Challenge: Accepted

Sheila and I got up at our normal time of 10 AM, and had our normal breakfast. She wanted to go straight to Paris VII from home, so I headed off to Sweet Briar to catch lunch with Suzannah before my class. By the time I got there, Suzannah, Joan, and Rouge had already gotten something to eat, so I decided to forage at the vending machine to find something to go with the chips I’d brought from home. For all of 1,70 euro, I had the strangest, unhealthiest lunch yet (save for no lunch at all, I guess)… a bag of chips, some apple sauce, and a bag of peanut M&M’s… I hung out at Sweet Briar until it was time to go to class. The metro was absolutely packed today, and I have no idea why. All I know is that my rear end got touched a few times (whether it was on purpose or not, I’m not going to dwell on), I’ve never felt more like a sardine in my life before, and I never want either of those thing to happen again. Getting OUT of the metro car was a chore. The man in front of me had to get off at the same time I did, so he started to clear a path, but somehow, it didn’t quite work well enough for me to get through as easily as he did, and I got moderately stuck. I’m pretty sure there was an audible “pop!” that came out of the car, or the rest of the sardine-people in the car when I got out of the car, because that’s literally how packed the metro was at… 1:45 PM. My day was already shaping up to be less than stellar…

I wasn’t going to have to do my monologue today. That much was for certain. There were still plenty of people that hadn’t gone at all, and then people from the first week of monologues would need to go for their second shot before I’d go. Professor Bruhnes wasn’t in today, but his assistant that sat in on class last week was, so she was supposed to do our workshops. Ella did a Shakespeare monologue, and she was able to take all of the direction she was given. She absolutely killed the monologue, she was so awesome! The class applauded her when she was done. The rest of the students that went did well, and it was uneventful for the most part… but then one of the two guys in the class went… and things got really interesting for me. He started out pacing the floor for about thirty seconds, then screamed “Au voleur!” which happen to be the first two words of my monologue. I was a little taken aback, but I figured that maybe other monologues started out saying “thief…” until he said it again… followed by “a l’assassin” and then there was no mistaking it. He was doing the same monologue I had done last week. At first, I didn’t know how to feel, this never happens in classes back home… or anywhere from what I could gather since all of the students in the class were torn between looking at Louis doing the monologue, and my reaction to it. Sure, I’m a foreign student and this is a monologue that’s not in my native tongue, and I know I misinterpreted the text a little (I found that out when I was Skyping my boyfriend and he asked me to send him the text in English, which was the first time I’d seen it), so seeing Louis do it made me realized I’d made my mistakes a little more. Frankly, I thought it was funny (the amusing kind, not so much the fishy kind). Despite the fact that it’s the same text, it’s not the same monologue. We also happen to have different “directors” in the way that Professor Bruhnes workshopped my piece, and his assistant worked with Louis today. Louis did not have to tomber or schlinguer today, and I have to do both of those things in my performance. I will say that Louis doing that monologue (notice how I’m not saying “my” monologue) is a little fishy. He’d done a scene with a friend of his in the class two weeks ago, why is he doing a monologue now, much less the same one that I did? Both of his friends in the class had their eyes on me the entire time, like they were waiting for me to react to the fact that he was doing “my” piece, but I wasn’t giving them much to report back to him. As for the question that everyone’s thinking… do I think I do the monologue better than he does? I just think I do it differently. He’s taking a more angry approach to it, mine is more erratic. That being said… I’ve now changed my focus for my piece. I’m not worried about being true to Harpagon as a character anymore, I just want to make my piece different that Louis’. On the off chance that Louis doing that monologue really WAS an attack on me and my ability (specifically on my ability to interpret the text) …two can play that game. Louis doesn’t seem to know how to move very well. He sank to his knees at one point during his workshop, and actually fell on them (there was an audible WHAM when his kneecaps hit the floor, you could tell by the sound that it hurt). Ella, Rachel and I all died a little inside since we’ve all studied how to move properly, fall properly (without hurting ourselves), and do all sorts of other “actor acrobatics” or at least basic movements. So how do I modify my piece to make it different from his and simultaneously one-up him? Actor acrobatics. Looks like I need to go re-teach myself how to jack-knife… I caught Louis on the way out of class and told him he’d done well today. “Thanks. You too.” Alright. So he at least seems to know we’re doing the same monologue… It’s on like Donkey Kong.

I headed home to shower and relax before dinner… and to mull over what had happened in class. I felt like I had something to prove a month ago when classes started since I was the only America in the class at the time. Now I feel like I’ve been directly challenged, and I really have something to prove… this kind of stinks… I let my hair air-dry a little bit and put it up in the sock-bun to try the heat-free curling method use for it tonight. I’m evidently supposed to sleep in it. I did my nails after that, then Madame called us out for dinner. Because it was so hot out today, Madame had made a tomato and avocado salad for entrée, then she quick-seared some chicken breasts and made a cream sauce while we ate that, and we told her all about our weekend, including the fact that I ate steak tartare (which she was very impressed with), and that we ate at that particular restaurant because I got a tattoo, which I showed her, which she actually liked! She told us about finding a good place for her daughter’s wedding (the small village is apparently right on the border of France and Spain), but she wasn’t too thrilled with the fact that it was raining the whole time. She gave us some chocolate mousse for dessert (pre-packaged, and it was even Weight Watchers, which was hilarious). I really love it here.

I set up a meeting with the cousin of the girl in today’s theatre class that wanted to help me out, that’s on Wednesday of this week, so that’s excited. Then I emailed my host mother in Tours and sent her a few photos from Normandy, along with what weekends in November I had free if she had time to have me come visit her. She loved seeing all the photos I’d taken at Villandry, so I figured I could bribe her with more photos… I just hope she replies. She didn’t reply to the last email I sent, I just hope she’s okay. I’d really love to see her again before I go back to America… and since we’re past the halfway point in my semester, that’s sooner rather than later…

Fuyez un ennemi qui sait votre défaut. -Corneille: Polyeucte

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