Earlier in June, IES Abroad reached out to me and asked if I wanted to see a play in London that was written by IES Abroad London alum Sarah Kosar. An opportunity to meet an alum AND see a show that she wrote? SIGN ME UP! So, on June 18th my roommate and I ventured out into the outskirts of Hackney Wick to see the play called Armadillo. Being from Texas, I anticipated that this play had something to do with the wild West, but after watching the trailer online just the night before, it got me thinking like Dorothy’s famous phrase, “This isn’t Kansas anymore,” except without the red sparkling shoes.
Walking in circles amongst the colorful walls decorated in street art, Theresa, my roommate, and I looked at each other nervously wondering, “Where is this place?!” Google maps and city mapper had both failed us, so we had to use our eyes. Lifting our technologically entranced eyes from our phones to confusing signs, we were led to an area that looked like a bunch of steel storage units. We were hesitant to enter such a place, and Theresa had just about had it with my strange adventures, but we proceeded on with fake confidence. Inside was a dimly lit room with various groups of people sitting around cozy corners. After we gave them our tickets, we walked through the hallway that led to the preset stage. Sitting in our seats, we had no idea what we were in store for. The show unraveled its plot through creative combinations of lighting effects, snappy dialogue, and wonderfully edited video clips. All of these things really contributed to the emotional experience of Armadillo. When the play ended, we were left hanging off our seats with mouths gaping open. During the roaring applause, Theresa and I had so many questions racing in our minds. Thankfully, we were able to ask the playwright these questions during a meet-up that IES Abroad arranged.
The first thing that came to mind was the obvious: I asked her if her study abroad experience influenced the decisions she made to be in London today. She answered quickly with a huge smile on her face, “Yes!” She shared with me that her study abroad experience made her fall in love with the city and made her wish to pursue further studies in London after she graduated. I couldn’t imagine what her family and friends thought when she came back from a semester abroad in London with IES Abroad wanting to return and start a new chapter of her life there, so I asked her if she had any regrets or doubts. She told me that she had no regrets and that she told her parents that them visiting her in London could be their excuse for a nice vacation. Hearing her say that she had no doubts and listening to how she fought for her "impossible" dreams inspired me to not give up on my own dreams that seem unreachable. She encouraged me to not give up and to keep going and trying until you’re where you need to be. She was truly an inspiring example of women going against any odds to pursue their deepest desires.
We also chatted about the play’s meaning. It was great to hear about these inner meanings straight from the author herself. It helped us understand the play more and further enjoy the experience we had that evening. The play was a commentary on Americans’ love for guns and the lengths people will go to in order to feel safe. It was a display of these emotions, and I felt that it accurately captured the feelings of attachment people feel towards their right to protect themselves. It gave me a new perspective and helped me to understand the differing opinions surrounding gun laws in the United States. I think that to the British people, this play must’ve been shocking to watch and comprehend. It must’ve given them a perspective like no other to their understanding of our desire to possess guns.
And to think that the woman who breathed life into the script that raises such a controversial question was an alum of the very program we’re doing today? Wow.
I cannot wait to see my colleagues and myself latch onto the memories we’re making today in London and use them to fuel our dreams for the future like Sarah Kosar did in her experience abroad a couple years back.
Thank you for being an inspiration, Sarah, and thank you IES Abroad for providing such a wonderful and moving experience.
Read about another student Correspondent's experience seeing "Armadillo."
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<p>My name is Amaya Marcella Aguilar Diaz and I am a Junior Music Education Major studying at Texas Christian University. I am actively involved on my campus by singing in the University's choral ensembles, Concert Chorale and University Singers, and by singing with the Reformed University Fellowship's music ministry as well as TCU's Opera Studio. I also serve the TCU community by being a second year Resident Assistant in King and Wright Halls.</p><p><br>Growing up, I always loved sharing my story through singing and writing poetry. This gift carried on through my college life. One of my poems, "Life without You", was used in one of TCU Concert Chorale's programs and even inspired a fellow student, Kyle Barker, to write music to her words. I also used this poem as inspiration to find the joys of life by taking videos every day for a whole year, editing them into monthly compilations, and posting them onto my personal facebook account. I wanted to share the joys of my life with friends and family and remind people that despite all the hardships, life is still beautiful and we have the pleasure of living in it!</p><p><br>My hope is that I can continue using my words and my art to touch people's hearts, help the world to see my life through my eyes, and to move others to love one another more.</p>