Thursday was another awesome morning of movement with Vladimir. Of all the training we get here, his is by far the most unique – the stuff we’re least likely to be able to find back state-side. And probably the hardest to replicate on our own. There’s just something about having a giant Russian man yelling at you that makes all these crazy things possible. We’re getting pretty far into a bunch of acrobatic stuff this time – lots of different lifts and partner stands and stuff. Pretty bitchin’.
At lunch, I was off as usual to score tickets to – of all things – Калека с Инишмана (The Cripple of Inishmaan). The guy who played Cripple Billy at Wayne State a season ago is on the trip with us, so he’s pretty jazzed to see the show. I’m personally fascinated to see how they approach this play. First of all, it’s at the same place where we saw Marat/Sade and The Good Person of Setzuan, so I’m interested in seeing something that is more based in psychological realism. Second – McDonaugh’s plays are so distinctly Irish in tone, I’m very curious to see how that will transfer.
After lunch we headed to acting class where our first day of observation etudes didn’t go super great. We had sort of lost our sense of “the event” in favor of an accurate depiction of the person we had observed. I had a pretty cool personal moment that taught me some things about me, but the etude itself needed much more. I think this was actually pretty good for us as a group, since we’ve been trucking along pretty well – it’s good to be reminded of the basics and how much attention to detail is really necessary.
We had a nice long dinner break on Thursday, because we were seeing a student show at the MXAT – so no Metro for us! The show itself was На дне(The Lower Depths). Literally translated as “At the bottom,” It’s a famous Russian play about a bunch of people who live really hard lives, and then this guy Luka makes them think that life can get better… and then it doesn’t. It was a project performed by the 3rd year acting students (who are students of our acting teacher Sergei), and it was pretty impressive. The language barrier remains a frustration, but the quality of the acting was undeniable. There were certainly people who were better than others, but the overall sense of emotional truth on stage was pretty impressive.
Friday was another day of film history. This time we watched The Man with the Movie Camera – which is basically a montage of images of modern life as of 1928. It was an interesting little film.
For lunch, it was back on the road to pick up tickets to the ballet. Thanks to the very helpful young woman in line behind me who spoke some English and was able to translate for me with the surly box office woman, we will be seeing Жизель (Giselle) at the Stanislavsky/Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre. It’s not the Bolshoi, but it’s absolutely on par with the Bolshoi.
Then it was back for acting class during which our etudes went much much better. There were some very cool portraits today. I performed as my niece Anya and was told that it was a “delicate portrait.” Hell yeah! Go me!
Our show for Friday was another student production – this time by the 4th years – of Трамвай <<Желание>> (A Streetcar Named Desire). It was pretty fascinating to see them treat such an American classic. It was a highly stylized production with a lot of dance/movement pieces strung throughout. I liked a lot of things about it, but overall I found the production a little uneven, and the music included so many different styles and languages and nationalities, I wasn’t quite sure what it was trying to do. There was one guy who put on a weird voice that I assume was his “jackass American” voice. And poor Blanche suffered from the same problems that all 20-something Blanches do. But it was still pretty damn impressive to see students doing that kind of work.