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!