I first went to Israel, where I traced Orde Wingate's footsteps through the former British Palestine. I began in Haifa, and then moved on to Tiberias, an ancient town that rests on the western shore of the Lake of Galilee. I then circled south through the Jezreel Valley and visited Ein Harod, Mount Tabor, Mount Carmel, Cana, Nazareth, etc. I also moved north through the Golan Heights and circled the Galilee. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem came later.
After Israel I moved on to the United Kingdom. I visited the archives in Aberdeen and London.
I have plenty to say about both of these trips, but I'm putting it all into the dissertation, rather than on this blog.
The nice thing about visiting archives is that they close at around 1700 or 1800 in the evening, and so I could go to the theatre a few minutes later. For a student, the average cost of a ticket in London is cheaper than a theatre ticket in Austin, though the quality in London is much higher. Part of the difference in cost is due to the 'subsidy' that British theatre receives from its government. But in the main the difference in cost is due to a widespread informal commitment to making cheap seats available to cheap people, and subsidizing those cheap seats with the 'full cost' tickets sold to those who can afford it. But the individuals purchasing the 'cheap seats,' such as myself, are not made to feel unwelcome. The ticket sellers in London, in fact, go out of their way to help you find the best deal you can, especially if you explain a word or two about where you are from and what you are looking for. In Austin, on the other hand, if you try to buy a student ticket it arouses a sound somewhere between the sneer of a cat and the bleat of a lamb. The Austin ticket seller turns red with fury and shame, and thrusts towards you a 'student' ticket that costs twice as much as it would in London, and casts you into the worst seat imaginable; then Austin exposes you to an under-imagined, underfunded project shipped straight from a Broadway or Off Broadway recycling facility.
Not all of Austin theatre is quite so bad. The best Austin theatre revels in nonchalant acting and presentation, and makes a mission out of drawing on imaginative sources.