Hey y'all! We're here! In freaking London! Here's what's been goin' on:
Suchan and Mary started working first thing Monday morning, scouting Ravenscourt Park and roughing out a route for the show. Julie and I landed later that day. I dropped my bags, hugged Jules, changed into crew clothes and hoofed it to Riverside Studios. There, the lovely Stacey and handsome Guy showed us our dressing rooms(!), showers(!), box office(!) and the gorgeous terrace overlooking the Thames(!) where our show will start.
What's with all the exclamation points, you ask? Let's just say that the last time I toured this show to my hometown of Calgary, my dressing room was a borrowed Honda CRV in an underground parking garage. I basically feel like a Disney princess here.
After we met with the Riverside folks, we broke bread as a team and then got to work. We timed the warm-up walk to the park and reviewed the locations for the show, talking through what I will be performing as of our opening tomorrow(!). Ravenscourt Park is INSANELY BEAUTIFUL. Mary ran me through the new Endorphins location and I burst into tears it was so gorgeous and perfect. The show Sootch and Mare put together made my heart sing. We came back to our fabulous Hammersmith apartment and tucked into the supplies our host/landlady Selina left for us: fresh bread, strong English cheddar, chocolate and wine.
So that sucked.
Day 2 was a big one. We were up first thing with a team breakfast and then hitting the park, restaging and rechoreographing the show in detail in the new space. We worked it piece by piece and as we turned the corner to work the approach to our finale we got the shock of our lives. A inflatable Stonehenge the size of a basketball court had suddenly appeared right on top of our ending. Bouncy. Stonehenge.
Slackjawed and jet-lagged, we stared at the dozens of merrily boinging children before returning to the proverbial drawing board. Our ending requires a giant open field and those flopping air-filled runes were on top of the only one around.
Keep calm and carry on...is pretty much what we did. We re-built the ending in a different space and worked backwards from there. Then we went into this wild and tangled conservancy area to work the "Nemesis Chase" scene. We planned out a route for the chase scene through the brush and bramble, hit Play on our iPods and I took off like a bat out of hell. Which is when I found out what two legs full of stinging nettle feels like. (It hurts a f*ck of a lot. And then crazy bubble-welts emerge all over the place, then it goes weird and tingly and then, later, it all goes away and is fine.)
So there were some speedbumps, but we worked incredibly well and made great time. At 7pm we did a run of the whole show. It was some seriously high-five-worthy stuff. We hit the pub to celebrate and fell asleep happy.
And we did it all again today. Up early, eating as a team, hoofing it to the park, fine-tuning and walking back to Riverside for a 2pm dress/tech rehearsal in full costume. Walking up to the theatre, I saw our beautiful poster hung on display for the first time. Riverside is plastered with them! I stood there, staring in awe, when a man walked by and said, 'Are you the girl in the poster?' It was THE BEST.
We ran the show, which went brilliantly. I kissed everyone goodbye and ran home to shower and change to head down to Trafalgar Square for the Alberta Reception hosted by Premier Alison Redford and, y'know, the Canadian High Commissioner. So, I basically spent my day sweating and dodging dogshit, then I got all dressed up to hobnob with politicos over paté. I love my job.
Entering Trafalgar Square I finally felt the thing I'd been waiting to feel: Olympic fever. That place was buzzing! It was full of people and Olympic media tents and weirdos selling Jesus. I caught sight of the big red maple leaf hanging in front of the Canadian embassy and it was all I could do to keep myself from running full tilt, screaming, "I'm HOOMMMEEEE!"
The event itself was really great. I met some incredible people including a bunch of other Alberta artists here performing during the Games. I met Jeffrey Anderson, the Executive Director of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and was so happy and grateful to meet the man that I bypassed the handshake and went straight for the hug! He and I have been emailing to plot a special secret something I'll reveal tomorrow and this was the first time we'd met in real life. And, most deliciously, I heard the "oots" and "aboots" of the Canadian accent which I have missed terribly.
And then I zipped home on the Tube, grabbed some take-out and got back to work. It's 10:30pm and Team Endure is still prepping for our opening tomorrow. We've got dozens of iPods to charge, audio to edit, show bags to pack and supplies to organize.
I'm just thrilled beyond words to be here. I'm so proud of how quickly and brilliantly the team has worked to make a beautiful show and tomorrow we get to the fun part: sharing it with London! There are still a few tickets left, so if you've got friends, family or collagues here, send them here for tix! (Oh, we're featured on the home page of Riverside Studios right now. Whoo!)
Here's what I wore to meet the Premier:
And a close-up of my fancy footwear: