Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stanislavsky and Swans

Number of Steps: 19891 (6.28 mi)

Just another Saturday in Moscow… which started with another movement class involving things like feet behind my head and standing on each other.  This class is ridiculous – you are in so much pain, but you feel so damn good!

After that, I led the group over to the Stanislavsky House Museum for a quick look through the rooms where Stanislavsky spent the last years of his life.  It’s pretty amazing when you see things like the bed where he died and the furniture from his wife’s dressing room and the desk he famously hid under when he was trying to imagine what it might be like to be a mouse (when he was in his 70s, by the way).  My little Russian triumph for the day came in the form of the little ladies who guide you through the house.  On the main floor there are little papers in each room that give you the information about the things in that room.  They have them in Russian, French and English, and the little ladies are quick to hand them to you.  But upstairs… there are no papers.  There is just a very zealous woman who wants to describe everything to you… in Russian.  So she noticed that I was leading the group and started walking me around and explaining things to me… and I actually understood some of them!  Some of them I completely didn’t…and those were the things I just nodded about and did NOT then tell the rest of the group.  But overall, I felt fairly successful.

Month in Moscow 2012 on the stage in Stanislavsky's apartment...note the boys playing it cool in the Stage Right corner.
After our lunch break we headed to acting where we had a bit of training before finishing the movie we started yesterday.  It’s a great movie, and it does a lot to contextualize Chekhov… but I don’t love that we’re taking class time to watch a movie.  Oh well.

After class I headed back to the dorm to change before going to the theatre…because I had time and I looked like crap.  So that combination led to me actually wearing heels to the theatre tonight.  Madness!  Tonight we and the NIU group went to see Swan Lake at the Stanislavsky/Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre.  BEAUTIFUL theatre, gorgeous production… but I have a confession:

I was bored out of my skull.

I appreciate the artistry and beauty and skill involved in what they did up there, but in terms of ways that I want to be told a story… ballet is way down there on the list.  Everything takes ten times longer when you have to dance it… and all the dramatic gestures are straight out of 19th century melodrama.  I started trying to think about the other ballets that I’ve seen, and I have decided that I’ve seen enough ballets of high enough quality that I have no problem saying that I just don’t like ballet.  I saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Boston, I saw Carmen in Budapest, and I have now seen Swan Lake in Russia.  It’s beautiful, they’re talented, but boy howdy… if I never sit through another ballet, I’ll be fine and dandy.

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