And a little bit more of Lyon
I have been helping out with a theatre project which my advisor has been organizing for the past year. The Comenius theatre project is a type of exchange between high schools so students can interact with other students from different countries. In this case, students from Turkey and German arrived in Roanne on Saturday to put together a play with the French students. They have all worked on their own improve plays and they are now going to put all of the little plays together into one big play which they will perform this Friday. Let me translate this for you in case you missed the craziness of this: Three groups of students, all speaking different languages have 4 days to put together a play which they will perform at the theatre in Roanne. Four days!! Having participated in many plays during high school I could not even begin to imagine putting this whole thing together. I would be stressed beyond belief and wouldn’t even know where to begin! Yet despite being busy, all of the teachers involved seem very happy to be working on this project.
I really was excited to have the chance to be a part of the theatre again, and therefore I have been helping out with the play practices (for the French students) for the past couple of weeks. Today I had the opportunity to meet the German and Turkish students and help out a bit! Instead of teaching English classes like I usually do here, I helped teach a beginning French class today which is what the foreign students study while the French students are in class. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous to do it because there were some native French speaking students sitting in the back of the room, but it all ended up going very smoothly. The foreign students and the Turkish teachers who were sitting in on the class picked up the language quickly and didn’t seem to have any problems playing the little language games we used during the class. It seemed so odd to me to actually be teaching a French class while I was in France! After the class was finished, I went with the students to a theatre workshop class which was held at the school. For this workshop we all played theatre games together which definitely made me think back to high school! While we were playing games, a select group of teachers and students went to a classroom to work on the play for Friday… this meant that I was French/English translator for the rest of the group! The French teacher would explain what we were going to do in French and I would translate it for the group in English. I did much better with this task then I first though I would. I think I was really just nervous about speaking French in front of a group of 50 plus, but I did a decent job when I had to!
Ok now the coolest thing about this theater work shop was half way through, the Turkish teachers and students taught us some Turkish dances! (Did I mention that they also brought us Turkish Delight to try? It was pretty good!) We all got into a huge circle and tried to follow them as they showed us the steps. As a group we kicked our feet and snapped our fingers along to the pulsing rhythm of the music. I was really impressed that all of the students were interested in learning the dance, even though it was quite difficult for some. All of the students intermingled and danced together, helping one another out if they got lost. Eventually we all broke from our big circle and started dancing around the room. Students were talking and dancing around each other and even the teachers were swaying to the Turkish beat. Eventually the dancing changed its course. First it was Turkish dancing, and then the French students started some group dances like the Macarena which was followed up by some of the French guys being super suave and showing the girls how to waltz! Not gonna lie, I was totally impressed that these high school French guys knew how to waltz properly! They were all super polite and gentlemanly as they showed the girls how to dance in the square and how to keep the beat. It seemed like everyone was really enjoying themselves and despite the language differences, everyone was laughing and having a good time.(I wish I could post pics, but I probably shouldn’t put pictures of my students online! Sorry guys! I even took some videos of everyone dancing, but those will be for another time.)
I can’t believe that I have this opportunity to help out with an international theatre group (did I mention that the exchange is going to continue? Meaning that the French students are going to be going to Germany and Turkey this upcoming year as well!) I have truly missed being a part of theatre productions and it feels so good to be back amongst fellow actors once again. It makes me want to see if I can join any theatre groups in Roanne but I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try real French theatre….
In other news, this past Saturday the roomies and I went to Lyon for the day. We met up with some more of Paty’s friends and went on a picture taking extravaganza. Cecile, One of Paty’s French friends works at a University and is friends with many international students. She is a huge photography buff and she puts together a lot of exhibitions using pictures she takes of her international friends. Can you guess where this is leading? We met up with Cecile, and a bunch of international students in front of a church in vieux Lyon. After meeting everyone we went walking around the charming streets of Lyon while Cecile took pictures of us all. Seriously, I felt like I was a model or a movie star or something. She positioned us and took a million pictures of us with all of these amazing backgrounds of Lyon. I intend to inquire and see if I can get some copies of those pics!
As we were walking and talking on the cobblestone streets, we suddenly heard music coming from nearby. We followed the sound and stumbled upon a group of musicians playing in a square in Lyon. All of the musicians were dressed in capes, crazy hats, big sunglasses and other noticeable accessories (like a neon green tuba). Our photo taking group took a break from modeling and sung along to the crazy trumpet players as they played songs like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and Britney Spears “Toxic”. As it began to rain, we took out our black umbrellas (we all have lived in France long enough to know you NEVER go anywhere without an umbrella, preferably a black one.) and continued dancing and singing along. The group of musicians started to run around in the rain and one of the guys slipped and fell. Instead of getting up and walking back to his spot in the line of musicians with a clear look of embarrassment, the guy just lay on the ground and continued playing. Two other musicians joined him and played their saxophones, lying on the ground in the rain. As we walked away from the group to locate a place out of the rain where we could get a drink and warm up, I thought about the group of musicians. All of them dressed up in crazy costumes, playing random songs for petty from tourist and slipping and sliding along on the slick stones of the street. They weren’t making a lot of money, they were cold and wet, but they continued to play, looking like they were having the time of their lives. The people in the crowd bopped along under their umbrellas while the people in the apartments in the background sat on their balconies to take in the scene. Just goes to show you, some people dance, sing and play music in the rain while others just get wet….