First let’s clear up a little linguistic confusion. Today, which is Wednesday, is not Hump Day as far as we’re concerned, because today is day 6 of the festival. Yesterday, day 5, was our hump. This is appropriately Prague-like, just a little off center.
Nothing terrible happened yesterday, though many company members seemed to have a bit of the blues. Middle of the run, middle of the week when it’s harder to pull in audiences, maybe the time by which the foreign things (for foreigners, of course) have accumulated to a critical mass… In our case, every good thing was simply undercut by a less-than-good thing. No big deal, which we recognize, but we allowed ourselves a bit of crabbiness.
The day starts off perfectly – getting Lale to the airport on time, getting to my friends who graciously allowed us their laundry for washing costumes, perfect. No lunch until 3, so I head back to the flat, drop off the clean and dry clothes (heaven) and head downstairs with Andy to grab food (for me) and beer (for him). All good good good. We don’t have the opportunity to see Sealskin, another selkie show, this one by the folks from Multistory Theatre that did the Orpheus and Eurydice adaptation I liked to much last year. That’s got to be on today’s list, else I won’t be able to see it at all. So instead we decided to change some money.
In his morning travels, Andy had discovered that all of the fantastically convenient CHANGE – 0% COMMISSION shops on the road do a nice little just-barely-advertised sleight of hand. Look over there!
The actual exchange rate is around 20 koruna to the dollar, and if you exchange over $1,000.00, you get that rate. If you exchange less, no problem, we’re here to help you, and the rate is 15 koruna. 75% of your money just went away, but keep in mind there’s no commission! He also learned that a lot of places don’t take traveler’s checks, which Kelly and I had both been talking up for their security. Gotta finda banka. No problem, there’s an American Express office right on Wenceslas Square, we’ll walk there, see some stuff and oh no! It’s gone! No problem, I’m sure we passed a Travelex somewhere around here… Oh, pop into Raffeisenbank? Sure. They’re a bank, they exchange money, but oh, hello, no travelers checks? Oh. Okay. Well, we’ll just keep walking. Thanks anyway, very helpful, blah blah blah. Komereční Banka is big, this is a big branch, let’s try here, and oh, you don’t have your passport? No, we can’t help you. They’re already countersigned so that… No?
The teller at the Komereční Banka was the most forbidding Czech person we’d seen on our trip to date. But this will change by the end of the day.
Not bad, right? No. Not bad. Just frustrating. Off we go to the theater.
Smallest house to date, just around 10 (the day before was 11), and one of our better performances since opening night. No one said orgasm, no one forgot their lines, great energy. And you know what really helps the atmosphere? Someone making a cappuccino. Technically, the bar is supposed to be closed for food and such during performances, but there was a huge raft of confusion, and 2 minutes before we started, a couple came in, managed to order a full meal (and a cappuccino during the performance itself) and went at it with gusto. It’s okay, they said to the house staff, we’re here every year, we know how this works, we’re performers ourselves. Oh, that’s cool. Sure.
The clinking of spoons is not a big deal. Not much difference between that and a scootched chair, after all. It was their incessant, three-quarter volume talking that was distracting. It was so distracting that several audience members told them to shut up. Maybe they do performance art? Spoken word? I think they may have left the kavárna after being scolded, hard to tell, and we continued on with the show. Then, during Shardik’s final monologue about not fitting in, Irenka, the sweet miniature (or just small) Doberman with whom we had our picture taken (see previous days’ post) woke up and barked. Took the piss a bit from the scene, but it cannot be admitted but that this was funny.
Okay, so a good show. Basically a really good show with some weird stuff. We go backstage to change, Kelly rushes over to the next theater to buy us all tickets to Dr. Brown, and Andy’s pants are gone. He’s in his costume pants, but his “civilian” pants, which had been hanging next to his civilian shirts, are gone. The shirts are still there, bunched up and pushed to the side. I check with the techs in the office behind us. There’s a new company playing downstairs, they explain, maybe they took the pants. By mistake. Can you check? Sure. Andy grumbles about German companies. And not two minutes later, the tech shows up with Andy’s pants, and all is well. I point out that if his pants didn’t look so much like Poland, and it’s probably his own fault, and we’re good to go.
We talk with the house staff about the weird people, we pack up our props, we run to see Phil in Dr. Brown, which is more absurdist clowning than stand-up, and barely manage to squeak in. 25 people watching a show in a room designed to comfortably hold maybe 10 at most. So we were uncomfortable, and the humor is intentionally awkward, and it was good fun.
Andy’s going to call it an early night, get some rest. Kelly’s getting over feeling sick, I’m thinking to go out to Rubín and see folks because tonight I’m going to hang out with Don and František, Thursday my friends from Brno arrive. Good. And we walk out of Dr. Brown’s small theater, and a more forbidding Czech woman than the bank teller (though she may actually have been Russian) taps me brusquely on the chest and says, “You’re disgusting.” Excuse me? I think she’s joking. I assume she’s seen the show, of course, because I haven’t done anything else disgusting, but at first it seems like the goofy kind of compliment one might receive. It’s not. “What you have done to Bulgakov, it would kill him a second time. You should learn more. You do not know what you are doing.” Well. I’m sorry you didn’t like the show. We certainly didn’t want to offend anyone in that way. “Do not be sorry. Just do not…” There was more, but frankly I didn’t catch it. She was done talking to me and turning away, and it’s not really the kind of conversation that’s going to go anywhere.
We had some low key drinks with each other. Andy left early. None of us went out to socialize.
But yesterday was hump day. Today is day 6, and it’s all going to get better from here.