By Jordan Rodnizki, Cast ’16
When I was accepted to the Penn English Program in London for the Fall 2014 semester, I was giddy with excitement over the thought of having high teas, reading and analyzing Shakespeare in his native land, and planning weekend excursions all throughout Europe – with one glaring, terrifying reservation. For the past two and a half years, my life has largely been about Mask and Wig. One would think it would be easy to bemoan 13-hour rehearsal days, various binding social and performance commitments, and the like. But for me, I couldn’t get enough from the very beginning. And I was about to jet off thousands of miles away, across the Atlantic Ocean, where I would miss Charitable Laughter, Fall Show, KOB, and most importantly, my closest friends and brothers.
I made myself the promise, however, that in order for the experience to be worth it, I would experience every day to the fullest. And I’m happy to report that now, as of early November, I’ve largely kept my promise. I’ve spent incredible weekends in Amsterdam, Rome, and in charming southern UK towns such as Winchester and Bath. I saw The Comedy of Errors in the reconstructed Globe, fulfilling a childhood dream of mine. And I discovered the wonder that is clotted cream, which pairs beautifully with raspberry jam when spread on top of warm scones – a pot of Darjeeling accompanying, naturally.
I have had the most incredible time here in London and have met some truly extraordinary people. Even so, I didn’t expect Wig-sickness to pain me so hard as it did on October 15th, when a flurry of statuses on my Facebook newsfeed advertised the opening of An Eye for an Island that evening. It immediately brought back so many memories: of struggling to perfect my triple-time-step, of jamming out to the entr’acte backstage after intermission, of feeling simultaneously exhausted and elated after load-out. I try to alleviate this fear of missing out by participating via Google Hangouts in spring show writing sessions, and I am so glad I have been able to contribute even a little bit from across the pond as A Comedy of Terrors shapes into its final drafts.
My walk to class every morning takes me across Waterloo Bridge. On one side is a snapshot of the city skyline, St. Paul’s Cathedral towering into the sky. On the other, London’s sleek iconic ferris wheel, the London Eye, sits across from historic Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament – a bustling, gorgeous city where new and old coexist in dramatic harmony. I often thought about what it would be like to experience these vistas with 40-some of my favorite gentlemen. A couple of weeks ago, when I was informed that we would be embarking on our first-ever intercontinental tour, my highest hopes were realized.
The Mask and Wig Club will be off to London this Spring Break. We’ll be drinking our customary highballs, of course, but I’m also excited to know we’ll all be indulging in a “cheeky pint,” as they say, as well. Cheers to that.