Sirrahs, maids etc. I write to you all on the last day of a week’s residence at Valparaiso University. We wondered if we were ever going to make it there at all. Having cooked ourselves under the Texan sun for a blissfully warm week we arrived at Houston airport convinced the plane wasn’t going to take off due to the weather reports from our destination, Chicago O’Hare. Everything seemed to suggest there was no point in even leaving our hotel, never mind catching a plane. But no, the website insisted that flight was on schedule. Instinct is something we don’t trust enough in this life. We were actually boarding the aircraft when the flight was cancelled. Of course it was. So the five of us spent that night in Houston.
The following night we landed and struck out into the snow and ice planes of Chicago. A lovely limo driver fought of a Chicago airport parking attendant (the most hideously rude man on the planet) and drove us to Valparaiso. Due to having already compromised a day and a half of the Valparaiso schedule we met the Faculty members, professors, etc. at 8am the following day.
The classes we all taught were extremely eventful. Deep subjects, searching questions and adventurous premises. Many of the classes were twice the size due to the doubling up of numbers to make up for lost time. Highlights were Michael and his students exploring The Vagina Monologues; Jo’s and my lovely two hours with the University’s community outreach project where we were so impressed and moved by the talent and warmth of local company Chicago Street Theatre, several extremely inventive and original students from Valparaiso University itself and Dexter, a brilliant improviser and, as we discovered, a former 5th in the world BMX champion.
We also had the small matter of three back-to-back performances of Macbeth. So good to finally get the chance to properly explore this production of ours in front of an audience. I am personally very proud of our ambition and of what I like to think is becoming an original, fresh, risk-taking and highly eccentric take on a classic. And thank you, Alan, Mary and Haiying Sun for looking after us so wonderfully.
After another exploration of the southern side of Lake Michigan, we bundled up for our residency back at our US home of Notre Dame.
See you next week!