Erasmus: During the Coronavirus

Let’s start this blog post by saying it has been a time. Before we arrived in Barcelona there were no cases, two weeks in to living here there were 3 and now Spain is one of the worst affected countries in Europe. Across Europe, many students now face the effects of school closures and travel bans. Here in Barcelona schools were stopped on the 12th, and now the loud High School school facing our flat now remains silent. It is quite eerie.

The hardest thing for me is the idea of being sent home. My time in Spain has already taught me a lot, and running away from the friends I have made makes me feel terrible. It is not the coronavirus itself that scares me, but passing it on to someone who may give it to someone more vulnerable. We are now in the process of staying in the flat for a while and waiting out any more news. I refuse to let this virus break everything we made, but we must also be more cautious.

In taking this time, we stocked up on booze, have our class notes being sent to us and our laptops handy for Netflix. There are worse places to be quarantined than sunny Spain. I know things will get better and that we don’t have much to worry about, but here’s hoping for the best outcome. Students from Slovakia and the Czech Republic have been advised to come home, but in true student fashion have refused. This is the last year of Erasmus where we are EU citizens, and we stand with Europe and what we have learnt from it.

¡Viva España!

Gabby

An Anxious Actor Abroad

Clever use of alliteration right?

As if this moment I am sitting on a balcony in Barcelona, looking out at all the building and thinking what the hell am I doing here?! In a good way. Tomorrow I have my induction day to meet my classmates for our 4 month course at Eólia and I’m excited, whilst simultaneously nervous.

The past few days have been made up of shopping, bars, Netflix and trying to figure out the geography of where I live, which is hard because everything here is set out in blocks and it confuses my small British mind. Why can’t everything be set out poorly like in England?

Reality still hasn’t set in that I will be studying here, it has been almost two months since I’ve actually DONE any acting, part of me wonders if I am still capable of performing at all. But I know that everything will be okay. Whilst I’m missing people back home I know that I will find my footing here and learn a lot, and if someone like me can do this then it is open to anyone.

The strangest thing has been arriving as an EU citizen and then losing that status whilst living here. Irony at its finest right? I just hope that the same offers can be made to students in the future regardless.

I may not have a lot to update now, but hopefully I can share more when I’m properly intergrated! Also follow the RBC ETA twitter and Instagram for faster updates on what I’m doing! It’ll be really cool (I promise)

See you soon,

Gabby

Lights Up, Begin Again.

Hi,

Yes it’s me, I’m still alive and I still have this blog. Is it about time I posted something after that hiatus? Definitely.

It’s almost a year since I started this blog and the things I’ve learnt in my first year have truly changed me. Things like ‘how do you know if you don’t even try?’ And ‘how the hell do I save money?’. That last one I’m still figuring out. The one thing I still struggle with is anxiety, like, really bad performance anxiety, which is why this blog is still relevant!

(View in the Swiss mountains I visited)

This past summer has been slow, full of ‘I could do that performance thing, but I really don’t want to’ or ‘I should update my blog! But the post will probably be terrible…’ it seems even out of drama school I hesitate on so many things. It’s mainly not even my own expectations, it’s really what I think the AUDIENCE’S expectations of me are.

Whenever I am on stage, my mind is always on the audience, questioning if I look good to them or if I’m funny enough or if if if etc etc etc. It’s hard to be in the moment when you want to understand what is going on behind people’s eyes. Even writing this I think about whether people hate this blog and think I’m pathetic for writing it. But why should I care? Drama school is about self discovery and growth, people are more concerned about themselves than we know.

As I wait to begin second year, I’m filled with both excitement and trepidation. But this second year has a whole module dedicated to self motivation and personal growth, so whatever happens, whatever grade, I know that persevering it will change me for the better.

Wish me luck,

Gabby

Also I met Tommy Wiseau, it was very surreal and worth it

We’ve Got A Lot To Do To Work It Out

Hello again people who somehow still read this blog regardless of the amount of activity, you guys are the best. As always being a student at drama school, there is a lot going on and a lot of projects on the way to worry about, to which I’ve started planning my own project.

Upon reflection at my time so far in first year, I have definitely made progress in my performing but there is also a part of me that is disappointed. It feels to me as I have successfully established myself as the joke of the year, the one that is there to make you laugh and be laughed at. I usually would enjoy this role, but trying to perform a serious role can be pretty frustrating when all you hear is laughter because ‘the funny one is being serious how stupid’. And me, relying on others for performance validation, goes into a state of depression after every performance.

With this in mind, it led me to wanting to organise my own performance external to the curriculum. If the first year hasn’t given me a script to really bond to, then I’ll just do it myself. Whilst I know this will be stressful to organise, all I want is to be proud of myself working in a group and entertain. It’s a lot of work yes, but that’s what theatre is. I don’t just want to settle for how I am seen, I don’t want to just be the butt of a joke, I want to be proud of my work and I want to share that with the group.

I’ll update perhaps on how the show is coming along.

All the Best

Gabby

Also I took myself out to a garden and saw the most amazing birds. Here is a wild parakeet native to Bexley just chilling out. The day out was needed.

Getting Away From it All

Today I’m writing on this blog all the way in Sainte-Maxime in the south of France. Term finished on Friday and the Saturday morning me and a group of friends were on the way to the airport for our strange adventure. Only a flight, tram, train and bus to where we need to go!

The last few days of a term are always the hardest for me. My self esteem takes a hit and I worry what the next term will bring. For now I’m trying to just get as much sun as I can and spend time with the people who make me happy and a couple of bottles of wine.

It has been hard recently what with going through a break up too, so I’m trying to find who I am without him at Uni. It’s strange, but my friends have been so good to me recently, which is what I love about my course. It’s not about the individual being strong alone, it’s the ensemble that stick together that make a piece work. I’ve found my insane ensemble who care about me the way I am, not in how I can be better. I am a decent person who just wants people to laugh and feel better, it’s just remembering that which is the hardest part.

Call a friend, you might need it,

Gabby

Short post for now until I get back on track with my break away from uni. I’ve been so disoriented:’)

I Am Enough

You know they say ‘fake it till you make it?’, well I’m hoping this philosophy may work on me one day. This has been the focus of my mind recently and one I have been discussing with a few of my friends.

Because what is ‘enough’? Enough for what? A pint of milk? (I am hilarious). I always thought my idea of not enough was a recent one, sadly I was wrong. Have you ever seen those ‘a post from x years ago’ and then you see the post and cringe badly? I had that the other day in a post from when I was 12.

Whilst still cringey in nature (and I obviously didn’t know how to capitalise letters) I’ve had this feeling of not being good enough for YEARS. This toxic mindset has been following me even before my edgy teenage years to almost adulthood. Why did I let this happen!? I’ve let it ruin relationships with people because all I want is validation for my ‘not enough’ complex. It’s got to stop.

My first step was accepting I need medication again and telling myself ‘It’s not because I’m not good enough, it’s for my health’. Also I’ve been looking more positively at the progress I’ve made a drama school, convincing myself I belong and spending more time with people. There are still some problems I need to address in me, some that will take more time but right now I need time for myself, to not hear from the things that bring me down. I am enough to live, I am enough for my course, I am enough to love and I am enough to prove I’m enough.

As Kesha sang: Don’t let the bastards bring you down.

You’re enough,

Gabby

Photo from my parents who are away on holiday living it up, you go guys.

An Anxious Actor: Gary Oldman Interview and Reflections

Hello all, long time no see. No I have not forgotten about this little blog I have created, I just have needed inspiration and motivation, something that has been in short supply as of late due to the amount of work I have had. A few weeks ago, my school had an old student return to do a talk, that student just happens to be Gary Oldman and I was lucky enough to see his talk, which opened my eyes a little bit to the acting world.

The talk began with Gary (I guess we’re on a first name basis) talking about his life before Bruford. He told us how RADA told him to ‘look for another job’ after his rejection was pretty shocking to hear. He went on to talk about the content of his old course and how things have changed. After talking a lot on his process and the difference of film and theatre, he began talking on the topic of mental health regarding regret. He mentioned how he had declined roles where the actors had gone on to earn oscars for that role which led to overthinking. ‘What would have happened if I actually took the role? Would I have gotten that award?’. The topic was furthered when Gary began to speak about ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’.

Before the filming process, Gary had experienced severe anxiety due to the expectation weighted on him. He had made Alec Guinness into an almost ‘bogeyman’ and almost dropped out of the role of George Smiley, thinking they would see him as a ‘charlatan’. His anxiety got so bad he took Beta-Blockers to cope until the first day of filming where he realised his anxiety was for nothing. The first day went really well, and he went on to win the BAFTA for best actor. If that isn’t the best case of unwarranted anxiety I don’t know what to tell you.

I mentioned the interview as hearing from such a well renowned actor about his fears makes me rethink my own. Everyday I have a moment of self doubt and I’m sure many do, but from an Oscar award winning actor is something else. He is a normal person just like you or me, an ex student of my school who made it big through hard work and perseverance. From my voice teacher who was a year below him, Gary Oldman was always working which led to his success. It shows that if you love something enough, with enough dedication it will pay off no matter how much later as long as you carry on.

It may be true that in my case that I am one of the weaker performers of my course, it may be that I have a long way to go in performance, but I’m going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming from my course. Acting is what I love, and I’m not going to let my mental health destroy that for me. Not ever.

All the best,

Gabby

Only my fringe is visible in this photo, but still counts as PROOF!!