01/07/2014, by CLAS
Bloodthirsty Urges, Papier-Mâché Pigs and More: Behind the Scenes of Golyi Korol’
Last week we published a review of the recent Russian play. Now, one of the actors, Year Two student Bryony Lingard, gives us her insider’s perspective on the production…
This year I made a more concentrated effort to get involved in pretty much everything I could at university, and one of the things I decided on taking part in was the Russian theatre group, this year performing Evgeny Shvarts’ Golyi Korol’ (The Naked King). Originally it was just a way to channel my creativity with a few friends. I’ve always been interested in theatre, though admittedly I’m really not much of an actor. I didn’t really expect to get as much out of the production as I did and, although there’s going to be random hunting vocabulary in my mind forever, I would do it again in a heartbeat (my character was, according to his words, ‘full of bloodthirsty urges’; it was a difficult role for a vegetarian to get stuck into, in all honesty).
It was mostly brilliant because, as cliché as it sounds, it really was a ‘fun’ way to learn a language. We didn’t even notice we were improving, but it’s so clear to see, especially in the skills of the students who had only started Russian last September; thinking about just how far they have come is so astounding.
It’s not just a case of being a way to improve your language: there are lessons for that and, as much as I enjoy lessons and I love studying Russian, there really is more to university than just the words on a piece of paper at the end. The theatre group has a sense of community that transcends across ages, from first years to postgraduates, all sorts of levels and abilities, people that may never have met if the group hadn’t been running, even though admittedly the RSS department is very small. It’s such a great way to help make something that you’re all really proud of with a group of really cool people, and although it was hectic at times (papier-mâché pigs won’t make themselves, and lines are sometimes significantly more difficult to learn than I ever imagined) it worked because everyone works as a team.
By the end I wasn’t doing it to improve my Russian, though of course that has happened: it was inevitable that it would. I was doing it because of the people there and the atmosphere it created, and because strangely enough by the end of it the performing arts studio felt a little bit like home in the midst of exam chaos. In my opinion it’s just reflective of how tight knit the entire department is, and I’ll really miss it because honestly, once it was over I think the vast majority of us didn’t really know what to do with ourselves.
Bryony Lingard, Year Two German and Russian (Beginners)