Today served up some weirdness. My cold hit me really hard this morning in the middle of ballet class when, as I found myself fumbling through barre combinations and sweating harder than I ever remember sweating, I started to feel the room close in around me. So, I decided to sit down and watch the rest of class – which was an interesting experience. Then, at the end of the class, Renat announced that it would be our last class together, and that we would be doing Russian folk dance with someone else for the rest of the month. This was a complete surprise, and though I had no way of knowing this would be our last day with him, I felt terrible that we had nothing to give him. So, we forced him to take some photos with us, and we scuttled on our merry way. I ate something so that I could try to convince myself to function again, and then I went hunting for some extra tickets to Giselle…unsuccessfully for the moment… but we shall see.
Acting class was a lot of fun today. We did some good work, played some charades (in a fairly brilliant etude, if I do say so myself), discovered who among us can and cannot spell, and learned that some of us are particularly bad at Tag. Our etudes today were partner etudes and they were intended to be situations in which it made emotional sense for us to be silent. I was very proud of the etude Annie and I came up with – it was mucho fun.
Now – I’m going to sidetrack from describing my day to note that, as a foreign relations endeavor, these acting classes, and other classes like them, seem to be painting a strange picture of American life. They are fascinated by all the etudes that inevitably pop up about cow tipping. We had an etude the other day in which kids dared each other to stand on the porch of the scary old man’s house. And today, I’m pretty sure that one of the etudes gave our teacher the impression that it’s an American pastime to race to see who can eat the most apples the fastest. So yeah… Russian theatre teachers have got to think that America is the weirdest place ever.
At any rate, after class the group split up for the night – half going to see Синее Чудовище (Blue Monster) at the Satirikon, and the other half of us going to see Смерть Жирафа (Death of Giraffe) – another piece by Dmitry Krymov. I was in the Giraffe portion of the group, so I let the eight little birds fly on their own to the Satirikon – a big step for me! And the rest of us headed off for a very strange, but still amazing evening at the theatre. It’s almost impossible to describe, but even as little of the text as we understood, it was so much fun. And the two Russian ladies sitting next to me were so nice – it was really delightful!
Once the group reunited, there was much revelry, and as the Russian students are currently celebrating their end of classes, it was a late, loud, multi-cultural night.* There was a very strange moment when, at 1:00 in the morning, a brief firework show erupted from the park across the street. It looked like a wedding party or something. So… that was an unexpected treat.
But now that the Russians and Americans have retreated to their respective territories, it is time for me to quietly post my blog and hit the hay… I’ve got a couple of skype dates in the morning!
*Another note – there are these lovely women who run the dorm here, and they are referred to as the бабушки (BAbooshki) – which means grandmothers or old ladies. No one would call them this to their faces, of course, but it’s just the affectionate nickname the students use to refer to them. So, while the Russians were hanging out in the hall, and I was trying to keep order (no... you can't smoke there... stuff like that), my darling undergrads – who have a limited Russian vocabulary – explained to the Russians that I am their бабушка (BAbooshka). I was the target of a lot of “she’s older than dirt” type comments tonight. They weren’t intended to be so, and these students are delightful kids… but boy… did I feel like an old lady tonight!