Anybody know anything about Soviet Russian history?

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Ludovico
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Anybody know anything about Soviet Russian history?

Postby Ludovico » Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:48 am

I just got cast in a show at my college called "Cinzano" by Ludmila Petrushevskaya. It's a Russian play about three guys living in Russia during the Brezhnev period of stagnation, around the late 70's to early 80's. My director's being kind of hands off about the research, he wants us to do the work so we can form a connection to the characters. I've Wikipedia'd as much as I could, but I thought before I really dug in, I'd see if there was anybody I knew who had an idea where to start, whether it's good books on the topic or useful information of their own... So anything you've got on Soviet Russia, I'd be much obliged.
The show mostly focuses on daily life, but later into the script (in the second half of the show, which is actually another show in itself called "Smirnova's Birthday"), the characters start discussing things like "the war" and "refugees" and I have no idea what war and refugees they mean.
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Bunyip
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Postby Bunyip » Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:58 am

Possibly the invasion of Afghanistan? I don't know much about the period otherwise.

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Postby Tobliz » Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:01 am

if they're talking about a current war, it would definitely be the Afghanistan invasion, but they could also be harkening back to World War II.

I'd watch Fiddler on the Roof to get a feeling for what happened to the farmers at the turn of the Soviet revolution, but otherwise, I don't know too much.

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Postby Ludovico » Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:46 am

They're city folk, not farmers. I believe it takes place in Moscow. I should have mentioned the war they discussed was one that affected their elderly parents. I imagine they mean WWII, and I feel incredibly stupid for not thinking of it. I didn't even know the war in Afghanistan was during that time period. I have a lot of reading to do... ugh.
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Postby Bag of Ass » Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:15 pm

There's a part of Fiddler on the Roof where they show the city (Kiev). There is a group of students (I think they are proponents of communism, actually) having a public protest, and then some cops on horses beat them up. The character we're supposed to identify with, Perchik, gets sent to Siberia.

Is it common for directors to make actors do their own research like that? Shouldn't he, like, direct them? Or at least point them to some good research material?

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Postby hobokenbob » Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:54 pm

I don't know any russian history, because I'm american. But I will paypal you 5 bucks to work in an "In Soviet Russia X does you" joke, if you get it on you tube.
In fairness, we've been building 'ground zeros' near Iraqi mosques since March 2003.

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Postby Ludovico » Wed Sep 10, 2008 1:55 am

Bag of Ass wrote:There's a part of Fiddler on the Roof where they show the city (Kiev). There is a group of students (I think they are proponents of communism, actually) having a public protest, and then some cops on horses beat them up. The character we're supposed to identify with, Perchik, gets sent to Siberia.

Is it common for directors to make actors do their own research like that? Shouldn't he, like, direct them? Or at least point them to some good research material?
It's not uncommon for a director to want their actors to develop a working knowledge of their subject matter, especially if it's difficult stuff. When I did Proof in March, the director wanted us to at least know the terms we were using and stuff. I had to dust off my old Calc book and talk to my grandpa about famous mathematicians (of which he is one, actually, which is kind of neat).

I don't think this director has done as much research as he should have, but he signed on for the show kind of late, and he's a lawyer and a working actor (way to make me look bad, Robert). Even if he wasn't overworked as it is, we've only got four weeks to put up a show that's set in a completely unfamiliar time and place, so he can't waste valuable rehearsal time filling us in on the daily life of Soviet Russia circa 1982. So I understand him wanting us to do some extracurricular work.

And I'll see what I can do about working in a Yakov Smirnov joke. The cast is already planning on spending a night getting blitzed and filming ourselves running as much of the play as we can, so it shouldn't be too hard.
-'Vico


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