Friday, June 29, 2012

They Can't All Be Winners

Number of steps: 19715 (6.22 mi)

Well… as far as the Moscow Art Theatre is concerned, today was it for us!  We came in at 12:00 for individual assessments with our acting teachers Сергей and Илья.  It’s funny – they tell us that after a month they can’t really know us that well – but they really do.  They’re extremely insightful.  And while I’m sure they could be a lot more brutal, they still manage to do a nice job of giving everyone very personal feedback that leaves them feeling like they have accomplished something here and that they can take that something home with them.  Of course, when I walked in the first thing Sergei said was that he was sure he’d be seeing me again.  I told him he certainly would.  I’ve really caught the Russian fever… and I will be back here more than a few times throughout the course of my life.  From there, they went on to talk to me about my commitment, my hard work, my leadership, my relationship with the other students, my creativity and my constructive and insightful feedback – basically all of this was stuff that made me sound like a good director, teacher and group leader.  And all of this was said in front of JT – so it was double good!

Our fantastic group with our acting teachers for the month: Sergei, Ilja and Stanislavsky!
After that we had our little reception with snacks and champagne and not much fanfare – but who needs fanfare when you have studying at the MXAT?!?  Frankly, I think we were all perfectly pleased with the level of fanfare.  And the snacks were delicious!  From there, we went to a “Mexican” restaurant for lunch.  This ended up being a bit difficult for the vegetarians – so we just ended up with a tiny salad and some borsht with beef in it (yeah – they served borsht at a Mexican restaurant – but apparently it was spicy!), but we also all got strawberry margaritas… so all was well with the world.

We had most of the afternoon to ourselves, which was a nice little slice of down time before I headed out on my own to Театр Ет-Сетера for a production called Шейлок (Shylock), which was an adaptation of Merchant of Venice.  Now, the theatre itself was pretty darn cool.  The seats were all a bunch of different upholstered arm chairs like you see in period plays, but they all fold up like normal theatre seats.  I really liked it.  The show, on the other hand, was really not very good.  Portia was lovely, and Nerissa kinda looked like my darling Anne Kelly Tromsness, but it was really a bit of a mishmash.  It was set in modern day Wall Street (sort of), which seems like a logical setting for this play.  But it wasn’t completely there.  And the movement and music were weird and stylized in a way that didn’t fit the gravity of the show.   And Lorenzo and Bassanio were both really not very attractive – definitely not attractive enough for the women they were with.  And the movement in this production was extremely awkward – a huge contrast to the physical artistry of most Russian theater.  Oh, and the woman who played Portia’s other servant was totally out of time with the rest of the show – and she was way too hammy.  The set had its interesting qualities, there were some admirable performances and some lovely moments, but overall the show had the quality of a pretty good community theatre production.  Really, according to most of the photos on the walls, this is a theatre devoted entirely to the lead actor (who played Shylock) playing all the roles he ever wanted to play.  Not the best.  But I have to admit, it’s a little comforting to know that Russian theatre isn’t all the mind-bogglingly awesome artistry that we have seen.  Sometimes they suck too.

From there, I came back to the dorm for a little me time, since the rest of the group was out for the evening.  I should really catch up on my journal or read some stuff for my quals, but instead…I’ll probably just reread the Hunger Games trilogy. 

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