Lawrence O’Brien Arts Centre

Hello, Internet, today is Thursday, March 3rd, and yesterday we had just the most fabulous experience at the Lawrence O’Brien Arts Centre.

After breakfast, we were picked up at our hotel and brought to the theatre, where we set about setting sound levels, running through lighting looks and reminding ourselves how we do the show in a theatre with the screen on the upstage wall.

Goose Bay 2 Levels 1

Evan meanders the stage while chatting with a video recording and several sound recordings, just so I can make sure I can hear everyone.

Around 1:30 pm, about 10 nursing students and probably 240 high school students poured into the gorgeous space that is that theatre (we were saying all day how much we love it and want to bring it home with us), and sat very quietly while Evan, Laura, Crystal and house technician/all-around-useful-person John made the show happen in front of them. The lights looked awesome (with special thanks to John on that one). The sound sounded great. By all reports, the audience was rapt.

(I say “by all reports” because I was hiding in the second dressing room, listening to the show – but only the bits of it that passed through the PA system – on program sound. I admit that, while I will never tire of watching this team work their magic, there is something profoundly stressful about sitting in, or behind, an audience watching a piece I’ve written and directed, and I prefer not to do it, generally. So the second dressing room was a perfect place for me.)

Today’s talk back was the first one we’ve ever done where we didn’t talk about mental health, beyond my directing the audience to their programs for a list of mental health resources. We did, however, get the chance to answer the question: “where did you get the idea for the boxes?”, which gave me the opportunity to praise our excellent designer, Mark Denine. Given that Jonathan has a well-kept collection of comic books, Mark – something of a comic aficionado himself – decided to build our lightweight, adaptable and generally extremely convenient set out of oversized comic book boxes.

Goose Bay 2 at theatre 1

In the midst of the gorgeous display in the lobby of the Lawrence O’Brien Arts Centre.

And then, Kathleen (Manager) and John Hicks (aforementioned useful person), who had already been driving us around for the better part of two days, rose to the occasion in the venue-we-like-best competition and LOANED US THEIR CAR. So we had to go on an adventure.

First stop was a gift-and-craft-type shop called Slippers ‘n Things, where we all narrowly avoided buying sealskin boots that definitely wouldn’t have fit in our luggage.

Goose Bay 2 boots

But look how gorgeous they all are!

…but we did each buy something that was easier to pack. And then, on John’s suggestion, we drove up to the Birch Brook Nordic Ski Club. We didn’t have time to ski, but we did get the grand tour, thanks to a very friendly and enthusiastic volunteer – one of several who run the place.

Goose Bay 2 ski lodge

Here it is from the outside…

Goose Bay 2 view 2

…and this is their view. Not bad at all.

We will be leaving a little piece of our collective heart in Happy Valley-Goose Bay today when we fly out, assuming the weather cooperates…


Now, we fly.

Hello, Internet, it’s Wednesday, March 2nd, and yesterday we flew to Goose Bay.

After a 7am start on Monday, gathering in the car at 8:30 didn’t seem so early. We left all the school show gear – and the bulk of our personal luggage – in St. John’s and flew with just our set, costumes & props, and a few personal belongings. The result: the whole thing fit into our checked luggage!

Goose Bay show pack

This is our set, costumes and props. 3 pieces, and 100 lbs between them. Not to brag or anything (definitely bragging).

Today seems like a good day to recognize the support of PAL. Provincial Airlines offers a great deal to productions touring with the Arts & Culture Centres, and without their support it would be much harder to get to audiences in Labrador. And I have to say – and please believe me when I tell you that what follows was not part of the discount deal – PAL service is awesome.

Seriously. Service when I booked the flights over the phone was awesome. I had to call them back to make some changes about a week ago, and they were awesome then, too. But then! Yesterday!

Goose Bay YYT

Obligatory “we’re about to go on tour!” airport shot

The snacks on the plane are cookies – not the hard, crumbly ones, but the soft kind – and Miss Vickie’s chips. And they offered us hot towels and newspapers. And then, on the last leg of the flight (which was St. John’s – St. Anthony – Blanc Sablon – Goose Bay) they gave us full-on sandwiches. The luxury!

I know, I’m raving, but these things really do matter. And additionally, everyone was very polite and friendly, and we landed early. So, about as good a review as I can give of an airline service, all told.

Goose Bay planed

They were much happier about the Miss Vickie’s than they were about me insisting on taking this picture.

We are settled into our hotel, we’ve unpacked at the gorgeous Lawrence O’Brien Arts Centre, and we’re adapting to the cold. (It was 10 degrees in St. John’s when we left, and easily -15 degrees here when we arrived… and we’re led to believe yesterday was a warm day.) Today, a show full of high school and college students!