Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Number of Steps: 14673 (and is it possible that they were all stairs?  It sure feels like it.)

I wrote “5 June” in my journal tonight and it just didn’t look right.  How can it only be June 5th?  We’ve already done so much!  Today was a big one – it started out with our first movement class with my good pal Владимир Ϲажын (Vladimir Sazhin) who proceeded to beat us all to within an inch of our lives!  I tell ya, I’ve never loved someone this much who caused me this much physical anguish!  He’s so damn delightful that you’ll agree when he tells you to do insane things with your body.  And yes, I can still put my feet behind my head, it turns out.

After movement we slogged our way downstairs to the cafeteria for lunch (buckwheat, by the way, still delicious) and then back upstairs to wait for our assistant acting teaching Иля (Ilja – who is a big hit with all the young ladies) to take us over to watch the first year students’ final presentation.  This ended up being a misfire because the tiny room was way too crowded for us, so we ended up having acting class after all.  The first half was extremely successful, but the last exercise was not so much.  We didn’t really follow the directions or each other, so it was kind of an endless churning mess.  But we can’t get ‘em all right…yet.

On our way to our first show!  (Justin knows that Russians love jazz hands)
At any rate, after class we grabbed crepes for dinner and hung out for a bit before I led our group to the Пушкина им. театр (Pushkin Theatre) for our first show of the month: Много Шума из Ничего (Much Ado About Nothing).  I should let you know that, though the landmarks I was given were a block off, I got us there by using another map and by asking directions from some friendly Russian passersby... so go me!  And I successfully retrieved our tickets from the box office!  So DOUBLE go me!)  And let me just tell you… this was the right play for our first outing.  It was great to have a show we were all familiar with so that we could appreciate what they did with it.  I can’t describe everything, obviously, but it was so alive and honest and touching and FUNNY (yes, even in Russian)… it was really magical.  The soundscape of the play was provided by a band that seems to be called Группа W/ (The W Band)… and man, I have a new favorite band.  For some reason, all the songs were in English, so they really worked for us.  Here’s a linkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtAGtlsC-Xk to a video that was clearly made as some sort of promotion for this show: it’s the song that plays during the masquerade ball… which was AMAZING!   A particular standout for me in this production was Leonato, who was so tender and genuine that he brought me to tears during the wedding that wasn’t.  When Hero collapsed he picked up her limp body and held it in a sort of clumsy way as he wandered about looking totally lost, trying to understand what was happening.  And as they melted together into the floor, the way he clutched at her became more and more violent until he had to be pulled away.  I couldn’t help but sob!   And of course, all the women involved were beautiful skinny Russians who just worked the hell out of their sexy little costumes (as you’ll see in the video), but damn, they were incredible.  And the ending was so intensely satisfying… the stage rotated as they danced at the REAL wedding and we got to see everyone’s ending – down to Borrachio proposing to Margaret and Don John watching from a catwalk high against the back wall of the theatre.  No character was left unresolved.  And the song that played underneath it was so gorgeous I could listen to it over and over.  I was in tears again by the time they came forward for their epic curtain call.  (Curtain calls are different here in Russia… they are a real event in and of themselves!) 
Me outside the Pushkin Theatre with the show poster for one helluva show!
At any rate, it is way too late, and I have an earlier morning tomorrow, so I bid you (my 7 blog readers) good night!  I’m planning on some good dreams tonight (followed by some seriously stiff joints and muscles in the morning!)!

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