Thursday, June 7, 2012

The View from Above

Number of Steps: 12281

This morning was much like any other morning (though I was awakened by a student 2 minutes before my alarm went off…so she could check the time…which was not my favorite thing, but still, I’m good...I shook it off).  Class this morning was a three hour Russian film history lecture that we shared with the other two groups who are here.  The professor – Галина (Galina) – is as awesome and passionate and scary knowledgeable as she was last year.  She took us through a brief history of Russian politics and then talked us through about the first 3 decades of Russian cinema up to the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.  We finished the class by watching a few clips, and the one that was by far the biggest hit (this year and last year) was The Cameraman’s Revenge.  Do yourself a favor and click on that link.  It is so very worth the 13 minutes.  It’s done by a guy who is known for being the first Russian animator… it’s basically stop motion that he did with dried bugs.  He was clearly a genius, but he was probably also a super weird dude.

After lunch, we had another day of acting class wherein we did not kill anyone… so it was a big change from yesterday.  But it was a good day for teamwork.  Today I was an iphone that got dropped in a toilet by a toddler.  So that was a good time. 

Classes came to an end and we had an hour before meeting up with our escort to the show for tonight: Демон: вид сверху  (Demon: The View from Above).  This is an amazing piece of visual/performance art that I was lucky enough to see last year too with just a few other grad students…but this year the whole group got to go!  It’s performed in the round in a theatre with three levels of seating, all of which have a railing in front of the row of seats so that you can lean out to look down at the stage in the middle – which, for most of the performance, is lowered below the actual level of the stage by about 2 meters (see what I did there?).  The stage is made up of layers and layers of butcher paper and plastic, and as the show goes on, the performers paint, sculpt, and generally create their way through the entire span of human history in general, and the entire life of one girl in particular…with almost no words.  It’s so damn beautiful and moving and funny and engaging, you hardly know what to do with yourself!  I consider myself all kinds of lucky that I have seen this piece twice!  WOOHOO!

After the show I guided both the Wayne State and the Butler groups back through the metro (turns out I still remember how to do that!) to the dorm and we settled in for the night.  Vanessa (the MFA student on this trip) and I were going to try to catch another show that started at 9:30, but Demon started a little late, and we had to get the rest of the group back, and we weren’t even sure we would be able to get tickets, so sadly, we had to miss it.  But hey… you can’t make it to everything!

PS - you know what's going to make it super easy to sleep tonight?  The insane amount of jackhammering happening on the road below my window.  Yeeeeeehah.

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