Le Dernier Passage (QUATRE)

I slept pretty well last night. I “blame” my lock-jaw inducing cocktail of migraine medications… I got up about fifteen minutes before my alarm went off. Sheila and I had our breakfast together, then I got ready for my last theatre class with Professor Bruhnes, and I headed out the door. As I was walking briskly to creepy Paris III from the Gare de l’Est metro, I heard someone shout my name. I had just blown past Ella and Rachel! How did they know it was me? My Mickey Mouse earmuffs gave me away… this is only the third or fourth time someone has told me that… We talk for a bit, then we waited for our class to start. Professor Bruhnes saw us, and immediately started talking to us about two things: The Connecticut school shooting, and the fact that we were all going home on Friday…

I was feeling a little down because of the conversation we’d just had with Professor Bruhnes, so I guess I was either frowning, or… having a neutral face, I guess. Audrey (one of my classmates, she’s a great actor, and she’s super quirky) must not like my “not smiling face.” She walked over to me with a carton of grape juice and handed it to me. “Boire. Ça te fait sourire.” (Drink. It’ll make you smile.) I smiled just at the gesture, and talked to her for a minute, mainly warning her that I was a little on the sick side, and asked if it was okay if I put my mouth on the container. She laughed and said it was fine, and drinking the grape juice would probably make me feel better anyway. I agreed, I was probably dehydrated! It did taste really good… so she was right. It did make me smile. Dear Anyone Who Thinks French People/Parisians Are Mean, You’ve been meeting the wrong kind of French people. Go find people like Audrey and change your mind.

After Professor Bruhnes read us an interesting email that “told him” how he was supposed to grade everyone on things like theatre history and de telles conneries that we all thought was ridiculous (including the fact that supposedly none of us were supposed to get any grade higher than a 14), and he assured everyone that he already graded the Americans (to refresh your memory, I got a final grade of 18/20 in the entire class) and he’s a terribly hard grader, so none of them will pass anyway. Needless to say, I’m very happy sarcasm is a universal language. Because I spoke up to joke along with him and agree that he’s a harsh grader… I think that’s what got him to ask me if I was going to do my monologue again today… he didn’t ask Ella or Rachel (honestly, Rachel should have been exempt anyway since she went last week), he asked me. I’m not one to tell a professor “no” (unlike half of our class), so I grimaced and said “I can… but I don’t want to go first… can I go later on in the class?” so he said “sure” and tried to get someone else to do a monologue. I pulled out my copy of L’Avare and read over the first part of my Harpagon monologue to make sure it was fresh in my head since it had been a while since I’d actually looked at it (I’ve taken to grumbling it in the shower when I know no one else in the house, sorry Sheila, I’m weird). I figured I’d cut off the tail end of it for the sake of simplicity… and in all honesty, I hadn’t actually worked on the latter half of it anyway. A few people went, he did a few different teaching methods with them, told us a few things we should all remember about theatre (like how the worst thing we can do is try to “play the role well” and we should “be” instead) that I’ve taken to heart as well as written down to use with my own actors when I do my senior project back home, he got a few people to do some cold readings… and with 15 minutes left in the class, I thought I got off scot free… especially since I managed to somehow give myself another migraine half an hour after he’d asked me if I was going to do my monologue in class. Nope. Chuck Testa. He looked right at me and asked me if I wanted to do it now… I grimaced. “Ouais… je passe…” (Yeah… I’ll do my monologue/pass my text) Grammar Note: In English, we say “I can ______” all the time. In French, there’s no “can.”

I warned the class that I was just doing the first part of the monologue. “C’est bon.” (That’s fine) Off I went, taking each piece of the first part of the monologue as its own entity, as Professor Bruhnes had said to do the last time I did this. He stopped me a couple sentences in, not because I was doing poorly, but because he wanted to get straight to work, and we didn’t have a lot of time to work. He jokingly circled around me so every time I turned my head, I couldn’t see him. This was going to be fun. “You’re still entering like you’re going to give me a Molière monologue. You need to enter like someone’s stolen your iPhone!” A couple tries later, I seemed to have figured that one out. Now Professor Bruhnes decided to do some improv with me to help me figure out a “feeling” to use to talk to the audience with. We hushed our voices a little bit (meaning we were stage whispering: whispering while projecting) so that the female professor who had already come in to shush us an hour ago didn’t come back… Professor Bruhnes started. “What happened?!” “Someone stole my iPhone!” “Who? A guy or a girl?” “I have no idea! I wasn’t paying attention.” “What edition was it?” …the hell kind of a question is that… “…the new one…” The class started laughing. “The new one? What’s that one called again?” “I have no idea, I just use the thing.” Audrey helped me out. “4S!” “It was a 4S!” “Did you have it insured?” “Insured… no… I didn’t…” “Why didn’t you have it insured?” …come on, Professor Bruhnes. Considering we were acting out a conversation, I acted a little, and changed my voice as a French person would in this situation: I dropped it down an octave. “Parce que je suis vachement stupide, je ne sais pas!” (Because I’m really effing stupid, I don’t know!) Now the class was really laughing. Professor Bruhnes laughed and mocked my change in vocal tonality and body position, then said I was “super marrante” (super funny) and said he’d let me do my whole monologue (well… the whole half of it I wanted to do) from the beginning, now that we’d done that (after I asked him why he was teasing me, of course). So I did. Every little problem I’d had with this monologue in class I have managed to work through, and overcome. I only looked at the floor or the sky when my text “said to” and I looked at the audience the rest of the time. I didn’t speed through it, and I took my time. I was able to separate every single thing I was saying and treat it as a separate piece, and act accordingly, instead of balling everything up in one “package” and having one emotion the entire time. I even threw myself on the ground when I had to attempt to kill my own hand because I thought it was the person that stole my money, which the whole class loved and started cracking up at. When I got to the part of the monologue where I call my money my best part and I “start to cry,” Professor Bruhnes started yelling “PLEURE!” (CRY!) at me from his little side coaching spot. So I ramped up my actor tears, and the whole room started laughing. Just as quickly as it had begun… it was over. I got up off of the floor after I’d formidably “buried” myself, and looked at Professor Bruhnes. The first time I did this monologue, he smirked, snapped his fingers, and shook my hand. The second time, he looked at me with a bit of stunned disappointment, and shook my hand. This time… he was beaming, and he shook my hand. The three words I’d been dying to hear finally came out of his mouth: C’est vachement bien! (It’s really good!) He said I’m a super energetic actor, and I’m very versatile… hearing it from him means a lot to me. I knew I’d come a long way with that monologue, but hearing it from his mouth really affirmed my growth in the class, in theatre in general… and maybe even in my French ability.

Anne-Caroline talked to me, Ella, and Rachel as we all walked to the metro. She told us about how she studied in America a bit more, so we got to practice our French a bit more with her as we walked, and she got to practice her English. I told her I was going to add her as a friend on Skype (she’s already my Facebook friend) and we’ll Skype every once in a while so we can practice our respective second languages with the native speakers, which neither of us will get to do as often as we need to after all this is over.

Once I got home, I hit the homework. I realized I had a little paragraph I needed to add to my final paper for my project for Mme. Hersant, so I did that, and emailed the paper to myself so I could have it corrected by someone at Sweet Briar tomorrow. I had bought a glue stick at Carrefour on my way home, so I glued all of my costume designs together, then I filled out the course evaluations for Sweet Briar. Once I turn in those evaluations, I’ll get a tri-color sash to wear when I graduate from Whittier next year. Sheila and I talked to Rouge, and we booked a door-to-airport shuttle service to get us to the Airport on Friday. It’ll cost us 19 euro a person, so I paid up front with my debit card, and Sheila handed me the money right away. I’ll get Rouge’s share next time I see here. With all of our luggage, this was the best thing Sheila and I could find.

Dinner wasn’t all that great tonight. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen red meat come out of Madame’s kitchen, but I’m starting to get sick of it. I’m a big red meat fan, but not like this… Whenever she gives us a steak, it’s usually not a good cut of meat, and it’s really chewy. Tonight was the worst. We had the chewiest steak I think I’ve ever eaten, potatoes with creme fraîche and chives, and a salad. I swear, I can’t remember the last time I masticated that much at a meal… it took me forever to eat that steak, my jaw was actually sore when I left the table…

Tomorrow, I take my comprehension half of my Atelier final. I’m treating it a bit like a math final in the way that “if I don’t know it already, it’s too late.” Between all of the other stuff I was doing today, I got going on the studying a little late. I managed to read through my entire notebook before I sat down to write today’s entry as it was, and I’ll read it again tomorrow morning, and every spare moment I have when I’m not having my paper corrected at Sweet Briar tomorrow. I know I’m probably a little ahead of the game since I came home every night and typed up the lessons to publish them here anyway. I’m also a big fan of the “diffusion” method, so I’ll sleep with my notebook under my pillow tonight… on that note… I need to get to bed… because sleep is also very important for testing well…

Il serait peut-être doux d’être alternativement victime et bourreau. -Baudelaire. Mon coeur mis à nu

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