Thursday morning we had our second Russian Film History class. This class is always very interesting, though I must have not slept very well, because I had the hardest time staying awake. But the films that we watched were all very good. After lunch we went to acting where we added some new concentration exercises. We clapped out a rhythm around the room but we had to do it with a partner, so we really had to connect with our partner so that when our turn came we both were in sync. Then we passed a tennis ball around the room and with each throw the person would give a letter, with the object being to spell a word. Ideally we should move quickly and if we are connected as one collective whole then we should all know what word we are trying to spell and the next person should be ready with the next letter so that there aren't huge pauses. We weren't the most successful on that one, and apparently the next level of difficulty which we didn't try was to have two balls going at the same time and spelling two different words, requiring an extremely high level
Funny chocolate 2
If it's hard to see, that is a "no women" sign
of concentration. Then we played a tag game where you can get the person who is chasing you to stop by calling someone else's name, and that person becomes 'it'. Not too hard but then we all took names of famous people and then it was not so easy because you had to remember the names assigned to the people in your group if you didn't want to get tagged.
That night we went and saw a production of Tartuffe by Moliere at the MXAT. It was really quite spectacular. It was as if they had the set and costume designer from Cirque Du Soleil working for them. It was pretty exciting. I sat in the nose bleed section for the first half then found an empty seat in the 6th row center to finish out the show. It was fun seeing a different version since I had been in the show before. I just really had a great time watching. The guy who played the father, Oregon, was just amazing, and showed what it means to play the realism of a comic situation and it will be funny, you don't have to play the funny. I don't think
the Russians are used to people with really loud laughter, because I think there were a few times where I laughed pretty loud and three or four people turned back to gawk. Oh well.
The weather has been pretty chilly and lots of rain so I haven't been out exploring much or taking many pictures, so I will post some that I skipped over on previous outings. I did take a picture of this funny chocolate they have here, and I found a funny mechanical mannequin that I was getting a little fresh with.
Friday we had ballet again. The class has been such a joy. It was amazing to me that Larissa actually pulled me to the front of the class to serve as an example on how to do this specific jumping exercise properly. She would do that all the time in class to help those who might be struggling by putting someone who knew what they were doing right in front of them and say, "Watch!" For her to pull me up there was just mind boggling, especially for any one who has ever watched me dance classes, and ballet is even worse. In acting
our Etude was set in a movie theatre and the power goes out in the middle of a scary movie, I didn't think it was that great but Sergey seemed to like it, so what do I know? We then had a pretty lengthy discussion about Uncle Vanya, and during it I had a huge moment of panic. I reached into my pocket and noticed that my credit cards which I have kept in a card sleeve weren't in the sleeve. I freaked out and couldn't concentrate at all in class. I was playing over in my head when I last saw them or had them, and where they could have possibly fell out. I started working on contingency plans in case I didn't find them, I prayed fervently, it was pretty scary, considering all my money was tied up in those cards. I was pretty sure they probably fell out in the green room where I had kicked up my feet to relax before class. The minute break came I ran in there and sure enough, they had fallen down the crack between two sections of the sofa in the green room, Whew! Huge relief. I will definitely be
more careful and aware. Not cool!
During the last section of acting they informed us that on of the master teachers, that works with 1st year students would be holding a master class at the Meyerhold center and wondered if we would like to attend. Of course we said yes, not really knowing what it would be. So after acting we hopped the metro and off we went. It was looking to be pretty useless class as the first 20 minutes was just the guy talking, and of course we have no idea what he is saying, although the Russians were clearly getting a kick out of it. Then he finally sat down and the first years began to showcase what they had been working on all year, which were the same type of Etudes that we saw in The Black Square, which was the first show we watched in Russia. Some of them were really good, some of them weren't so great. The most interesting and amazing ones to me were ones where they showed a famous painting by Van Gogh or Norman Rockwell, and then they created an Etude about how the people in the painting arrived
at that one particular scene. They were really quite beautiful and amazing. There were two sections of the scenes broken up by master teacher talking, which of course was hard, but all in all, it wasn't a total waste. It just amazes me the things they think of. I was discussing this with some fellow peers about the ideas that they come up with. Sergey had told us of a couple of examples of shows he had seen of Uncle Vanya where they had these really amazing bits that really just wowed the audiences and did so well and bringing out the nuances of the story, and I was commenting on wow that seemed to be a hallmark of the Russian theatre as compared to American. Someone made the observation that it was probably directly related to the gestation period that they have. Since they have 6 months or more in rehearsal of course they have a much greater amount of time to think about it and to discover and explore all the different ideas surrounding the show as a whole and the characters. I thought about how often I have done a show and as we near the opening date, getting the feeling that I am so done rehearsing and how we are so ready for an audience. Made me really wonder what I would do with 6 months of rehearsals.
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