Russian Theatre

Out of all the shows I’ve seen in Moscow the most amazing story came from Verdi’s La Traviata.  The wonderful singing, combined with one of the most amazing theatrical sets I have ever seen also combined with being in the Bolshoi Theatre I really felt carried away in to the story.  This production had dogs, birds and even A HORSE AND CARRIAGE…what??  Even though it wasn’t really a modern telling of the story it felt SO new and now because of all the things that were added in to the set.

Last night we saw Chekhov’s THREE SISTERS.  I have to say I was a little let down by the set design and some of the acting.  When I first took my seat and saw a kind of cafe setting with a number of tables placed around the stage and numerous actors already on stage I got really excited!  I thought it was going to be this really cool abstract take on this really classic text…It was not.  The tables and chairs became a barrier to the actors.  The tempo was also a problem especially during the Masha and Vershinin scene in the 2nd act.  It was so rushed I barely had time to realize what was happening.

One thing that really makes theatre feel like family here is a tragedy that happened earlier this week.  One of the actors in the Moscow Art Theatre company was killed in a car accident.  She had a lead role in THREEPENNY OPERA and since yesterday the stage has been dark.  Her portrait is in two places, one inside a hallway and one outside on the street, in both places flowers -TONS of flowers – surround her portrait.  It is this homage and the dark theatre that sets Russian Theatre apart from American theatre.  I find it hard to believe that the actress wouldn’t be replaced with her understudy in America and a half hearted announcement made to the audience that the night’s performance will be in her honor.

In cancelling the productions theatre practicioners and audiences have time to grieve. And reflect. And really evaluate what each individual means to the theatre and to their lives.  It is done with love.  There is no selfishness and from what I can see no anger from the audiences for not being able to see the production they paid a lot of money to see.

I am honored to be studying art in a place where everyone takes acting so seriously it hurts.  It really hurts…there hasn’t been a day yet where I haven’t gone to bed in pain OR woken up in pain and remained in pain all day.  AND MORE PAIN ADDED IN THAT DAY!  Whoever says acting is easy I beg you to come here and get tortued in Russian Ballet, and combat and movement.  You jump in the air for an hour straight, Do the Russian Dumpling, lift your partner in any possible way, or become a telephone, or an elephant or an ox and then get back to me with your insistance that anyone can act!

Three Weeks in and I never want it to end!

Blue Skies!


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