Wednesday, February 22, 2006

under construction

Dear Readers of the Blogvision-

Due to circustances of internet access difficulties, this here blog is a little behind in the times. As head engineer, I apologize and plan to rectify the situation as soon as I (and the rest of the company) get to Wellington where I hope to have a clear line to the internet from which to post my reports.

I am right now sitting in the library housed in the former Customs House at the Circular Quay in Sydney, which is a lot nicer than the backpacker-infested internet cafes I have been prowling to do the most rudimentary of e-mail tasks. That's right, those of you paying attention, the show has moved from Montclair, New Jersey to Australia. You can basically draw a direct line between these two stops on the information-age performance circuit. Anyway, we did some lovely gigs in Perth and move on next week to Wellington, New Zealand where there is a lot more dairy in store for us as well as whole new breeds of adorable animals.

I promise to report fully from there. With pictures!

Pardon our appearance and thanks for your patience while we strive to make your blogging experience a little better.

The Management.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

sock lag

Woke up semi-bright and early at around 8:30 AM local time, which is somewhere around 7:30PM yesterday back in New York. Staggered down to find Claire, our irrepressible tour manager and off we went for a walk in King'’s Park, an absolutely huge land mass in the middle of town here. Being respectfully scared of the Australian sun and having spent the entire summer indoors rehearsing this show, I slathered up with sunscreen, put on my new mall flip flops and my new t-shirt and my decrepit jeans from the plane and off we went. The first part of the park is your botanical gardens situation, manicured and tortured into submission, but featuring the many varieties of plant life that are special to the very special ecosystem of Australia. These plants look like nothing I have ever seen except in the world of Dr. Seuss. To my eye, strange segmented greenery and incredible succulents of various types that have adapted over the millennium to this special climate. I guess I have just outed myself there, and the blog-reading public can now confirm what was long suspected: I am not a creationist, but am an old school believer in evolution. What can I say? It was drummed into me by my biology teacher Ann Terry in jr. high and I have not had the available cash to check myself in someplace to get the deprogramming done. Please do not hold this against me.

But before going to the park, I had an interesting discussion with Joe and Neal regarding the disappearance of socks when one crosses the international date line. Both these fine fellows have been here for a few days longer than the performers, setting up the show and getting all the technical aspects squared away and somehow, they both reported that they needed to do laundry again, though they had only been here a few days. We devised a theory that not only time is lost when crossing the date line, but so are socks and clean underwear. So there is also sock lag, in addition to jet lag.

As it is a day off today, everyone went their merry ways. A day of snorkeling and exploration awaited the ambitious among us who took off for Rottnest Island and its special ecosystem and reefs. Claire and I observed nature in its unnatural setting of the botanical park and then we hung a right and in about two minutes time found ourselves in the middle of the bush! Let me explain for those of you who do now know this expression. To say we were in the middle of the bush does not mean that there is one specific bush that we stumbled into in some tragic shrubbery mishap. No, "“the bush" is what the Australians call the woods or the forest or anyplace where there are not a lot of people and there is a bunch of nature. So, Claire and I were deep in the Australian forest, but it is entirely an urban forest, one way more forest-like than anything either Central Park or Prospect Park or the Bronx Botanic gardens has to offer. Amazing!

We walked for hours and finally made it back to the hotel where I searched hopefully for my suitcase which had not yet arrived. A few hours later, it had and I and the rest of the New York contingent enjoyed tearful reunions with our toiletry items. I spent the rest of the evening staring dumbly out the 14th floor window of my room, watching Perth get all twinkly before turning in to sleep after I had deemed that I had stayed up late enough to try and regulate my sleep cycle.

I will try to add a picture of some of the animals on Rottnest, as soon as I get one off Claire. There is a really cute one of Dan with a really cute Australian animal!

Friday, February 10, 2006

arrival down under

We did it. We survived 30 hours on a plane. On several planes actually to get our butts from New York to Perth. Nearly missed our connection in LA, and in fact, our suitcases did not make the flight, but other than that, the switch from American Airlines to Qantas was like a breath of fresh air. Even in coach with the goats and chickens and screeching children and everyone'’s SARS viruses spewing forth, it was a pleasure. Not to dis American, but the Qantas folks know how to run an airline, in the old school sense of the word. The staff is neither surly nor overly ironic and hip, but are in fact pleasant despite the terrible truth of their jobs, which is babying a 747 carrying a human cargo of regressive-slash-entitled brats. The food was actually quite nice, especially compared to what this already overly-maligned aspect of the airline experience has become in North America. And they had nice uniforms and were well-groomed and cheerful in demeanor. The way it used to be, back when getting on a plane was a special experience that involved dressing up and behaving oneself. Thank you Qantas. Marianne even coined a modifier for the experience: Qantastic!

So then it was Saturday morning and we arrived baggage-free but all in one piece. Felt a little jiggled up, like we had been in a centrifuge, nerves all gone raw but not raw enough to be truly worried. And dried out, no matter how much water is consumed on the long flight. It reminds one of a hangover.

The Qantas people, thanks to the expert care of our lovely handler Ann, doled out a hundred bucks each to us so that we might go buy some undies and whatnot to tide us over until the bags got to us. Good thing because we had a function to go to first thing so we all ventured out into the painfully bright midsummer afternoon sunshine and grazed the offerings at the mall, located a short distance from our hotel.

Then we were off to have wine and adorable little finger food at the home of the US consular to Perth. Incredible view of the Swan River from up high on the hillside above the majestic Swann River and we were treated to a lovely evening of conversation and were able to meet a few people and begin to understand that we were not in transit any longer. The folks here are lovely and everyone we have encountered so far has been unflinchingly kind and warm. The whole experience of looking out over the harbor in the warm evening, freshly showered and packaged in our new clean clothes, made more than one of us consider the option of joining the foreign service. Many thanks to Mrs. Robin McClellan for welcoming us so warmly into her home.

My personality seems in need of serious revision at this point in the sleep-deprivation game so I will close now. I am hoping that a little sleep and a meal eaten with grownup size silverware will begin the process of restoring me to my regular state of disrepair, as opposed to my current acute situation induced by 30 hours in the air.