I Was a Teenage Tourist

I came from a farming community, small population where everyone knew everyone. There was one public high school that every single kid who wasn’t religious, or hated wearing uniforms, went to. There was little diversity, as everyone was white, had a nuclear family, and smoked weed. Our high school planned several trips every year to try and ‘broaden the horizons’ of the students. I begged my dad to let me go on the school trip to Prague with my two close friends, or at least the one to Thailand. Money was tight, and he said no. A year later, however, I finally saw something I had true interest in. 

Iceland. 

The ‘Iceland March Break Trip’ was the trip designed for the students who were planning on going into either Environmental Science or Farming. Its was spearheaded by the only Environment teacher in our school: Dwight Norgaard. A farmer himself, he prided himself on his knowledge of global warming. He was the equivalent of Al Gore in his obsession over the planet becoming hotter. Iceland would be a seven day trip, with several bus tours and field trips to glaciers. It came with a hefty price tag: three thousand, five hundred dollars. As a person who was planning on becoming a Theatre Major, the trip would be essentially learning things I had never considered I ‘needed’ for a post secondary education. After much prodding toward my dad, and saving money from my shitty part time job at the local FreshCo., it was paid for and I went. 

Holy shit, it was more than my little brain could have ever imagined. 

Glacier climbing, geyser exploring, waterfall hiking, Viking graveyards! The entire country is a monument to nature itself. My two friends and I even visited the worlds only Penis Museum. I must say, seeing the penis of every single Icelandic animal, including a human’s, is a once in a lifetime achievement. 

View from on top of the glacier

Since Iceland, I’ve wanted to experience more. When sitting in M.J. Kidnie’s class last semester, she mentioned the opportunity for students in a course called ‘Destination Theatre’. A two-week trip to England, seeing plays and sightseeing things I had been told about by my family for years. Most importantly, it counted as a 0.5 credit toward my theatre studies. 

SIGN ME THE FUCK UP!!!

What do I expect to experience when I’m in England? Plays, of course. As a connoisseur of cryptozoology and a fan of the Mothman, maybe some haunted castles? Of course, by the time I’m writing this, I JUST purchased tickets to the Milton Keyes show for My Chemical Romance’s comeback tour in Europe. So. Of course I would cut off my limbs to see my favourite band of all time. 

But then there’s the global citizen part. A global citizen is a person who understands the wider world around them. As a global citizen, you open yourself up to different people, cultures, and ideas. To be honest, that can be a terrifying experience. It’s extremely hard to step outside our comfort zone. There is a reason it is called a ‘comfort zone’ after all! As a person with anxiety disorder, it makes it exponentially hard sometimes to try and discover new things and experiences. This trip seems like a perfect opportunity to try and make me a more rounded global citizen. Overall, I feel like I can get a better understanding of the world, as well as myself through this trip. 

One of the many waterfalls we visited
The Icelandic Black Sand Beach

Magical Moments & Memories

There is something magical about theatre that has always drawn me to it. The memories of my first visit to the Shaw Festival at Niagara is delightfully cemented in my little grey cells. Our high school raised enough funds for all 12th-grade students to go to the musical Guys and Dolls. I was pretty excited about our trip. It was as if I had become Wendy, and Peter Pan had just swept my feet off the ground to teach me how to fly and go to Neverland.  

Guys and Dolls is a romantic comedy that takes the audience on an exciting journey from upper-class Manhattan to the slums of New York and night clubs of Havana. It follows the ups and downs of romantic relationships between a bunch of city dwellers. The conversational quality of the musical allowed the audience to get in tune with the plot quickly. The rotating stage emphasized the passing of time throughout every scene and song. At the end of the play, we were able to go backstage and interview the actors. The actors told us that they rely heavily on each other and that their cooperation and teamwork were crucial to the smooth delivery of the show.

Guys and Dolls at Shaw Festival

Recently, I was able to go to another theatre production. It was clearly not as well funded as a Broadway show but the experience was well worth it.  The performance of Present Laughter by Western University students exceeded my expectations. The set was simple and cleverly constructed. The actors gave a brilliant interpretation of this witty play by Noel Coward. Among the actors and the audience, I could recognize some of my peers; this gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. We were all gathered together as a community, and we each played a role. My role was easy, I laughed a lot!

Western University students in Present Laughter

These experiences piqued my personal interest in Destination Theatre. I first heard about the course from one of my peers, it sounded like an excellent experience for a theatre student. However, I was nervous to ask about it, since I thought the course is only offered to theatre majors. The opportunity re-presented itself when I offered to volunteer for the fall open house. The Theatre program booth was right in front of me. I gathered the courage to approach the smiling faces at the Theatre table and discovered that any student at Western can apply to Destination Theatre.

Now that I am enrolled in the course, I want to read a variety of materials and discuss them with my fellow theatre enthusiasts. I want to be able to utilize my acquired skills to make critical connections between theatre and my literature studies in English. Most importantly, I look forward to creating everlasting memories and friendships while visiting London, UK. Even in June, rain is inevitable in the geographic location of our trip. But the prospect of rain does not dampen my enthusiasm. I have got everything I need, including my trusty little umbrella. We’re ready for an adventure!