Getting Physical

Another evil early morning for me and Sheila… I would have been out of the house before Madame got up if it wasn’t for a few sock-bun mishaps. I gave up on it, put my hair in a high-pony, and left about ten minutes later than I usually do. I said goodbye to Madame as I left since she was eating breakfast. I made it to class more than on time, I was the first one in the room. We did an interesting “passing someone you haven’t seen in 10 years” exercise after our réchauffement (warm-up), so I made a note of it for when I do my senior project back home. A new person in the class had no idea why we were doing it or why it was important, so she got into an argument with Professor Clavier about it. The rest of the class and I just sat there and stared, a little dumbfounded at the fact that this newcomer could have such little respect for the professor… and over something as tiny as a warm-up exercise… Oh, the crazy things that happen in Parisian universities…

We worked on Talents et Admirateurs for the first half of class, then switched gears to Chekhov’s Trois Soeurs (Three Sisters) for the second half. I neglected to read up on the pieces this weekend, so I was reluctant to volunteer for any parts. We were working on the third act, and at the beginning, we needed four characters to read. Professor Clavier had been looking at me almost every time he called for someone to play a character, partly because he knew I’d never done one, and partly because I was sitting front row-center. I thought about going up to read the part of the nurse, but someone beat me to it. I’m glad I didn’t, it was a large part. While he was explaining what had happened in the scenes previous, the actors that were going to read/perform the scene were skimming the script and were upset about something. “We’re missing a Masha.” Professor Clavier was a little miffed. “You don’t need Masha. She’s sleeping, and she doesn’t say a word.” “But we refer to her! We want a Masha!” “Oh fine. Will someone please play the sleeping corpse of Masha?” Balls out. “Pourquoi pas?” I stood up. Professor Clavier motioned to have me sleep on the floor toward the upstage area. To clarify, I asked: “Elle dort ici?” and he replied, “Yes, she’s sleeping. Do you want something for your head?” IN ENGLISH. “Non non non, merci. C’est bien. Je jeux le faire comme ça…” (No no no, thanks. It’s fine. I can do it like this…) and I “slept” on the floor with my arm under my head. I’m going to have to work on the fact that I’m getting insulted with Professor Clavier practicing his English with me in front of the rest of the class, since I feel like it’s making the rest of the class think I don’t speak French well, or that I don’t comprehend it. Anyway… I never had a script, so I kept “sleeping” on the floor despite all of the noise going on around me, until Professor Clavier gave me the stage direction that said I woke up, pissed off, grabbed my pillow, and left. I was apparently supposed to re-enter later in the scene and have a couple short lines (sing-song ones) before the class ended, which another student with a script clued me in on, so I was able to do that, but other than that, I didn’t do much. I’d say it was a halfway-decent first attempt at remotely participating in the class past taking notes. We’re going to be breaking into groups and doing small scenes amongst ourselves (with actors and directors) in three weeks, and the entire group that did this scene from Trois Soeurs met up in front of me and decided they’d all work together on this scene… but they didn’t include me, and I’m not sure how to feel. I wasn’t going to invite myself in, since they could shorten the scene to between the parts where Masha exits and enters… but I have a bad feeling I’m going to end up without a group in this adventure. We don’t necessarily have to have groups and scenes set up before that class anyway… I can always work with the Romanian. She’s nice, I’ve talked to her before…

I headed home and stopped by Carrefour on the way to grab some lunch, and Sheila met me there. I bought some chips to replenish my stock, a chocolate bar (the caramel à la pointe de sel one I had a while ago), and a sausage and mashed potato microwavable lunch. We went home to eat, and then talked about doing some exercise since I was messing around with the Fitocracy app I have on my iPod (and haven’t used in forever) yesterday. I convinced Sheila to download it so we could work out together. We figured we could start out by doing one of the quests, specifically the Untz Untz Untz Untz Untz one that’s about to expire. To complete it, all we had to do was dance for half an hour, and do 50 jumping jacks. I suggested we find some online Zumba and try that. We digested for a while, and found some Zumba videos online (routines by song), loaded up five of them, did half of the jumping jacks as a warm up, then did all of the routines (about half an hour of moderate-intensity Zumba), and did the other half of the jumping jacks to cool down. Score! I leveled up, and we completed the quest! We had so much fun working out, we decided that we’re definitely going to do Zumba together every Wednesday, and we’ll try to work out together multiple times in the week, if not every day. I showed her some of the Blogilates things I like to do (namely this 20/20 workout), so we really want to try to do some of the workouts there every day to get in better shape. After all, I’ve got less than two weeks to get in better condition to do some serious actor acrobatics for my monologue to “steal it back.”

Sheila had to go to class, and I had to go meet a new friend: Anne-Caroline (French girl from Monday’s theatre class)’s American cousin Christine. Christine is a pronunciation whizz, and is going to help me with my monologue! I met her outside of Institut Catholique, which is near Sweet Briar and is where Joan takes one of her classes. We walked over to the Luxembourg Gardens to chat for a bit. She’s a Virginia Tech student, and she’s studying abroad for a semester like I am. She was raised speaking French because her mother spoke French (and only French) to her when she was little. She even went to a French school when she was very young! After a while, she stopped liking to speak French, and didn’t want to learn anymore of it, but she decided to start learning it again in high school and college. She’s here finishing up her degree. We talked about what kinds of classes we’re both taking, and she thought it was really cool that I’m actually taking a couple of classes at the Sorbonne, which she says she wouldn’t have the courage to do. When we worked on my monologue, she said my pronunciation was pretty good for starters. Her exact words were “you aren’t giving me a headache, so that’s good.” I needed help on a few words here and there, so we got through most of the monologue before the evil security at the garden kicked us out to close it. I’m hoping Christine and I will get to meet up again sometime soon. She says she could always use help with vocabulary and actually speaking French, so I might be able to “scratch her back” and help her out with that since she’s helped me with my pronunciation.

Much to my surprise, I was the first one home right at seven. I thought about blowing up Sheila’s phone in revenge for last night, but I figured that was a bit much. I hopped in the shower instead, and I heard the front door open as I was going into the bathroom, but I’m not sure who came home first. Dinner was really good! We had two kinds of ham, and sliced mushrooms cooked with cream, lemon and herbs, and pasta. Madame was amused to hear that we came home to exercise, but she was happy to hear that we left afterward to go do other things.

Two more classes tomorrow, and then a nice big weekend full of all sorts of fun things… and a crap ton of reading for today’s class that I’ll have two weeks from today… thank you vacances de Toussaint.

Plus l’effort est grand, plus la gloire en est grande. Corneille: Polyeucte

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