Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Three Sisters In Time Of Strife

Thursday night a gaggle of us went to see John Byrnes adaptation of The Three Sisters at the Tron Theater. I thought it was in general, ok. I really didn't think the setting worked or the "adaptation" (which seemed more like just a translation with a scottish twist). I felt like I mostly enjoyed myself, but it didn't really like it. There were some really nice moments and in general the acting was good, great in some cases. The Irina character was certainly one of the strongest actors on stage. I really liked Masha and Kulygin. They had a unique dynamic and definitely solidified the time period of the '60s in style and behavior more so than really any element in the show. The Chebutykin character, played by the whimsical Sylvester McCoy, was fun to watch and added a nice bit of quirky comedy. 
I did think first half was very good. Unfortunately, the second half fell quite short of the emotional and cathartic journey I was hoping for. The adaptation also turned into an almost word for word translation. 
The cast of the Prozorov Family was also a lot older than the script suggests. It just seemed like there were some great ideas or at least potentially interesting ideas that weren't explored fully or fell flat because of the plays parameters. I stand by that I enjoyed myself and am glad I saw it.  

Friday was our last day of our three weeks of class work. I like to refer to them as performance techniques and skills work. We had a nice voice session with Melanie Drake in the morning. She explored with us how to transition our Nadine George technique into an individual practice. We also did a very surreal exercise with sound. Everyone stands in a circle with three people in the middle with their eyes closed. The circle starts voicing open tones at all different pitches and a leader indicates the circle silently walk in both directions at some point, raising volume and end tones together.
It is a haunting and surprisingly visual exercise. Some people saw colors. Some saw shapes. Some saw elements and weird random stuff. It was simple and cool.

Our afternoon session was the last movement class with Mark. We had a great exploration and discussion on what a warm up is and what it should do/consist of. Then we did a really nice session on some basic mask work. Mark has a beautiful collection of handmade leather masks that we got to use.  It's actually quite difficult to be a neutral human being exploring space and body. It is also very disconcerting to see yourself, or anyone else for that matter, without your face. The leather is just close enough to a vague yet real human face that it is more creepy than a less human mask. It's also hard to not add extra character or "act" with it. Classic acting problems... to just be (or not to be?)
Anyway, the best and most amazing exercise we did was one on awareness. We all lined up against one wall and as a group, ran as fast as we could to the other side, turned around, and tried to picture the displacement of space and air that we just ran through. It was the easiest and simplest way to get a group of actors to share the space and most importantly just be aware and engaged with the whole space. We became the ultimate greek chorus.

The weekend was very strange and yet still a lot of fun. I went to the matinee at the Citizens Theater of In Time of Strife which was fantastic. Live music, 90min, no intermission, emotive, heart-wrenching, and it was in a fairly extreme scottish brogue including a ton of scottish words I couldn't understand. However, we happened to be at one of the only performances that had sur-titles. SO helpful. 
The show was about the union strikes and had some of the most guttural, grounded, and gratifying use of dance and music I've seen on stage. Everything was so scottish. It was brilliant. Also, almost all of the actors were graduates from my school.
That night we had an impromptu dance party in the cinema room at Claire's apartment building. Then a handful of us were going to meet up with a few others at this club on the west end called The Garage. First of all, every step we took closer to the club took us further into the bowels of Satan. It was just the worst cesspool of people, which of course should have been a sign for us to go home or at least anywhere on the planet far from there. Stupidly, we kept going and got in the club with relative ease and it was surprisingly empty. Of course, twenty minutes later when the clock struck midnight, all the pubs closed and every group of douchebag guys and flock of skankerific girls descended upon the toilet bowl that was the garage. Again, we should have called it quits and just sucked up the 5 pounds we paid to get in. After, being pushed, slightly groped, live tweeting, having crappy alcoholic drinks being thrown over us, a couple of near-miss confrontations, and general hearing loss, we finally called it quits. Yuck... I hate clubs. Unfortunately, I needed a reminder to never go again, ever.

The rest of the weekend was pretty chill. Big two weeks of Chekhov ahead of us. and even some stage combat!!!

1 comment:

  1. It was a great show to watch for me in the first time and I am pretty interested to know about something like that. It sure is interesting to know about such type of things.