February 6, 2011

'I can be brave like Frida'

So this time around I am not writing from a fun, blind date filled Coffee Bean. Instead I am writing from a random vegan cafe in Culver City that is conveniently close to where my car is getting fixed this Sunday morning. This is, in no way how I anticipated spending Super Bowl Sunday, and I will have to warn you this entry may be fraught with a tidbit of pouting and a drop of disdain for my car that has died at a quite inopportune time. Aside from possibly missing the game, if the car cannot be fixed right away I could be in some trouble as far as getting back to San Diego for work tomorrow. This has my stress level spiking and my hand reaching for my drug of choice, hershey's kisses, much more frequently than is probably good for my health and my waistline.

So far since I've been here I've enjoyed some very bland oatmeal (they were out of brown sugar...on a Sunday morning. Are they crazy?!) and green tea. I feel pretty useless being in an area of town I don't really know with a few hours to kill. I'm sure the mechanic is busy, especially because it was the only one I could find that was even open on a Sunday but still, I need to get my bum back to San Diego ASAP. A word of advice to those who make the working hours at auto repair shops: Cars die and break down at all hours of the day, seven days a week. My car is not going to hold out until 9am on Monday morning. In fact in the past few months any time I have had car trouble is has happened either at 5pm on a Friday, or 9am on a Sunday. Both excellent candidates for the worst possible times and days there are. 

In completely unrelated news I have some fun stories from our first week on the road. Including some important lessons learned and entirely too many adorable children to count. Day one was at Freese Elementary. The kids were full of energy and a joy to perform for. Our second day was by far our worst show to date. I would chalk it up to second show blues, thick carpet, and performing in the strangest configuration we will probably see the entire tour. 

All of our set pieces are on wheels and each space is completely different from the last. Sometimes working on carpet is not an issue. Other times though, it makes our jobs, specifically those in the cast who are constantly moving the large flats and pushing me around on ladders very tough. Our morning show on Friday taught us that sometimes it may not be worth all the people/ladder moving. The actor who plays the teacher is perched in a rolling ladder to appear larger than life. But at the end of one of the scenes the ladder just wouldn't budge. The actress who pushes him was pulling and maneuvering as best she could but it still couldn't keep Maestro on his ladder. After almost plunging forward, all of us broke character and had a momentary, 'wtf do we do now?!' moment. An expert at thinking on his toes, the actor turned it into a schtick and although it took me a second to recover we managed to finish the show unharmed physically, and only partially terrorized emotionally. 

All of the drama of that show was wiped away though when we had a chance to perform that night for an organization that specializes in education for the children of migrant workers in San Diego. There was a handful of kids and their families and the show and all of us couldn't help but feel that the performance was extra special. They understand all the Mexican references, they have a knowledge of Frida Kahlo. It was so touching to see the kids in the front beaming up at us. For most of them it was probably their first experience with theater, and how amazing that we could bring them something that was so relevant. What a delightful way to close out of first week on the road. 

Overall the kids have been wonderful. Only a handful who think they're too cool or too young to pay attention. But their feedback makes all our work so worthwhile. I'll close this post with something a little girl at La Jolla Elementary said to me after the show. She came up to me in the middle of the crowd of kids and said "I used to be shy, but now I can be brave like Frida." Talk about melting my heart. 

More tales from the road very soon. 

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