Sunday, June 23, 2013

Another Stanislavsky Saturday

Oh, Saturday.  It was a big day of much Russia-ness.  We started out the day with another session of Russian dance – our teacher is delightful, but boy howdy, I have never felt more uncoordinated in my life... and I frequently feel uncoordinated.  Then, at the end of class we were whisked off to Stanislavksy’s apartment for a quick tour.  The museum there has been expanded since my last visit, so it was cool to see some of their new display pieces.  
On the tiny stage in Stanislavsky's apartment where he ran performances from his opera studio
Then we hurried back for a quick lunch and some acting class – featuring probably the best group etude we’ve done in the last three summers.  David (one of the MFA actors) was a mime, and we were a bunch of annoying tourists who were harassing him, which led him to fight back as only a mime can.  There were lassos and boxes and boats and bullets and wind and defibrillators… it was pretty damn epic.  Then we played a game that I’m pretty sure was just burning up time rather than really building our acting skills, but it was still a fun afternoon.
Then came the big event for the day – a trip out to the Фоменко (Fomenko) Theatre for a production of Три Сестры (Three Sisters).  I was nervous about it because I hadn’t seen this production before, the tickets were sort of expensive by Russian standards (about $40) and it was going to be a long show, but it ended up being really wonderful.  The actors were energetic and delightful, the story was so clear, the set was dynamic and picturesque, and the conceit of the play was really cool too.  The production was played realistically and was, by and large, a straightforward production… except for the fact that Chekhov was on stage with the characters.  He sometimes stayed off to the side, sometimes ordered them to pause, sometimes described things to the audience, sometimes fell victim to the frustration of the characters… it was a really cool device. I really wish I could have understood more of what he was saying, since obviously he was not always speaking lines from the script.  There was a moment, for example, when he mentioned Stanislavsky, and I believe he was probably speaking from a letter from Chekhov to Stanislavsky.  It really was a wonderful way to give insight into the structure of the play.  And when, at the end of act two, Irina stood center stage crying out for Moscow and beating Chekhov with the pages of the script, it was a perfect little capsule of the play.  And oh boy… the last act was so gorgeous!  The pieces of the set that served to make the very open space interior were flown out to reveal a sort of open garden lane with autumn leaves strewn about… and man was it pretty!  And the scene between Irina and Tuzenbach before the duel was so truthful and raw and painful – because we could see their friendship and we could see that she just couldn’t lie to him about loving him because of their friendship – and they really could have had a fairly happy life together… it was so sad and wonderful!  I really enjoyed this one.  Of all the “straightforward” productions I’ve seen here, I think this one is my favorite. 

Then it was back to the dorm for a little ice cream and BED.  Ah… sleep.

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