Short stories of glitter, death, and luxury (and other stuff)

It’s funny, sometimes I feel like there’s not a lot to update because day-to-day life is what it is. But I’ve got a bunch of little story snapshots (and a few actual pictures), so voila! Also, show info is at the bottom, but you can buy tickets here!

Juggling lemons and limes and working on passing with our Italian, who can also juggle! Admittedly, there was citrus flying everywhere in short order, but hey, we’ve got time to get better.

The luxury of training in an indoor space the other day. We had a massive crash mat. We had super high ceilings. We were surrounded by circus people (shout out to the Circus Warehouse and the folks training for Peter Pan!). The silks weren’t stretchy so I could climb up them so fast. The tails (ends) stayed right where they were supposed to be and didn’t get caught in the wind and fly off the boat.

10371443_10153685014026992_8506713792843895983_n
And that explains the hip, back, neck, and wrist burns…

Panicking, laughing, and chasing down C’s fabric tails while training outside. They not only flew off the boat, but promptly dumped themselves into the water. Whoops. Anyway, I managed to get them out pretty quickly and just the ends got a little wet! Most importantly, C was able to safely get down.

Watching a seagull positively destroy this fish. So I’d gone to the park for movement class and C and I were sitting on a bench waiting for everyone else and we’re staring out at the water and apparently both of us were entranced by this one seagull who was just on a mission. He’s hanging out in the water and like, dodging around kind of strangely. And we realize that he’s toying with this silver fish which is not that much smaller than he is. It manages to wiggle away and he calmly just paddles back into the water, very casually circling around and you can almost hear that fish going, “OHHH NOOOO OH NO OH NO OH NO OH NO GO AWAY GAHHHHHHHHHHH” and the seagull’s all like, “Hmmmdeee dumm. Gonna eat you. In a minute. Ah, there you go. Paddle paddle paddle. Yeeeeeep. Trapped you. Whatcha gon’ do?”
“OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD I GOTTA SWIM AS HARD AS I CAN OH GOD I’M RUNNING OUT OF WATER F*CK IT I’LL RUN
And the whole time the seagull’s just casual, chill. “Oh hey little dude. See you’re beaching yourself. Sweet. Didn’t wanna have to kill you myself JUST KIDDING BEAK STAB” and it just goes to TOWN. Stabs this fish like, I dunno, three or four times and blood spurts and then the fish manages to wiggle away and whole process repeats. And that fish, I mean, I gotta give it to him. He was an absolute champ. He was just not giving up, you know? Like, it became really clear that there was no getting out of that situation and even if he did, he was in a pretty bad way, but he just didn’t stop. That little guy beached himself like he could will himself into growing legs or maybe a chain saw. Probably legs. He seemed more like a flight-er than a fighter. But soon it was just bleeding like crazy and stopped moving and the whole time the seagull is just doin’ a few beak stabs, checking out the other waterfowl that have started to drift over, stabbing a little more, and then he just goes for a bit of a swim. And all the other birds, I have no idea what they’re thinking you know? Like, this seagull seemed to have a reputation. And they’re all curious, but they sure aren’t gonna get involved or get too close. And the thing is, even when that seagull goes for a swim and all the other birds paddle in a little closer, none of ’em actually go for his fishy treat. It’s just hanging there on the beach. A couple minutes later, Stabby McStaberston paddles back and goes back in for more snacks, as though he just needed to walk it off before seconds. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t a terribly important moment but you shoulda seen it. That seagull was…I don’t know, I just imagine that if he were Scottish, bards (heh, bards…that’s like birds with an accent) would have written epic songs about him to be sung over tankards of ale the size of your head.

The beautiful sunsets! The Amara Zee lights up so pretty at dusk.

That moment of inspecting our mats with S and C because we see silver slivers and S goes, “is that glitter or metal shavings?” Ah, the eternal question on a circus boat. (Glitter, btw. From the intergalactic meeting of spiritual leaders birthday party last weekend. It was actually, never mind. Explaining it won’t actually make it make any more sense.)

Cracking up when hearing, “COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE-oops…” – C, who may have slightly over-caffeinated and realized it.

These other (non-murderous) waterfowls. Oh wait, no, they probably were still hunting fish but that’s not the point. C and I were up on the truss doing a little maintenance and looking out at this sleek black bird who was just swimming around and I looked away for a second and *blip!* it was just gone! And I looked all over but it didn’t seem like it flew away and then it just popped up like 5 yards away! It just ducked under and swam that far which was really surprising. And it kept doing it which was super exciting and so both of us were up there cheering this little diver on and C (our cook) was below us at the bow just chilling out, writing letters, and eavesdropping and laughing at us. (Just did a little poking around at North American diving waterfowl. I think it might have been a lesser scaup hen? It was definitely all black though and I would say it had more of a beak than a bill…)(Edit: It was a cormorant! An all-black cormorant.)

View from the truss. (With a harness!) Taken on my phone, so pardon the truly atrocious quality.
View from the truss. (With a harness, because we were rigging!) Taken on my phone, so pardon the truly atrocious quality of my flip phone technology.

Our on-site indoor training space is in an abandoned transformer house. The ceilings are low and it doesn’t do much to protect against the colder weather but it gives us a place to work when we can’t be on the truss and hey, it makes for some sweet photos!

windowupsidedown
windowrightsideup

The other day I was walking around Brooklyn flyering and postering. For the most part, I’ll quickly scope out a place to see if they’ve got a community board or something and if I catch a glimpse (or if they seem like they’d be the kind of place that would) I’ll ask whoever’s working, “Hey! I’m in an upcoming show: do you guys have a community board where I could leave a few flyers or a poster?” About half the time, they direct me to a cork board and leave me to it, but the other half of the time, they get curious and ask about it. And for the most part, I try to keep it short and sweet (“It’s a multi-media opera set in a futuristic dystopia!”) because the explanation could go on forever. Plus, this nearly always has the benefit of making people ask more questions, which is always a fun moment even when I’m feeling shy.

“Multi-media?”
“Yeah, there’s puppets and video projection and music.”
“It’s…huh! So…but the poster says it’s ‘part cirque’?”
“Oh, yeah! That’s my part! I’m an aerialist.”
“What?”
“I hang off of the truss of the boat and perform on aerial silks and chains and rope and stuff.”
“IT’S ON A BOAT?”
“Oh right, yeah, yeah, it’s on a boat in this pretty cool industrial shipyard.”
“[Shocked expression] You should leave a few more flyers.”
“Kay! Thank you, have a lovely day!”

I always forget to bring up that it’s on a boat.

11169801_1457804494512548_2991576697072393371_n
Poster, yay!

Oh, but show-wise: we had our first stumble-through! The singers/actors know most of their music at this point, so the Mammons got up on the truss where they’ll be hanging out for the show, the Hacksters got to practice ziplining and some super vague staging, and we aerialists got to do an in-air fiddle-through and a fair amount of bopping around on the deck/stage. (“Bopping around” is an exceedingly inappropriate verb for the rather dark nature of this show, but I stand by it!)


Almost forgot! Tickets are on sale! You can buy them here:

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/hacked-the-treasure-of-the-empire-tickets-16823740260?aff=eac2

Please pass that along to anyone and everyone, like Caravan Stage on Facebook if that’s a thing you do, and come check it out on June 10th! Also, I’ve included a page on this site’s menu for our tour schedule. I’ll update it as things get added/changed, and I’ll make sure to have a link to ticket sales there too!

https://victoriatravels.wordpress.com/2015-caravan-tour-schedule/

(Quick reminder: this is not a kid friendly show! Older teens, maybe, but leave the littles at home!)

Power on

Welcome to BoatBoat, the retroactive text-based formerly interactive game designed for Real Life gaming systems! Choose your character.
>Victoria

1up!
You have chosen Victoria! Victoria has a full day off and wants to spend some time in the city, seeking friendship and sunshine! You are standing on a boat, looking at the shore. You see a goat.
>walk toward goat

You approach the goat. It begins to prance and headbutt your legs. Its horns kind of hurt.
>argue with goat

The goat does not respond. It is a goat.
>pat the goat and then walk toward road

Blocking the road is a big red tail! It seems like-OH NO! It is! It is the tail of an adolescent Red Tape Monster! The tail thrashes and twitches angrily. You cannot pass.
>take a stab at it

You are thwarted! Red Tape Monster has been angered and uses Beurocracy and Frustration against you! You take 2 hit points.
>check inventory

You have:
Backup Plan spell
Reinforcements
Patience (30%)
Wifi
>use Wifi

You use Wifi. It is effective and creates more reinforcements. Red Tape Monster gains strength, but does not evolve.
>use Backup Plan spell

Backup Plan is not currently available. You must wait until Monday during business hours before spell has effective strength. Patience takes 20 hit points.
>eff that. run away.

You use run away. It is super effective! You see a water taxi in front of you and it’s heading into Manhattan. You get on the water taxi and subsequent Subway and find a park.
>walk through park. use phone.

You use phone and meet Cousin and Cousin’s Friend! You love Cousin very much.
>hug Cousin and Cousin’s friend. engage Hangout

You Hangout. Gain 10 happy points! Cousin and Cousin’s friend give hugs goodbye. As you walk away, you see a wishing well. Your stomach gurgles.
>throw a penny in wishing well

Poof! A cantankerous Russian appears!
>fight Russian

No, that’s a terrible idea. He’s ruthless and you’re a biter. Someone will get really badly hurt.
>find food with Russian

Suddenly, a bucket of magical Nacho French Fries appear! There are other food stuffs as well!
>eat food

Food capacity diminishes to 0%. You gain 10 more happy points, with a chocolate bonus! It is time to return to boat.
>use Public Transport

You get to Brooklyn. As you exit the Subway, the Shuttle is waiting. +1 luck!
>enter shuttle

You are the only person on the bus. The driver makes a comment that it’s been a long day.
>ask driver what kind of super power he wishes he could have

Driver turns around to look at you for a minute. Driver turns back facing forward, closes the door, and begins driving.
“Well, huh. Invisibility, I think. Yeah. Yeah, definitely invisibility.”
>inquire further

Inquiring further engages conversation! Engaging in conversation with a stranger reveals:
interest in the Avengers
interest in cars
interest in emulating some of the economic standards in Scandinavia, specifically Sweden
anticipation for a social revolution
interest in upcoming show
>give driver a flyer

Driver is excited about upcoming show! He mentions several friends who may also be interested. You arrive at IKEA.
>muse on irony

I don’t understand that command.
>think about how funny it is that you were just talking about Sweden as you were on your way to IKEA

Invalid command.
>you’re an invalid command

What? You made me!
>Psh, you’re not even a real text based game!

You have been logged off. The end.


Hmmph. Don’t piss off the narrative voice inside your head. You’ll lose all sorts of control over your post.

Anyway! This past week we’ve been working with our music/script and getting a feel for how our choreography will be relating to the action on stage. Plus, I’m feeling gradually more confident with everything, which is always welcome. I also had a really wonderful moment on Saturday (Friday? one of those days) when I got a few new skill breakthroughs!

This tour is unique in a lot of ways, but one of the primary things I’ve noticed is this expectation that the show will evolve and change. For my own work, I generally set my choreography and once I perform it, it doesn’t change. (Granted, I am the kind of performer who would much rather create a new piece for every new show rather than recycle and tweak for gigs.) Since this is such a long run, there will naturally be changes and adjustments. During rehearsal we have started to reference “okay, so that’ll be in August’s version…” rather than the early June version. It’s a new experience for me to be planning ahead in that way, but I’m excited for it. It’s certainly an organic way to perform; a rigid show that is set in stone wouldn’t be as interesting or honor the spaces in which we’re performing. We’re site specific on a small scale (boat!), but we’re also site specific in a larger geographic sense. A show in Red Hook is going to have a very different audience than a Toronto or Miami audience, and I really like how everyone is prepared to work with that.

I spoke with one of our video designers who has a passion for creating art based on found materials in that environment, and she is doing things like incorporating the brick patterns from local buildings into the set design (which will be projected onto a scrim). It serves as a subtle grounding for our transient show and also is a way to appreciate the communities we’re coming into! Plus, this expectation of change creates (and encourages) the space for us as performers to continue to grow and train and improve and push ourselves.

(Epilogue to the game above: Red Tape Monster evolved to full grown-adult with massive attack and defense points and ill temper. Back up plan spell had nearly fully developed. Engaging backup plan spell seemed like it was going to be effective in spite of the forthcoming 20 hit points, but then the Sorcerer of Dumb Luck and Questionable Morals appeared to engage in battle in my stead! The Sorcerer of Dumb Luck and Questionable Morals drop kicked the Red Tape Monster into the bay, where it perished in a puff of smoke! Gained +1 advocate and improved backup plan spell casting skills!)

I leave you with this little sweet fix which has been rattling around in my skull since a friend reminded me of it:

‘maggy and milly and molly and may’

maggy and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
its always ourselves we find in the sea

e. e. cummings

Chug chug chugging along

When I last wrote, mornings were cold and only began to warm up around 2pm before plummeting again in the early evenings. But a week later, in the way of the Northeast a Monty Python skit, winter changed into spring, spring changed into summer, summer changed back into winter, and winter gave spring a miss and went straight on into summer.

Things are going well! C and I are continuing to work with our choreographer(s) developing movement styles and exploring shapes in the air that appear threatening and/or uncomfortable. In the show, we are the aerial slaves of the antagonists and are responsible for torturing the protagonists. Part of our challenge will be to connect with the protagonists and create a non-verbal relationship with them even though we can’t see each other. But for now, C and I are pulling together sequences mostly on fabric since we don’t have many of our other apparatuses yet. We did get to start playing on aerial net late last week, though! Currently, it’s rigged in the traditional manner: a square that hangs from a point so it either looks like a diamond or (if the opposite side is rigged) a triangle/taco. With a bit of finagling I was able to do a handstand inside it! Granted, it was a pretty lousy handstand, but hey, you try balancing yourself upside down on a non-rigid apparatus that spins. It seems like there will be some parts where we’ll get to do some duo work too, so that’s exciting.
I had a Crohn’s flare up which dampened my fun for a few days, but after touching base with a doctor (and getting stabbed with needles far too many times for my liking), I’m back raring to go today. Plus, it seems like the Caravan cold that everyone caught has been kicked to the curb, so it continues!
Who needs drugs to get high?
Who needs drugs to get high?
There is definitely a learning curve when doing aerials on a boat. For example:
1) Wind! It grabs the fabric and throws them around. The wind tends to pick up in the afternoon once the sun heats up the water, so C and I train early in the morning from around 7-9am when everything is still and quiet. Within the next few weeks we’ll shift over to nighttime rehearsals so we can get used to the lights for the show.
2) Super bouncy fabric! Makes drops feel like floofing (shush, spellcheck. No one asked you) into a featherbed, but also means that climbing feels a lot like walking up a down escalator except instead of walking, you’re doing pullups.
3) Boats rock. Imagine holding a string. Your hand is our truss and the string is our fabric/rope. As the boat rocks, the truss moves side to side. Consequently, the string starts swinging side to side. Now imagine that at the middle or bottom of that string is a little aerialist clinging in fear as she starts to swing off the edge of the boat! Granted, it’s not quite that dramatic; if the boat rocks that much, we’ll get down. But it definitely does swing you away from your mat!
However, even after two weeks we’re getting used to it. Wind may always be difficult, so we do have to make some contingency plans to keep us safe, but mostly we’re starting to learn how to keep control over the fabric as it tries to blow away.
Okay, so NOW it's not going anywhere...QUICK, DO A TRICK.
Okay, so NOW it’s not going anywhere…QUICK, DO A TRICK.
And of course, being upside down is necessary even if I need to stay on the ground. Part of the handstand-on-a-boat learning curve is figuring out which orientation makes for easier balancing, given the rocking of the boat.
Even pirates get used to seeing upside-down weirdos.
Spoiler: this is not that direction.
I definitely have my fair share of falling over*, buuuuuuuut y’all don’t need to see that. This is the internet, and I can pretend to be perfect!
But not that perfect. It’s after midnight and I need to be up in fewer than 6 hours so I can go practice off of a 30′ truss on an art boat for an internationally touring multi-media opera dealing with a myriad of social issues and featuring puppetry and aerials. *shrug* Wednesdays, amirite?
*password is silly

Today we were awakened by D singing a lovely silly song

I learned an incredibly valuable lesson this weekend: If I’ve set the alarm on my phone, make sure the phone is by my head, rather than by my feet. This is important to remember because when my alarm goes off, I immediately sit up to turn off my phone…except that I’m in the middle of a 3 high bunk, which gives me approximately a foot of head clearance when lying down.

There’s nothing quite like bashing your skull into a bunk to really wake you up.

Today is our first day of work which means a bunch of morning meetings, some chores, and some stretching and conditioning. The production folks are working their butts off right now while we performers get used to this space and the daily routine.

Tomorrow C and I get to play up on the rigging with the riggers, for which I’m incredibly excited. Though I’m not sure that we’ll get to do any aerial training, we will get to hang out on the truss in harnesses and get used to the height and systems up there. Ultimately we won’t be harnessed during the shows, but we have this week to start easing into it. But everything kicks into high gear at the end of the week since our choreographer will be joining us on Friday for 10 days! We’ve got a lot to accomplish in very little time, which is actually something that I love when putting shows together.

View from the water taxi
View from the water taxi

The Amara Zee

One car ride, two planes, one AirTrain, one subway, one bus and one walk through the Ikea parking lot and I’ve arrived at the Amara Zee! For those who are curious, the Amara Zee is based off of a Thames River barge and was built in Canada many years ago.

I met T (actor/singer) in MN where we started getting to know each other and shared in mutual excitement/nerves. We finally arrived at our new home around 11pm shivering violently (man, I know the northeast had a brutal winter and all but going from CA to NY was exceptionally rough), a little bit exhausted, and a little overwhelmed by all the friendly faces smiling and greeting us as we stumbled down into the galley with all our bags. Someone showed to our bunks and gave us the fastest orientation ever as we threw our stuff on our beds. Miraculously, we managed to both stay awake long enough to drink some tea, but then we all quickly hustled off to bed. I had enough time to pull a pile of blankets on top of me and then was out cold.

Wake up was around 8 with a gentle knock on the door from S. I got dressed and stumbled back into the galley where there was hot fruity oatmeal waiting to be devoured as I looked around and did my best to remember all the names I was told last night. Didn’t actually do that badly, surprisingly! Also, we are currently represented by French, German, Spanish, and Korean languages and American, Canadian, and Australian accents.

After foods and morning meeting I got to fiddle with some handstands (surprisingly not that much different than on land; I had pretty consistent 20-30 second holds!) and then T and I wandered around Brooklyn and the dock.

Many folks went out to this thing happening in town, but I decided to stay in to help clean up dinner and sleep. Currently I’m in my bunk (no devices in the galley after 5pm) listening to the gentle creaking of the ship, the quiet vomiting of one of our folks who has been pretty sick, and the low buzz of the light in my room. Just kidding, the buzzing just stopped! I can definitely feel the boat moving, but it’s not an issue unless I’m trying to move around when the lights are out. I still don’t know the boat that well so between the slight shifts and the unexpected slopes and steps, creeping around in the dark is more like crashing into walls and softly cursing under my breath.

Tomorrow is our day off, which mostly means I’ll be going to CT briefly to drop off my things and smoosh my family.

I am really eager to start rehearsals and training and sometime between Monday and Wednesday we’re moving the Amara Zee to her actual home on the docks! (She’s currently in a temporary spot.)

Oh hi (seas)!

Well, my room is 97% packed, I’ve hugged most of the people here I love and have said my “see you laters”, so soon I’ll be off! Tomorrow I’ll be getting on a plane to fly to Brooklyn which starts my adventure with Caravan Stage for the next six months. I’ll be training and performing with them aboard a 30m tall ship as one of two aerialists. I’ll be performing on some new apparatuses I’ve never seen or played on, I’ll be meeting a ton of new people, and I’ll be learning how to sail and rig!

One of the things that I am unbelievably excited about is the amount of information I’ll be learning in the next few months. I’ve never been sailing, so everything boat-related will be brand new and I’ve never been on a tour like this.

Incidentally, that which I’m excited about I’m also just a bit nervous about. Learning curves are a little daunting when you haven’t yet gotten started! I don’t know a whole lot about what our schedule will be while we’re in Brooklyn, but the first part of our tour dates are as follows:

Brooklyn, NY (South Red Hook, Quadrazzi  Studios)
June 6-7 & 10-14

Hudson, NY
June 24-27

Toronto, ON
July 16-19 & 22-25

Kingston, ON
August 4-8

Clayton, NY
August  14-15

I will do my best to update with (some) regularity, internet permitting! Also, I’d apologize for all the forthcoming nautical puns, but we all know that’d be an insincere apology.Also, this is a very accurate gif for my mindspace as I pack:

funny animated GIF