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Bay Area Ballfest - April
Scene 1 Thursday
Morning, April 6, 2000:
sunshine, a flurry of excitement, shower, dress, head for the
Bremerton-Seattle ferry - and our Ballfest trip had begun! M got me
and my luggage, camera, Ballfest Photo albums, computer, etc.,
settled aboard the ferry and in a few minutes I was on my way! An
hour later I arrived in Seattle where Rachel met me. We hailed a cab,
headed for the King Street Train Station, and after what seemed forever, we
boarded our sleeping car, got our things stowed away and headed for the
Pacific Parlor car, some coffee, fruit and cheese Danish!
The trip is a beautiful one, the meals good and plentiful, wine and cheese
tasting was fun, the crew attentive, and the accommodations - although tiny
- are really pretty comfortable.
We were both pretty tired from our previous week's activities, so our first
day passed rather quickly, and found us someplace between Klamath Falls,
Oregon and Dunsmuir, California by bedtime. Rachel enjoyed the
evening movie in the lower level theatre, and I chose to go to bed early,
and fell asleep before my head hit the pillow I think. (It proved to
have been a wise decision, as things turned out!) The last thing I
remember is hearing something from "Martin Guerre" which was
reminiscent of last month's Los Angeles Ballfest trip!
Scene 2 Friday, April 7:
Morning arrived pretty quickly, Rachel says she didn't sleep a wink, but I
sure did! After a nice hot shower, we managed to dress quickly, put
away a lovely huge breakfast, and wait a bit impatiently while they changed
the train engine and added a second one, about a block from our destination
There we were met by "Michael on a Yellow Balloon" which was
pulling along our hostess and friend, Gail Rieger :-)
Shouts of recognition, some Olympic hugging practice, loading the car with
luggage, and off to pick up Rachel's rental car! but NOT QUITE!!!
After braving the SF traffic, hills and one-way streets, we arrived at the
Thrifty Car Rental agency, or near it anyway, dropped off Rachel, and took
a short "trip around the block" a time or two, and seeing no sign
of Rachel or the car, we began to suspect that there might be a problem
about to find it's way to us. The problem turned out to be that the
agency, the very one Rachel works for, would not honor her debit card, and
so most of the rest of the day was spent trying to locate another agency
that would do so.
Off to Gail's house in Tracy, California, intros all around, a quick hello
to Gail's ever-patient husband John, and son Chris, a bit of lunch, more
discussions of what to do and how to do it, and then we remembered....
Ballfest members are not only clever, patient and adaptable but quick to
help out in times of need, so solutions soon were found! :-) A quick
phone call, and we managed to rout Joan from her garden...and rescue was on
Joan quickly arrived at Gail's and off we three went to the Thrifty car
agency near the San Francisco Airport where Rachel was able to finally get
a car. However ~ by then it was already 5 PM and M's plane was due in
at 7:57; Gail, Allison and I were due at the theatre at 8 and we were told
the trip back to Tracy would take us 3 hrs now that it was rush hour!
We thought the man was kidding
However, shortly after we left the agency, total freeway gridlock set in,
we lost Rachel, who was swallowed up by traffic somewhere up ahead, (with
all the maps,) and a cel phone with an almost dead battery. We gave
chase, tried calling her cel phone and realized our phone was just about as
dead as hers. Murphy's law had struck in full force by then, and we
again had to rapidly shift our plans!
We managed a brief contact with Rachel, picked a nearby meeting place,
grabbed a "nutritious snack" of candy bars, cookies, chips and
soda and shifted cars, plans and directions - again. Versatility,
imagination and "quick change" all took on new meaning....
We got Joan headed in the direction of Modesto, and Rachel and I set off
for San Francisco to scout out the location of the Orpheum Theatre and then
on to Fisherman's wharf for a quick bite of "real food" which in
this case was clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl.
Rachel left me shivering in front of the theatre dressed as I had been
since early morning, (the lovely warm sunny day had somehow changed to
dark, chilly night, while we weren't looking) and feeling very much like an
unkempt street person. Rachel then headed for the airport to pick up
my handsome and debonair better half! Gail and Ali would soon be arriving at the Bart station virtually under my
feet, and although I knew Lillian would be joining us, I had no idea when
or from which direction, and after asking a couple of strangers if they
might possibly be Lillian, I gave up and decided we needed directions to
the stage door for after the show. I found a very helpful concessionaire
from the show who gave me that info and promised to tell Matt Shepherd,
William Paul Michals and DB Bonds (but NOT Douglas) that we were there.
Soon Gail, Ali and Lillian arrived and we grabbed playbills and binoculars
and headed for our balcony seats and the start of this show we had
all come to see! I probably spent about half the first act looking
around to see if Rachel and Merrill had arrived - which they hadn't - and
the rest of the time, being awestruck by the show, the cast, and just being
there with long-time Ballfest & Mailing list pals - Gail and Lillian -
and finally meeting my Les Miz buddy, Gail's 10 year-old daughter Allison.
The show was hilarious, Douglas was his usual wonderful and brilliant self;
William Paul Michals, who portrays the villain, Chauvelin, was magnificent,
and the rest of the cast was superb. It was an exciting, flawless
performance, and even better once Merrill and Rachel arrived safely and in
time for Act Two.
Again, as in Seattle, there was a total and complete standing ovation, with
cheers, whistles, bravos and a very delighted cast when that final curtain
Scene 4: The Orpheum Stage door after the show!
A larger group than we had expected converged on the stage door, where a
small fabric ribbon-like "barricade" had been placed. Cast
members soon began trickling out, and it was nice that Matt Farver
remembered my name and thanked us for coming. D B Bonds folks had
arrived in town and surprised him at the performance, but he did stop to
speak with us briefly, before going on with his mom and dad. Matt
Shepherd was the next of our cast pals to join us for autographs and
pictures and to thank us for coming. Then William Paul Michals came
out of the stage door to bravos, cheers and a crowd that were all anxious
to have a few minutes with him. He had managed to make a few thousand
more fans that night, something that didn't surprise us at all!
After lots of hugs, photos and plans to meet again tomorrow night, M and I
headed for Rachel's car, without seeing Douglas, as we did NOT want him to
have any possible idea that we were in town. With a quick mind like
Douglas has, it would have made surprising him impossible! As it was,
we had spent the last four months planning and scheming without even a tiny
leak, and had no intention of spoiling that now...
I leave it to Lillian, Rachel or Gail to describe the Douglas part of
the stage door scene and will continue with Act Two of our
"Ballfesting with Douglas" weekend later! I
know it's a darn good thing that Merrill was there so that I wasn't the
least bit tempted to see Douglas...well okay, maybe a little bit tempted
Love and hugs from one very happy Ballfest attendee...Jackie :-)
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