Life is a Cabaret, I Guess

A picture of me with a ted lasso scarf

Submitted by Caitlin Stewart on the 2024 Winter THEA program in London…

This has been another jam-packed week in London! Every week that passes makes me more appreciative for this once in a lifetime opportunity and for the memories I know I’ll look back on fondly in the future, but I am also looking forward to returning home to Delaware and to certain things I can’t get here, like my family and Twizzlers. For our theatre program we saw two very different productions this week: The Homecoming, a play focusing on a family consisting of a father, his three boys, and their uncle, and how the return of the oldest son with his new wife throws them all for a loop; and Cabaret, a famous Broadway musical set in the turn of 1930 Berlin as the Nazis started to ascend into power following two love stories, one between American tourist Clifford and English cabaret performer Sally Bowles and the other between boarding house owner Frau Schneider and one of her elderly residents Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. Seeing these performances one after the other was interesting to see because of the differences in tone – Cabaret was a dramatic and elaborate production with fantastic dance numbers and costumes, an event in itself with a deeper message underneath all the sparkliness, while the Homecoming had one unchanging set and a monotone color scheme and all-together felt more serious and dark even though Cabaret’s subject matter was incredibly serious and dark in the buildup to World War II. Though I truthfully preferred The Homecoming to Cabaret, both were incredible productions to witness and observe critically. 

As for our free time, a small group of us ventured to Abbey Road to see the famous crosswalk and the store attached to the record studio. Recreating the album cover ourselves was difficult as cars were still driving on the road and had hardly any patience for a couple of tourists in the middle of a Wednesday, and seeing the different artists that have cycled through Abbey Road throughout the years was very interesting from Kanye West to Florence and the Machine. After Abbey Road an even smaller group of us Ted Lasso fans traveled farther outside the city into Richmond to see the bar and alleys and park featured in the show!  The weekend found most of the group in Amsterdam, ambling about the wandering alleyways and bridges across the never-ending canal. Immediately after arriving at our hostel, we went to the Van Gogh Museum which was definitely the highlight of my experience! We tried Dutch pancakes, and had waffles, sushi, a pizza covered in Parma Ham, and smash burgers, all of which were delicious. On our last day, in between worrying if our flight was going to get cancelled because of the winter storm headed London’s way, we took a canal tour and saw the city even more. This trip to Amsterdam was informative and exciting, as I had no knowledge or understanding of Dutch beyond their word for hello – hallo, a tough one to remember – compared to traveling to Barcelona and knowing some Spanish from classes in high school. It was also interesting to see how other people either adapted or didn’t to the new situation and to see how other people interact with others and act in general compared to what I’m used to. This has definitely broadened my view of the world and made me more adaptable to people that were raised differently than I was and how some things I see as essential others haven’t even thought of. Overall this trip to London and even weekend trips to other countries has opened my eyes to so much more than I ever expected and it’s hard to believe that it’s almost over. (Submitted on January 23, 2024)