Theatre is one of my truest passions and one of my favorite ways of self-expression. Hello, my name is Angelina, and this year I had the opportunity to spend a full week with the friends I made in Washington DC, last year. The connection between us, Once Upona Kingdom Theatre students, and Solo Theatre students, in the summer of 2014 was felt immediately. From that moment on we never lost contact and when we reunited, this year, the magic began again.
This project opened new horizons that were, as of yet, unexplored by us. Indeed, each and every one of us learned something unique and discovered a new part of ourselves. This incredible experience allowed our creativity to bloom. We shared new acting techniques with our friends, such as the art of shadows. We had an interesting workshop and fun activities on that theme. We were taught the importance of timing and we did some intriguing activities on that and on concentration. It was a real challenge! It seems easy but really, it isn’t!
Later on, we did some improvisations that taught us how to work with other young artists that have a different but yet similar perspective of theatre. In fact, this art can be manipulated in various ways. Each theatre company has its own performance styles and views to share and that is what makes an exchange like this special. This project should continue throughout the years and grow because it is a good opportunity for young artists to explore new theatre territories. It creates forever lasting friendships and ever lasting memories. It is an important step for theatre youth that changes their perception of theatre and expands their knowledge on that matter. It is an important step to take for it has taught me a great deal about hard work and how it is, at the end, rewarded. The things I learned from attending various workshops with different teachers helped me with my acting techniques, which I feel that I highly improved.
Each theatre performed on Kailash Mital stage, at Carlton University. Solo Theatre brought a beautiful show called The Flying Ship. It is a musical and the songs are all very popular Russian ones, so everybody in the audience was enjoying it and wanted to sing along! The dances that go with the songs are well synchronized and the moves are always changing which makes it more interesting to watch. Also, this show is full of small but very funny jokes that make the audience smile and laugh.
As a whole, it isn’t too long and each scene is interesting and not overdone. It is a love story between a simple young man, called Ivan Piper played by Ilia Kulikov, and a princess, Zabava, played by Ekaterina Domashcheno. He has to prove his love by finding her a flying ship. This quest starts a dangerous adventure full of strange encounters and challenges. For example, the courageous lover has to face Russian witches and water creatures that somehow helps him achieve his goal. He meets new characters who teach him different life lessons. This tale promotes kindness, love, perseverance and patience; four important elements that we sometimes neglect.
The stage setting is simplistic but appropriate. The set decorations are handmade and turned in on themselves to make new ones. Therefore they can be used twice, which is very practical. In the end, to my surprise, they take those decorations and assemble a symbolic ship.
The lighting design helps to give us the feeling that we are in the actual place with the characters. In particular, I remember the scene in the swamp, with the leeches, that made me believe I was actually there thanks to the blue-green lights reflected on the stage.
The costumes are all hand-made and make the characters stand out beautifully. They aren’t extravagant but they mirror the show’s style perfectly. Zabava, the princess, has a mesmerizing blue dress that goes well with her great traditional Russian crown. It reflects how she is a very kind and loving person but also picky about the man she wanted to marry. The girls at the palace, the princess’ helpers, (played by Alesya Yermakova, Nikole Yakovlev, Sonya Reznikov) are also wearing nice dresses that made us a little bit nostalgic about our homeland. They have funny ways to repeat what the princess was saying.
The most extravagant character in this show is the Vadyanoi, played by Nokolay Klishko. He is dressed in colours varying from yellow to blue, passing by green. He has a big tail attached to him and has an unusual way of walking.
The most flexible character is the Magic Tool, played by Nicole Yakovlev. This instrument is crazy and is always making fun of the Vodyanoi. It is an intriguing scene to watch! My favorite part is when the Baba Yagas (played by Sonya Reznikov, Alesya Yermakova, Nicole Yakovlev) arrived. Their flying mechanisms make car noises which I find to be very original. One of the Baba Yagas’ “cars” was having some difficulties flying and it added on to the comedic side of the show.
In addition, this show is a very special one because it is based on a well-known Russian cartoon. It is interesting to see how the directors of this show, Ivan Logvinov and Ekaterina Serebryakova have interpreted it. I may therefore conclude that I am surprised and pleased by the performance. I would definitely watch it a second time!
My favorite moment during the entire Theatre exchange was when the two companies did the “Farewell Bonfire”, the last day we saw each other. It was a heartwarming experience that I will never forget because we shared a meal with our friends and we talked and talked! We did some fireworks towards the end and it was a memorable moment because it is not something that you get to do every day. We went to a park and we looked at the game of colours projected in front of us. It was astonishing! We then did our last bonfire and we ate some melted marshmallows. We sang Russian songs with our friends from Solo Theatre and shared some stories. I will never forget the moment when they left, that evening. Everybody got particularly emotional and we even cried a little. We hugged each other, boys and girls, like a true family.
A theatre family.
Angelina Bayindir, 15