Karen has been studying like mad for her exams, which culminate this week with three in a row: Tue, Wed, Thu. And Wednesday’s is 3 hours. I do not envy her, or any of these LSE suckers. It’s a pretty intense exam culture they create here, accentuated by the fact that you don’t take exams until the end of the year for all of your courses, even the ones in the fall. Oh yeah, and for most courses your exam is pretty much 75% of your grade. No pressure. . .
But you can’t study all the time, so we actually took in a couple of plays last week at the National Theatre. Started with Market Boy, which was an exciting production but relied primarily on in-jokes about England in the 80’s. So while the audience was guffawing at a Thatcher look-alike storming the stage, I was dumbly asking Karen who it was. I hate that.
But I had my vindication a couple of nights later at Mike Leigh’s 2000 Years, which depicts a modern, secular Jewish family in North London. As it happens, the modern, secular Jewish life in the UK is quite similar to the US, and Karen and I were the ones guffawing this time at lines that we’d heard verbatim from her own Jewish family in Chicago. And as I dabbed my tears of laughter, I noticed my British seatmates were silent, wearing blank expressions. . .