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Petrushka

 
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.   printer-friendly view    Red Dragon Inn - Dragon's Mark Forum Index -> The Catacombs -> RhyDin's Ballet Troupe
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Katarina Smith
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:28 pm    Post subject: Petrushka Reply with quote

The exterior of the theatre was bright and alive. Snow was magically falling just within a few feet of the perimeter, and building only a few inches above the ground. A queue formed for adults and children alike to enjoy a short sleigh ride around the building with the falling snow. The carriages provided blankets to keep those warm from the unexpected snow in the autumn weather.

The lobby was already filled with early guests whom anticipated the several grand doors to open and who wanted to participate in the mini Maslenitsa (Butter Week) festival inside. Key to any Maslenitsa Festival is the Maslenitsa doll, made out of straw and women’s clothes that are set on poles. A small activity area allows anyone to make a miniature version to take home with them. A small puppet theatre right next to the booth gives children an opportunity to test out their new puppets skills.

Blinies (pancakes) were also a focal point of the Maslenitsa Festival, and guests were given a wide variety to choose from wheat, buckwheat, find-ground barley and oats. Samples were available to everyone, and greater portions were available for purchase.

Away from the backstage, the theatre appeared as elegant as ever. Candles of varying sizes brought illumination inside the theatre and down the aisles. Ushers in simple black and white tuxedos appeared polished and patient, waiting for the doors to open and guide people to their seats. The walls and ceiling were made of both dark wood and light marble; designs both simple and bold that naturally drew the viewer’s eyes to the stage.
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Katarina Smith
Principal Ballerina
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Each attendee was given a program once seated, listing the leading roles of the performers as well as a synopsis of each scene

Petrushka: by Igor Stravinsky

Principle Dancers

Petrushka - Alik Korskov

The Ballerina - Katarina Smith

The Moor - Andy Hamilton

The Charlatan - Bryan Garcia

Scene I
Stravinsky's orchestration and rapidly changing rhythms depict the hustle and bustle of the fair. An organ grinder and two dancing girls entertain the crowd to the popular French song Une Jambe de Bois. Drummers announce the appearance of the Charlatan, who charms the captivated audience. Suddenly, the curtain rises on a tiny theater, as the Charlatan introduces the inert, lifeless puppet figures of Petrushka, a Ballerina and a Moor.

The Charlatan casts a magic spell with his flute. The puppets come to life, leap from their little stage and perform a vigorous Russian Dance among the astounded carnival-goers.

Scene II
The second scene, after the performance, is set in Petrushka's Cell 'inside' the little theatre. The walls are painted in dark colors and decorated with stars, a half-moon and jagged icebergs or snow-capped mountains. With a resounding crash, the Charlatan kicks Petrushka into this barren cell. We see that Petrushka leads a dismal "life" behind the show curtains. Although Petrushka is a puppet he feels human emotions which include bitterness toward the Charlatan for his imprisonment as well as love for the beautiful Ballerina. All of this is sensitively described by Stravinsky's Expressionist piano breaks. A frowning portrait of his jailer hangs above him as if to remind Petrushka that he is a mere puppet. The infuriated clown-puppet shakes his fists at the Charlatan's stern glare and tries to escape from his cell but fails.

The Ballerina then enters the room. Petrushka ineptly attempts to express his love for her but she rejects his pathetic, self-conscious advances and hastily departs. Petrushka collapses in a melancholic reverie.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scene III
In the third scene the audience learns that the Moor leads a much more comfortable "life" than Petrushka. The Moor's room is spacious and lavishly decorated and is painted in bright reds, greens and blues. Rabbits, palm trees and exotic flowers decorate the walls and floor. The Moor reclines on a divan and plays with a coconut, attempting to cut it with his scimitar. When he fails he believes that the coconut must be a god and proceeds to pray to it.

The Charlatan places the Ballerina in the Moor's room. The Ballerina is attracted to the Moor's handsome appearance. She plays a saucy tune on a toy trumpet (represented by a cornet in the original 1911 orchestration) and dances with the Moor.

Petrushka finally breaks free from his cell, and he interrupts the seduction of the Ballerina. Petrushka attacks the Moor but soon realizes he is too small and weak. The Moor beats Petrushka. The clown-puppet flees for his life, with the Moor chasing him, and escapes from the room.

Scene IV
The fourth and final scene returns to the carnival. Some time has passed; it is now early evening. The orchestra introduces a chain of colourful dances as a series of apparently unrelated characters come and go about the stage as snow begins to fall. The first and most prominent is the Wet-Nurses’ Dance, performed to the tune of the folk song "Down the Petersky Road". Then comes a peasant with his dancing bear, followed in turn by a group of a gypsies, coachmen and grooms and masqueraders.

As the merrymaking reaches its peak, a cry is heard from the puppet-theater. Petrushka suddenly runs across the scene, followed by the Moor in hot pursuit brandishing his sword. The crowd is horrified when the Moor catches up with Petrushka and slays him with a single stroke of his blade. The police question the Charlatan. The Charlatan seeks to restore calm by holding the "corpse" above his head and shaking it to remind everyone that Petrushka is but a puppet.

As night falls and the crowd disperses, the Charlatan leaves, carrying Petrushka's limp body. All of a sudden, Petrushka's ghost appears on the roof of the little theatre, his cry now in the form of angry defiance. Petrushka's spirit thumbs its nose at his tormentor from beyond the wood and straw of his carcass.

Now completely alone, the Charlatan is terrified to see the leering ghost of Petrushka. He runs away whilst allowing himself a single frightened glance over his shoulder. The scene is hushed, leaving the audience to wonder who is "real" and who is not.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It had been a long time since Mataya had been to a proper, serious show, and she was determined to be a good representative for the Shanachie Theatre while she was doing it. So, dressed up to the nines in purple and black, with Riley at her side, she went along to the opening night of the rival theatre.

One thing she could say with a certain amount of awe was that the Ballet Troupe had style. The theatre was beautifully turned out, opulent and extravagent in their showmanship. The snow was a nice touch, too. Tugging her shawl closer about her shoulders as she walked through the falling crystals, she murmured to Riley through a grin, "Think they're trying to tell us something?"

It was a slight surprise to find that the people on the door recognised Riley, but then, it really shouldn't have been. The woman had been the Minister for Defence for more than a few months, and her face was no doubt widely known. The relief came when no one recognised 'Taya. Back home, an event like this would have been bursting to the seams with photographers, eager for a snap of any famous faces who attended, but here ... here she was just another member of the public, dressed up for a night out. The anonymity was reassuring.

She couldn't help a small smile as she watched the children playing while she waited for the call to enter the auditorium, but it was a sad, wistful smile. It was just as well Max wasn't here to see it; he had Views on her feeling sorry for herself, however brief the moment was. Looping her arm through Riley's, she squeezed warmly. "Makes you wish you were still about six, doesn't it?"

What she didn't add, but what was spoken in the deepest place in her mind, was this ... "What a shameless display of heartstring tugging. Laughing children and creepy dolls - nice advertisement for the troupe."

The thought made her smile turn a little wicked for a moment, before she wiped the expression off her face. No matter how many children were out here, she knew from experience that trying to keep a child quiet during a ballet was virtually impossible. At least if these people came to see Fame, they wouldn't have to shush their children every few minutes.

When the call came, she walked to her allotted seat, program in hand, and settled herself down to watch. Despite the rivalry, she had every intention of enjoying the ballet; she'd seen Carmen in her first week in Rhy'Din and had thoroughly enjoyed that. But she was pleased to note something else as she sat down ... standard theatre seating. She was going to have a numb backside by the end of the first act.

"I'm so glad I got that mage to cushion the seats at the Shanachie," she commented to Riley beneath the buzz of people taking their seats. "I spent all day sat in one of them during the auditions and I could still feel my legs. Maybe I shouldn't have worn such high heels."

The resultant mental image of herself standing up at the interval only to fall flat on her face because her legs had gone completely numb made her giggle, and she lifted the program in front of her face to hide the nearly hysterical expression. "God, I feel like a really inept spy coming here tonight."

The ballet, of course, was enchanting, and 'Taya was very much impressed with the sheer technical level of skill put on display on the stage. Faces were put to names, finally, and a skim of the audience showed her what she assumed was the Count, watching his prinicples perform with no small amount of pride in his face. Did she want to meet him? She nudged Riley and nodded that way without speaking, pulling a slightly mocking grimace of the same expression that covered the nobleman's face as the audience moved to file out.

Walking out, she looped her arm through Riley's once more, enchanted with the ballet, awed by the theatre, but ultimately, feeling more secure about her own venture into the same business. An imp of real mischief took hold of her tongue as they left.

"D'you know, I really enjoyed that," she declared, loud enough for the ushers - who had to know who she was by now - to hear as they passed by. "I can't wait to see how many people don't come here on the night the Shanachie opens."

Not, perhaps, the wisest thing to say out loud and in public, but then, Mataya De Luca had never had complete command of her own tongue where other people could hear her.
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Riley O'Rourke
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Riley decided that from now on, 'Taya would be her date for these sorts of things. She loved, adored, worshiped David, but she knew he would have been bored out of his mind and worse than a fidgeting five-year-old child during the performance. 'Taya was quiet and just as interested in the production as she was, giving her ample opportunity to watch and digest and size up the competition.

The sleigh rides, puppet theatre and the freaky-ass scarecrows were a bit over the top. "Puppets and scarecrows," she said sotto voce to 'Taya. "I dunno about you, but that stuff always scared the living crap out of me as a kid. Still kinda does, matter of fact," she added with a little wink. But the snow...the snow was lovely.

Riley had pasted on her bland public smile before they'd even gotten near the theatre and on the way through the doors nodded and waved to those few people who recognised her, never letting on how much she hated it. At least no one had stopped to ask her for her autograph as they had back home. Now that was embarrassing. Next time she wound up in an alternate universe, she'd definitely go for anonymity.

Delicate nostrils flared as they entered the theatre proper, bring with it the scent of...food! Riley made a bee-line towards it, dragging poor 'Taya with her. "Ooh, blinis!" she said in a hushed voice. And of course, Riley being Riley, she taste-tested each kind and decided that they would have been even better with some caviar and champagne.

After settling down in the less-than-comfy seats and lifting the hem of her dress to show 'Taya her secret - she always slid her shoes off during performances - she took a moment to look around the interior of the auditorium. It was...nice. One could tell that Serious Business went on here. Interesting then, that the troupe would pick a comedic ballet to start their season with.

And then the production began. Riley leaned forward, crossing sinfully long legs and balancing her elbow atop one knee, curled her fist and rested her chin atop that. The production would receive her fullest attention. After all, this troupe had the ability to make or break her friend's enterprise.

The Showman, or Charlatan as he was being called tonight, was sufficiently creepy. The Moor was hot and in a hushed voice, Riley relayed this to 'Taya with a saucy little smile. The Ballerina and Petrushka both were technically proficient, but seemed to lack real passion for their roles. She glanced around the theatre, wondering if anyone else felt that way or if she was allowing her feelings to colour her judgment.

When 'Taya drew her attention to some stuffed shirt she assumed was the Theatre's patron, Count Something Or Other, Riley pulled a face. Please, no; she did not want to meet him tonight. She'd left her nice manners at home and might accidentally say exactly what she thought of this whole ridiculous affair.

And then it was over. Poor Petrushka was dead and the Charlatan was haunted by the ghost of a puppet. As they filed out of the auditorium, 'Taya spoke up. "D'you know, I really enjoyed that," she said. "I can't wait to see how many people don't come here on the night the Shanachie opens."

Riley's brows climbed and tried to join with her hairline. She blinked in shock and then let loose a stream of giggles. "Honestly," she said, not bothering to lower her voice. "There's no competition. One can come here when one wants Serious Culture - and really, in this armpit of a city, how often does that happen? And then, when people want real entertainment, they just go check out what the Shanachie is doing." Riley shrugged like it was a no-brainer, and smiled sweetly to Count Whatever as they passed him on their way out.

But what she didn't give voice to, wouldn't until she was safe at home with David, was the fact that she had been very impressed by the troupe's production, the level of technical skill of their dancers and mucisians, and the theatre itself. The Shanachie certainly had its work cut out for itself if it wanted to make a serious go at being a contender for Rhy'Din's entertainment dollar...or silver coin...or whatever.
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Jolyon Gardiner
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jolyon was at opening night. He reasoned no matter how tired he was from the harvests or other concerns scratching at his attention, he needed something for his soul. The ballet had never failed in that.

The opening performance of Petrushka found him seated in his usual box allowing him to fully immerse in the delicate weave of artistry between dance and music. For a few hours he was lifted up from the mire of everyday into the language of folktale, the multiversal themes in broad strokes detailed in nuanced gestures of precise dancers. It eased tensions and coaxed him into the reverie of times past when his family attended ballet and theatre, finding their lives polished and reflected by footlights and painted performers.

With the final curtain, the hint of truth in the depths of mask as so many play, Jolyon offered up his applause. Such a frequent visitor of the ballet, his name and face had become known among the performers and their patron. Jolyon's greeting of them all was civil, polite, and he smiled at the suggestion of his own patronage becoming more substantial. But it was again another year that he would have to redirect the conversation away. He still did not have enough to support the arts as he wished.

In his favor that night was the excuse he could not linger, for there was another form of dance with a bonfire to experience in the Glen. With his congratulations and farewells given to the troupe and Katarina's indication she might see him at the Glen, he went on his way feeling much lighter in the core of him for a night pleasantly spent.
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