Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day One: at the Teatr

I woke up early this morning for my 10 AM rehearsal at the theater. I decided that since I had no idea where the theater was located, I had better take a taxi, and thought the hotel taxis would be the safest bet. Everyone had told me that it was basically a straight shot from the hotel to the theater, so I was confused about why the taxi driver seemed to be going on a bunch of different side streets. I discovered later that ride shouldn't have cost me more than 10 Zloti, and since he charged me 35, I figured out that I got the "scenic route" reserved for tourists who can't argue in Polish. Nice.

When I arrived at the theater I discovered that there were about 56 different entrances, so I picked the first one called door number 1. Sounded promising. I walked up to the desk and tried speaking to them in english and explaining that I was a singer and had rehearsal. They just stared at me blankly until I said "I'm a singer. Aaaaaahhhh!." Yes, I sang a note. But it worked, they got somebody to come get me and someone from the company who speaks english met me and walked me to the rehearsal room. It was incredibly complicated - we had to take an elevator to the 5th floor, walk through a maze of random corridors which finally led us to a staircase, which led us to the rehearsal room. We rehearsed some music, and the sweet stage manager explained that I needed to go for costumes. I cannot pronounce his name which is something like Alzcnfh.

He brought me to another floor through a bunch more dark hallways to the costume shop, told them who I was, and bid me adieu. They began measuring me, and when they were finished, they explained to me via hand motions (there was no one who spoke any english) that they needed to know my height. They wrote down the number 168, which lead me to realize they wanted to know my height in meters. It's probably something I should know, but being from the only country that shuns the metric system, I had no idea. I wrote down on the same paper 5'9" which they just looked at blankly and pointed to the 168. I was saying "Yeah, we don't have that in America - we use feet and inches.." but they did NOT understand me. Eventually, somebody just motioned for me to get up near a wall, and they measured me from head to foot. It turns out I'm 173 (is that centimeters? I don't even know what the unit of measurement actually is) and the head lady led me to another room where they measured my head, and then another room where they measured my foot. After the measuring was done, the shoe man cheerfully said "Jinkooya" which means thank you, and that was my cue that I was dismissed.

Except I had absolutely no idea where I was in the theater, how to get out, or how to get back to rehearsal. I decided to try retracing my steps, and I was sort of just wandering around the hallways looking lost. I passed a woman at some point who could see I was lost, so she said (I assume) something in polish like what are you looking for? I knew my rehearsal was on the 6th floor, so I said 6, held up 6 fingers and pointed upwards saying "I need to get up one floor." She looked at me quizzically, and I kid you not, she sort of did that thing where you kind of push the air forward with two hands when you want to communicate "you're crazy!" and she walked away from me. I thought - hmm - maybe there is no 6th floor and I'm just confused, but eventually by trial and error, I found my way back up there.

On the way however, I decided to try to find a restroom (why am I so often lost in theaters looking for a bathroom?) and found two little bathrooms I had passed before. They were both little rooms with separate little rooms with toilets in them. One was occupied, so I delicately opened the door to the other one, and lucky I did it delicately because there was a man peeing at a urinal in the one I opened. I'm telling you, the door was slightly ajar and there were no words on the door, so unless I'm missing something, it's not really my fault I walked in on him. But I jumped out quickly and ran the other way. I suddenly didn't need to pee at all.

The rehearsals went well, the other singers (mostly all polish) are all great and really well prepared and exited about making music and talking about characters. OH - and I found out that in this production, my character and the tenor are lovers, which is exciting for me since I'm playing a man! I've been a woman in love with men and a man in love with women, but I've never been a man in love with another man! It totally makes sense with the libretto and with the original Hugo play, and it gives me a whole set of new things to think about. Am I the alpha male in this relationship or is he? I think it will be awesome if we're both really butch but we have a big kiss or something. It will be shocking to opera audiences maybe, but hey, in our duet we're singing about how we're united til death, and how we're two flowers on the same stem (direct translation), so it really shouldn't be too shocking that we're like, so totally into each other. Actually I'm totally into him, but he's kind of obsessed with his mother, and his father is also his grandfather. Yeah, solve that riddle. And if you do, can you also tell me which is the men's room and which is the women's room in the Teatr Wielki?


Unknown said...

I loved the running from the guy in the men's room.
The sign for ladies room is a circle and the men's room is an inverted triangle. (According to the book.)
"Toalety" is toilets and "Dia kobiet"
is women (hope this helps.)

Matt Morgan said...

I knew it was only a matter of time until you became a gay man:) Iguess one plus is that you can use the men's toilet....