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Lauren Conroy

Lauren Conroy



I came into this trip to London full of hope and excitement. I truly was not let down. My goals were to learn more about the modern Shakespeare plays, to explore the tech and scenic designs of the theaters here and create a little scene for a play. During high school, I attended two music classes that counted for my breath and at WPI, I attended two theater classes for my depth. Through those prior experiences and the then current classes, I began getting involved in theater production. During my first year at WPI I was the assistant lighting designer for , makeup artist and assistant sound engineer, I was super excited to get started. I fell deeper in love with theater.

Milestone 1

The Shakespeare Effect
Objective: Discovering how London influenced Shakespeare's writings in terms of writing style and each play's plot as well as the common themes his plays share.

Shakespeare is a topic that is covered by may colleges and high schools, but many schools neglect to thoroughly explore the themes in his works. My objective was to discover what themes were in four separate Shakespeare tragedies. Based on my research, I found that Hamlet, Othello, and Antony and Cleopatra share a common theme of betrayal. Many of the characters betray or are betrayed their own conscience, or a trusted friend or family member. This often leads to their own downfall as a person. I also found that Hamlet and Macbeth share the common theme of madness. Macbeth power-hungry nature leads him to give into his madness while Hamlet's madness is spurred from his inability to accept the loss of his father as well as his lack of resolve for action. This milestone has helped me get in touch with my inner Shakespeare fangirl and has taught me quite a bit on Shakespeare's themes in his tragedies.
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Milestone 2

Across the Pond and Through the Woods
Objective: Exploring the tech and scenic designs of London theater productions.

Below the objective statement, Insert a one or two paragraph summary of your findings from having reached this milestone. Edit the link below to link to your milestone page.
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Milestone 3

Capstone: Becoming a Playwright
Objective: Writing a short 5- 7 minute play scene with a satirical twist.

My objective was to understand what an actual satire meant and what defining factors created a satire. I then wanted to try my own hand at creating a more modern satire based on the negative impacts of tourism on the surrounding tourist areas in London such as the London Eye and local museums. Based on my research, I found that modern satires were different from satires of the past because of two factors which both were based on a factor that cannot have been created in the past, time. The first factor was that the past satire writers did not have as much history behind them and that satires were not a defined writing style back then. The second reason was because television and modern day technologies have helped spread the genre quite farther then any book could have. I loved getting to know more about what a satire really is and how they have helped spread messages of turmoil and unrest to the masses with a slight twinge of comedy.
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Activity Journal

The activity journal represents an ongoing log of reflections gained through each and every project activity on the calendar.

Week 1

Activity #1 Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London

Today, we took our first official (I guess the past couple days don't really count) steps into London and its deep rich culture. The day started off with picking ups some lunch, which consisted of a ham and cheese sandwich, a bag of chips (or crisps as the British like to call them) and a bottle of water. I then took a leisurely stroll to Farringdon station hopped on a train to Blackfriar station and a train to Westminster. Then I arrived, relatively on time, to our meeting place at Westminster Abbey to find the group.

When we walked into the Westminster Abbey, all I could think was how ornate it was. Each wall was decorated from floor to ceiling with statues and fancy tiling. We even got to see the chair where all the monarchy were coronated in. Funny enough, I never knew how much people revered the Royal family until I met our guide. He must have mentioned the Royal wedding and the royal coronation a dozen times. Fun fact, I didn’t know that Great Brittan was the first country to ever use the term the unknown soldier and didn’t know what the poppies meant. I had always known that poppies had some significance in World War I because they were always a person around Veteran’s day ask for a donation to a military service and in turn giving them a poppy, but I never thought to connect the two.

After we left Westminster Abbey we took a subway car to The Tower of London. The most impactful building was when we went to the Bloody Tower and we found out that King Richard III’s children were murdered by their uncle after the king died in order that he would immediately have the throne. I knew London had some dark history, but targeting children is where I kinda draw the line. On a bright side, the Crown Jewels of London were beautiful. There were so many beautiful gem encrusted swords and crowns that shown quite beautifully in the light! I can't wait to see what tomorrow has in store!

Activity #2 St. Paul's Cathedral

On today's journey, the group ventured to St. Paul's Cathedral. The opulence of Christopher Wren's Baroque design was amazing. Every wall was covered with marble statues, detailed painting and colourful icons that helped every visitor focus on the importance of faith in their lives. It was amazing to learn that this building was the first of its kind to have a dome with a Baroque styled building. The Baroque style emphasizes the tension and the emotion of each motion portrayed in all the works of art. I also found it amazing that the church was rebuilt 5 times due to fires and wars and is still standing today.
The item that stood out to me the most was the cross like sculptures hanging from the two sides of the pillars that lead to the first altar. The Great War Commemorative Sculptures were created by Gerry Judah to remember those who had died in World War I (1914-1918) and were created back in 2014 of the 100th anniversary of WWI. Embedded onto each sculpture is intricate models of cities and settlements that were decimated by the conflict. The structures recall the pity and devastation that had occurred 100 years ago; the artist wants them to serve as a reminder to us of the destruction so we can prevent it from happening again. To me, the sculptures were so beautiful and so intricate. If someone only looked at it at face value, they may not have understood its significance. It reminds me that their beauty can come from pain but that we must be careful because beauty has a price.

Activity #3 British Museum

On our adventure to the British Museum, I recollected to a time when I first went to a museum back home. I had always wondered what it was like to live in each time period. During my days as a kid after going to a museum, I would picture myself living the life in the footsteps of an Egyptian worker or a Chinese empress, or a Medieval lady. Going to museums and other historic places are so much fun because it brings my mind to a new place.
The room I found most interesting was the Tomb-chapel of Nebamun which was located on the third floor of the museum. Nebamun was a rich accountant in the Temple of Amun at Thebes in 1350 BC. His burial place is one of many that helped scientists learn the differences of the lifestyles of the rich and the poor. Many images on his tomb portrayed a life of elegances and luxury, but there were several smaller images that suggested the poor had a hard, tumultuous life of service. It was interesting to learn that the religious beliefs of many of the poor were similar to the religious beliefs of the wealthy. Similarly, the rich and poor also played similar games such as Mehen, the Game of the Snake. Mehen was a board game which had each opponent race to around the snake’s head and get back safely before your opponent’s lion eats them. It’s kind of like chutes and ladders I guess.

Activity #4 The Natural History Museum

The first place my thoughts go to when some says the Natural History Museum in New York City. For some reason its one of my first conscious memories of walking around a museum and looking at each exhibit with awe and wonder. My favorite exhibit at the New York Natural History Museum was the full floor exhibit of dinosaurs. My family and I would spend our looking at each skeleton and fossil and to this day the dinosaur exhibit helps bring me back to when I was a kid amazed by the large T-Rex skeleton. That brings us to today when we made our journey to the Natural History Museum in London, England.
Today at the museum I had the odd, but warming familiarity of walking into the Natural History Museum. As I walked into the front entrance, I saw a stegosaurus and just knew that this was going to be awesome. The exhibit that I loved the most was the dinosaur exhibit, just like when I was a kid, with all the fossils and the skeletons of the large rulers of the past. It was like walking through my childhood even though I had never been to this particular museum. After several hours of dinosaurs, I visited the rest of the museum. The gemstones from the Hall of Minerals exhibit were gorgeous and the Restless Surface exhibit emphasized the importance of conservation so we have a future.
I decided to add to 3 articles.

Activity #5 The National Gallery

The building which holds The National Gallery itself was a beautifully planned architecture. I was kind of disappointed though with the art itself because the entire Impressionist section, which included Monet, Renoir, Pissarro and Degas, was closed to the entire public. Similarly the da Vinci and the Michelangelo were not open to the general public. I guess I could have paid to see them. On the bright side, I did like the Christian art that was on display especially the work of Carlo Crivelli. His work was so realistic and reflected a mysteriousness to the icons and alterpieces he made. Overall this did not connect to my milestone, but I had a fun time exploring.
We also attended the St Martin-in-the-fields concert which showcased Nikolai Ponomarev, a pianist who played Bach, Liszt and Rachmaninov. It was amazing, but I may be guilty of falling asleep.

Week 2

Activity #1 Milestone Work

Activity #2 Tate Britain

This museum, unlike the past few, exhibit art from all time periods including some very modern art. Much of the art in the recent years was modern and abstract. This made you think longer about each piece and what its meaning was. The most interesting exhibit was the exhibit, which had a video screen and bleachers for people to watch. It displayed self defense style danging which Incorporated a continuous rhythm. On the weekends they have people join in and follow the beat and the people on the screen.
This is the first place that has something related to my milestone. The Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing was exciting to see because its straight from A Midsummer Night's Dream, which is a play that Shakespeare wrote. I ended up writing a little paragraph or so on William Blake who was the artist.
After we went to the museum, we found the MI6 building, which to me looked like a high security prison. It was cool to see it none the less. We then went to a childrens park near by and played on the playground for a hour. Later that night, Katharine, Justine, and I went to the play Don Juan with David Tennant. I really did not know much about the play, a proceeded to find out that it was about a sex and drug crazed individual who dies for just to continue living his live the way he wanted to.

Activity #3 Victoria and Albert Museum

Today we went to the Victoria Albert Museum in South Kensington. This museum had it all! The exhibits ranged from space exploration, artist Pink Floyd to classical statues and paintings. The architecture of the museum itself was so amazing and I discovered that Prince Albert designed the 'iron house' himself and building began early in 1856. Measuring 81 metres long and 9 metres high, it was large enough to house three two-story galleries. The most beautiful exhibit was the garden behind the sculpture room. There were beautiful topiaries and multiple sprinkler fountains that made up a gorgeous quite space to eat lunch, reflect on life or nap. Sadly, when we visited it was quite rainy out, but I imagine it would be gorgeous when it is bright and sunny
Later that day we went to the Royal Opera House and went for a backstage tour of the opera house. It was so amazing. The Royal Opera house has 6 floors that include two separate theaters, six dances studios, and rooms for costumes, scenic design and makeup. We learned that changeovers for each show only take about 20 minuets because the 15x15 stage is interchangeable. We also learned that the Royal Ballet has the most prestigious school for ballet in the world.

Activity #4 Tate Modern

I just don’t understand modern art. Maybe it’s because as engineers we try to use the right hemisphere of our brains to think logically and studiously. Many of us don’t allow ourselves to use the left side of our brain to spark flames of creativity and imagination. Maybe in order to enjoy these exhibits we have to leave our judgments and preconceived notions aside and just look at the art with pure intentions. The exhibit I liked the most was the Radical Eye exhibit. I especially like the photograph of Last Change. I evoked feelings of sadness, but also hope. When there is a last chance there is also a new beginning. Honestly this week is great and all, but the stress of deadlines is getting to me. Today I bought some art supplies and I am chillin’ in a park and drawing/painting my info-graphics. My drive to keep doing essay on essay is continually on a downward slope.

Activity #5 Museum of London

Today we went to the Museum of London. The museum was unique because it went though the entire history of London and England. We started out in the London before London Exhibit which had prehistoric animals and tools. There were lots of human skulls and remains of people and animals. My favorite exhibit was the Roman portion. They discussed the conquests of Caesar, which included his ultimate downfall, the life of an everyday Roman and how gladiator fights influences everyone's' lifestyle. We then went into the war, fire and disease section where they discussed the Great Fire and the Black death. It also had trade and clothing of the time. In the rest of the exhibits they talked about the progression of steam and the building of a city. This included the people in the city and how their lives were effected.
There was a small exhibit on Shakespeare and the building of the Rose theater. They had a diagram of what it had looked like in the past and they discussed how Henslowe's papers had detailed information of the everyday running of the theater.

Week 3

Activity #1 Imperial War Museum

When I first think of a war museum, I either do two things. I groan and mope around the museum or I just walk around wishing I was somewhere else. At this museum, I experienced a totally different reaction in general. I walked in and saw the planes and jets hanging from the ceiling and thought this could be interesting. I read some of the plaques and actually was excited. I spent a generous amount of time on each floor. I was a bit confused about the gallery on the 3rd floor about the Edmund Clark: War of Terror exhibit. I believe it had something to do with the moral implications of how far one will go to get answers about terrorists. The most thought provoking exhibit was determinedly the Holocaust exhibit. There were so many people who lost their rights because of their religion. It was a reminder of how fear and anger can lead to violence and discrimination. This was the longest amount of time I had spent in a museum in London so far.
Just as a recap, Emily and I walked to Trafalgar Square to see the London Symphony Orchestra. We definitely should have arrived earlier because by the time we had gotten there the entire square was closed off. Instead we listened to the music, which was very drowned out by the street traffic, from St Martins-in-the-feilds.

Activity #2 Museum of London Docklands

To be honest, this was not my favorite museum. I believe that this museum was geared towards an older crowd but was overrun by children. Don't get me wrong, the museum had some adult topics such as racism, slavery and murder, but I didn't really connect with the presentation of these topics. I did like the scenery around the museum. After we finished at the museum, we meandered around the general vicinity of the museum and watched the ducks under the bridge. There was also a fountain near the bridge that we sat by for a while. There was increased security as well because of the incident yesterday. I hope that Horniman is cool. I saw on the website that there was aquatic animals. I did'nt read far enough to see if they were real or not though.

Activity #3 Horniman Museum

The Horniman museum with much farther away than we thought. We ended up taking the train from Farringdon using the Thameslink is stopping at Denmark Hill. We then of the bus from Denmark Hill station to the Horniman Museum. Overall the dropped off 53 minutes.
When he got to the museum is pretty cool. The Natural History portion of the museum was full of models and stuffed animals. I never understood taxidermy. I guess it preserves the animals and preserves history but it seems kinda cruel because they were just families of dead animals and even babies. They had a mother possum cut up with her young still inside which doesn't seem fair.
The gardens were gorgeous and so serene. I could just sit in that field four hours just looking at the clouds especially on such a sunny clear day as today. It got me thinking of what it would be like to be a bird on a clear sunny day and how awesome it would be the sail across the sky basking in sunlight

Activity #4 Hampton Court Palace

The Hampton Court Palace was even further then the Horniman Museum at a whopping 14 miles away. We ended up taking the 341 bus to Waterloo station York Road, walking about 3 minutes to Waterloo Station, going on platform 7 to go to Hampton Court, and then walked 10 minuets to the palace. That was a journey! The grounds were amazing and teaming with life. There were 13 gardens of all different varieties. My favorite was the rose garden because of all the sculptures and varieties of roses. The maze was also interesting because it is continually shrinking. You really felt like royalty walking thorough the gardens as the sun warmed your skin and the smell of the flowers reached your nose.
It was awesome to see where certain scenes of movies were shot there such as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Theory of Everything and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

Week 4

Activity #1 The Wallace Collection

Today we went to the Wallace Collection in Marylebone, London which is closely located to Baker Street and Madame Tussaud. The museum from the outside had huge rod iron gates that opened precisely at 10 am. When you initially walk into the building, you can see the ornateness of the museum and the extravagance of the home. Each room has a different colour scheme and different items such as armour, paintings and sculptures. The pieces were from a large ranges of different styles and time periods and the layout really emphasized this.
My favorite piece was the 1701 helmet from the Oriental Armour room. The skull piece was silver with the lower edge cylindrical, most elaborately mounted with pierced and gilt copper. There is an inverted cup that fits over the apes of the helmet. Among the enrichment to the helmet are four-clawed dragon protecting the sacred sun jewels, which is a cluster of matrix of rubies. From the front view of the helmet, there are wings emerging from the side of the skull piece forming the outline of a mystical bird of China called the Ho Ho. The helmet is surmounted by a long tail wing covered with sable fur and dyed human hair.The camail which falls to the shoulder is made of silk brocaded in gold with a key pattern. It is edged with velvet and studded with a hollow hemispherical-beaded copper-guilt rivets. The piece is extraordinarily ornate and definitely a display of the owners wealth, power and social status and was probably used when in battle and when meeting other high power people.

Activity #2 Milestone Work

Activity #3 Revisit a Relevant Site

Activity #4 London Science Museum

Today we went to the Museum of Science in South Kensington which is located near to other Museum the Natural History Museum, and the Victoria Albert Museum. Ironically, I also went yesterday evening to see the robotics exhibition and saw quite a bit of the museum then. That night I also bought tickets for the WonderLab exhibit which was located in the Statoil gallery on the third floor of the museum past the FlyZone exhibit. This exhibit revealed the beauty of science and math that shapes our everyday lives and was meant to inspire mostly young children to see the world around them in new and exciting ways. The best part of that exhibit what the slides that were made of different materials to increase speed of the slide. I came today to focus more on the exhibits them self vs the robots. My favourite exhibit was obviously Engineering Your Future what was also located on the third floor of the museum. There were several interactive booths which spread the message of saving energy using engineering, science, and biology. One of the games was based solely on finding engineers and having them construct different green facilities like grocery stores and power plants.

Week 5

Activity #1 Milestone Work

Activity #2 Milestone Work

The Globe Theater
Today was the performance of Romeo and Juliet at the Globe Theater which is located right next to the London Bridge and Tate Modern. Going into this play, I was not happy. I understand that Romeo and Juliet was the most know play of Shakespeare, but I hated the concept of the story. I mean if Juliet had waited for 5 minutes they would have both would have lived. This is besides the point though. When we looked up the overview on the Globe Theater website we saw that it was a "modern interpretation" and I kind of was off put. I also was sick and did not bring a rain coat. During the first act, the characters were all portrayed at sex obsessed clowns, which I mean is only have incorrect. The entire cast of Romeo and Juliet are clowns for trying to kill each other in the first place. I did leave half way through the play because I couldn't feel my toes and the play was just not my cup of tea. My sister told me thought that the ending was a little different where everyone died except the priest and nurse because they were the only ones not directly guilty. Overall, this play is a bust for me, but this is only my interpretation. I am sure other people enjoyed it.

Activity #3 Milestone Work

Activity #4 Stonehenge

At the early-ish morning hours, flat 16 and I made our way to the London Eye meeting spot and we sat there and waited for the bus to arrive. The bus arrived and we met our charismatic, knowledgeable tour guides. Our first stop was a rest stop about 30 minutes out of London where we got some snacks for the long ride ahead of us. After the stop, our tour guides shared awesome facts about the Stone Hedge and its origin. It was amazing to learn that it took over 1000 years to build and that the stones themselves were from very far away. At the Stonehenge, the scene was rainy and windy but set the perfect tone to the historic site. We then went to Bath to have an awesome lunch. To top it all off, we went to Lacock Village to St Cyriac Church and pet a cat.

Activity #5 Revisit a Relevant Site

We went to see The Play that Goes Wrong which is the play that we are trying to remake with our theater technical background. Honestly, this play was so much more funny than I thought and was hilarious amazing tech wise. The set itself was meant to fall apart which is hard because that means it was also meant to be put back together. Some of the pieces were interesting because there was a piece that gradually falls apart to the ground, which is a feat in itself It seemed that many pieces were controlled by magnets in order for the pieces to fall off the walls at the specific times for comedic impact. To me, the funniest part was when the detective sees a picture of a collie on the mantel and ask if its he is the father the person he is interrogating. He hilariously says that his father looks more like his brother. I would highly recommend this show to anyone looking for a good laugh and to enjoy a night on the town.

Week 6

Activity #1 Windsor Castle

We woke up quite early in the morning to get to the location today and took the GWR out of Paddington Station and got there at about 9:30 am. As soon as we got there, we saw a pretty long line to get into the castle, but as soon as the castle opened, the line went fast. There was also a body scanner and we had to take off any watches, belts or jewelry just like at the airport. All of us got in without any issues and we to get our audio guides. The walk up to the castle was breathtaking. You could see the entire town down below as well as lots of opens field and parks. Up the side of the castle, there were lots of flowers and a small garden which we presume the queen sat in to relax when she came to visit. Our first stop was at the chapel where many staff and relatives were buried. There was a organist practicing while we where there so we could hear the magnitude of their organ pipes in such as space. We then went to see the apartments, gallery and Queen Mary's dolls. The dolls were first and they honestly creeped me out with their vacant stares. The gallery and apartments were extraordinarily decorated with ornate paintings and gold and crystal chandeliers. Our group kept a count of how many dogs we saw in paintings and we got to 13. We then stopped at each gift shop to see the cute corgis. We ended our day with seeing the guard change.

Activity #2 Milestone Work

Activity #3 Milestone Work

Activity #4 Milestone Work

Activity #5 Revisit a Relevant Site


Week 7

Activity #1 Revisit a Relevant Site

Activity #2 Milestone Work

Activity #3 Milestone Work

Activity #4 Milestone Work

Activity #5 Milestone Work

My Complete Contributions

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