Friday, January 29, 2010

Meet Ubu

Ubu is the ferocious dog who "guards" our villa - otherwise known as Scott, the founding director's, pet.
Don't be fooled by his soft and cuddly exterior...I kid you not, this beast has the capacity of taking down fully grown men. (This may be a slight exaggeration however, you try to pet this little dude? He growls at you...and is not afraid of biting.) When not growling at students in the villa, he enjoys growling at strange noises, following people around, playing catch, and occasionally sleeping on the stairs. Scott calls Ubu the perfect psychological study, for he is convinced that he is schizophrenic.

Yesterday morning I had movement class. We continued doing basic acrobatic things including mounting and laying on another person's back and rolling off of it, as well as doing a slow roll over a person's body while they are in a bridge position (again..hard to explain). We also did more tumbling exercises - I could have sworn I pulled something because I heard a pop somewhere in my thigh but I am fine today, so all is well. I was particularly frustrated after class - some of the movements I am picking up quite easily and others I am struggling with. Don't get me wrong - I love this feeling; it means I'm being challenged...but it's also frustrating. I am not a very technical person and acrobatics is extremely technical. If you don't do it the right way, one of two things will happen: you will hurt yourself, or you will hurt your partner. I am nervous about doing both. Claudia makes it look very easy - and she's hardcore in that if people fall (which has been happening) she doesn't stop and rush over to you and say, "ohh no! are you okay?" she just says, "Alright, well you need to keep your eyes on the horizon or else your back will not be flat enough for your partner to balance on" (in her awesome German accent). It's hard, and makes me want to scream sometimes, but at the end of the day it's exactly what I've been wanting training wise - I couldn't really ask for anything more.

After movement we were supposed to have a lecture on the way the world was when commedia dell'arte entered into it but Scott was still sick so it was canceled. In the afternoon I had Italian, and then studio time. Studio is basically time for us to work on movement homework, but because it's the first week there isn't really anything to do. In this time, though, I did happen to find a drum in one of the closets in the Teatrino which made me very happy. It's not a djembe...and it's definitely not as cool as the djembe that I have...but it's a similar style and I can play it the same way. YAY. So I drummed for probably a half hour in a rehearsal space with Tuscany staring at me through the windows. yes. yes. and yes.

Last night we had cabaret! People did a lot of different things - there was acting, dancing, banjo playing, yodeling, singing, spoken word - very very fun. Brian (the guest artist who is here for a few weeks from Ireland) dedicated a song to his MFA students. He said, "you have all been vulnerable this week, so it's time for me to do something that I am terrified of which is singing". So he sat down in this chair very close to all of us and told us to imagine that we were in an old Irish Pub. After he did this, he began to sing this old Irish song and I started BAWLING within the first couple notes. It was so gorgeous. Man oh man. Art at it's best, in my opinion.
I was involved in a pretty "risque" scene from this play called "Attempts on her life". It was less acting and more acrobatics, so it was definitely challenging but it turned out well. Claudia came up to me afterwards and said, "You just got here!" :)

This morning I had voice class. We did a bunch of different exercises involving our jaw and our pelvis and contraction and expansion (lots of technical things that will bore you to tears reading), but the BEST part of class was at the end. We started singing this simple melody that Kevin taught us and it turned into this huge jam session. By the end, nobody was singing the same melody but everybody was saying the same words and we were literally just dancing and singing in this room (with, once again, good ol' Tuscany looking in through the window) Agh. Pure joy. It was like...Glee...except ten times cooler and in Italy. Screw you ABC. Our voice class is better than your little club any day...
Afterwards I had Italian (we had a quiz today...pretty easy) followed by lunch and then our commedia lecture that was canceled from yesterday.

A few words about Scott (the founding director): he is so damn smart. (This is the same guy that teaches my philosophy class). The lecture was 2 1/2 hours. Not one of us was literally just him talking for over two hours but it wasn't boring at all. He basically painted the entire backdrop for the world that Commedia entered and it was SO interesting...I can't even tell you. I could write about all the details but I took seven pages of notes and I could talk forever. (And this post is already too long). Needless to say, it was amazing. I went to his office afterwards and asked him to just give me some books. Any books. Books on anything, because this man is so well read it's disgusting. I've decided that during my stay in Italy, I am going to read...and not just things I like. Anything. Everything. Even if I hate it or fundamentally disagree with it - put it on my desk. UGH. Classes here are making me SO inspired it's not even funny. I wrote a song yesterday in fifteen minutes. Who the hell does that?

I'm convinced all this inspiration is a mixture of class and the Nutella that I eat at every breakfast. Nutella is an essential food group.

PHEW. Finally the weekend. There is a bonfire tonight at the school, followed by a birthday party for a few people who had birthdays (Funny story: Yesterday at lunch, Michael was like "I have a very special announcement to make. Eva was born today!!" There was all this enthusiasm in the room and then he looked over at me and I just sort of smiled and shook my head no. hahahahha they thought it was my birthday...but they got the date mixed up. Anyway, it was very funny. Pure, honest, comedy. brilliant.)
La Dolce Vita. :)
A Domani - -


  1. Hey Eva, it's Kinzie -- I just stumbled upon your blog from facebook and I loved reading your entries. I'm teaching in France this year (so we're practically neighbors, it seems) and have been having a lot of similarly inspiring moments and it's so neat to read about yours. So anyways, just thought I'd say hi.

    PS Yes, Nutella is definitely a very important food group.

  2. kinzie! So good to hear from you. Do you have a France blog? I'd love to follow if you do!
    hope all is well with you - and YES we are neighbors. I'm here until April 25th so if the opportunity presents itself we should meet up! Enjoy teaching, and Europe!

  3. Man. Sounds like such an amazing, beautiful, freeing time. Makes me miss my London days. You're going to grow so much this semester...unbelievable.