Snow, snow and more snow in South Bend

The flat lands of Indiana speed by my window on the bus

On the bus, the flat lands of Indiana speed by my window.

It snowed from the day we arrived until the day we left South Bend. Snow, snow, snow and more snow. We took a bus from Cincinnati on Monday and arrived at the Residence Inn in South Bend in the mid-afternoon. The Residence Inn was the perfect home for the week – Ryan and I shared a two bedroom loft, which was quite spacious and came complete with a fireplace. All I wanted to do all week was hang out in front of that fireplace.

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But, alas, I did have to go in to work. Load-in was great – the guys were done in no time. It was a bit of a squeeze to fit everything in backstage, but everything did JUST fit. The local show crew were not the brightest bunch, and I was doing cues for the prop people up until the day we closed, but after seventy cities now, even the worst crew (and these weren’t the worst) doesn’t really faze me anymore.  The two prop locals were just kind of clueless, and on the lazy side, which just gets on my nerves. I mean, really, do you have to sit down between each cue? And it bugs me when the locals sit on the scenery backstage. I wouldn’t walk into someone’s house that I just met and put my feet up on their couch. And that’s just how it feels sometimes when they lounge all over everything backstage. We also had this creepy guy on the rail, who always wore a shirt or jacket that had a skeleton on it. Even his gloves had skeleton hands on them. Over the weekend, he brought in a set of skull throwing knives and gave them to Keith, our head carpenter, as a gift. He also brought in these metal sleeves that you slide over your forefinger that have a sharp metal “fingernail” on the end of them, and a sharp curved blade that juts out of your knuckle. They looked like some kind of crazy weapon you would find in Chinatown. He gave one to Mike, our pyro guy, and one to our prop guy, Scott. Weird!!

The biggest thing that happened at work this week was that Richard Chamberlain joined us. Richard will be taking over the role of King Arthur in a week’s time in Chicago. He seems like a very nice man, and all reports from rehearsal (I was lucky enough to not have to do any rehearsals this week), say he is going to be great in the role. 

The snowy Spamatruck during load-in

The snowy Spamatruck during load-in

The Morris Center, where we played this past week, is a pretty theater. The front looks like an old vaudeville house, while the backstage is more modern. The house and lobby are really beautiful.

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From that last shot of the theater’s auditorium, you might be able to tell that my new wide angle lens arrived! I am so excited to play with it some more – unfortunately with the weather being what it was last week, I didn’t have much of an opportunity to get out and about. Hopefully soon! (Although it is still snowing as I type, even though I am no longer in South Bend, but have moved on to Peoria. Ah well.)

Because of the snowfall (we must have gotten over a foot last week), I honestly did not do much with my week. On Thursday I went to Best Buy with Ryan and Terry and then Ryan and I drove over to the Notre Dame campus for a little walkabout. The campus is really pretty and it was quiet, as the students had not yet returned from the Christmas break, but it was about 15 degrees out, and so we could only bear to be outside for a little while. I snapped a few pics, though.

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On Thursday night after the show, Jonathan (King Arthur) treated the company to beer and wings at a place around the corner from the theater, as a thank-you and going-away treat. He finishes with us at the end of this week in Peoria. It was really fun, and the wings were awesome! There were tons of different flavored sauces to choose from – it was fun sampling everything. And so nice of Jonathan for treating us all. I will definitely miss him – he’s a knitter, too – we stick together!

Suzanne, sharing a laugh with Karl

Suzanne, sharing a laugh with Karl

Cheers from Darryl

Cheers from Darryl

Gurr and Matt

Gurr and Matt

Candy and Alexa

Candy and Alexa

Friday was spent indoors watching movies, and then the weekend brought four shows.

The highlight of downtown South Bend, for me, was the Fiddler’s Hearth, a cute Irish pub across the street from the stage door. The food there was delicious! I filled up on bangers and mash over the weekend, which is my favorite thing to eat when it’s cold outside. Aside from Fiddler’s, though, downtown South Bend was pretty dead. There were a few restaurants and the South Bend Chocolate Factory, but I expected more –  seeing that it is a college town. If you drove out a bit from the hotel, there was a mall and grocery stores and all the normal chain stores, but I never saw any “college area”. There wasn’t strip of bars and shops where the college kids hung out. I was really surprised by that. 

On Sunday night, the Broadway company of “Spamalot” closed. There were a lot of friends in that company, a lot of tour alumni. It’s sad that the show (like so many other Broadway shows) fell victim to the economy this year. They’ve had a great run, though. And now we are the lone “Spamalot” company. “And then there was one.”

If you have the opportunity this year, and the means – please go and see a Broadway show (or, if you can’t get to New York, see a tour, or  a local production) – please help keep our livelihood going! And, more importantly, help keep live theater alive. Its scary how many shows have closed in such a short amount of time, how many future shows have cancelled plans due to lack of funding, and how many regional theaters are shutting their doors. Luckily my beloved Shakespeare Santa Cruz was saved at the last minute by an outpouring of donations, but it was looking like it could be the end for them, for a while there. 

Thankfully, for now at least, our tour is one of the lucky ones. We press on – 

And so, as the Sunday night show came down and load-out started, the snow was STILL falling. If I remember anything about South Bend, it will be that. All the snow, snow, snow.

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See ya South Bend!

See ya South Bend!