Today was based around making sure we had everything lined up for our first performance of The Jeweler's Shop with Richmond Catholic Theatre.
As we woke up and assembled the troops- 7 actors, 3 camera guys from Iceberg Media, and Marcin, our fixer, we were already in a hurry to grab a tram with 50 minutes to travel 4-5 miles to our building for tech prep and final rehearsal.
As Pope Francis arrived in Poland yesterday, we absolutely forgot about routes being blocked off for him going around town- and they were. Reinforced with polish military, we let them keep their road blocks.
The film guys rocked, carrying their gear all around as we attempted to find ways around the barricades. The time was ticking and just when we got frustrated for the 4th time that we aren't going to make our tram, God decided to send the Pope's motorcade right past us, just for a priority check perhaps :-) It was bizarre really as there was so much stress to get to the tram and then just, 'Oh!!! The Pope is coming!'... Only at World Youth Day probably... It was a pretty darn good spot to be :-)
Anyhow, after Papa Francesco was it out of sight, we ended up grabbing 3 different cabs for all of us and made it right on time for rehearsal- thanks be to God, haha. We just let the cab drivers find their way around the roadblocks!
Rehearsal was great- very necessary as we have 4x the space we're used to having, and have a different sound system and light pattern set up. Marcin scheduled and communicated to all of the theatre workers/ WYD volunteers to BUILD us stage blocks and risers to make our show the most spread out and visually conducive play we will have ever put on this far. Marcin is the man.
That being said, rehearsal went for a few hours- a bit over but very necessary. We called it for lunch with a massive burger joint recommended by Marcin. They are ridiculously huge. See the picture... I'm pretty sure we are eating more than walking :-)
We took a break with the food comas and caught up on sleep to reconvene in the evening for our show. Took the tram over, got set up once more, had Iceberg Media plug in, and then we were ready. We had Dylan lead us in a prayer before the performance, and went for it!
The performance went great- lights, curtains, movement and positioning... Everything. Thank you all for the encouragement and support these past weeks! We had a decent number of audience members but much less than we expected due to the Pope having his opening ceremony on the other side of town and wrapping up at the same time- we DID have a group of Czechs come over afterwards and say that they ran all the way over from seeing the Pope- it's about 6 miles... Which was really cool to hear! It's great as well, as tomorrow's show is at 2pm, and we'll have much more attendance we believe as it's in the middle of the day and it's not conflicting with a fairly popular event... Like Pope Francis. Maybe tomorrow he'll be in one of the 750 seats!
We have one of two performances in the bag. It's finally sunken in that we are actually here and performing. Again, thank you all for the support to make it happen!
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped again for lody -- ice cream in polish :-) It's super late mind you- 11:50p, and we're all at a random lody window in Krakow... Christine turns around with her cone and almost accidentally nails a guy in the face with it- instead of being mad, he asks where we're from and it turns out that he lives in Maryland. It also turns out that he works for the church. It ALSO turns out that he works at the new JPII shrine in DC...AND...wait for it, asked us to come up and perform the Jeweler's Shop for occasions at the shrine! He runs catechesis and other educational events on JPII and just like that, we have a very strong chance of going to DC, especially the shrine, which was one of out long term goals! The gentleman's name is Joseph- super nice guy, and we are very very glad that Christine almost whacked him with her lody cone! Not even a coincidence. :-) As it's after midnight now he even joined us in a very loud and very American happy birthday song for Ria- not a bad start for the first few seconds of the day :-)
Joseph ended up hanging out with us for a bit as we engaged in conversation with some pilgrims from France over faith and politics which seems to be coming back down to a common end point- that we ask need to dig back in and be the voice of faith in a relativist time and to be able to have a disagreement over something and be alright with the differences. We discussed the tragedy of the martyred French priest, as well as our mutual global concerns and how we are all interconnected.
The late hour cut the night short, but it was fantastic. Thank you all again for the support and prayers! Please keep us in mind for tomorrow's performance!!!