Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Breakup Goggles

I think this may be a phenomenon identified by How I Met Your Mother - the idea that, once you've decided to end a relationship, suddenly you start to see it all through idealized, rose-colored glasses.  Now, this is a faulty metaphor for me, because I have had a wonderful time during my stay here in Marshall, MN.  But in addition to the awesome rehearsals and classes, I've also been more than a little solitary and homesick as well... and that is most definitely the part of the guest director experience that I was least prepared for and am most looking forward to being rid of.  And now, as I'm sitting here in the theatre before our final dress rehearsal, looking ahead to the dwindling days I have left here at SMSU and with the great people I have met here, I am definitely feeling sad that this time is about to come to an end.  Theatre is a small world, and there is every possibility that I may cross paths with many of these folks again at some point, but I have no idea when that will be.  So as much as a big part of me has wanted to go home to Brian and our kitties (and my own bathroom!), the idea of not being here anymore is getting sadder and sadder each day.  I've been so lucky with all the great folks I've met here, it's going to be tough to bid them all farewell!

And even tougher, I have no idea when my next show will be!  It will be awesome to see my boyfriend when he arrives on Friday, and awesome to see our friends in Chicago on Saturday, and awesome to get home to my sweet kitties on Sunday... but once I get back to Ypsi, my immediate (and distant) future is made up entirely of writing my dissertation, writing articles, writing presentations, and applying for jobs.  For the first time in I don't know how long, I have no next show in the pipe.  And that is terrifying.  When will be my next chance to direct or act?  I have no idea.  That, among all the other uncertainties hanging over my head at this particular point in my life, is probably the one that makes me feel the most out to sea.  Well...that and the big question of a paycheck after May... but that just makes me want to throw up a little bit.  So... yeah.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Dead Man's Cell Phone - The Redial

I've been in Marshall, MN since January, rehearsing another production of Dead Man's Cell Phone at Southwest Minnesota State University.  They had already chosen the play before I was hired, so it's a strange little experience to be tackling the same show again so close to my first time through (back in October at Wayne State).  But I'm having a good time here trying to make sense of this play with a new group of students and designers, so I wanted to share some photos from our rehearsals so far (courtesy of my rockin' SM, Turi).

Warming up, pretty early in the process

Gordon on the Subway (yeah... I'm definitely stealing a few bits from myself)

The Other Woman and Jean

Jean and the Other Woman

Jean and The Other Woman

Mrs. Gottlieb and Hermia...and apparently I make claws at my actors a lot

Jean & Dwight

Gordon and Jean

Almost everyone (poor Marissa is just out of the frame)

Jean and Dwight

This time we're just missing Gordon

The follies!

Punching each other is awesome

See...they're still friends after all the punching

I can also do the punching!

From Moscow to Marshall

Last night I taught the first in a series of three workshops about contemporary Russian actor training that I'm offering while I'm here at Southwest Minnesota State University. I've spent the last three summers studying this work at the Moscow Art Theatre, and I've used it myself in rehearsals - to varying degrees of success.  I even incorporated a little bit of it into my Acting 1 class after my first trip to Moscow.  But this was my first chance to take the work I've been doing and package it for delivery to new students in a concentrated way.  And I have to say, I was really surprised by how well it went.  First, I ended up with 16 students, which was basically the perfect size - with this size you can divide the group into two equally sized, still even-numbered, still big enough to be a challenge groups, which allows them the chance to watch and reflect on the work that's being done.  I was worried that I'd have to do a lot of referring to notes and whatnot, but it turned out that, once I got moving, I was in the zone.  I definitely wasn't on Sergei's level - I don't pretend I ever will be - but I did feel like I was maybe channeling him a little bit here and there.  We worked through a number of exercises focused on concentration, ensemble and focus - and they really went for it.  They laughed and made faces and got frustrated, but they also succeeded in a lot of ways, which was a lot of fun.  The big question will come next week, I think, when they have to bring in object etudes.  It's one thing to work together on these exercises, it's something else to create an imaginative illustration of an object and an event.  I'm very interested to see what they bring back to me next week - and I have to admit I'm wondering who will and won't come back.  But in general, I got a great vibe from the group.  I'm really looking forward to the work they're going to do next week, building off of our time together.  This is a small department, but boy is it energetic!  Go Mustangs!  And, on a personal note, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself!  Hooray team me! (Ура команда меня!)