For our duologues, I
worked together with Slavka on a scene from the play The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls by Meg Miroshnik (Miroshnik,
2014). We wanted our piece to be a thought-provoking mix of comedy and drama,
preferably with a touch of absurdism and a focus on current international issues.
We were quickly drawn to the play’s unique textual structure that mimics the plot
of a traditional Russian fairy tale and deliberately blurs the lines between reality
Throughout our rehearsal
process we drew upon improvisation games and various techniques we had learned
in earlier sessions. I found the identification of units and objectives as well
as the use of tempo-rhythm to be particularly useful as my character Annie, while
having a clearly defined super-objective, constantly changed her tactics and
actions to achieve it. The relationship between her inner motives and physical expression
also noticeably shifted from tense to balanced.
For the end of our performance,
we wanted to highlight the play’s current political and social significance in
a more serious way despite the piece’s comedic nature. We thought this would work
well with the medium of film and thus I created a video sequence in which we used
many symbolisms: In the play, Annie’s friend Masha is eaten by a bear because
she does not obey him. Nastya and Annie take on the bear and free Masha on
their own, but all the other characters seem to be turning against them. In the
end, they are left wondering whether killing the bear really solved the root of
their problems. ???????
means “bear” in Russian, which is similar to Russia’s current Prime Minister
and former president, Dmitry Medvedev who at this point has become interchangeable
with Putin and stands for a populist, immoveable manifestation of political
power. With its authoritarian and nationalist ideology, violation of human
rights and freedom of speech like the “gay purge” in Chechnya escalate at an
alarming rate (Walker, 2017). Due to this worrying development of the political
climate that has long since become a global phenomenon (c.f. Trump, Erdogan
etc), we wanted to stimulate our audience to reflect on our performance critically.
Adding music similar to that used at the beginning also served to frame our scene.