Backstage Travels

All the world's a stage…

New Pride

IMG_0146

We’ve started a new contract on a ship called the Carnival Pride, and boy is it…something.

This contract started in Hollywood, Florida for a month. Frank and I were selected to bring out new shows to the Pride. We were provided with a little furnished house to live in with our supervisors, and went every morning to a warehouse that was converted into a rehearsal studio.

This was our little house.

IMG_1241

There wasn’t much to do except go to the studio most days, but every Monday, there was a gathering of food trucks not too far from where we were staying. We made a point of getting out of the house and going every week.

IMG_1237

The month went fairly slowly. While I had all the set pieces and most of the props for the shows, and Frank had all the sound equipment he needed, most of the time I’d set up a scene and then they’d spend all day in that one scene. There were days I did nothing but cross stitch. I tried to watch videos of the shows and write the cue sheets, but my supervisor left after just a few days to demolish the old shows, so I had little direction. It didn’t matter…all the paperwork I did there was eventually scrapped, and we did everything from scratch…but I digress.

In the last few days of October, we were sent to the Pride while it was in dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas. We had to take the tiniest plane ever! And, clearly, the whole airline was on what we call “island time,” because the plane was sitting at the gate when we arrived at the airport, but we didn’t start boarding until what was supposed to be departure time.

IMG_1243

The flight was super short, though, and we actually got to the Bahamas at the time we were supposed to. Our luggage, however, did not. I suppose they didn’t consider that at least 10 of the passengers would be packing for 7 months, and the rest would have tools and equipment…about 100 lbs per person. The plane ended up being too heavy to fly, and without telling us, the airline personnel took several bags off the flight, including one of Frank’s, and one of mine. We were not happy, to say the least. Luckily, there was another flight coming from that same airport that evening, so we eventually did get our bags.

For dry dock, basically the entire ship was undergoing renovation while sitting on blocks out of the water. We missed the worst part, apparently, but there was still no air conditioning some days, and the water was shut off at night. There were a couple days when the water wasn’t shut off, but we couldn’t use it because of fluoride.

We could get off the ship in the evening if we had time, and take a chartered bus from the port to Port Lucaya, about 30 minutes away, for decent food and internet. The bus only had about 50 seats on it, and left on the half hour. Some bus drivers were sticklers for having only the amount of passengers that there were seats, which means some nights, people got left behind to either wait an hour or take a taxi. Luckily, Frank and I were never left behind, but there was never a line, just a mob of people elbowing other people to get out of their way. It was frustrating and chaotic, and gave a real insight to how certain people operate.

We finally set sail on November 7th (maybe? The days ran together…) and got to Tampa on the 9th (definitely the 9th). Our department still had several shows to install. We opened with two main shows and the Love and Marriage show, but we have 7 day cruises, so we brought on several variety show acts to fill the other nights. We still had two main production shows and three other shows/games to install. Every week we opened something new for another month or so.

That month was…interesting. I learned about working with bosses whose idea of encouragement was kind of degrading. I also learned how difficult it is working under two people who are at the same professional level in the hierarchy…especially when they don’t share certain visions.

But it’s over! The Office Personnel have left, we’re in operation, and the ship is ours now. We’ve opened 4 great production shows from PLAYLIST ™ Productions, and Carnival’s Hasbro the Game Show, which is actually kind of fun (go Red Team!).

This is the first time I’ve been able to get off the ship anywhere but Tampa the entire time we’ve been in service. Frank’s stuck on the ship on duty, so I took the day to just see the sun for more than ten minutes at a time and grab some free-ish WiFi. More updates coming soon!

Leave a comment »

Bachelor/ette Party/Wedding/Honeymoon NYC

Myyyyyy goodness…it has been a long time. So, this will be a long post…

Following the first Carnival LIVE, we had two more (Martina McBride and Chicago!), and while they were very exciting and cool to work, from a blogging standpoint, there wasn’t much more to add to the first post other than “We did the thing again! With different boxes!”

After that, my life was consumed with WEDDING. And cross-stitching (lol)

In the midst of getting together what I could while I was still on the ship, we were “kidnapped” on Cozumel for a joint bachelor/bachelorette party by our cast. We were given capes and crowns, and people had segregated them according to our last names.

HouseBaronBratager

We had to perform various tasks for “House Points,” such as “proposing to someone else (as sappily and emotionally as possible):”

DSC_0502

Various trivias (with the help of our teams):

DSC_0494

And a twerking contest:

[IMAGE REDACTED] 😛

In the end, we tied, because “marriage isn’t a competition,” or some nonsense like that. 🙂

DSC_0515

DSC_0528

DSC_0529It was a good day.

Then we came home, and hit the ground running…and…

…as of 2:28 pm September 6, 2014, I married the love of my life, on the nine year anniversary of the day we met. Hooray!

dance

For our honeymoon, we decided to stick close to home (while still spending an exorbitant amount of money), and traveled to the Big Apple for a week. The original plan was to see 4 shows, and go to museums, and then just sort of play it by ear.

The first day, we had no evening plans, but when I discovered we were staying only about a block away from the Ziegfeld Theatre, I decided we just had to see what was playing there (provided that it wasn’t a horror film). The last time I’d been there I’d seen StarWars Episode 3. This time, the fare was considerably better: Guardians of the Galaxy. Hardcore recommend, but you will cry.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I started us out pretty busy the next day. First VideoGamesNewYork, a tiny little shop that is literally floor-to-ceiling vintage and modern video game paraphernalia.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From there, we moved on to Nintendo World, one of very few Nintendo shops in the world. Or, we tried. We found the LEGO Store first.

Those are drawers floor-to-ceiling full of LEGO bricks!

Those are drawers floor-to-ceiling full of LEGO bricks!

I tried to make a LEGO me and LEGO Frank at the “Build a Character” station, but there was no blonde hair for me, and no brown short hair for Frank! Sad.

We were in Rockefeller Center at this point, and made a point to look around.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We finally got to the Nintendo Store. WE GOT SO MANY STREET PASSES.

Easily my favorite part was the mini museum they had set up with their awards through the years, and display of handheld gaming systems.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After a short lunch break, we explored the city more and found M&Ms World.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Glorious.

Across the street is a Hershey’s shop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And then we walked all the way back up Manhatten to see FAO Schwartz, where we found a Jim Henson Puppet display/shop

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And GIANT candy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat evening we saw the first of our planned shows: Matilda

IMG_1196

.Lovely. Highly recommend. It’s more based on the book than the Danny DeVito movie (lol), but it should be.

That evening, I was already not content with the amount of shows we were seeing, and I had just seen a show listed that was star-studded. With Frank’s blessing, I booked a matinee for the next day, and we were suddenly seeing two shows in one day. That’s a long time to be in dress-up clothes. But we did it!

First:

IMG_1197

IMG_1198

Comedy gold, if not a little self-indulgent. There was a good amount of “inside” jokes, if you’re a theatre person, along with name dropping; Nathan Lane dropped his own name at one point!

We filled the gap walking around, and eventually found the Fashion District by accident, purely because I saw a HUGE button and needle statue, and needed to find out what it was

And take a picture with it.

And take a picture with it.

Then, we went Off-Broadway:

IMG_1199

I’d seen a version of this before, but it’s hilarious every time.

Our third day, we intended to take a break from theatre. We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We walked through Central Park, and stopped to see Balto.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At first, I thought we could see the entire museum, but by the time we finished the Ancient Greek bit, it was lunchtime. At that point, with 5 hours left, we decided to pick and choose the rest of the way.

We spent a long time in the music section. Frank plays guitar, and I played clarinet from grades 4-12.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then moved on to Arms and Armament

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stopped by the Egyptian exhibit, where there’s an entire ancient temple

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And some tomb stuff

Are you my mummy?

Are you my mummy?

The Asian section was complete with a little rooftop garden

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe American section was a bit of an afterthought for us, but did not disappoint.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlong with all the other great stuff they have to represent us, there is the most patriotic frame ever on this painting of George Washington. The top is cut off, and the rest is difficult to see through the glass, but the top is an eagle with two flags, and there are cannons down the sides.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We would have gotten a better picture, but we were politely being reminded that the museum was going to close in ten minutes, and if we could please get the hell out, that would be great, thanks.

Also this “WTF?” bust.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seeing how it was only 5:30 when the museum closed, and we didn’t want to spend ludicrous amounts of money in the gift shop, we were left wondering what to do for the evening. I heard about 20at20 the evening before, which is a program in which you show up to a participating show 20 minutes before the show, and if there are seat available, you get tickets for $20. Pretty good deal. One really stuck out to me: Drunk Shakespeare.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We were across town, but made it in time to get ticket for this show in a bar. It turned out they were doing Macbeth, which is my all-time favorite of the Bard’s plays. The premise is that one of the actors takes 5 shots before the show, and then…they do the show. Abridged, obviously.

IMG_1203“Somehow” we ended up with “Mackie B’s” letter to his wife.

Needless to say, it was hilariously fun.

The next few days, we actually took it more easy on the sightseeing. We did go to Central Park a couple of times, and the Zoo once.

We saw Les Miserables

IMG_1200I’d never seen it, even the movie. It was incredible.

The last show we’d planned to see was Book of Mormon. I’d heard nothing but good things, but I had reservations, because the writers were the same from South Park and I’m not a huge fan of the show. However, I’m totally obsessed with that show now

IMG_1201

Our Elder Cunningham was Benji from Pitch Perfect. Wonderful casting. I wish I had the recording of him.

The last full day, we had no plans, so I dragged us into the TKTS line to see if we could squeeze in one more show.

IMG_1202We could! I couldn’t resist. Idina Menzel was great, and the story and design we phenomenal. It’s really amazing what you can do with a big budget (light up, revolving stages!).

It was so wonderful to see all these great places and shows. My mom originally thought that it would be like a Busman’s Holiday, but it wasn’t. We both really enjoyed ourselves.

We’re also really anxious to get back to work, partly for a paycheck, but mostly because we have some exciting prospects coming up!

(New contract resolution: update this blog more!!!)

1 Comment »

So we’re home now…

Yeah.

The trip was quite uneventful. Frank slept when he wasn’t driving, and we listened to the real versions of songs from the shows we’ve been doing on the ship.

More exciting: we went to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra the other night. I do not have pictures of the performance because I found all the picture and video taping last night to be super rude. But it was their last tour of this particular story, I believe…not their last tour, if I read it right.

I hope we can go see them again sometime (maybe not next year…wedding more important)

MOST EXCITING: I am going on a 10 heritage trip to Israel in about a week. This blog should be positively bursting with posts!

Leave a comment »