By Annabelle Terry
Sunday 6th Feb 2022
“When you depart from me sorrow abides and happiness takes his leave.” – Don Pedro 1.1
Pennsylvania, it’s been a blast.
This week we were in residency at Bloomsburg University – a university which had not previously been visited by AFTLS in the history of their tours, and who welcomed us so warmly. The campus felt exciting and full of great students and facilities.
Of course, there was lots of snow around which didn’t let up – in fact it got worse, and by the end of the week there were severe weather warnings and an ice storm due to hit. I have never seen ice like it! Our cars were covered in what looked like an outer shell of glass which we had to crack off each morning. It was definitely thermal wearing weather and, despite worries that the show might not go ahead because of it, the team at Carver Hall were resilient and brilliant and we played on Friday as scheduled.
I was both excited and intrigued to see how the a totally new audience would take to the AFTLS style of multi-roling and the stripped back nature of the shows. The wonderful students we met over the week’s workshops sounded just as intrigued, particularly those due to perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” themselves in the next couple of months. Tom and I got to have a zoom Q&A with most of them and they were so generous with their questions and attentive with our answers.
I’m pleased to say that the show went down a storm (not of the ice variety thankfully). As soon as we heard the audience respond to the first few lines we settled into the show – having not done it for a week can always be a bit daunting, but thanks to the intense nature of our rehearsals it’s firmly in our muscle memory now.
The next morning we got to host workshops for the local community. Will and I met some of the local ‘River Poets’ in the morning as well as the founding members of the Bloomsburg ensemble and owner of the Alvina Krause Theatre in town, Laurie. She was kind enough to secure us tickets for that evenings performance of The Mountaintop. We were lucky enough to go onto stage after the show to see the set up close and meet the very talented two cast members in the production. It was a treat to get to be audience members for the night – it was clear that this small town values its local theatre immensely and the buzz about the place was great to see.
Then on Sunday a few of us decided that New York was just too close to pass up a quick day trip to. I was designated driver and we set off early to maximise the time we had in the city. The drive was beautiful – past the Pocono mountains and through states including New Jersey before finally getting into the Big Apple. I had never been to New York and, boy oh boy, it did not disappoint. Luckily we were joined by a friend of Katherine’s who took us on a whistle-stop tour of the best sights in the city. 5th Avenue, Central Park, the 9/11 memorial, St Nicholas’ church, the Empire State Building, the Flat Iron Building, the Brooklyn Bridge to name just a few, and some great food spots. Although we only had a day, we packed it all in and were left feeling so lucky that we got to experience this iconic place together.
Now, onwards to Colorado! I’m currently on the flight from DC to Denver and can’t wait to land and see this amazing state and its natural beauty. We will be in residence at the prestigious Air Force Academy which, no doubt, will be an amazing opportunity to be a part of.