Friday, June 22, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Rhino

Number of steps: 15024 (4.74 mi)

So… what do you say about a day where you have to choose your second favorite piece of mind-blowing Russian theatre?

This morning I didn’t go to class.  Instead, I met up with Vanessa (the other grad student on the trip) and JT for a special preview of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the director who brought us Demon (one of the first shows we saw here).  Well, let me tell you that what I saw was by no means A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but it also wasn’t NOT A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  It was this crazy explosion of wackiness and metatheatre and art and circus and an amazingly trained dog and music and love that manifested largely in giant puppet Pyramus and Thisbe.  I would try to explain it, but there is no way I could.  The show opened with half the cast plowing through the audience toting a giant tree – knocking us and all of our chairs out of the way as they went.  They also came through with a big fountain complete with water pouring out in all directions…the first ALL rows will get wet!  These items disappeared and were never spoken of again in the show.  And then we watched… I’m not quite sure what…but it was magical.  AND…while we were there we not only got to meet the director (Dmitry Krymov…who is some sort of crazy genius), but we also got to meet the woman who performed the Medea piece that we had seen the night before.  She was beautiful and kind and friendly and wonderful… so cool!

We headed back to school, having missed ballet class (I can’t say my soul is crying much over that one) and our last theatre history lecture (my soul IS crying about that one).  But we were there as the lecture ended, at which point Anatoly (the head of the MXAT school) gave us each a copy of the MXAT school family album that he had compiled for the 60th anniversary of the school 10 years ago.  He personally signed each copy, kissed each of us, and posed for a photo.  Our hearts were so full of love for him and this place in that moment… it’s probably best that he gave these to us today rather than a week from now.  I’m not sure you would be able to convince us to leave.

WSU Month in Moscow 2012 - 10th Anniversary Class - with Anatoly Smeliansky
Acting class was a bit of a misfire today.  We discussed the show we had seen, did one exercise and sat down to watch Unfinished Piece for Player Piano, this Russian film that is quintessentially Chekhovian in style.  We didn’t finish it, but it was fun to see it again.

From there, I went with two students and our MXAT liaison Nastya to see Носорог (Rhinoceros) at the Фоменко (Fomenko) Theatre.  It was a crazy cool (albeit a little too long) production with some amazing effects, a super cool rhino at the end of the first act, really upsetting social commentary, brilliantly creative staging… it was great fun!

Now I’m trying to gear up for a couple of super full days coming up leading into our last week here in Mother Russia!

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