I woke up on the morning of the 2nd to discover that the electric outlets in my room were not working. Goody. It turns out that someone had tried to use a hair drier in the wrong kind of converter, and they blew the fuse for all the rooms on this side of the hallway. Good times. So after a little Starbucks internet time, I told the woman at the front desk, who told me it would be fixed tomorrow. Goody again.
Much of the morning was spent running people around trying to get their money changed or get cash from ATMs, so I was a busy little bee before the group gathered for our bus tour. Of course, my last errand before the bus tour to get some Sprite at the grocery store across the street for a student who was feeling ill, turned into a mad dash the half block back to the dorm through a sudden torrential downpour. When I walked out of the dorm, it was completely clear, when I walked into the store about one minute later, there were a couple random drops, when I walked out two minutes later with a Sprite… it was the end of the frickin’ world. And… by the time we came down to meet the bus fifteen minutes later, it had stopped altogether. It was a special rain storm just for me!
The bus tour was a nice little refresher of the main sights of the city – and this year it was led by a different guide than in the past two years, so I got a slightly different view of a lot of things, which was neat. We stopped by Novodevichy Convent, Sparrow Hill, Park Pobedy (Victory Park), The Cathedral of Christ the Savior and finally, of course, Red Square. As the bus approached Red Square, the skies opened up again, but by the time the bus drove all the way around and parked, it had stopped again. It was quite a day for rain.
Upon returning to the dorm, I had about an hour to figure out a possible show for the evening. It was at a theatre I had been to two years ago, a theatre I had never been on my own, and a theatre that is not on any maps. So, armed with my hazy memory, I led a small group of students to a theatre that I wasn’t sure we could find, and that I wasn’t sure would have tickets available even if we did. There were some wrong turns, but eventually we found the street, and from there, the tiny theatre that’s tucked away in an alley in a basement drew me right to it. We were issued free rush tickets, which means we had no seat assignments and would just be fit in as they could find room. As luck would have it, they did find room, and we enjoyed a production of Торги (Auction), this fantastically imaginative piece conceived by Dmitry Krymov. It plays loosely with elements of different Chekhov plays as well as with the history of the theatre building itself, which has changed hands many times over the years and was eventually auctioned off and is now mostly a residential building, with this strange theatre space set in a room somewhere in the bowels of the building. There are mannequins and songs and dances and models and a see-saw and a seagull and all kinds of beautiful images that, even though the show is sort of a deeply coded, opaque piece, made it a thrilling experience for us. And… a special bonus for me was that one of the actors had been replaced by this brilliant woman who I have seen perform one woman shows in past years. This was actually the first time I had seen her onstage with anyone else, and I was definitely geeked out!
After the show we came back to the dorm for a late night pot luck/group meeting and then managed to find our way to bed. And tomorrow…it begins.