So I don't know if it has become clear yet that we have been learning a *bunch* and that it can be both overwhelming and exhausting at times- but if that hasn't become clear let me just state that yes- it is overwhelming and exhausting (in a good way, of course).
Anyhow, my way of turning off my brain has been to get deeply involved with a British television show called "Green Wing." Patrick, my flat mate, owns the first season on DVD so I borrowed that from him- got minorly obsessed, and checked out the rest of it from the Barbican library.
It is loosely a hospital comedy/drama- but there aren't any medical story lines (which makes it different from every American hospital show I know of). It follows both the doctors and the HR department and is more than a little surreal (one character frequently shows up in a giant squirrel costume). They filmed in real hospitals with regular doctors and patients around which gives it a *very* realistic look but also must have been bizarre to be around.
The most fascinating part of getting minorly obsessed with this show is that a bunch of it is improvised which means that I have begun analyzing various scenes to see if I can deconstruct what they are doing.
At least half of the cast has adopted very specific body gestures for their characters: specific postures, idiosyncratic walks, and various facial expressions that there is *no way* they use in real life. The improvised scenes are informative to watch because of how they use white space and their timing (comedic and otherwise). I'm trying to figure out how much can be immediately translated into music and how much is specific to acting.
Anyhow, the point of all of this is that my carefully horded "turn off my brain" time has turned in to more fuel for thinking about my programme and therefore defeated it's purpose. Or served it completely, I'm not sure which.
Oh, the other neat thing is that, being a British TV show, it is full of British actors who do a lot of theatre and I live in London where there is a lot of theatre- so I'm hoping that over the next two years I'll get to see some of them in shows. I'm keeping an eye on various websites-specifically Michelle Gomez's. She plays 'Sue White' who is the character who keeps ending up as a squirrel. And at one point gives birth to a lion cub...did I mention that it is a surreal show? Because it totally is.