Theatre: Weeks 8 and 9

Now that everyone has been here for two months there is a greater sense of independence. These last two weeks we only scheduled one show a week instead of our three show average. Why? There are many reasons. The academic schedule was busy, the beginning of May in Moscow is busy, we were also planning a cultural excursion (stay tuned for that blog post), and most importantly, students were choosing shows themselves and going on their own. It’s important to have time to do that. The end of May is going to be very very full of performances to see so there won’t be a chance then for students to go out on there on to the shows that they choose. You may remember from a previous post that we often have invitations to shows. We already have many for the next few weeks, but I am sure a few more will come up. There are so  many things to see before the semester ends in two weeks.

So, how do our students go to the theatre alone? Every student in Moscow has special documentation (equivalent to the American Student ID) that identifies them as a current student at their school. The card also gives students discounts in the metro, some restaurants, some museums, etc. For a theatre student, this card means that almost any theatre in Moscow will admit you into performances for free. There may not be a seat for you if they are sold out, but you can see the show from the back or from the steps. With most theatres running their shows in repertory that gives students hundreds (if not thousands) of choices of shows to see. This is a dream come true for any theatre student!

This brings us to our two theatre picks for the last two weeks:

Week 8: Волшебная Флейта (The Magic Flute) at The Musical Theatre named for Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko

Mozart’s opera is brought to life in this modern staging. The director took the freedom to change the characters a bit, do some editing and place them in a different setting. Small scenes in Russian were also added in between the German libretto. The movement and usage of space was very fresh and unique to the show. To give you a sense of what we saw the production photos are linked to the Week 8 heading. Enjoy!

 Week 9: Мастер и Маргарита (The Master and Margarita) at The Moscow Art Theatre

May 15 was Mikhail Bulgakov’s birthday. Conveniently, it was also the day that we had tickets for the Moscow Art Theatre’s production of The Master and Margarita. What a great way to celebrate the anniversary of the author’s birth.

The Moscow Art Theatre (MXT) is undoubtably Russia’s most famous theatre. Their productions are huge. The events of Bulgakov’s book are also huge (*spoilers*): a beheading, lots of black magic, a flying woman, a talking cat, disappearing people and more. How could it all be done on stage? MXT found a way. Like the book the show was daring, bold and rhythmic, bringing  a shock to the audience just when they were beginning to feel comfortable. Be sure to click the link to production photos in the Week 9 title!

Next week we have assigned shows almost every day of the week! Be sure to check back!



American Course: Week 8


This week was the busiest, and arguably the most exciting, week yet. A lot happened around here, but this post is dedicated completely to one project. Mikhail Chumachenko has a great project that he does with all of his first year directing students and he chose to work on this project with our course: Paintings.

Each student chooses a painting. The painting must have more than one person and less than the number of people in the class in it. Each student creates a story for his/her painting, does extensive research on the work of art, artist, point in history and place the painting was made/represents, etc. The story that is created is rehearsed and the final moment of the etude must be just like the painting.

Through many classes ideas were developed and thrown out, rehearsals were had, props were made, direction and priceless feedback was given and a lot of work was done. Finally, we got to a point we never thought we would reach. Chumachenko asked for our students to put together a performance day of all seven pieces. Together, props were prepared and scenery and costumes were created from what each student had brought in their suitcases. Everyone tried to get in one final rehearsal before the presentation day, which was difficult since the average student was involved in five out of seven pieces. It was impossible to have multiple rehearsals at once.

The most amazing part of it all was the way this small class of students came together and did have seven presentations ready for the next day. The order was decided and every one worked together to set up scene after scene so that there was plenty of time for each presentation and feedback at the end of it all.

Today we are happy to share with you some notes, snapshots and points of interest from parts of the process.

“Mr. Happy” by Mark Chagall

Director: Iosif M. Gershteyn

By choosing to work with this painting Iosif faced a very difficult task: how to make someone fly to recreate this image.

First he created a story about the painting which he called “Miriam.” You can read it here on his blog. He chose to leave the classroom and stage his painting outside in a nearby playground where his actors could use the playground equipment as the set, creating a solution to the task of having an actor take flight.


“Large Interior W11 (after Wateau)” by Lucian Freud

Director: Emily Larson

Lucian Freud painted in very long sessions. Almost no one would sit for him except his close friends and family, usually his children. He is famous for the melancholy looks on the faces of his subjects.

From this painting Emily created a story of children craving the attention of a father they rarely see. They have prepared a little show for his visit. Their mother enters, mid-rehearsal, and announces that he will not come. In this moment the happiness and energy that they have melts into the position of this painting.

“Five O’Clock Tea” by Mary Cassatt

Director: Vasya Veltsista

Mary Cassatt actually painted this painting for herself after she had retired. There is always something very delicate about the work that an artist does for herself. There must be a lot of truth in it.

Vasya’s exploration of this painting focused on the relationship of these women and the discomfort that can come from the truth that we hold inside.

“Untitled” by Marysole Worner Baz

Project Title: “Many Happy Returns”

Director: Eliana SigelEpstein

In the story that Eliana created from this painting death is knocking on the door, but has only come to call on the man in this couple. Death comes in the form of their son who died years ago. In the middle of a day just like any other day in their very long marriage something extraordinary happened. The man answered the door and saw his son’s face again.



He also understood that it was time to join him. His wife, in the final moment, doesn’t want her husband to go alone. She wants to go too.

The subject matter is very difficult. It’s extraordinary to see death. To direct and to play in this surreal situation at

the end of a long life and a long marriage in your twenties is something very huge to grasp.


“Chop Suey” by Edward Hopper

Director: Greer Gerni

“Hopper painted this painting in 1929 in New York City, Greenwich Village to be exact. That was a big year. The 1920’s brought a lot of changes for the artist, his neighborhood, art, culture, politics, the nation and the world.

 Before doing research on the painting itself my head swarmed with crazy possibilities for the situation in this painting. After doing my research I realized that the circumstances of the world Hopper was painting was far more exciting than anything I could dream up. I stripped away most of my crazy plot and focused on light, sound, and atmosphere in a simple exchange between the two women in the foreground.Hopper often paints very isolated people in public places, or rather busy places full of lonely people. My aim in this project was to create a feeling of excitement and comfort and then to take it all away leaving a restaurant full of people who feel completely alone.This project was extremely useful for me from inspiration, to research, to rehearsals, to the final presentation. Directing students were required to act and Acting students were required to direct. Everyone was working on an average of five of the seven projects. We were constantly bringing things from other rehearsals into our own to create something new.” -Greer Gerni


“L’Absinthe” by Edgar Degas

Director: Daniel Barnes

“Directing projects have always been very interesting to me.  I find it very difficult, but it helps me learn as an actor as well.

The painting project provided a strong structure, but allowed for a lot of freedom within that structure.  This process helped me to better understand the importance of knowing a piece inside and out, and being able to answer any question that might arise within that process.  When I searched for “impressionist paintings” online, I expected to find Degas, but not this specific one.  I actually thought it was Manet at first.  However, it was the story I could find inside the painting and what I could do with said story that drove me to choose it.  With two weeks I was, with my three actors, able to create something small, yet great for a starting point.  It is helpful to see all sides of artistic processes, and this specific assignment did well in helping me see those sides.” – Daniel Barnes


“The Tryst” by Jean-Leon Gerome

Director: Jaqueline Vouga

GITIS may be the oldest and largest theatre school in Russia, but they still don’t keep a camel in the props closet.

Jacqueline chose this set of two paintings “The Tryst (Interior and Exterior) to use to build her story. She didn’t have a camel to ride in on for this man to see this girl through the high window (maybe to steal a kiss), but she did have actors, some twine, some paper and a lot of scarves.

Instead of a man on a camel her story was about a man disguised as a camel (because, of course, that was the only way he could come near his lady’s house) and his female cousin who was daring enough to dress as a man, ride on the back of her “camel cousin” to deliver a message to the girl about when they could next meet.
“This was my favorite project so far. I was delighted that we were able to work on the project “the Russian way.” We worked in class, did our research, had our rehearsals, got feedback, did more research and more rehearsing and finished with a real presentation day. We set an order, made a program, set up scenery, props and costumes (from what we had) and presented everything together like a show. After all seven presentations we discussed everyone’s work.” – Jacqueline Vouga



All paintings are linked to sources.

Theatre: Weeks 6 and 7

Something really great about the community at GITIS is that someone is always inviting our entire group to shows that they have worked on, have friends who are working on them, or just really enjoyed. This happens on the student and professional level. We are invited by other students, by faculty members, by teaching artists and by administrators. Sometimes the invitation comes with a lot of notice and sometimes with none at all. Sometimes we have tickets to multiple shows in one night. This is a wonderful problem to have.

Week 6:

April 22: Woo Zoo

This week was a week of theatre invitations. First, Oleg Glushkov invited us to see a show that he had directed and choreographed for Fourth Year Directing Department students at GITIS. This is a devised work that Glushkov made with the students. Like his classes and his other work it is movement based. Each piece took very simple occurrences (the wind blowing, the sun shining, speech patterns, putting on a record, turning on a tv, etc.) and made them interesting enough to engage an audience for 90 minutes. Glushkov is constantly reminding students that it doesn’t matter what you do on stage, just how you do it. This show was a great study of that concept.

April 27: What’s the Buzz?

We finished out Week 6 of theatre going with an invitation to see a show only minutes before the performance started. Everyone was already at the theatre having a meeting with Krymov and Garkalin about next semesters course (we accomplished a lot in the meeting and everyone is looking forward to diving right in to an intense semester with them in the fall). During the meeting tickets arrived for us to the show that would be starting five minutes after our meeting ended. Since we were in an office backstage, it was very easy to agree to the short notice and step right on in to the audience minutes later.

The show was titled “What’s the Buzz?” It is a concert of music that GITIS students put together. The students requested our attendance and GITIS administration reserved seats in the second row center for us. This isn’t always the case, of course, but it’s an example of the excitement that the students have about their work.

This concert was divided into two parts. The first was a series of traditional Russian Folk music. The second was a medley of songs from Jesus Christ Super Star. It wasn’t really clear to any of us how these two pieces fit together in one concert, but it was clear that this was all music that these students wanted to work on and they did and they really committed to their work. It was an honor to be their guests.

Week 7:

Both of this week’s shows are directed by Dmitry Krymov who our students will be studying directing with for the Fall 2013 semester.

April 30: Демон (Demon)


Demon is loosely based on Pushkin’s poem of the same name. The subtitle of the play translates to “The View from Above.” The performance takes place in a cylindrical tower where the audience sits in the round on three stories. The action takes place one floor below the “first row.” Because everything happens below the audience the floor is the only scenery they can see. The floor is made of paper and plastic and is constantly being transformed by the actors by ripping, painting and adding elements to it to tell their story.

We could try to describe what we saw, but a picture is worth a thousand words and there as some wonderful production photos on the Krymov Lab website!



May 2: Opus No. 7

Opus No. 7

This is one of Krymov’s most popular productions. It is divided into two parts. The first is called “Genealogy” and the second “Shostakovich.” “Genealogy” is a reflection on and an artistic interpretation of the holocaust unlike anything imaginable. “Shostakovich” is the tale  of the late composer, his life, his relationship with the Soviet Union and his art. The show is constantly pulling the audiences through a huge array of emotions using scenery, music, and even giant puppets to take us through two very huge stories in one evening of theatre.

See a glimpse of what we saw for yourself!

American Course: Week 7

It’s important to start our post about classes in the first week of May with a little background on what happens in Russia during the first week of May. This is the first real week when the sun begins to shine more often than not. It’s the first week that the grass begins to grow and the snow is really gone. Moscow begins to wake up. For Russians, this is a very important week. May 1st, “Spring and Labor Day,” is a huge holiday here. There are parades and festivals. The parks open their attractions and cafes. The holiday is extended through the first days of May. As May 9th is another national holiday many people take the entire week for a vacation. It is not uncommon to take at least the first few days of May to leave the city. Just like in America, where many people spend Memorial Day weekend putting their boats in the water for the first time, in Moscow many people take the long holiday to go out to their dachas (summer cottages) to open them up and plant their gardens there. This year, Orthodox Easter (the biggest holiday for the Orthodox Church) also falls in this time frame (May 5).

As you can imagine, this is a very exciting time to be in Moscow. There is a lot to see and do. All schools and national offices were closed on Wednesday for the holiday so we had a bit of a break in our week. GITIS actually was not holding classes May 1-5 as an extended holiday, but our students chose to continue to work Thursday and Friday and our professors agreed to hold classes for them any way. Our students and professors alike understand that our time here is short and that our work is our passion. For us, it was the best way to spend the long holiday.

Because we had some unexpected class time, our students were asked what they wanted to study for the week. They chose to analyze and work on scenes from Uncle Vanya. It was such a great opportunity for them to take the analysis work that we had done earlier in the semester with The Seagull and apply it to this play. Of course, Alexei Litvin, who was directing the class dove right in with the students to stretch their range of thought about the text and to work beyond the text.

Don’t worry about these guys and think that they worked over the whole holiday! They had a day off on Wednesday and some extra free time on Thursday and Friday. Sure they spent some of it working on projects, learning Russian and going to the theatre, but they also got a chance to enjoy the sites of Moscow this time of year. That’s the beauty of international study!

American Course: Week 6

Week Six of the course was our second week working with choreographer/director Oleg Glushkov. Since the last time our students had worked with him they had seen two of his shows. This week was filled with a lot of discussion about the shows that we had seen and about exploring principals that he had used to create certain moments that really stood out to the students.

Glushkov’s work is all movement and dance based. One movement in the body inspires another movement. Over this week our students focused on this principle. They did exercises in impulsive movements, moving together, tempo-rhythm and even human-puppetry, where one student would be a puppet and the other students worked together to create a movement story with their classmates body. Together with Glushkov they created short scenes, movement sequences and dances based on this work.

The work in this class really highlights an over all theme of this semester: engaging the artist’s entire instrument in the work that they are doing on stage. Our directing and acting students alike are studying very closely how to engage the entire body in an action, event or emotion. In Glushkov’s class it became more clear for them that what happens on stage isn’t necessarily as interesting as how it happens.

Theatre: Weeks 4 and 5

Instead of just telling you about the theatre that we have seen recently we thought we would try something new and let you see what our students are saying about what they are seeing. The time we spend at the theatre is very precious and a lot of discoveries are made and interesting conversations started while we are there. Please be sure to click on the show names to link to production photos of the great work that we have seen!


Monday, April 8: Три сестры (Three Sisters) Fomenko Theatre

This traditional staging of Chekhov’s classic takes the audience into a well known story with a few twists and turns.

“For me, this production was about relationships: the relationship of each character with every other character, the relationship between reality and theatrics, and even the relationship between the playwright and his play. I know the story well, but there are some things that the text alone can’t tell you. Fomenko really told the story of these people and their relationships through the pauses which, I believe, is what Chekhov intended.” – Greer Gerni


Thursday, April 11: Моряки и шлюхи (Sailors and Whores) Fomenko Theatre

Oleg Glushkov who has been teaching an acting/movement course to our students directed this dance-theatre production. This is a new show and we put it on the schedule as per the request of our students who became more curious about his work and what it would mean for a whole production. The work that Glushkov is doing is really very interesting and unique and we are so thrilled to offer his class as part of our course. Seeing his new show really enhanced the classroom experience.

“Oleg Glushkov has a REALLY fascinating way of moving and choreographing, and his show was exciting and interesting to watch. He blends awkward with grace, and subtle gestures with dramatic full-body movements. To me it was all about loveless sex and loveless marriage. It was a lot of fun to watch, and made me even more grateful for the opportunity to work with him.” – Eliana Sigel-Epstein


Friday, April 12: Дядя Ваня (Uncle Vanya) Vakhtongov Theatre

This production of Uncle Vanya is a great contrast to the production of Three Sisters that we saw earlier in the week. It is very abstract, and yet, so true to the text.

“I had actually seen this production when I was in Moscow in 2009. It was one of my favorites, so I was very excited to see it again. Watching this production again 3 years later was, of course, interesting. On the one hand, I found the production just as captivating as the first time I saw it. The play operated under an absurdist logic that was evocative and fascinating. The environment and sound design were terrific – creating “atmosphere” far more effectively than chirping birds and realistic lighting. The opening music for each act was, actually, the melody of Kol Nidre, a prayer sung on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the years for Jewish people. So, imagine this haunting melody preceding Astrov’s opening monologue about the drudgery and pain of life – my heart aches in just remembering it. I loved the interpretations of Sonya and Vanya, and there were some incredible moments of love and compassion between them. I guess what bothered me the most was the interpretation of Yelena as cold-hearted and robotic. I have a lot of compassion for Yelena personally and see her more as a woman teetering on the edge, grasping for control, than maniacal. Though, I did enjoy her behavior after her and Astrov’s “interrogation” that lead into her desperation to leave the estate. In all, I thought it was incredibly well done and fascinating, but I ESPECIALLY loved that it made me think — not only about the play, but also in how to convey moments among characters with just enough touch of absurdism to make you feel that you are watching something that transcends daily life.” – Eliana Sigel-Epstein


Saturday, April 13: Чайка (The Seagull) Satyricon Theatre

This production of The Seagull is very popular in Moscow right now and is sure to change anyone’s perspective on what can be done with Chekhov.

“This five hour production, directed by one of my favorite directors in Moscow, Yuri Butusov, was out of this world — it felt beyond what I typically see at the theatre. To be fair, it actually shared a lot of similarities with the Uncle Vanya we saw the night before. The actors’ behavior was never restrained by the need to seem realistic or “believable” but still remained honest and true. Like Yelena in Uncle Vanya at Vakhtangov, Arkadina was nothing but destructive and maniacal. In fact, she had even less humanity than Yelena. But I saw this Arkadina as a symbol rather than a person. That was my least favorite thing about the production. What I did love about it was that it seemed to be a reaction to the play, rather than bringing the play to life. It was about artists understanding creation and themselves, experiencing pain and hurting one another. It was rough, with stagehands frequently entering the space and unceremoniously removing a prop. It was messy and cluttered – a vomit of expression on stage. It was an act of rebellion against the play that started it all. I struggled with this production, both watching it and thinking about it later. What was happening? What was going on? How is this connected to the Чайка I’ve read? Why exactly did I like it? And I’m still struggling a lot with those questions. Which is awesome. It’s a production I could see again and again, extracting more meaning from it each time, and I’m looking forward to seeing it at least once more during my time in Moscow.” – Eliana Sigel-Esptein


Tuesday, April 16: Три выцокие женщины (Three Tall Women) Maloi Bronnoi Theatre

This production is very minimalist allowing the text itself to be the highlighted feature.

“This was the first type of smaller-time theatre that we had gone to in Moscow. The budget was smaller and we were left with only actors on a relatively bare state. I appreciated this opportunity to make for a more well-rounded theatre experience. – Emily Larson


Friday, April 19: Ромео и Джульетта (Romeo and Juliet) Satyricon Theatre 

This is a new production at Satyricon directed by Konstantin Raikin with a cast mainly made up of his fourth-year students at MXAT. This was a perfect way for our students to finish off a week of analyzing Romeo and Juliet in their Acting/Directing class.

“This production of Romeo and Juliet was nothing like the dusty image we often have of how this play should be done. It is fresh, it is young, it is a whirlwind of action and emotion. For once, I was able to justify to myself why every event and choice happens that lead to Romeo and Juliet’s tragedy and I was able to allow myself to get caught up the rush of it all and to feel the rapidly changing mix of emotions that I have always wanted to feel from this play.” – Greer Gerni

“It was the first time I ever felt bad for Romeo and Juliet.” – Daniel Barnes

American Course: Semester 1 Week 5

Every afternoon our students have an Acting/Directing class. This week they worked with GITIS Directing Faculty professor Mikhail Chumachenko. What is particularly interesting about working with Chumachenko this week is that he was a student of Zvereva and a teacher of Litvin who each had a week of teaching the course prior to him. It is such a rare and great opportunity to have the chance to work with three masters who know each others work so well, have learned from and taught each other and have very clear and interesting ways of presenting the material from their own, very different points of view.

Chumachenko is really active and hands-on in the way that he works. He chose Romeo and Juliet as the text to work with over the course of the week. The first part of class was spent doing an in-depth analysis of the text and then would move into training exercises from the Stanislavsky System that directly related to the analysis. By doing so, directors and actors alike could immediately bring the analytical work to life. The week ended with a large project for students to apply the week’s work to before studying with Chumachenko again in a week. Students have chosen paintings to bring to life by analyzing the story that they see in the work of art and putting a short scene on stage that comes directly from the painting. We’ll be sure to update you on the progress of the project!

American Course: Semester 1 Week 4

It is becoming very clear around here that our students are really settled into the routine and the swing of things. It’s a really nice feeling when the work that we are doing, the art we are making and the risks that we are taking become a comfortable daily routine. Of course, no day passes with out something exciting and different happening. Today I’ll just pass along some highlights from the week.

All of our students have made huge improvements in our biomechanics class and the challenges presented to them by their professor, Maria, continue to become more and more surreal. This week, just when all of their balance and coordination exercises began to sort of make sense, Maria asked them to complete these tasks while standing on a chair. Why is this important you ask? Our surroundings and perspectives can change all the time and we have to be aware of them and be able to work with them. An actor needs to be able to first control his own body and then be able to control it in given circumstances. In writing the challenge seems small, but the benefits are very great.

Acting/Directing class was a great adventure this week. The class meets five days a week for two hours and fifteen minutes. This week we split our time between two professors. The first two days of the week we continued to work with Natalia Zvereva taking a deep look into “The Seagull” while working with the Stanislavski System and the teachings of Mikhail Chekhov. For the second half of the week we worked with Alexey Litvin, a former student of Zvereva. With Litvin we continued into a very deep analysis of “The Seagull” and explored key scenes through improv, etudes and analysis. Litvin is a director at the Odessa Academic Russian Drama Theatre where he staged a production of “The Seagull” in 2005 which is still playing there now. This Monday we will finish up Act IV with him before  changing gears totally to work with GITIS Dean and Directing Professor Mikhail Chumacheko.

Theatre: Semester 1 Weeks 2 and 3

We have two weeks of theatre to catch everyone up on before we start our busiest week of theatre going yet!

Week 2:

Торги (The Auction)

Our first show of the week was another Krymov piece: “Торги” (The Auction.) This show is based on the Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” “Uncle Vanya,” “The Seagull,” and “Cherry Orchard.” Only text from these plays are used in this show, but the results are not your typical Chekhov play, of course. Production photos and additional information is available here.

Sunday we saw “МЫкарамозоВы” a Moscow Art Theatre School Diploma Show based on Dostoyevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamozov. The show was based on studies that the students did on the characters of this iconic novel. The show draws a connection between these seemingly distant fictional characters and the common man using etudes, text and music. Interestingly, the large cast works in an extremely closed in, colorless space very close to the audience which certainly helps achieve the goal of the work that they are doing.

Week 3:

Krymov’s Gorky 10

This week we had a very rare and wonderful opportunity to sit in on a run through of GITIS’s newest student show Schiller’s “The Robbers” (Разбойники) directed by Yuriy Butusov. This was a great opportunity for many reasons for us. This cast of five young ladies (yes, this is quite a unique choice for this show) who also study at GITIS were working in the tender stage of the run throughs before an opening in a new space. This is no easy task. Butusov is a very famous director in Moscow and our students are very fond of his work. Before the run through started we had the opportunity to hear directly from him his thoughts on the work. We are so thankful that we were able to experience this show before opening night!

Later in the week we saw Krymov’s “Gorky 10.” This is a very whimsical and absurd farce based on Lenin’s time spent in Gorky 10, the country house of Russian leaders. The show is extremely imaginative. The entire first half is the same scene over and over becoming more and more absurd each time. The audience can never be sure what will happen next. The absurdity is so carefully crafted and perfectly placed to create an extremely interesting and effective piece of theatre.

Saturday afternoon we took a trip to the Fomenko Theatre to see their children’s theatre production of “Алиса в Зазеркалье” (Alice through the Looking Glass.) This is a high budget, high energy show geared for children. The environment is, of course, very different than most of what we have seen in Moscow.We chose this show because we intend to expose our students to all types of theatre. There were many staging choices and special effects that particularly interested our students.

Please do check out the links to the websites for each of these fantastic productions and stay tuned for next week’s selections!

American Course at GITIS: Semester 1 Week 3

Two and a half weeks of our program have now passed. This week we started our in depth Acting/Directing course work. GITIS has a very unique course offering in which Acting and Directing students work together in one class with one professor guiding both types of students in work that allows each individual to grow as the type of theatre artist that they are as well as take an in depth look at the work of each other. The students apply their work together in each class to create etudes, improvs and even do scene work together.

Naturally, we jumped on the opportunity of this course offering for our program. Our students will be studying this way for nine of the eleven weeks of the course with three different Directing Department Faculty members leading the course. This unique curriculum design not only allows the acting and directing students to form a very tight ensemble, but also allows them to stretch and grow by studying intensively with a few different masters over the course of the semester.

We started this process with directing master Natalia Alexievna Zvereva who is an expert in the teachings of Mikhail Chekhov and was, in fact, the student of a student of his. She has been a member of the directing department faculty at GITIS for many years in addition to working internationally.

For her section of the course she chose to focus on Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. Her class is divided into multiple sections. First students work through etudes, improvs and exercises of the Stanislavisky System. The class then transitions to script analysis and history before moving into scene work from the chosen text. Over the course of the week students applied all principles from each section of the class to the work in every section creating new art and interpretations of the text every day. We will continue to update you on the work that our students are doing with Zvereva and the other Directing Faculty over the course of the semester.