Theatrical Adventures throughout Moscow- 2

This week has been full of cultural excursions to театральная metro station. There, one can find the theater district in Moscow. The most famous theater, the Большой, can be found in the center of the square directly off the metro. It is there that I saw a ballet performance of Ondine, the story of an encounter between a water nymph and mortal man. Russian ballet is recognized around the world for its prestige, and after seeing the skill-level from these performers I would readily agree with the assessment. Every movements were perfectly coordinated and the stage design was beautiful. The theater itself was beautiful as well, boasting ornate chandeliers and painstakingly painted scenes. This performance was held on the New Stage, which has only been open for performances since 2002.

New Stage interior:


In my experience so far, the people in the city are incredibly friendly. The stereotype of unfriendliness derives from people keeping to themselves in public areas. Everyone is very quiet on the metro, either reading a book, using their phones, or resting their eyes. Loud behavior on the streets is also frowned upon and rowdy behavior is a surefire way to spot foreigners. However, despite their reserved nature, people are incredibly sincere and helpful when they open up to you.

Later in the week, I went to a performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in another Moscow theater. We learned about the performance from a Muscovite we met who happened to be the sound engineer for the theater and offered us some tickets to the performance. This was the greatest linguistic challenge that I have experienced thus far because they maintained much of the integrity of the play by using archaic language. It was difficult to extract meaning from some parts of the play, and at some parts I was relying entirely on my fellow audience members to recognize when Shakespearean jokes were being made. This evening was also my first encounter with the stereotypical Russian grandmother (babushka). It was a hot day, with a high of 88º F. The woman sitting next to me turns to me and asks if I’m not cold in only a short sleeved shirt before offering me one of her two wool sweaters to wear so I don’t catch a cold.

In the vein of language-related adventures, the immersion experience has allowed me to make leaps I would never be able to in an American classroom. I am learning a tremendous amount by listening to my Russian friends speak amongst themselves. Colloquial speech is drastically different from what I learned in class prior to my trip. For example, by going out to restaurants, I’ve picked up four different, and more idiomatic, ways of asking for the check.

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