Tuesday 27 July 2010

Making Pericles - Day 1 - Acting & Alienation in Poland

Above, you see the publicity picture for the production of Pericles that I am doing with the Parrabola Theatre Co. at the 14th gdansk Shakespeare festival. This is my 4th Outing with Parrabola and my 2nd year in Poland.

Keeping in mind I got married (again) on Saturday, you can imagine I'm pretty damn tired today especially as we had to get up at 6am to get to the airport. The flight was ok but the pilot got a little dramatic toeards the end and I'm not really sure why.

Anyway, we got a cab down to Dolne Miasto, which is the most degraded of Gdansks suburbs with quite a lot of issues to it's name. Not only is this where the production is happening, it's where we are staying. Below is a picture of the tennement building we are staying in.

Let's just say Basic is a fairly good word for the accomoation and I don't think my wife was quite ready for it considerin that the day before we'd woken up in one of the plushest hotel suites we'd ever been in.

We went for a walk and oh the nostalgic feeling of being stared at wherever I went came rushing back to me . I was expecting this but had forgotten that it does take a couple of days to acclimatise to it. My wife however was stunned by the amount of blatant looks and was tempted to get her boobs out to give them something else to look at. I calmed her down by saying that back in the 70's and even into the early 80's, this was standard in London.

however there was a difference this time and maybe it's to do with where we are staying. This time I felt a little...threatened - I think that's probably the worng word but it's the closest I can get to at the moment. Aparently someone came into the place we are staying last friday and got into a fight with one of the guys. This has served as a definte reminder that we are outsiders here (as if I needed reminding)

Funnily enough, it does service the needs of the play, Dolne Miasto is a bit of an excluded suburb and the main characters in Pericles find themselves in foreign places, places they don't belong and I don't doubt this is also part of my casting as well. Right now I feel like it's not going to take much to emody the feeling of alenation.

This was compounded by my first rehearsal. Keep in mind this is a community play which involve lots of local people contributing - and so in the first rehearsal I find myself in a room with 2 other English people, 8 polish people and 2 Romanians. It was fascinating being the minority as wellas the miority speaker and potentially incredibly alienating. I didn't get the jokes or follow the flow of the conversation. My jokes made no sense to the majority of peole in the room (which isn' that rare a thing actually). The 2nd rehearsal was me and 3 Polish girls, 2 of whom were incredibly fluent in English but 1 amazingly brave girl who speaks no English but is attempting to tackle Shakespeare in English. My respect and fear for those people, such as refugees who find themselves in a country in which they can't communicate with those about them has tripled over night. Why does it always take someting like this to find a bit of empathy in life.

Oh well, fo now I'll just have to console myself and be content with being surrounded by beautiful women speaking to me in East European accents.

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