Sunday, April 15, 2007
This week, I (jen) traveled upstate to Red Hook, NY with the company I've been working for, Epic Theatre Center. A group of 8 teaching artists went up to conduct a 2-day workshop with 2 of the high schools from that area who came down to see our recent show. We gave an assignment for them to complete before we got there and ended up spending the two days doing some "skill building" exercises with them, then creating and presenting theatre pieces based on writing that they did. It was a pretty fantastic experience. I especially loved my group the first day. They came into the workshop expecting to be told what to do and were shocked when I told them they were in charge and would be making all the decisions. Our presentation ended up being pretty great.
The most adventurous part of the trip would have to be the accomodations. The first night, we all went to dinner at a BBQ place (right up my alley). 5 of us stayed at the Grand Duchess, a haunted bed and breakfast. I did not see any ghost activity, but I also didn't sleep. The house was decorated in a very, uh, interesting way. When you walk up the steps to the door, you are greeted with a sign sitting next to an antique wheel chair. There was a 4 foot tall stuffed reindeer (not real) standing by the stairs inside the house as well as a 4 foot tall bear holding business cards and pamphlets. My favorite, however, has to be the stuffed otter sitting on the piano bench in the parlor. (it WAS real) When I "woke up" the next morning, the first thing I smelled was sausage and I almost wretched. But the waffles were tasty, and off we went to school, suitcases in hand. We were moving that afternoon.
The second day, things got much more interesting. Our classes wrapped up aroun 3pm and our college contact gave us a map with the house where Suzana, Godfrey and I were staying. It looked like a red house in a patch of trees. Well, after about 20 minutes of driving around in our rented minivan, we started just trying our keys in every house we drove up to. We found a freshman coming out of one of them and he tried to point us in the right direction. Long story short, Godfrey ended up climbing the muddiest hill I've ever seen to try his key in 2 houses, then coming back to the van (not a happy camper--see photo) and calling campus security, who COULD NOT TELL US WHERE WE WERE! (note to self: Never get attacked at Bard College! They won't find you!) Eventually they told us we were looking for a white house with a green mailbox. Well after 15 minutes MORE, we saw 3 white houses together and tried our keys. The most ghetto of the bunch was the right one. It was then that we looked at the street to see the green mailbox laying in the road. I guess someone knocked it down. The rooms looked like something out of a mental hospital. Godfrey, who is 6 foot 2, could not fit in the bathroom and close the door. The water smelled like sulfur. I was the only one who braved the shower the next morning, but I did not wash my hair, not wanting to smell like a rotten egg all day. Again, I didn't sleep. I had what sounded like a rabid cat outside my window all night.
The second day of classes were fun and then we headed home. I rode in the car instead of the mini van and got HORRIBLY car sick in the back seat. (I did not vomit, but I sure wanted to) Eventually my tummy settled and I spent most of the trip entertaining Imogen, 2 of the company members' 6 month old daughter. It was a great trip and I hope to get to do it again next year. However if I do go, I'll be bringing ear plugs, Dramamine and Nytol.