The Noise of Laughter Fills “Noises Off”

While many students take weekends off from school and learning opportunities, LEAP students took this Saturday to grow culturally by going to dinner together and attending a play in Houston. We began the evening by dining at a small cafe near our main entertainment for the evening: Cafe Express. The Cafe Express provided us with an abundance of choices ranging from flavorful salads to decadent pastas. I enjoyed their Harvest Salad, which included fresh spinach, strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, feta cheese and delicious strawberry vinaigrette dressing. While conversing about the beginning of school and classes, we got our fill of salads and pastas before the play. It was a wonderful choice as our meal before we headed down to Playhouse 1960 for the showing of “Noises Off”.

Playhouse 1960 is a non-profit community theatre that was founded in 1973 and has since been providing their community with memorable theatre productions.  “Noises Off” was very much a memorable play. The first act made it very clear to the audience that it was a play within a play, and when everyone was focused on watching the stage, we were caught off guard when we heard the voice of the director, Lloyd Dallas, shout from behind our backs. Act One is the actor’s disorganized dress rehearsal, which presented us with ditzy actors missing lines, prop malfunctions and confusion coming from the stage.

Noises_Off_Opening

It delivered abundant laughter in the audience. The intermission gave everyone a chance to catch their breath from the laughter.

Interestingly, the intermission also gave us the chance to see the stage machinations in action.  Unlike most theaters, much of the scenery changing occurred with open curtains.

Stage_Organization_Web

Act Two was a behind the scenes look at the matinee performance of “Nothing On”. This act showed the entangled romantic relationships among the cast, which led to many on-stage missteps and misspoken lines. While all of the other characters were caught in their romantic turmoil, Selsdon Mowbray (the burglar with a fondness for alcohol) provided plenty of comedic relief along with the comical actions that were taking place back stage. This act was filled with behind-the-scenes whispering and misunderstandings among the cast while they performed their play. The act ended with a cliffhanger with the announcement of a pregnancy, which left us wanting to know more.

In Act Three, the actors are on their last show of the tour. With all of the relationship mishaps between the actors, we could see the growing tensions. The tensions were resolved with the more rational actors trying their best to tie up the play. Once the play had reached a point of no return, it ended with a quick confusing wedding ceremony. The entirety of “Noises Off” had us laughing until the end.

Noises_Off_Cast_Close_Web

Afterwards we were even able to have our group picture taken with the entire cast!

Playhouse_1960_Students_Cast_Web

Goodbye Girl: Saying Farewell to DC

The story of the Princess in DC comes to a close, but not before embarking on new learning adventures.

Capitol_Construction

Beginning with a tour of the Coastal Guard’s Headquarters, courtesy of Ademide, where she briefly discussed the history of the buildings and introduced me to several of her co-workers. Later that afternoon, I toured the Capitol, it was a privilege to see the Senate Gallery along with the old Supreme Court Chamber and the exhibition hall.

Georgetown_Cupcakes

That evening, Ademide and I enjoyed delightful cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes and ended the day with a visit to the Marine Corps War Memorial.

Iwo_Jima_Monument

Throughout the week, I attended a press club panel at the National Press Building hosted by the Rabaa Story Foundation in commemoration of the second anniversary of the Rabaa Massacre. There I had the opportunity to hear stories from a couple witnesses of the Massacre and learn about the conditions in Egypt since the tragic occurrence.

Rabba_Massacre

In the week, I had the privilege to assist Nancy with a speech for a UN official to be delivered to the President of Nigeria.

Bocskor_Presentation

I also visited The Library of Congress where among other galleries…

Library_Of_Congress

I had the opportunity to see Thomas Jefferson’s collection of books and admire the breathtaking architecture of this building.

Library_Of_Congress_2

Afterwards I headed to the Supreme Court, where I was greeted by a statue of John Marshall as I walked in!

Supreme_Court

I had the opportunity to actually see the court! It was so exciting to be in this building.

Supreme_Court_2

Continuing the last two weeks of my stay in DC, I visited the National Archives.

National_Archives

This was an extraordinary experience where I was able to see The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence along with other very interesting documents that have created history!

After visiting the National Archives, I continued towards the Smithsonian Castle, but stopped at the National Sculpture Garden and the Butterfly Habitat Garden on the way.

Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Castle is a marvelous structure which contains much of the history behind the Smithsonian Museums. After learning about the Smithsonian Museums, I visited the Hirshhorn Museum and came across some interesting pieces.

Following the Hirshorn Museum, I met Ademide for dinner at Ted’s Bulletin.

Ademide_Jazmin

We enjoyed breakfast for dinner at this lovely family restaurant, and had homemade pop-tarts for dessert. We said our goodbyes as she dropped me off at the Washington Monument where the adventure continued.

Washington_Monument_Sunset

At the Washington Monument, I met with one of Ademide’s friends Ifa, who I had never met, and then I had two tickets to give away to go to the top of the Washington Monument. After asking a handful of people, I finally gave them away one of which decided to join us. So Ifa, Kevin, and I, three complete strangers at the time, ventured to the top of the Washington Monument together. Getting to know each other along the way and enjoying the stunning sight from the top as well as learning about the history of the building. But the adventure of the newly founded friends didn’t end there, we ended the night with some exploring of the city led by the two natives.

I also accompanied Nancy to give a presentation at the Leadership Institute regarding Fundraising and an all-day Fundraising Bootcamp which was a great learning experience for me. After a long day of fundraising, I had a delightful farewell dinner with Nancy at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, and enjoyed a delicious dessert.

Continuing the week, I had the opportunity to reunite with camp friends that were in town for a couple of days and had dinner with them at Mehak an Indian restaurant in Chinatown which I loved, and will definitely be having again!

I also had the opportunity to visit the National Cathedral, which took 83 years to build! It was an impressive building.

National_Cathedral

Followed by a walk along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park in Georgetown.

Georgetown

The adventure ended with a late night stroll through the National Mall reminiscing on the adventures of the last several weeks, and sitting in front of the reflecting pool facing the Washington Monument admiring it for quite some time. On this peaceful summer night, I felt incredibly grateful to be in this beautiful city.

Washington_Monument_Night

Thank you Professor Yawn, Nancy Bocskor, Chuck Jones and Ademide for making this possible.

 

DC, Dinosaurs, Diamonds: A Princess in the Capital

Once upon a time there was this young lady, a princess actually, she ventured through the streets of D.C. amazed by all the sites. This princess, Jazmin, lived with Ademide Adedokun, an insightful and generous young lady whom Jazmin became rather fond of. The Princess also interned for wonder woman…but really! Wonder woman did it all! This meant that Princess Jazmin had the opportunity to learn it all. How exciting! She was eager to learn! The first week of adventures flew by so quickly, but the story of the Princess in D.C. continues…

Jefferson_Statue

This weeks’ adventure begins at Thomas Jefferson’s Memorial which was breathtaking! The structure is massive and oversees the Tidal Basin.

Jefferson_Memorial
                      Jefferson Memorial

After gazing at the Jefferson Memorial, I continued along the Tidal Basin towards the Roosevelt Memorial. This is the most unusual of the memorials I have seen thus far. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial offers a historical pathway of FDR’s presidency, allowing us to seemingly walk through his presidency.

FDR_Jazmin

Then continued to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, an impressive structure emerging from the mountains.

MLK_Monument

Afterwards I headed back towards the Lincoln Memorial, to see some of the memorials I had missed in my excitement, the first time around. Now, I saw the DC War Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and ending with the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence Memorial.

Declaration_Signatories

Throughout the week, I had the pleasure of observing Nancy (Wonder Woman) speak to a group of accomplished Japanese women on the subject of Women in Politics. This group of women were eager to learn from her. They seemed truly grateful to be there and even sent us off with several Japanese tokens! Having the opportunity to meet with these women and see Nancy in action was a pleasure! A bonus was then taking a tour of beautiful churches.

During this week, I also had the opportunity to visit two of The Smithsonian Museums, American History and Natural History. The collections in both of these museums are astonishing.

In the American History Museum, among my favorite collections is the 30×42 inch original Star-Spangled Banner, the American flag, from 1813 that inspired Francis Key to compose the Nation Anthem. Another of my favorites is The First Lady Collection, exhibiting beautiful gowns worn by the First Ladies.

First_Lady_Dress

The National Museum of Natural History also contained spectacular collections. Here, I was able to explore and venture into each of the numerous galleries. Some of my favorites were The Last American Dinosaur…

Dinasaur

the Mummies…

Mummy

and the Hope Diamond.

Hope_Diamond

To end this eventful and exciting second week of adventures, Ademide Adedokun along with a group of her friends and I enjoyed a beautiful Sunday at a winery in Clifton, Virginia. This was my first time in a winery! During our visit, we were able to engage in a wine tasting and learn about the various wines we were tasting. It was a great experience.

Perez_Adedokun_Friends_Winery

But, the story of the Princess in D.C. is to be continued…