Professional Development 2014: G.I.T.I.S. (Moscow, RU)

March 10, 2015
News , Professional Development
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The Seagul, Satyricon Theatre



"In his system, Stanislavski places very high expectations on the actors but it imposes on the director even greater obligations.” - Maria Knebel

It has been an incredible last few months. Hot on the heels of directing The Pitmen Painters (United Players) in Vancouver, I was on a plane to Moscow.

As part of the East 15 MFA in Theatre Direction, we spent a month at the renowned GITIS (Russian University of Performing Arts).

Lead by Directing Master Mikhail Chumachenko and Movement Master Maria Shmaevich, this was an intensive in the Stanislavski System and Meyerhold’s Biomechanics. I have yet to find the words to adequately describe the profoundness of this experience.

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Opus no 7, Dmitry Krymov Lab



In many ways this was a chance to reconnect with my Adler, Strasberg and Meisner training at Circle in the Square in NYC. I hesitate to say they are the same – they are not – although many of the ideas, exercises and techniques are from the same root– if fact some are identical in instruction – there is a difference in texture and objective, something Russian about them, something older that goes deeper into the bones.

Delving into the Russian practices of Active Analysis and Études based on Stanislavski’s later work was inspirational. Effectively, Active Analysis is about keeping the actors active and free from the restraints of the table and also keeping the director active in their own deepening understanding of the material. Maria Shmaevich’s class was also a truly wonderful and challenging experience as we focused on the physical creation of theatre. The processes share, unlike western theatre’s Wide Perspective or Brush Strokes to Detail, a rebuild informed by this in-depth quest for truth and detail.

And then there was the power of the student card. Along with Red Square, the museums and art galleries was Free Theatre! Theatre adventures included pilgrimages to The Stanislavski House and The Moscow Art Theatre, catching Yuri Lyubimov’s stunning The Master and Margarita, Dmitry Krymov’s beautiful Opus no 7and Yuri Butusov’s absolutely insane and wonderful adaptations of The Seagull and Othello.

Oh. And there is a Space Shuttle in Gorky Park!

In short it was a tremendously challenging, enriching and exciting experience.

A Special Thank You to

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