Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ya Chaika... For Realsies

Well, it’s the Summer Solstice today… which I suppose means tomorrow we might have about 4 hours and 10 minutes of darkness.  But anyway… this morning we had our final film history class which was, as usual, crazy interesting.  This woman is just bubbling over with knowledge and enthusiasm… I would have listened just to her for the whole month and been very happy.  After a quick lunch we had acting.  We were all gratified to hear that our group etudes were closer to the Chekhovian idea that Sergei had set for us.  Our training was overall more in-tune.  And my individual etude went over very well.  So I was feeling pretty good going into the evening.  Most of the group was scheduled to see a ballet version of The Little Mermaid (not the Disney version), but I was scheduled to see something else… SO, the first show I saw when I got to Moscow three weeks ago was a production of Чайка (The Seagull).  The folks at the MXAT didn’t seem to like that production much – despite the fact that many of their own actors were involved with it.  Most of our teachers at one time or another advised us to see the new production of Чайка running at the Сатирикон (Satirikon).  It was directed by the same guy who directed the Richard III and the Hamlet that we’ve already seen, as well as the King Lear that I’ll be seeing tomorrow.  But back to my story: JT and one of the undergrad students and I trundled off for our 7:00 curtain, took our really great seats, and had our minds absolutely blown for the next four and a half hours.  I would attempt to describe this production, but there’s just no way that I possibly could.  And even if I could transcribe the five pages of notes I took during the show, or even if I could accurately describe every moment, it still wouldn’t make sense.  It really has to be seen.  But I really truly had a life changing experience at the theatre tonight.  Everything we’ve seen here has been exceptional in its own way, but this was different.  The images and the physicality and the variations… obviously there was a language barrier, and I so wish that I could have understood everything better… but I was still able to follow them on almost all of their twists and turns, and I just want to go see that show every night until I leave.  Of course, that’s not how Russian theatre works.  So 10 of our group are going to get to see the show on Sunday night while the rest of us are on our way to St. Petersburg… and then it’s not playing again until after we leave.  So there are eight people in our group who will never get to see this production… and I am so so sorry for them.  Because I really cannot explain the experience I had tonight.  I actually enjoyed the first production we saw.  But this production had a soul and a life all its own.  I cried because the play was over.  It was earth shattering. So… with all of those images and memories and emotions and questions dancing through my head, I’m going to try to get myself to sleep.  We’ve got movement in the morning… which probably means that in about 10 hours I’ll have my feet behind my head.  Russia is weird. 

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