All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.

Robert Kennedy

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dead People's Easter

No, I'm not being crude. Tomorrow is a National Holiday and is literally translated as 'Dead People's Easter.' Everyone gets together, goes and buys flowers and tons of food and then go to the cemetery and have a feast on the graves of their loved ones. Sounds weird? And it? In the US, death is SO morbid and foreboding and here it is celebrated. They include members of their family in the biggest celebration of the year even if they have passed on. It may seem morbid to us, but overall, I think it is kind of sweet. The cemeteries here are filled with joy and happiness and it is a celebration. Isn't that a refreshing take?
At work this week, we are mostly focusing on the anti-human trafficking festival that is fast approaching. Since I will be gone for 2 weeks on vacation I am simply trying to assist in what I can before I leave. It's hard to focus as all I can think about is visiting London and Paris with my CA friends. I can't believe I haven' seen them in almost a year. And the week before vacation is tough because all you're thinking about is going and it is so hard to focus on the task at hand. 
Today, my friend Erin and I decided to 'treat' ourselves and get our hair cut. I haven't had my haircut since about a month before I left the US. It seems like such a simple thing, but I just haven't done it. We didn't know what to expect in a Moldovan Salon but it was magnificent. Just to sit in a chair and lean back and have someone wash my hair was so glorious. I felt like a new woman! Erin and I were giddy.
We also had a fantastic meeting with the director of the Cahul Theatre. He had been coming to the anti-trafficking meetings and finally on Friday, I approached him and told him that I was a theatre director and would LOVE to tour his theatre and learn about their process here. He was elated and met with us this morning to take us up on the offer. Theatre, or the any of the Arts for that matter, are not exactly prominent in Moldova but there is a small community of artisans that have the passion to do it. The theatre itself is pretty small, much like the Chino theatre I worked at. It seats 100 people. The stage is no extremely wide but it has some depth to it. It is in an old Soviet building so the acoustics are pretty solid. The dressing rooms are literally right off stage. I can't imagine a group of my Chino teens in that dressing room having to stay silent while the show was on. I laughed to myself when I saw it thinking of what a challenge that would be. It is a professional theatre so the actors are paid and the directors are hired on contract from other cities in Moldova as well as Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine. The perform in classical Russian style. Gheorge, the director, said he would love to explore some European styles or absurdist, but he is very aware of his audience and according to him, they just 'aren't ready.' He showed us all the posters for their past shows and he showed me a script he is perusing for the next season. It is by a British playwright that I had heard of and he was thrilled that I had heard of his selection. They perform mostly in Romanian, sometimes Russian but never in English. He did express some interest in trying an English performance at some point in the future. They are currently in the process of building a brand new theatre across the park that would seat 200 people and would have a much bigger stage which would allow for bigger productions. He showed us the plans for the new building and he is very excited about the possibilities. This theatre is celebrating its 25th year in existence and they are having an anniversary celebration at the end of the summer that he asked me to be a part of. I told him that I brought some DVD's of some of the shows I had directed and he asked if he could view them and show them to his company. So in a few weeks, a group of Moldovan actors will be watching the Chino Community Teen Theatre's production of 'The Who's Tommy.' Crazy how things work out. He invited me back to the theatre whenever I would like to see a performance or would like to sit in the booth and help backstage or whatever I would like to do. He also asked if I would sit in on rehearsals and watch how they work to see how it differed from the American way of doing things. I was in heaven. The three of us sat around for a while drinking tea and he told us stories about the Soviet times and where the arts fit in to his history and his family and it was just fascinating. I was thinking back to last summer when my program manager told me that she appreciated my skill set but there wasn't a lot of theatre in Moldova that I could apply them to specifically and I laughed. Because a mere 9 months later, the two biggest parts of my day are working acting seminars with University students who are making a film and now working at the local theatre. What a lucky girl!

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