Those of you who have been following this blog for quite awhile may remember an event last year called Kavan (KBH in Russian). This is a team comedy competition that last year was held at our village’s concert hall. This year it was in another village. I had the dubious honor of joining teachers and a few students from our three schools to create an ultimate Zhelezinka comedy team.
The way Kavan works is you put together a few skits for various competitions. There’s an opening hello set of skits, a musical group, another they call homework where you have to do some sort of skit based on a theme they give you and a funny speech or story given by the team captains.
Our team ran on a platform of gender-bending and An-American-speaking-Russian-is-automatically-funny. I can’t really relay the jokes (you had to be there), but needless to say with my flawless delivery of lines I barely understood and struggled to remember, our team took first place!
This was coming off of a day and a half of preparation. On Wednesday a teacher came to me asking if I wanted to be in the show. I of course agreed, and I showed up for “rehearsal” at 3 o’clock that day. They gave me my lines, explained to everybody what we would be doing, and then we went home. I was told we would be recording our lines so nobody had to memorize them.
The next day I show up in the morning and am informed that my lines won’t be recorded. I have to memorize a dozen lines of Russian. Fine, I said, I can manage that. And I did. I must have read my lines over 100 times. I had them down (pronunciation was another matter). The time came for the show. I hit my first parts without a stutter. Third couplet I stalled on a line, but luckily my partner knew my part and fed me the line. The final couplet I was going along with it, then for some reason got drowned out by our cheering section. They must have realized that I was going to screw it up and figured it’d be safer to just scream and shout. They were right, actually.
So in the end, we were the funniest of four teams and now, for better or worse, we have a final competition in about four weeks. I am going to once again have about two days to prepare because the week before the competition I will be in Almaty for a Peace Corps conference that I don’t plan on missing.
Otherwise, things here have been pretty calm. My sitemate, Megan, is getting along and seems to be doing pretty well in the village. I have come to respect Nora (yes you, Nora) even more for being able to listen to all my complaints and stress relieving diatribes, as I am now doing the same. I don’t mind it because I know how much it can help to unload.
As for my depression loaded previous blog, that time has passed. That’s what happens in Peace Corps. Things get bad, then time passes. You find a distraction, you get a package from home or you email bomb all your friends (except Alex, sorry) in order to get a lot of love in return. Time passes, and soon you’re home.