and we share shoes. the only relevant part though, is that he's an awesome tap dancer and that tap is pretty rare in italy. through some process that we still don't quite understand, a tuscan television station asked him to do some tap on one of their programs. also, the dancers in his dance class were invited to be in the studio audience for the show. being pushy and wanting to be on italian tv, i asserted my rights as jeremy's roommate to get into the studio audience along with the rest of the dancers.

so last night, three teachers drove us to the tv studio so we could watch jeremy's moment of tuscan fame. as we entered though, we discovered that we were in the studio audience of some strange tuscan version of star search (a talent competition tv show for kids/teenagers). not just the studio audience, though, the television station was so enthused by the notion of a crowd of american exchange students that they put us on a separate couch that was essentially onstage. so while "gli americani" sat literally right behind the competitor of the moment in full view of the main camera, the italian studio audience watched both the tv show and us. essentially, we were part of the spectacle. which made me really happy that i had showered beforehand.

we commenced to view a two hour competition of mildly talented and adorable italian youth sing and/or dance from onstage, with enthusiastic instructions from a tall italian woman in 5inch heels that we should cheer very enthusiastically, clap, and sway to the songs that the kids were singing. it's a good thing that we were a group of dancers and movement-trained actors, because sitting on that backless, strangely-poofy, overly modern couch with a smile and decent posture was not a simple task. we paid for it all day today with backs that were incurably stiff.

once we realized what was going on, i decided the most fun would be to play an italian-tv version of fan cam at the red sox game. i hammed it up as much as possible and competed for the audience close-ups. if i do say so myself, i got a decent amount of facetime while goofily dancing or emotionally smiling to whichever 11 year old was singing in front of me. jeremy, we discovered, was the guest performer. kind of like on "so you think you can dance" when the judges are deliberating and votes are being counted and lady gaga performs. by the transitive property, my roommate is lady gaga. he did amazingly as always though, and the italians loved him.

supposedly, the show is going to air online after its live and non-live tuscan television appearances. when i get my hands on that link i promise to post it here so you can all watch me ham it up on italian television.


i am back from spring break! well actually, i returned from spring break on sunday but alas, i am lazy and busy and that combination makes blogging rarely something that occurs on time.

anyway, i went to spain for spring break and had a fabulous time! i went to barcelona for the first four-ish days with four other ADA folksies. it rained for three of the days, but the second days was gorgeous and we went to the beach and touched the mediterranean. during the rest of the days, we wandered around the city seeing the many fabulous things - gaudi's architecture, las ramblas, some really awesome street performers, and such.

elena by the water in barcelona

my foot on the beach!

AND THEN WE HAD TAPAS ALL THE TIME! apologies for the capslock, but tapas and sangria meals make me extremely excited. so many little mini meals that you can just keep ordering and so many different delicious things! some of my favorites included ... 1) little piece of toasted bread with crabmeat, a shrimp, and a pickle. 2) mini cheeseburger with sweet onions 3) same little piece of toasted bread with 4 delicious cheeses melted onto it. 4) roasted peppers and vegetables with melted goat cheese. 5) little piece of homemade cake with creme brulee IN IT. essentially, tapas excite me like nothing else in the world. also, i saw my tufts friend dan richards in barcelona, which was an exciting touch of home while abroad.

the seville cathedral

after barcelona, i flew to seville for a whopping 7 euros (europe traveler tip: if you manage to put up with ryanair's ridiculous restrictions you can go all over really cheap. but be careful and do your research because they do things like flying you an hour from the actual city, etc or charging you 40 euros for a carryon that is the wrongs shape). seville was probably my favorite city in spain - it felt the most "spanish" despite being stuffed with american exchange students. we saw a flamenco performance in a local bar, went to the seville cathedral (i can't remember if there's a specific name but it's humungous and gorgeous), and rested in the parks/streets during the 70 degree weather. it was so amazingly therapeutic. also, more tapas and sangria. happiness. also also, i forgot this until i went to upload pictures, but we also so my favorite animal, peacocks, in the garden of a palace in seville.

i named this peacock francesco.

for the last two days i took the train up to madrid with one other ADA friend - we met up with a third actor there along with bunches of tufts people. it was great to see some tufts friends and how fabulously they were all doing. madrid was also great, much more laid back than i had expected. i also went to the reina sofia, spain's national museum of 20th century art. i have seen tons and tons of gorgeous cathedrals over the past month or so of europe, but after a while the million portrayals of jesus, mary and occasionally peter start to blend together. ergo, it was great to wander through picasso and such for a few hours. my last meal in spain was actually sushi. and it was so wonderful. the first asian food that i have eaten since january and i missed it lots and lots.

all in all, spain was fabulous.

Friday, March 11, 2011

spring break!

i leave for spring break tomorrow morning at 530am and i haven't packed at all! anyway, this post is mostly a warning that i'm not bringing my laptop on spring break (i'm going to spain), so i won't be able to post for probably a week and a half.

also, we had a contact improvisation intensive week and it was AWESOME. however, i have not packed yet and so i don't have time to talk about it. i'll let you know about it next time.


Sunday, March 6, 2011


i'm back at the villa right now after my favorite weekend yet - carnevale in venice! i made the great trek with five other fabulous actors from the program - morganna, emily, stuart, maggiejo, and elena. we left arezzo at almost 1am friday night and our train arrived in venice at 5:30am. about an hour and a half into the train ride, we finally attempted sleep by arranging ourselves into one giant knot of cuddle and in the process making most of our body parts either extremely sore or numb. 'twas fantastic.

arriving in venice just before sunrise, it was already gorgeous. we took a "water bus" to lido (kind of like urban sprawl, but not because it's an island) where our hotel was, and the really nice concierge lady transferred us to a different hotel so that we could check in and get breakfast despite it being (by then) 7am.  by this point we were rather awake and excited, so rather than taking our planned power nap we ate five croissants each, got into our carnevale makeup/costumes, and headed back towards venice.

side note - one of the most awesome parts of venice is that taking public transportation (these waterbuses) is basically an enjoyable event of its own. the whole city is beautiful, so their equivalent of hopping on a dirty subway is boarding a boat and floating past gorgeous buildings while the sun glints off of the ocean into your eyes. this made me very happy. end of side note.

i think one of my favorite parts of venice is that unlike other cities, i didn't feel that i needed to rush about to see fifteen million things. just being in venice during carnevale itself was the attraction, and everywhere around me was fabulousity. everything was hugely crowded, but it almost in a calm way because the crowds were full of amazingly dressed up people, the weather was beautiful, and no one was rushing towards any specific direction. we mostly wandered about piazza san marco, seeing the elaborate and gorgeous costumes of the venice elite.

carnevale, by the way, is a two week period leading up to fat tuesday during which (traditionally) masks and disguises are worn such that class and social structure are flipped on their head. it was originally the period in which the peasants could behave like nobility and vice versa, the designated time of year for the whole world to be flipped on its head and for craziness, basically, to rule. today it has much less of the original economic/social class implications, but remains a time when people don masks and elaborate costumes. some of the most elaborate and beautiful masks/costumes in the world are on display in venice during carnevale, and it was amazing just to walk about and see how people were dressed in the street. i included a few pictures below, along with a picture of our own carnevale costumes.

in the middle of the afternoon we also headed over murano, famous for its glass art. we saw a free glass demonstration (which was crazy impressive) and then explored the shops where glass was sold. afterwards we headed back towards san marco and the carnevale celebration, but we didn't make it too far into the night before we got exhausted and headed back to the hotel for the night. today we meandered our way to the train station, seeing more costumes and beautiful sights along the way, and returned in time for kebab in arezzo. all in all, it was a crazy fun yet relaxing (in a way) weekend. moral of the story - if you ever get the chance to go to carnevale in venice, jump at it. here's a few photos of the awesome environment where i spent the last weekend :

this guy's red purse wins him best carnevale costume of the weekend.

elena with the commedia characters!

our homemade versions of carnevale, many thanks to ben nye stage makeup.


the mask stores were also stunning, as you can see.

Friday, March 4, 2011


once again, i got lazy and busy and haven't posted in a long time! sorryyyyy!

first, weekend fun things - i travelled to Rome last weekend! it was actually somewhat overwhelming because there were so many amazing things to see and we hadn't really planned much beforehand about what our priorities were. as a result, we didn't have the right timing in order to get into the vatican or the colosseum, but we still saw lots of awesome old things. threw obligatory coins into the trevi fountain, wandered around exploring all the old things that are everywhere, and in general enjoyed ourselves. the highlight of the weekend, though, was probably seeing a piece of physical theatre on saturday night by a group called "peeping tom" from belgium (i think belgium - i might be remembering wrong). it was one of the most captivating performances i've seen, and was a huge inspiration to continue with the sometimes grueling work involved in physical theatre. here's a little clip with some highlights of the show - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlrXPVZG5Ho.

during the week, we've shifted focus in class the last two weeks such that we are spent half of each day on commedia training. it's been awesome - commedia itself has been a blast to learn, but the way that our teacher helped us connect the characters and conventions to larger broader work in all types of theatre has also been awesome. it has taught me much more about theatre as a whole than i would have expected, while still being a great realm of its own to explore.

anyway, here's some pictures from rome! and stay tuned, i'll try to start posting more often again and i go to venice this weekend for carnevale, which promises to be fantastic :)