Chicago to South Bend and Back

by Wela Mbusi

We’ve landed! Our jet-lagged arrival at Chicago O’Hare airport is ameliorated by a stretch limo waiting to whisk us away to our hotel rooms whilst darting through traffic. LoL. Well…maybe it isn’t actually that glamorous but Shakespeare at Notre Dame’s generosity with Debs’ logistical skills certainly made us feel that way. No rest for the wicked as daily chores had to be fulfilled if we were to have a smooth couple of months.
Our first task was to familiarise ourselves with the rigours of the upcoming schedule with the workshops, followed by a scary but painless tax exemption form filling session and a bank trip to open checking accounts.
Finally the evening was capped off by a wonderful meal at a steakhouse where I had the John Adams special which was an assortment of meats skewered by a sword. It’s stature certainly personified the second president.

We continued with rehearsals through the week but we’re starting to feel the need of an audience and performing to a feedback-giving audience one last time (though necessary) further induced our need for one. Having incorporated notes from the London associates, we felt we needed to prioritise in terms of time and the best use of our energies, as we’d not had a break from rehearsals for nearly five weeks. But we also felt that autonomy was the best cause of action as well, as some of the notes were personal preferences rather than things that would enhance the clarity of the story or AFTLS’s convention of five actors playing all the roles.

We were glad to find a cohesive enough ideology with regards to the notes session from Scott and Peter Holland and the London associates and that solidified our confidence in the show, but at this point we were craving for an audience at Wellesley College, our first stop.
Notre Dame was a phenomenal school and with its strong Catholic roots I couldn’t help but wonder how it would be received when we returned to perform as the themes of the play are palpably resonant.
Leaving those worries for another day, we made our way to Chicago (courtesy of Debs) to try and get some rest, especially as the long-awaited football game between Notre Dame and Georgia was on. The spectacle of military flyovers and marching bands during the run were not enough to intrigue us to stay because the Windy City called.

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