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