Friday, March 6, 2009

the plague and the pressure

Hello friends and family,

First off, here is the view from our train car this week.

So here we are in Newark. What a feeling it is to be back in the northeast! I can’t really describe it, but it is familiar to me and different from everywhere else I’ve been; and it’s more than just the traffic, the Dunkin Donuts, and the snow. I sure am looking forward to visiting Massachusetts.

It was a surprise to me how close we are to New York City. Only a little commuter train’s ride away! So, just about as soon as we could, the three of us jumped off the train and caught another one into the city to have a short visit with our good friend Mike Dobson. He was busy until the evening, so we walked around the city for a while, taking advantage of its good food and interesting shopping. After the train run, this was quite a welcome liberation: it was a very long run, and we were bored, cranky, and exceptionally un-showered. Halfway through the second day, I was feeling as if we had been trapped for a week (my journal entry for the day reads, “Will we ever get off this train?”). I am going to have to get used to those. By around 8, we made our way up to Dobson’s apartment in the Bronx, and we were all very happy to see him. That was the first time I’ve been somewhere that I recognized in over three months!

Unfortunately, within an hour of getting there, Book conked out on the floor. He had been complaining about his cough all day, but now seemed to be really feeling crappy, and his forehead was very hot. Dobson, Eric, and I ordered pizza, began watching the Big Lebowski, and tried to get Book to stay in the conversation. Nothing worked though, and by the end of the evening, ontop of all his other grievances, he was throwing up too, poor thing. So, we called it a night much earlier than we usually do in such company. In the morning Book was feeling no better, so Eric and I had to leave him there to sleep while we got headed back to Newark for the cast meeting and dress rehearsal. I began to notice, once we got back to site, that there were an awful lot of people sniffling and coughing. Tim looked even more miserable than Book, shuffling around like a zombie. Better cram in that vitamin C!

I know I recently wrote about how light-hearted and inconsequential dress rehearsals can be, but there was none of that today. It being the last two weeks we have to brush the show up before New York (which is when all the important press comes out), suddenly everything needs fixing and tightening. Our director herself made her first appearance since Tampa, which makes everyone nervous. We are all afraid that, given some sloppiness that we may have gained on the road, she might not like our entire Spec number anymore (for example), and maybe we will just have to learn a whole new one! Probably not, but boy did she keep us on our toes in winter quarters, so who knows. Because we have “touch ups” scheduled all day with her tomorrow, the goofing was kept to a minimum today, and we were all religious to the choreography. Then, to top off the pressure, the Felds (owners of the whole company) came to watch our show! They have both been very nice to me when I have met them, but still, it makes me nervous to know when they are here. Both runs went pretty smoothly, despite our challenging task of covering all of Book’s spots.

I was glad to have a visit (although short) with Jacob D’Eustachio, who came to see the show this evening. He is a very talented juggler who I met in Smirkus camp, now attending the Quebec circus school. We had a good time talking as usual, and I was tickled to remember that it was he who brought me to see my first Ringling show, sometime back in my teen years. The places life takes you.

I returned home on the 11 o’clock bus, and had to gasp at the site when I checked in on Book and found him sitting straight up in bed with the lights out, bare-chested and pale as he could be. He said he was feeling better now, but it was a good thing he didn’t try to perform this evening, which he had been considering. He has to be at the rehearsals tomorrow, and take part in a rather important PR, so I am hoping he goes back to sleep for the rest of the night and just gets what ever it was out of his system. It was such a weird day without a third of our trio! Orest asked me today, “vhere is the tall?”

I really should have stretched today, but I didn’t have time, so I didn’t. And BOY can I feel it, I have never had a more painful cartwheel than the first one I did today! Yow. So, tomorrow I plan on spending my time between the mid-afternoon finale touch-up and the evening show making peace with my leg muscles. I've got a good two hours. Gotta keep at it!

And now... my room is so warm that I have no hope whatsoever of staying awake anymore. More later, and love to you all!