Emily Larson graduated in 2010 from the University of Iowa. During her senior year, she took the advice of a very wise academic advisor and studied abroad at the Moscow Art Theatre School through the National Theatre Institute. It was an experience which completely altered the course of her life. Upon returning to Iowa, Emily spent her final months on campus cramming as much Russian language into her brain as possible and promptly flew back to Moscow after graduation. She remained there studying Russian language for 7 months before returning to the states.
Since that time, she has worn many hats. She spent a season as the Dramatics Director for an Ohio high school, then worked as a nanny in Manhattan and most recently developed a professional relationship with Dutch Kills Theatre Company with whom she will direct a newly translated Polish play in summer 2013.
After two nights on Russian soil, I knew nothing was ever going to be the same for me again. No theater experiences have ever affected me as deeply and profoundly as the performances I saw in Russia and, at the time, I did not even understand Russian language. The four plays which had the most impact on me were Yuri Butusov’s Richard III, Rimas Tuminas’ Uncle Vanya, Dmitry Krymov’s Opus Posth 7 and Kama Ginkas’ Lady with the Lapdog. These directors are artists for the stage. By that I mean each image they create could be photographed and it would stand alone as an individual work of art. They have distilled their immense understanding of human nature and the human condition into something breathtaking; the true definition of a moving picture. What is so exquisite about their work is that it can be understood on a level that transcends language. I no longer ask myself the question “Why do I want to study in Moscow?” because, for me, the reasons are evident in the visceral connection I feel to the city and these four plays. It has become a question only of “How and when will I study in Moscow?” I want to learn to (re)create theatre like these artists have done, and who better to learn from than the artists themselves?