Thursday, June 23, 2011

Clever Blog Title Here

Well let’s see.  Looking at my last post, I was right about one thing – I did start off Wednesday morning with my feet behind my head… only I did it on my own this time without the assistance of a large Russian man.  So that’s pretty special.  I didn’t quite make it this morning, but give me a break… this was the first time we’d had two days of movement in a row!  I’m lucky I’m able to sit upright.  Then instead of having acting class, we watched a Russian movie from the 1970s called Unfinished Piece for a Player Piano.  We watched it because it’s a great example of a Chekhovian style, and I totally get that, but it was our penultimate day of class with Sergei… so we were all a little bummed that we just got shrugged off to sit in front of a VCR instead of working.  After classes last night I went to my fourth show at the Сатирикон (Satirikon): Король Лир (King Lear).  This production was directed by the same guy who directed Richard IIISeagull andHamlet, and featured the same guy who played Richard III as King Lear, and it also included almost the entire cast of last night’sSeagull.  One thing I have to say about the Russian repertory system – these people have to keep so many shows in their heads for so long.  And it’s not as if a person with a big role in one show plays a smaller role in another show.  The stars tend to be the stars… and that translates to sooooooooooo many scripts running through these people’s brains!  It’s really impressive when you stop to think about it.  At any rate, I think this may have been the most straightforward of the productions I’ve seen by this director.  I thought it was good, the acting was excellent, but the staging wasn’t as creative as I had come to expect from this director.  Although the final image of the play was beautiful and devastating enough that even if the rest of the play had been abysmal, I probably would have walked away praising it.  See, they just cut all the stuff at the end about Albany and Kent and Edgar being really good people, and maybe Edgar should be in charge or whatever.  The set featured three upright pianos upstage, and after Goneril and Regan died, they sat on the piano stools and slumped over their respective pianos.  So when Cordelia died, she went to take her place at her piano, but Lear kept trying to sit her up straight – to bring her back.  Then he started going to the other sisters, but as he left to start working on another, the last one would crash back into the keys or onto the floor.  This went on for a while until the lights just faded out.  It was really gorgeous.  That’s one thing I’ve found very interesting about the way they approach Shakespeare here: they have no problem cutting things that do not suit the concept.  He wanted Richard to be about karmic retribution, so he cut Richmond and let the people he killed destroy him.  He wantedHamlet to be about Hamlet’s lone descent so he cut Horatio.  He wanted Lear to be about this man who destroyed his family, so they cut the stuff about someone else taking the throne.  And I have a feeling that, if I could understand the language, I would discover even more cuts and more pointed sculpting of the text to the director’s purposes. This morning, as I said, we had movement again.  I achieved a full shoulder stand, and even though no one saw me, I felt pretty spiffy.  Then we had our last theatre history lecture which turned out to be a Q&A… for which we didn’t prepare.  So our questions were kinda lame.  Then we had our Chekhov acting class during which we worked through our monologues with Misha.  Now, over the next two days we are going to have a bunch of lasts.  Tomorrow is our last day of singing and our last day of acting with Sergei.  Saturday is our last day of movement and our last day of acting with Misha.  Then Sunday ten of us will head to St. Petersburg for a few days.  Then Thursday we’ll have our little “graduation” ceremony from the MXAT school, Saturday we have a little outing that I will blog about when it happens (and I’m not going to tell you what it is yet.  This will probably just cause undue interest, because it won’t end up being nearly as interesting as anything any of my 5 1/2 readers could imagine on their own, but whatever), then Sunday the 3rd at 5:00am we will pile on the bus and head to the airport.  I knew the end of this month was going to sneak up on me, but DAMN!  This is madness!  I do feel like I’m ready to go home, but I also feel like I could stay here for another few months and just really go to all these classes again and again and again.  There is so much to learn here.  And I’m so lucky to have gotten this little taste of it.  And I kinda want more!

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