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Ten Minutes to Midnight…

…and I’m so exhausted. Can’t believe I haven’t posted more this week, but maybe I have been spreading myself on the thin side.

On another topic, I had forgotten that on this episode of The Golden Girls, Dorothy calls Merv Griffin the “anti-Trump.”

Interesting.

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An Actual Snoozy Day: The Aftermath of Yesterday

So today I had an actual snoozy day.

I fell right asleep at 1:30 AM, and woke up around noon, sweating and in a pool of saliva, feeling like a bag of rocks, and migrated over to the couch, where I slept for another few hours, and woke up in even more saliva. I guess even my glands were sore. Then, back to bed. I don’t think that I was fully conscious until about 3 PM. I’m feeling better now, after having had some food and drink, but today was mostly wasted because I was just so darn sore from yesterday’s excursion.

Ouch.

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Charlottetown, Days 1 and 2: A Rough Start to the Fun Part

My week in Charlottetown was packed with so much fun and excitement that it’s hard to remember it all, but I guess I’ll just start at the beginning of the adventure and see how far I get.

Thursday afternoon: arrive, exhausted, in Moncton, New Brunswick. I pick up my bags and head to the Maritime Bus counter, only to find out that the lady in front of me got the last Moncton-Charlottetown bus ticket package of the day.

Damn.

So, at this point, my options are a) take a $300 taxi to Charlottetown, b) call the hostel, cancel tonight, find a place to stay in Moncton, and catch the next bus at 9:20 AM the next morning or c) take a $100 taxi ride to Amherst, Nova Scotia, in hopes of beating the bus there and hopping on the Amherst-Charlottetown bus, for which there are still tickets, understanding that if I miss the bus, I’ve gone from being stuck in a small town in New Brunswick to being stuck in an even smaller town in Nova Scotia for the night.

I opt for C. Challenge accepted.

The lady at the bus counter gets a cab for me. I have a little over an hour to catch this bus, and it’s 45 minutes between Moncton and Amherst. The cab driver turns out to be this little old man called Joe who moves. And. Talks. Very. Slowly.

I’m. Screwed.

I put on my best Shirley Feeney and keep up high hopes that this guy doesn’t croak before we leave the parking lot.

But, am I wrong.

After we get past the second red light, he murmurs something like “that’s the one we had to worry about.” Then, it’s on to the highway, and we are flying. The fields of New Brunswick quickly become the windmills of Nova Scotia, and the first two things I see in the province are signs forbidding police scanners and importation of honey bees. Both are good to know.

Joe gets off the highway one exit too early and needs to ask for directions, and I panic a little, but then I see signs for the Anne Murray Centre and start singing “You Needed Me” to myself, and soon enough we are at the Amherst bus station which is actually just a gas station. And we are early. I give Joe a generous tip for his troubles and go to wait in the gas station with a banana and a Coffee Crisp at which point my dad calls me, asking where I am, at which point I answer “So here’s something funny, I’m in Nova Scotia…”

I end up spending a little longer than planned in Nova Scotia as the PEI bus driver arrives early as well, and the Moncton bus driver is a half hour late. I don’t remember too much about the two-hour ride back through New Brunswick, only that I woke up in time to watch us go over the Confederation Bridge, which is gorgeous in mid-afternoon, and soon enough we have arrived in Charlottetown, which is a little further away than I thought.

Once in Charlottetown, the bus doesn’t even stop at a gas station; we get out in a big, empty parking lot at dusk. Fortunately, two good things happen: one, I meet Matt, another traveler, who has come from Ontario and is staying with me at the Charlottetown Backpackers Inn (CBI), and two, that our bus driver has an incredibly loud whistle that can summon a cab out of nowhere. As soon as Matt and I have gotten in and introduced ourselves to the driver and each other, we are there. Matt covers the cab fare, and I should have probably covered my fingers better because I scrape some skin off of one while reaching for the clasp to shut the back after getting our bags.

CBI is a much different hostel than the one in Montreal. It’s much more hippie and friendly, with a comfy living room and communal eat-in kitchen. There are only seven bedrooms: a tiny, unmarked one on the first floor along with others marked 1 and 2, and on the second floor, 3, 4, 5, and a private room, along with three bathrooms washrooms. I snag a bottom bunk on one of the three bunk beds in Room 3 which will be home for the coming week, and Matt is in the bed above mine. Room 3 has a revolving-door situation of roomies, but on that first night, it’s us, Brian from British Columbia, Yuning from Taiwan, and Gil and Arnao from Spain. I don’t remember every single person who shared that room, but after Matt got a job at the hostel and moved over to the staff house, Kaj from Germany moved into the bed above mine, and then after he left, Illeana from Manitoba, who stayed there with her sister Jane. Room 3 is also where I met my dear Heloise and Jade, before they shifted to the girls’ room. There was a couple from Alberta who was there for most of the same time I was, as well as a Japanese guy called Leo.

That first day, I did not do too much. I rented a towel, and since I was just about out of anything clean to wear, I went down to a corner store to do laundry. I had about a load and a half’s worth of stuff, and was kind of reluctant to split it into two loads, when all of a sudden Yuning appears with about a half-load of her own clothing (she had gotten the idea from me) so I happily tossed a few of my items in with hers. By the time we were done, it was dark, so we went back to the hostel to hang out and meet more people. Around the kitchen table, I got to know Karen and Natalie, both from Halifax, who seemed to know more about Charlottetown and PEI than anybody in their right mind should know, but it just turned out they’d been there for a while, and by the time I left, I knew the same things. Karen brushed me up on my Anne of Green Gables and Lucy Maud Montgomery knowledge, and Natalie filled me in on which shows to see. Karen said that I’d have to rent or find transportation to get to all the Anne sites, which were mostly in Cavendish, about 45 minutes north of Charlottetown. (Sidenote: Charlottetown, if you had a bus to Cavendish, it would sell out every day from the amount of people who want to go there. Then again, I guess that’s why you have the expensive tours). I go to bed, do some more research, and drift off to sleep wondering if I made the right choice with this whole six-night-seven-day stay in Charlottetown.

Friday morning: Wake up at 10:30 AM, having missed breakfast completely, despite my alarm going off and waking up everyone else (whoops).

At noon, I head out to explore what Charlottetown has to offer. I sit through a wonderful free show at the Confederation Center called “We Are Canadian” which is basically a 45-minute-long showcase of cultural dances from the many nations who live in Canada. It is fun except for this pink whale of a woman who keeps walking in front of me to get her wandering child. Afterwards, there is a short historical reenactment outside the Confederation House, depicting the circumstances surrounding the meeting that took place there which made Prince Edward Island effectively the “birthplace of Confederation,” where the premiers came together to create the idea of Canada as a nation. After that fun bit of history, I headed inside to purchase 91 dollars’ worth of theatre tickets: Bittergirl on Saturday and Anne of Green Gables, Canada’s longest-running and most iconic musical, on Monday. I keep telling myself, it’s for the island. Then, I wander upstairs to see a replica of the room where the Confederation meeting was held, and then to the art gallery for a fantastic exhibition on the mapping of Canada and the plotting of Prince Edward Island and some weird modern stuff which doesn’t really belong. After stopping for a Tim Hortons and a few Anne of Green Gables and Island-themed shops, I realize that I’m exhausted, and that in four hours, I have walked all of…one block. I head back to CBI, sit down on my bed…and wake up three hours later. Whoops, again. This day is just a giant fail.

Just when I go downstairs to the kitchen and lament to Natalie how much of a fail today was and that I probably won’t be able to get to Cavendish to see the Anne of Green Gables sites, along comes Avery. A theatre student from Georgia with whom I have a scary amount of common interests, she has the one thing that I don’t – a car – and Cavendish is on her list of things to do on her one day in PEI, so I hop on, promising that we can get an early start so we can find the graves of her ancestors first in a nearby cemetery. We are both hungry, so we head out to Merchantman for dinner and beer, where we see a fantastic performance thanks to the Island Fringe Festival: a one-woman show called “Busted” which is a hilarious piece about breasts and aging. Some delicious Cows ice cream makes a perfect coda to a night and I go to bed with newfound hope.

The bulk of this post was typed in Boston, but I have a whole lot more Charlottetown to go before I’m caught up to today (which, incidentally, is exactly a week from when this entry happened). Next time, stay tuned for my adventures on Saturday and Sunday, which include Cavendish and Anne of Green Gables/Lucy Maud Montgomery House, as well as the Farmers’ Market and the fringe caravan!

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ATHE 2015: Broad Strokes

How did it get to be August so quickly?

ATHE seems to go by more and more quickly every year, and this time, it was gone in just about a blink of an eye. Probably because I was having so much fun, so here are some broad strokes before it’s completely lost to history and memory.

Day 13 (July 31): Awake a bit later than I wanted, but at least managed to make it to most of the 10:15 AM all-conference plenary, which was just as full of ideas and inspiration as the previous year’s was, after which I probably got something for lunch, somewhere. Then, at 2:15 PM, it was time for my panel, where I presented alongside Teresa as well as two people I didn’t know, Susanne and Michael. It went much better than I thought it would: 11 audience members and a very lively conversation afterwards. I didn’t stumble over my words as much as I thought I was going to, and that reminds me, I need to email Teresa. I had planned to go to another panel immediately after, but instead took a celebratory coffee break with Teresa and her husband Rick. Back at 5:45 for a panel on dramaturgy pedagogy led by LaRonika which included a Skype presenter whose plane got delayed, leaving her stranded in the airport in Toronto. Evening highlight was dinner at 3 Brasseurs with new friends Jenny from Yale and Sylvie, one of this year’s Dramaturgy Debs from Ontario.

Day 14 (August 1): Again, missed the 8:15 AM panel, but made it to the 10 AM all-conference membership meeting, after which was a reprise of my annual pop-in to the Religion and Theatre membership meeting and mad dash to Dramaturgy membership meeting, at which I got elected as a new Member-at-Large with Martine and Megan (yay! a position once again!) and brainstormed ideas for next year’s conference. It was there that I noticed that so many people were missing, and the mood was kind of subdued, but overall, it went better than last year’s meeting in terms of business that got done. Then, at 2:15 PM, I decided to take a break from the constant sitting and go to Joan Lipkin’s movement workshop that was an hour and a half according to the program book but actually went on for three hours (!) but it didn’t matter because it was fantastic. Sometimes you gotta take some chances and miss a panel or two. After a quick cheese sandwich for dinner, it was time for another dramaturgy panel, followed by a reading of a newly-translated French play which was incredibly funny, aided by the talents of Laura and Cindy. And then, of course, DNO, which was at the somewhat-more-expensive-than-I-thought Balsam Inn, where I sat and caught up with Dassia and Martine. Also, back at the hotel, I randomly met Penny Farfan, one of the editors of the book I reviewed in the entry called Ladies Who Write Plays.

Day 15 (August 2): Final day of ATHE 2015 😦 Even though I was dead tired, I managed to make it to a 9:45 AM dramaturgy panel, which Laura thought was “admirable, considering I’d already finished my panel days ago” (thanks Laura!) followed by a panel on Asian performance which lasted a bit too long and then…ATHE was over. I managed to extend it as much as I could by hanging out in the lobby with Bryan while he waited to catch his flight back to Chicago, but all good things must come to an end.

And so began the “playing tourist” phase of this leg, which will be up later tonight or tomorrow, along with general thoughts about the lovely city of Montreal!

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Later, Seder

Apologies for my absence, it’s been an insane past few days since I got back home. I think I’ve been awake for less than half of the past 48 hours, during most of which I was getting ready for or participating in two crazy seders.

Seder 1 consisted of 23 people, 21 of whom I was related to and 2 non-relatives. We started at about 7 PM and finished just past midnight. Most of it is a blur because I was so hot most of the time (23 people and a hot stove/oven create a lot of body heat) but my dad made one of the best shticks ever (more on that in a later post), and we had a few funny moments:

  • The candles not staying lit.
  • The annual Kissinger & Passover play interrupted by my cousin’s unsuccessful attempts to unobtrusively open our screen door so he could walk around the house to use the bathroom rather than walking over everyone.
  • The many bathroom trips of my poor uncle, including one where he dropped his yarmulke in the toilet (okay, this one’s not as funny as it is sad).
  • But he did troll us later during the “Echod Mi Yodea” song, which was actually funny.
  • Spectacular Moroccan chicken courtesy of my sister.
  • Dessert. Too much and too good.

Seder 2 consisted of 10 people rather than 11, with one not showing up due to illness (which became part of the night’s running jokes). We started at 8 and ended at about 1 AM. (By the way, I slept until 1 PM that day, and until 10 AM today). Highlights included:

  • Fox showing up, a happy reunion of friends after about two or three years. Seriously, it was amazing to see her again, I can’t believe it actually worked it.
  • It was also Fox’s first seder. I hope we did not scare her too much.
  • A repeat shtick, but it was still good.
  • Altogether, a quieter and more enjoyable time, which has never happened to me before at a second seder.
  • More amazing food, and barely being able to finish it.
  • Kissinger & Passover being on point with Fox as the radio announcer and me as Kissinger.
  • Finding out that Wisconsin made the championship game shortly after seder ended (and managing to forget about the game amidst all the fun).

And now, attempting to catch up on all the schoolwork. This trip was way too short; I think I wore a total of three of the outfits I brought over the last four days, including my pajamas, and I read about 50 pages for pleasure and 50 for school. Tomorrow, I need to get some serious headway into my schoolwork, with two huge deadlines coming up (eek) before I get on a plane to Minneapolis at 7 PM, where I’ll connect to my flight to Madison at 9:49 PM. This time tomorrow I will be back in my apartment, hopefully.