Thanksgiving in Russia

Yesterday night, we hosted teachers and friends have a Thanksgiving gathering. it was lovely to give back a little bit to our teachers, from whom we have learned so much. We all made different dishes. I made baklava and mac and cheese with help from friends. Our supervisors provided us with two turkeys, which one of our brave Ensemble members carved and cooked. It was a little taste of the US that I think many of us in this program were happy to have. It made me recognize how thankful I am for the people in this program in the people in this school.

It also made me realize how close I am to the end of this program. We leave in 12 days. I’m not fully sure I’m ready to leave. I’ve learned a lot here, and I’ll write a long post about the whole experience at the end. I wish I could stay a little bit longer to learn from our teachers, and to spend time with the friends that I’ve made, but regardless, in 12 days, we will be back in the US. Right now, that’s a wild thought to have. I hope someday soon to come back to Moscow and maybe study in this country more. It’s a bittersweet time right now.

Also, as usual, I’m sorry I have not posted much. This program is a madhouse. Thank you for reading.

Culture

Yesterday, I went to a show about Meyerhold (a famous figure in Russian theater) that was in English, debuted in Paris, was directed by a British person, and I saw it with Americans in Moscow. Talk about a cross-cultural discipline.

Reflections on the past week of acting class

About a week ago in acting, I did my second dream etude, where I did Yasha’s dream. It was not a success, but that’s not a bad thing. One of the first things we were told about this program is that sometimes your etudes will fail, and sometimes you learn more from the failed etudes than the successful ones. Today, that’s how it felt.

First of all, the idea was not very good, but that’s not important. The important thing was the execution of the idea was rushed. I get told very frequently in acting class not to rush. However, this time I figured out a reason as to maybe why I have a tendency to rush. Ilya said that he could tell I was watching the audience for their reactions. He was right about that. From an actor’s perspective, I think I need to stop thinking so much about what other people think of me, and just to live in the world of the play. After this day, I decided to try to take too much time and see what that feels like.

Cut forward to now, when I have done a few rounds of scene work, and he told me one time that I took too long. This was a win. You can always compress content, but extending it is more difficult.

Another thing that I have discovered about acting is the importance of specificity. I’ve always known that specificity is what makes a lot of theater good, but this program has just reaffirmed that belief. My scene partner and I have rehearsed our seagull scene for approximately 3 or 4 hours total, and we’ve only gotten about 90 seconds into the scene. The degree to which we are focusing on the specificity of focus and timing is new to me, but it’s so helpful. I’m sure I’ll talk more about this in a future post.