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Vacation Update Post of DOOM: Part One

August 6th, 2006 · No Comments

I apologize for the lateness of this, and I’m only half done. Unfortunately, writing up my vacation meant uploading pictures, and uploading pictures meant attempting to get my gallery issues straightened out, which meant lots of updating to my website. And then I had to actually write it. And in between, I got to hold the baby. And go to the BYU Women’s Football Clinic. So, it took a while.

Anyway. If Lumos is the Party, and the Shakefest is the Pre-Party Party, then Saturday was:

The Pre-Pre-Party Party: Pam’s Arrival

After spending Saturday morning finishing the housecleaning, I picked Pam up at about 3:45. We came back home to find my sister still at work and my parents running errands, so we broke out the laptops and surfed the ‘net until dinner time. After demolishing a fair number of mom’s tacos, we went up to the hospital for another visit to my niece (well, and my brother and sister-in-law as well, but let’s face it, the baby’s the most important thing). My Grandma By happened to be coming to visit at the same time, so that was nice. Anna was still just as adorable as she was the night before. I got to hold her. Pam did too. But we eventually had to leave. Sigh.

After riding home from the hospital, we waited for Lisa to arrive home from work, then we traipsed off to Leatherby’s, home of delicious ice cream and even more delicious fries, where we met up with Krista, who, over her Strawberry Shortcake Sundae, expressed an interest in seeing PotC:DMC that night. Okay, then! We were all up for it. We discovered that the last showing was at 10:35, stopped briefly at home so Lisa could get a jacket (actually, she ended up bringing her Pirates tapestry throw), and hied ourselves over to Jordan Commons for my Viewing Number 3 of PotC 2. Highly enjoyable, especially as it was Krista’s first time seeing it. Having enjoyed ourselves immensely but being dead tired, we scattered shortly thereafter. A quick air-mattress-inflation later, and Pam and I were both asleep.

Pam actually ended up waking up earlier than I did the next morning, despite her long flight the day before, so I didn’t have to worry about waking her up when I got up to get ready. I’d had a frantic phone call on Friday from an old high school friend of mine, Antoinette, asking if I could help her out by singing the alto part of John Rutter’s A Gaelic Blessing with her, which she’d agreed to do as a special favor for a friend. I said yes, since, as Antoinette knew, I already knew the song. So after a yummy breakfast of pancakes, I left Pam all by her lonesome to go sing at a ward building up by the University of Utah. The performance went well (especially considering that the group hadn’t practiced together at all until half an hour before the meeting), and I came home to find my family gone to church and Pam patiently awaiting my arrival. We delayed a bit longer, as Sacrament Meeting didn’t start for half an hour or so, then left to join my family at church. I had a good time, and I hope Pam did, too, although the meeting was a bit of an unusual one. When we got home, Ben and Amanda called for help bringing the baby home. Lisa elected to go with my parents for this operation, so Pam and I were left alone. She elected to pass the time by taking a nap. I worked on knitting the felted bag that I hoped to finish in time to bring on the trip. Eventually the rest of the family made it home, Mom made some baked chicken with Au Grautin potatoes, my sister and brother-in-law came up for dinner from Provo, and a good time was had by all. After dinner we passed the time by watching The Music Man, which is my all-time favorite musical EVER. I got my bag almost completely finished, and it was time to go to bed.

After that event-filled weekend, you can bet I wanted to sleep in on Monday morning. But alas, it was not to be. For I had yet to pack for the upcoming trip, I wanted to finish my bag, and we hoped to leave Salt Lake by 11:00. Of course, that didn’t happen– the bag ended up being finished-after-a-fashion (I didn’t get a chance to make the inside pockets that I want to have) and packing took a bit longer than planned, so we ended up picking Jen up at about noonish. Luckily, I had planned for just such a contigency– I cleverly said that we should plan on leaving at 11, knowing full well that we’d actually end up on the road at about noon. :P After a quick stop for things I’d forgotten (HBP on CD and a minor matter of the play tickets), we were on the road for

The Pre-Party Party: Shakefest 2006

Since the hectic morning had left little time for food, we stopped at the Wendy’s in Provo before heading out on the open road. We only stopped once in Fillmore for gas, and arrived in Scenic Cedar City at about 4, only to find that hadn’t arrived yet. Since the hotel reservation was in her name, they wouldn’t let us check in at the Best Western. So we decided to take a trip to Wal-Mart to buy some more things that we’d forgotten– namely jackets. I found a jean one for not too much money, and while we were there we took a look at shoes, as I discovered I’d left my Hogwarts shoes and knee-length socks at home. No luck with the shoes, though, so we went across the parking lot to Payless, where I managed to find a pair of heeled Mary Janes that will work for the costume and for normal use. When we got back to the hotel I found a message on my cell from Kat, saying that she had arrived in Cedar City with her mom, and was currently at her aunt’s house. I called her back and told her our dilemma, so she convinced her mom to bring her to the hotel so we could get checked in. It was great to see Kat again– we lived next to each other for two years when I was an undergrad, and she accompanied Jen and I on our last Shakefest excursion. I hadn’t seen her for two or so years, but we’ve kept up with each other on the internet. It was nice to see that our real-life friendship could be picked up again just where we left off. :) Anyway, we finally got into our hotel room, which was quite adequate, and after a bit of discussion decided to eat dinner at the Sizzler connected to the hotel before making ourselves pretty for the play that night. Dinner was quite good, the conversation was better, and overall I was satisfied. I was already pretty well dressed for the play– I just had to put on some cords rather than the jeans I was wearing– so while everyone else got ready, I attempted to connect to the hotel’s free wireless access. Alas, I was foiled for the moment. Eventually I gave up and everyone else was ready, so we went over to the Festival.

I was terribly lax when it comes to taking photos this trip. I didn’t take a single one in Cedar City. I’m not sure why I was so reluctant to bring out the camera and snap a few pics, especially as I had spent 15 minutes on Monday morning looking for my camera, but there it is. However, I noticed that I never posted most of the pics from Shakefest 2004 (if, indeed, I ever posted any) so I’ll cannibalize them to show you what I’m talking about. In addition, the Festival itself has been very nice and provided a few pics on their website (which I will link to but not hotlink). First stop after parking was the Greenshow, a pre-show thingy where the actors dress in period costumes, sing period songs (at least, that’s what they used to do), make stupid jokes, and generally try to entertain the audience. Monday night was Scottish night, and I must say that it was rather disappointing compared to 2004, although it was better than English night, which we would see the next night. In any case, shortly after the Greenshow ended, the trumpets rang out their fanfare, calling us to The Merry Wives of Windsor.

As a Shakespeare play, Windsor isn’t really the greatest. But the cast milked it for all it was worth, and I found myself enjoying it. There were no instances of deep thought, of excellent poetry, or any of the other things that you’d normally equate with Shakespeare, even in his comedies. But there was a lot of things to laugh at, which is all that matters when it comes to being entertained. You can click here to watch a video montage of the production (Or here for you poor souls on dialup). We returned to the hotel tired but happy, called the front desk to discover how to access the internet, satisfied our cyber-addictions, and gradually, all of us went to sleep.

Tuesday started rather early– earlier than I wanted, anyway. Jen and Pam are both morning people, while Kat and I are decidedly not, but morning people tend to win the day when sharing hotel rooms. In any case, we had a 2:00 performance of H.M.S. Pinafore to catch, so we decided to amuse ourselves by browsing the shops on Main Street, which we hadn’t been able to visit in 2004 because of a state holiday. We had fun looking at the small-town shops, especially the drug store with its candy counter and soda fountain. Kat and I both ordered an Ironport at the fountain, while Jen had a Sarsparilla and Pam a Lime Rickey (for the uninitiated, compared to root beer, Ironport is slightly spicier and stronger while Sarsparilla is slightly milder and more smooth. A Lime Rickey, of course, is carbonated limeade with grape). I also got some Jordan Almonds. We spent the most time in the bookstores, especially the one that sold used books, and all in all had a marvelous time. After a stop in at Gandolfo’s for some yummy sub sandwiches, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up for the matinee.

We decided to walk to the theatre, mostly to test out how long the walk was. It wasn’t too bad, but long enough that we decided to continue to drive to the theatres in the future. :) While the Shakespeare plays are all presented in the Adams Shakespearean Theatre, Pinafore was being done in the indoor Randall Jones theatre.

What can I say about Pinafore? It was superb. You can’t go wrong with Gilbert and Sullivan– even mediocre Gilbert and Sullivan is well worth seeing. Well-done Gilbert and Sullivan is. . . well. Spectacular. I laughed, I loved the music, I laughed some more, I nearly died at the choreography. . .
Click here for a video montage (or here for a smaller version), and you’ll get a small inkling of what I mean.

After walking back to the hotel, we pretty much just lazed around. We didn’t even bother going to a restaurant for dinner– we ordered Pizza Factory in. It was fun. :) Eventually we headed back to the Festival grounds to see the Greenshow. I’ve already mentioned that it was English night that night, and it was– not very entertaining. We did manage to firmly establish that one of the girls in the show had been a mere vendor the last time we were there, and that one of the vendors was indeed the same one who had asked Kat on a date in 2004. All in all, though, we were rather eager to take our seats for Antony and Cleopatra.

I linked to a picture of Michael Brusasco as Octavius Ceaser above rather than any of the the actors who played Antony and Cleopatra, because he was actually the best part of the play. And no, not just because he’s rather cute. ;) Antony and Cleopatra themselves. . . I didn’t like. At all. They’re supposed to be the greatest couple EVA, but the actors had absolutely NO chemistry. Plus the play itself wasn’t that great, either. It takes, like, 20 minutes between the time Antony falls on his sword to when he actually dies, and then Cleopatra doesn’t die for another half hour after that. We were all muttering “Just DIE already” by the end. If you watch the montage (large and small), it’ll probably be more entertaining than the play itself was.

On Wednesday we decided to head on down to St. George for some good old-fashioned retail therapy at the outlet stores down there. We got out of Cedar City at a reasonably early hour, listened to Stephen Fry read Slughorn’s Christmas Party while driving, and got down to the extremely difficult task of shopping. :) Jen and I bought a fair amount of clothes; Kat and Pam not so much. But we all enjoyed our Mongolian Barbeque lunch and our last stop at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. :) By this time we were all feeling pretty hot and tired, so we decided to spend some quality time in a nice dark air-conditioned theatre. We hoped to see Superman Returns, but our timing was such that we would have had to wait a long time for a showing, so we decided on The Devil Wears Prada instead, which was definitely entertaining. I thought it was cute, and Meryl Streep was a hoot. After the movie, we headed back to Cedar City, listening this time to Luna’s Quidditch commentary and the Sunlit Days scene. :)

When we got back, we checked online goings-on, then Pam and I decided to cool off with a visit to the hotel’s indoor pool, while Jen and Kat revisited one of the stores to buy something for Jen’s sister. We all returned in plenty of time for us wet people to shower and for the dry ones to “get pretty,” and as we were all pretty full from lunch still, we decided to skip the Greenshow (which was a repeat of Scottish night) and eat at the Festival’s refreshment stand that night. So, accordingly, we left early enough to do a bit of browsing in the Festival gift shop, buy and consume Cornish pasties and Scottish Pies, and be ready to take our seats for Hamlet.

Oh, Hamlet. I can’t say enough about this play. It was spectacular. Amazing. Enthralling. And I’ve been watching the video montage of it (large and small) at least twice a day since I discovered it’s existence on Tuesday.

The first time I encountered Brian Vaughn was in Henry the IV, Part One, in which he played Henry Percy (Hotspur). That particular role is actually a pretty demanding one– Hotspur is, well, there’s a reason he’s nicknamed Hotspur. :) Very fiery, very passionate, very intense. I enjoyed his performance a lot. I was amazed to discover that he was also playing Smudge in Forever Plaid and the Clown in The Winter’s Tale that season. We didn’t get a chance to see Forever Plaid while we were down there, but we did see The Winter’s Tale, and Brian Vaughn’s character in that play is a complete reversal from Hotspur– oafish, slow, and comedic. And he did it spectacularly. I was extremely impressed. I found out that he’d also played the Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance the year before. His range is simply huge. He’s an incredibly versatile actor.

So when I heard that Brian Vaughn would be playing Hamlet, I was ecstatic. It was a little sad that he was only appearing in one other play (Room Service, which we didn’t see) because of the demands of the role, but I was happy to get what I could. And I was not disappointed. Hamlet is a long play, but the only scenes in which I felt time dragging were the scenes in which Brian Vaughn was not on stage. Luckily, those were pretty few. He was so charismatic, his mere presence energized the audience. In general, I don’t really like tragedies– I much prefer a eucatastrophe, as Tolkien calls it. But Hamlet is different, mostly because of the beautiful prose and poetry Shakespeare managed to write in what is considered his greatest play. And I’ll see this particular version of Hamlet at any time. In fact, my family is trying to work out a trip down to Cedar City in the middle of August to do just that.

Other than continuing to extol the virtues of Hamlet, which I’m sure you don’t particularly need or want to hear, there’s not much more to tell. We went back to the hotel and, since it was nearly midnight, got to sleep rather quickly. Kat left at about 8:30 the next morning, we headed out about an hour later, and Shakefest 2006 was officially over.

Tags: Life · Reviews

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