The show is starting to take shape! Here’s what we’ve been up to at our three “planning” rehearsals.
I assembled a list of about ten Slavic myths, which we read through during our first rehearsal. The reading rehearsal is always a blast because there are moments that stand out way more when read aloud then when read on your own. It’s also fun to hear the actors’ first reactions if they have not read the stories before. Usually these rehearsals involve coffee and/or yummy treats from Get Baked, the coffee shop right across from the Windsor Art Center, which makes this rehearsal extra fun in my book.
After reading through all the myths -which took the first rehearsal and some outside time, we narrowed down our favorite myths to the ones we would ultimately weave into the show. When deciding which stories to pick, we thought about the myths that would be the most fun to perform, including which had the most interesting characters. We also looked at which stories might “go” together -for instance, many of our favorite stories were set in forests (of the menacing fairytale variety), which we knew might help to tie the story together later. We also thought about characters/themes that were specific to Slavic mythology that we just HAD to have in the show. For us, this was the Baba Yaga -we knew we wanted to do a story that involved her because she is so interesting! We also knew that we didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to weave in some of the Slavic folklore about vampires and werewolves.
The stories we chose are as follows with a brief synopsis (without giving too much away!).
Vassilissa the Beautiful: A Cinderella story. A young girl is sent into the forest to get light from the Baba Yaga, a witch said to eat children. She is sent by her cruel stepmother and stepsisters who are jealous of her beauty. Luckily, she is armed with her mother’s blessing, in the form of a magic doll.
The Vampire: A mysterious young man appears at a town dance and sweeps a beautiful maiden off her feet, until she learns the truth of his identity…
The She-Wolf: A werewolf variation that begins at midnight in an abandoned mill…
The North Wind: A young girl, Inek, is abandoned by her father in the woods on a cold, snowy night when she meets the North Wind, the King of Winter himself!
Sadko and the Kingdom Under the Sea: Sadko is a talented young musician who, though he is poor in wealth is rich in heart. He plays his music for his one love, the River Volkhov, until one night his music is heard by the Tsar of the Sea…
During our two remaining planning rehearsals, we began devising and creating possible scenes for the show. Now, armed with a notebook full of ideas, video clips from rehearsals, and copies of our chosen myths for reference, I have the fun job of writing out a first draft of a script! Wish me luck!