Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Two for One!

Number of Steps: 19733 (6.23 mi)

Oh… there’s so much pressure, not having blogged yesterday!  What to focus on!  Eek!

Well, yesterday was another crazy intense day of movement with Vlad (there FOUR of us with our feet behind our head… GO TEAM RUSSIAN DUMPLING!...though in our dumpling state, we are fairly helpless).  Then we had another day of acting with a fairly successful etude, some good exercises, some good individual etudes… it was a fairly strong day.  We got a great speech from our wunderkind assistant acting teacher Ilja about the dangers of getting "dusty" or complacent as an actor.  And he also mentioned that in Russia, actors never joke around about the parts they are currently playing.  He said that "the theatre will answer you."  Very interesting thought!

Then we went to see Marriage at the MXAT.  Now, I had seen a version of this earlier in the month at the Lenkom, and these two productions were very different, and both wonderful in their own ways.  It was a neat opportunity to see two such different interpretations of the same script so close on each other’s heels.  This one was very clean and crisp, and it ended up having some very clever and poignant moments particularly at the end, even as it had plenty of great schtick throughout.  And by the by… let me tell you a little bit about the set.  It was frickin’ awesome!   It was like a pop-up book that moved silently and seamlessly from room to room.  Really pretty ingenious.  And the costumes!  And what they were able to DO in those costumes!  Very impressive stuff.

Today was singing – which was fine, though I could tell that she was going to run out of time, so I hung back, allowing all the other folks to go before me so that they would have the benefit of her time.  Sometimes it sucks being a responsible educator instead of being all selfish and jumping in front of my little undergrad babies.  Then it was ballet… which has really become the thorn in my side.  He hates us, we’re frustrated, both of those facts ooze out of all of our pores…it’s a rough way to spend an hour and a half.  AND, he started 10 minutes early today with no warning, and was really mean to the people who came in “late.”  <sigh> 

My lunch break consisted of another successful ticket buying excursion.  I’m getting so good at buying tickets to things!  I’m ready for my Russian citizenship!  Is there a separate level of citizenship that just applies to purchasing tickets to cultural events?  Because I would totally qualify for that!

Acting went pretty well today.  The big highlight was that our etudes today were to perform each other.  We drew names out of a box last week and today we presented ourselves to each other as each other.  A few of them were pretty hilarious.  And I’m pretty sure no one’s feelings got hurt, so all in all, it was pretty successful.

Then we gathered with the other two theatre groups and walked – all 40-ish of us – to Old Arbat Street and the Vakhtangov Theatre for a production of дядя Ваня (Uncle Vanya).  With this production I complete my collection of seeing the major Chekhov plays actually IN Russia.  Sadly, no one ever seems to do Ivanov… so I guess I’ll just have to come back again some time to polish off the whole set.  This production was very inventive and interesting.  There was clearly a lot of imagination on the part of the actors and director, and it was fairly easy to follow, which is always nice.  One particularly horrifying aspect of the evening came in the form of the woman sitting next to me who received AND ANSWERED three (yes… that’s THREE) phone calls during the show.  She would actually talk on the phone during the performance!  Then, right before intermission, she replied to a text message telling them that she was at the theatre (yes, I read her text).  Theatre cell phone etiquette is definitely a problem here in Mother Russia.  Luckily, she and her friend didn’t come back for the second act, so I was able to put my indignant stare away for the remainder of the show.  Overall, it was a really interesting production.  The stage was SOOOO deep, and they really used the space well.  And they had some wonderful physical bits that did a lot to bring the inner lives of the characters to the surface.

After the show a small group of us walked back through the gorgeous evening (it was 11:00 and still just feeling like the beginning of dusk (Happy Solstice, by the way!) .  It was that perfect temperature with just a tiny breeze… it was a really nice walk, and a great way to end the day.   Now… on to bed, and on to tomorrow!

Deep thought: I think that, in some ways, know a little Russian makes it a little harder to understand the plays we see, because I really do understand some of the words, but not enough to string the sentences together.  So it’ll be “Blah blah blah blah blah blah potato blah blah blah blah brother blah blah squirrel blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah love.”  And then my brain tries really hard to create meaning out of the random words that popped out.  Whereas when I understood less, it was easier to just let it wash over me.  Well… lesson learned.  I guess for the next time I come (and yes, there will be a next time) I’ll just have to learn to really speak Russian!

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