Monday, June 14, 2010

On the Road!

The first four shows of our summer tour have been a blast and we're just getting started!
Here's a quick recap:

Opening Night: Eagle Mountain Summer Fest  6/4
We got lost on the way there. It was cloudy, then sunny and hot, then cloudy again.There was nowhere to park. The rides were noisy and the wind picked-up, blowing our  traveling stage over before the show began! But after a little bit of good, old-fashioned, carnival barking, we drew a small but interested crowd of around 40 or so. After Act I, the wind really started blowing and it our actors backstage had to hold onto the ladders to keep them on the ground. Eventually, we decided to tear down our curtain, which was acting like a giant sail. Pause.
Here's where you ask--how is this in any way a success?
For many reasons.
First off--the show was still great! There was a gaggle of first graders in the front row who sat entranced the whole time. Things were crazy and we had more than a few curveballs to deal with, but that's half of what made things interesting and entertaining! Actors in Shakespeare's day had to deal with just as much, if not more, and there are countless stories of how this made their shows memorable. We left Eagle Mountain confident that we could draw a crowd even in the midst of a hundred competing attractions, and still show the audience a good time even in a wind storm. We're just as much about the adventure as anything else that comes along with it.

BYU Botany Pond 6/7
We invited a few local FHE groups and had about 120 people show up! The weather was perfect and after battling the elements at Eagle Mountain, we felt like we were sprinting after a long jog with weights. Benvolio climbed a lamp post while looking for Romeo, Nurse played the accordion, and several people in the audience shouted suggestions during the scenes--just how we like it! We're all about audience interaction! But aside from the show being an absolute blast to perform, there's not much else of a story to tell you. We're saving the good stuff for the recount of our next show...

Orem Summerfest 6/11
It rained on us for nearly every show last year during our tour for Much Ado. Some of that rain came back to haunt us at Orem Summerfest this year, but we came prepared with a gigantic over-sized tarpaulin to lay down to keep our groundlings dry! Our audience also came prepared  with umbrellas and ponchos--which came quite in handy when the light sprinkle became somewhat of a pour during the 4th act.

Shakespeare's actors would have been a bit luckier, as the original Globe theatre had an awning which covered the stage--but his audience, as ours, would have to have been prepared to get a little wet if the weather kicked up during a show.
Romeo raised his deathly poison up against the winds, cursed the stars, and died soaking and miserable by Juliet's side. The Montagues and Capulets rushed in to find the ground soaked with blood and rain, and Prince, silhouetted against the darkening clouds, delivered a somber epilogue we'll never forget. Then we joined hands and danced a jig in the rain!
All in all, we had a great time, and our audience did too! (Or at least they led us to believe so with their applause)

Kaysville Tabernacle Park 6/12
Several of our cast members are from Kaysville, so when we were putting together our itinerary this year, we made sure to make Kaysville a prime stop--and what a great crowd they turned out to be!
Eariler in the day, the weather was still dour, and we kept up on the hourly forecast to see if an outdoor show would even be possible. We can handle a fair amount of rain, but we'd rather not deal with the wind again--and we've yet to figure out how to keep our set on the ground in a gale.
But everything worked out better than we could have hoped. The skies cleared and nearly 60 enthusiastic audience members turned up to see the show. They were our smartest and most responsive audience yet--picking up on a  lot of the humor some others had missed. We can't wait to come back to Kaysville next year.

So our tour is off to a great start, and we've still got 9 shows to go!
Later today we'll perform at Canyon Glen Amphitheatre up Provo Canyon--7:15pm. If you haven't seen the show yet, bring a blanket and some friends! You won't regret it!

Photos courtesy Tim Sondrup, Kaysville Show--6/12

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