All the World’s a Stage



Last week Colgate’s Theatre Department brought one of Russia’s premiere actresses, Oksana Mysina, to Hamilton for a two-week visit. Mysina, who has been called “Russia’s Meryl Streep,” is a talented performer who has been involved in both theatre and film, and is also both lead singer and an instrumentalist in her band, Oxy Rocks. Last Wednesday kicked off her mini-residency with an introductory lecture by Mysina that included film clips and a few musical performances.

Though Mysina started the lecture by saying that she hated to talk about herself, her natural comfort on stage must have won over her nerves, as she talked freely and engaged the audience by telling humorous stories about her childhood and the ups and downs of acting.

Hailing from a small mining town in Ukraine, from early on, Mysina was a wild child who enjoyed being the center of attention. She described herself as an impossible child, and got plenty of laughs from the audience when she explained how she first fell in love with acting after being hit by a motorcycle in her childhood and then receiving the attention of the whole town.

Mysina’s relatable personality was one of her most notable characteristics. For someone so famous and experienced, to talk so frankly and pleasantly to a bunch of college students was a great experience.

“She was really down to earth and didn’t seem to be negatively impacted by her fame,” sophomore Caitlin Flanagan said.

Many in the audience seemed to appreciate her candidness and her gesture of speaking English. Though she turned to her translator on occasion, for the most part, Mysina spoke directly to the audience, laughing at herself when she fumbled with words.

The main portion of her talk centered around clips of the play that Mysina has been performing in for 14 years, an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment. The play is performed in a unique way and can be adapted to whatever the available space is. In the clip shown, it was performed both in and just outside of an apartment style house, while the audience was herded around by Mysina and the other actors.

Mysina has traveled worldwide with the play, even performing under a tin roof in the pouring rain in Brazil. In order to keep her performances fresh, Mysina said that she doesn’t think too much about what she has done.

“I try not to remember, because otherwise I would be the same,” Mysina said, emphasizing that acting is about adjusting to the audience and circumstances, rather than just repeating the same thing over and over.

Mysina both began and ended her talk by playing soft songs, accompanying herself on guitar. The breadth of her talent was impressive and served as a stark contrast to the Disney manufactured singer/actors that Hollywood is so populated by.

Mysina wrapped up with a question and answer session, addressing both her past in acting and where she hopes to go with it. She spoke optimistically about her future in theatre saying, “I hope my best roles are still to come.”

And considering her attitude and personality it seems sure that they will be.