Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chocolate Milk and Sloppy Joes

It has been cold and snowy all week - on Thursday I announced to everyone that it felt like the week before Thanksgiving. I had a strong wave of homesickness and I was seriously craving pumpkin pie and apple cider. Now it just feels like January - it was 2 degrees here last night and it might just get up in the 40s on Monday. But it is beautiful. The snow here stays white for a long time because there aren't as many cars and not so much smog. We had a 3 hour drive back to Bozeman from Wyoming on Thursday and we decided to go through I have never been there before and I hardly saw the tip of the iceberg, I know, but it was stunning. And we lucked out - we saw a couple hundred bison - two separate herds - plus we stopped for a bison crossing the street and he stared at us (which was a little scary) and we took pictures of him. We also saw a bald eagle, a coyote, antelopes and a beautiful herd of elk. Elk are so magnificent - their coloring and their size is just unreal. I was holding out for a moose, but I guess I will have to wait for Maine next year.

Tour was super fun this week - very tiring and a lot of work, but very fun. I really loved Wyoming - a lot of people with very different life perspectives from me (many, many anti-Obama bumper stickers) but incredibly nice and gracious to us travelers. For the most part, everyone is so grateful to have us there because they have seen the summer shows or they know kids who have seen previous fall tours. Two women we met at the Elk Horn Grille were very dismayed that our show wasn't announced in the local paper like in past years and they were asking us if the Preschoolers would be able to see it. We said we didn't know who would be in our audience, but it was a rather intense show for preschoolers. The next morning we played at Meeteetsee High and lo and behold, all the kids K-12 were there to watch. It was really interesting playing to seniors and kindergartners - if the high school kids did something, than the younger kids would do it ten-fold. So there were a lot of kissing sounds, giggling, and meowing during the Tybalt scenes. One of the teachers at Meeteetsee told us that this was her favorite day of the year and she had coffee and spice bread for us when we showed up at 7. I don't think I have ever felt more appreciated as a storyteller than in these schools. I mean, there are almost always going to be some kids that don't care and are just happy to be out of class, but there are so many of them that are enthralled and excited because there is no local theatre for them to go see. When we ate lunch with the kids, some of them had the idea of we ended up spending most of the period signing our autographs on napkins with dry erase markers amid chocolate pudding and blue Jello. I met the cutest 2nd grader named Mark who wouldn't talk at all to start with and by the end of the period he couldn't stop. He really liked the play, especially the sword fighting. And he told me that he is allergic to milk. And the sun. We ended up having to escort our Juliet out of the lunch room for fear that the children would overtake her - I am amazed we haven't ended up with a 1st grader hiding out in the van.

On Sunday, we have a four hour drive ahead of us to Ten Sleep. We aren't coming back to Bozeman next weekend, so it will be two weeks on the road. We are going to a ranch and staying for 4 nights to do Literary Roundup, which I don't know a whole lot about, but when I do I will let you know. As I understand it, there are groups of kids that choose to study theatre, music, art, etc at this camp on a ranch. And the ones that choose theatre spend the weekend with us - we perform the show and we direct them in Shakespearean scenes that they all present to one another at the end of the weekend. It sounds like a lot of fun, and I am hoping I can ride a horse while I am there.

There is something really fun about living off of what you can carry in your suitcase - it just makes everything more simple. It is really nice to go into a different location every day and do the same thing with the same people. And it is never really the same, because every show is different and every school is different. On Friday we performed at Bozeman Public Library for some Home-Schooled youth and the ceiling wasn't high enough for our balcony railing to fit. So that was an adventure. And on tour, you know there is a place to sleep and there is stuff to eat - we live off of Continental breakfasts and school lunches - I have had sloppy joes and chocolate milk twice this week!!!

It was really great to be back at the dorm in Bozeman this weekend and we celebrated one of our own's birthday with a big ziti dinner and going out about the town. I was very pleased to have finished Eddie's Bastard - what a great book! - and am now onto Little, Big which I have been told I will love. It sounds like we may go back out to Norris Springs this evening. It will be much, much harder to get out of the water, but I think it will be fun to go when it is so cold outside.

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