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The Extended Journal Entry

Alright, now that we're unfettered by space, let's get to the day-by-day recap of the big SETC trip:

MONDAY, MARCH 3rd

We did some hard work in the theatre, getting a nice chunk of work out of the way so that we'd have less to do when we got back. I come home and pack, then I leave to go pick up a friend to head over to Mrs. Murphree's house (FYI: she's the head of the theatre department at UM). And, just as I get to the end of my road, my van clonks out. It's pouring rain. I'm guessing that something got wet when I ran through a really deep puddle, causing the van to stop running. I waited around in the van trying to start it every few minutes.

Thankfully, a friend of mine just happened to come by, and he gave me a ride home. I call Kenny (the friend I was supposed to pick up), and asked him if he'd pick me up. When we hung up, I jogged back to my van through what had become a light drizzle and tried to start it up. It cranked, and I drove it back home, not wanting to take any chances.

Well, Kenny picked me up and we headed over to Mrs. Murphree's house. Neither Ben nor Kenny nor I went to bed that night, knowing that we were going to leave for the airport at about 4:00AM anyway. Everyone else got a few hours sleep, while we three stayed up and...uh...got a little giddy.

TUESDAY, MARCH 4th

I munched down a huge plate of left-over spaghetti in the fridge at about 1:00AM. The boys and I worked on getting our stuff together (headshots, resumes, etc.) and watched some TV until everyone else started getting out of bed at about 3:00.

We ate some Krispy Kreme, made a last check to see if we had all of our stuff, hopped in the vans, and headed for the airport...in Pensacola, FL, which was about an hour and a half drive (we got there a little quicker to the low early morning traffic...and...the speeding...). Kenny and Ben decided to take a little nap on the way, but I was determined (I still don't know why) to stay awake until we got to the hotel.

When we got to the airport and began checking in, we found out that one of the group (whose name I won't mention) had left his driver's license at home and wasn't going to be able to board the plane (FYI: you must have a photo ID in order to board planes now days), and he would have missed our 6:00 flight if he drove back home to get it. After a little coaxing, they decided to let him on because he was in a group, but they told him that he couldn't fly home unless he had the ID (he had someone from home mail it to the hotel while we were at the conference).

We had a peaceful flight to Atlanta (where the airport is so friggin' huge that they have their own subway system to connect the five or six branches), a short layover, and then a peaceful flight to Washington, D.C. Landing there was really cool because you could see all of the monuments on the way in. It had been snowing there in the last few days, so there was still a nice amount of snow on the ground. It didn't snow any while we were there, though, which is a shame because we haven't seen snow in Mobile in years.

Needless to say, it was a bit colder in D.C. than it was in Mobile, and the rest of the group thought I was nuts for wearing shorts in 30-40 degree weather, but I knew I could take it because my legs are well insulated with fur. Now, I knew it was going to be cold there, so I didn't pack any other pairs of shorts for the trip (in case you thought I was off of my rocker).

We got to the hotel at about noon (which is 11:00 Mobile time), and I decided to finally get some rest. Ben and I crashed down for a little shut eye while the rest of group went to see Arlington Cemetery and some other sites. (By the way, the hotel had some über-spiffy glass elevators!)

We got up at four-something and watched a little TV until it was dinner time. [By the way, the cable in the hotel SUCKED BUTT-MONKEYS! They didn't have most of the networks that I usually like to flip through, such as Cartoon Network, TCM, AMC, SciFi, Mtv, VH1, Food Network, TVLand, ToonDisney, etc. So, we ended up watching a bunch of bad movies on HBO and Starz (such as Snow Dogs, some hokey 80's zombie movie, Evolution, etc.) while we were sitting around in the hotel room between activities.] Luckily, there was a Chili's about two and a half blocks down the road. So, four of us (out of the group of nine) did a little hoofing and had some food.

We got to bed pretty early that night, exhausted from the trip there. And, we were going to be doing most of our sight-seeing the next day, so we needed our rest. We had the five guys piled up in one room (four of the five sleeping on the two double-beds and the fifth sleeping on an air mattress) with the four girls sleeping two rooms down the hall. Ben chatted quietly with his new girlfriend on the phone for a short while before going to bed, something that happened every night of the week we were there. (It wasn't annoying, as one might think such a situation to be. Hearing his side of the conversation made me giggle...a lot... You know how it is when you first start going out with someone, and you want to have some kind of contact with them every day. And, you know the kinds of silly things that are said in such conversations...mushy sweet stuff that makes the innocent bystander nauseous...or giggly...)

The rest of the theatre people would be getting to the hotel for the convention on the next day, so we enjoyed our quiet evening in this soon to be over-crowded hotel. I didn't sleep too well that evening because my internal clock was thrown off by the whole "staying up for 27 hours" thing, but I did get some rest.

WEDNSDAY, MARCH 5th

It's site seeing day! We took the shuttle bus from the hotel to the subway and rode the subway to The Mall, which is where all of the big monuments are. The subway system in Washington, D.C. is the cleanest form of public transportation I've ever ridden; it's probably because they don't allow food, drinks, pets, etc. on the trains.

When we got off of the trains, we started "hoofing it". We walked everywhere. We saw the Capitol Building, went inside the Washington Monument, walked past the Smithsonian museums (we'd be going in those on a later day), and saw the Vietnam memorial, the Lincoln memorial, the FDR memorial, and the Jefferson memorial. We also went in the Holocaust museum. Thankfully, we were there on a special day; we got to hear a Holocaust survivor talking about first-hand accounts of the kinds of stuff she'd been through. It was fantastic!

It was really neat to see all of the monuments, exhibits, and such. Throughout the day, I had to remind myself that we were here for a theatre conference. It was such an odd feeling.

The weather was kind of crazy. All of us had packed for freezing cold weather, and we all had to dress nicely for the day because we were going to be seeing a show that evening and weren't going back to the hotel until after. But, as the day went on, it got kind of warm, and there was still snow all around. By the evening, it got to below freezing...and it was a little windy. I guess it's because I'm not accustomed to such weather, but it was a little disorienting.

Anyway, we met up with our professor (who'd stayed behind at the hotel to take care of our registration stuff) at the Arena Stage. We took a tour of the theatre and learned a bit about the history of it and that one of its stages was designed by the same architect that designed the subway system.

Later that evening, we saw the show that was playing there. It was called The Book of Days. I'd never seen a show "in the round" before. [FYI: "In the round" means that the stage is in the middle of the theatre, with the audience on all four sides.] Stylistically, this was a really well done show, and most of the actors did a fantastic job. The language was a bit atrocious, though, and the story line was...okay. Overall, I'd say that it was an interesting experience.

After the show, we made the long trek back to the hotel, taking a couple of subway trains and waiting in the below-freezing cold for the hotel shuttle bus. It was a very exhausting day, but well worth the walking.

When we got back to the hotel and saw the large crowd of drunks around the bar located there in, we were quickly reminded that we were at a theatre conference. [This might sound kind of weird, even though most of the people in my group agree with me whole-heartedly, but I don't really like hanging around most kinds of theatre people. It's because there are so many of them with egos too large to fit in the hotel...and those egos are always in competition with the other egos...and there's just too much drinking and smoking for my liking... and...well, it's just not a pretty picture.]

This is the point when the elevators became slower than Christmas.

The rest of this article is
COMING SOON!

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