Taking Direction: Take Two

Sheila and I got up at 10 today. I’m continuing my tradition from last week… in a way. I’m still not sleeping very well… and my overhead lightbulb went out… I’m was a pile of suck today, and I’d been up for two minutes by that point… We had our breakfast, and we did a load of laundry. We hung out in my room as I got ready for class (Sheila has more time than I do to get ready, her class starts at 3:30, mine starts at two), then we had lunch together right before I left at one since I remember the leftover gluten-free pasta in the fridge Madame said I could “take with me.” I supposed I could have it in the house… I could always tell a white lie and say that I left the house to eat it… if it really mattered… I was a little worried all this morning thinking about if I’d have to do a repassage (do my monologue for the second time) or not, and I was pretty sure I would, but I didn’t have time to run it through like I did last week, even though I really didn’t need to. I figured I’d have time to run through it in my head while other people went if it looked like I’d have to do it in class…

Ella was sitting outside the classroom when I got there. I guess the other course hadn’t been excused yet. We talked for a bit, mainly about how we thought I’d have to do my monologue again, and I didn’t want to do it… and about how Rachel wasn’t there today because her boyfriend had come to visit and about how Ella and I were very jealous. Who wouldn’t be?! After Professor Bruhnes talked about a final scene project and a show that he wanted the class to see after Christmas that didn’t really concern us (he even said so), he looked right at me and Ella and said that we (among other students in the class) would go today since we didn’t do our repassages last week. Merde… Not only did I have to do mine this week… I ended up having to go first. I was panicking. But I went. I did what Professor Bruhnes had me do last time (i.e. all of the schlinguer-ing) and I added in a few of my own things… and I messed up the last part of the monologue pretty good… I couldn’t remember if Louis (the student who “stole” my monologue a couple weeks ago) was actually in class when I did this monologue the first time, but I caught a glimpse of him while I was doing it this time, and his face was buried in the shoulder of the girl next to him. I couldn’t decide if it was because “I stole his monologue” or I “butchered” it again, but peu importe (whatever). Professor Bruhnes stood up and shook my hand again, then said he wanted to change the lights a little for me, so I stood in the middle of them while he fiddled with that for a while. I think he (and the rest of the class) could tell by the look on my face that I wasn’t too pleased with what I’d just done. He quoted Pushkin (I think, maybe I heard the name wrong)… It’s important that you play one state of mind. I was a little lost for a moment. “When you first entered, I thought you were cold… and then you said ‘Au voleur.'” That made sense. “Play like you’ve had something stolen from you on the metro.” So I did, but it wasn’t quite what he wanted, so he asked me to play it a different way… and we did that about eight different times and I kept running out of ways to act like I’d been pick-pocketed. Then he attempted to tackle the one thing I’ve always had trouble with (especially in close settings like this one): the fact that I avoid looking at my audience at all costs. “Louis is at the back of the room, so I’ll pick on him. Call him un salaud.” I’d never heard that word before. I made a face. “Salon?” (living room?) Ella piped up. “Bastard.” Again, I’d never heard the word before, so when I entered, looked right at Louis, and meant to call him a bastard… I said “salope” which sounds very similar to an anglophone ear, but not to a French one. I’d heard salope before… and I looked it up later to be sure (which is why I know the proper spelling of salaud now), I didn’t call Louis a bastard. I called him a slut. No wonder the entire room started cracking up… We moved on from there to tackle my next problem.  “You play a mix of the text, try to play everything one thing at a time.” Professor Bruhnes broke it down for me piece by piece. “Au voleur, au voleur, you’re looking for the person that’s stolen something from you. Try to find that person in your audience. À l’assassin, au meurtrier, you’re in the middle of dying, so do it! Justice, juste ciel, pray if you want to, or curse dieu otherwise. Je suis perdu, je suis assassiné, be it!” So I did that… and right as Professor Bruhnes was critiquing me… there was a knock on the door, which happens every once in a while, but no one answers the door, so nothing comes of it… until today. An older man opened the door, and asked “Excuse me, is there a class in here right now?” Professor Bruhnes was a little dumbfounded, but he answered. “Yes, there is.” “I’m teaching my class next door, and the screaming that comes from this room for the last hour of my course makes it really hard for me to teach. Maybe you should find another room to have your class in.” Merde… Evidently, I’m incredibly loud. I covered my mouth in embarrassment, and Ella saw me do it, so she started laughing. Professor Bruhnes gave this other professor a piece of his mind. “This is a theatre class! We need a special kind of room to hold class in as it is. What are we supposed to do?!” The other professor left. Professor Bruhnes saw how embarrassed I was. “Don’t worry! It’s not your fault! That bastard can’t expect us to swim without water, or to parachute without… chutes…” He let me sit down after that. Ella was up next. Her workshop was really quick, but Professor Bruhnes switched up her monologue a little bit. She directs part of her monologue at one person, so he asked her to direct it at me. When this happens, I don’t go “stone face” and let it be. I “act back.” Ella’s monologue (for that portion) is mean. So she was glaring and interrogating “me,” so I glared right back. It wasn’t easy to do, since Anne-Caroline (the girl whose cousin helped me with my pronunciation a few weeks ago) was sitting right next to me and she kept cracking up, but I did it. After she was done, Professor Bruhnes thanked both of us for “our moment.” “It was like you two were on a different planet!” About four other students went, Anne-Caroline gave me a bit of a pronunciation lesson during the pause (I still speak a lot of my French in my throat, which is where we speak English, and French is supposed to be spoken in the head/nose), and we ended up getting out of class 15 minutes early for lack of other things to do. I’ll probably have to do my monologue again two weeks from today, so I have some work to do, both on pronunciation, and on text-development.

Madame made salmon with lemon and parsley, rice, and spinach for dinner. We talked a lot about Thanksgiving, and what our families make for dinner. I mentioned the one time I made one of the two turkeys my family requires, and how I did it. I had brined it the night before, and stuffed it with apples and onions instead of stuffing since stuffing dries out the turkey (by the way, the French word for stuffing is farce). Madame said it sounded good. We talked about the education system in America for a bit after that, mainly about how students afford it with how expensive it is. After that, Madame asked if we’d lost any weight from all the walking we do around Paris. She was surprised when I said I’d lost about four kilos (around eight or nine pounds) since I’ve been in France. I said it was too much since I didn’t have any weight to lose. “But you look good.” I still feel like I’m too skinny, but Madame isn’t the only one who’s complimented me on how I look. Maybe I should learn to take the compliment and stop thinking I look anorexic. I can’t see my ribs, why should I complain? Besides… needing a belt to hold up my skinny jeans (and being able to fit two pairs of leggings underneath them) is a really good feeling. Madame changed my lightbulb after dinner, but it’s one of those energy-saving ones, and it works great at night, but I’m not sure how much of a difference it’ll make during the daytime when I need a little more light to do my makeup in the morning…

Not up too early tomorrow since I have class in the afternoon, but I’m going to try to go to bed early to see if I can sleep a little better. I’ll be on a couch for Thursday and Friday night in Toulouse, so on the off chance that I won’t be sleeping well (if at all) there, I need to sleep better right now.

Seigneur, si j’ai raison, qu’importe à qui je sois? Corneille: Nicomède

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