Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hominid Europe Tour part 1

We have arrived in Utrecht, The Netherlands, home of The Lunatics! We’ll be here for about a month rehearsing with the Dutch performers and building the designs before we start the tour.

We have a sweet little apartment right in the center of the old city. We even have a little garden with an enormous, blooming forsythia shrub. The city is gorgeous. We’re right next to the Oude Gracht, the old canal, with great little shops and cafes. And we ride bikes to the LunaLab, The Lunatics offices, shop and rehearsal space. It was pretty scary the first few times on the bikes. There are about a million bikes and scooters on the streets, blithely passing each other with inches to spare.

The company is great. Our nine Dutch performers spent the first week learning Viewpoints and Compositions, studying de Waal’s books and The Family of Chimps, the documentary film about this community of chimpanzees, and building a style. Then Adam arrived and we started staging. We have our first stumblethrough of whatever we’ve made so far on Tuesday night.

The set is enormous. I think it’s 15 meters wide by 25 meters deep. It’s covered with Astroturf, and there’s an actual moat full of water across the front. There are two greenhouses for the sleeping quarters, and a 2 story high metal tree that spouts water for the rain scene and explodes a shower of daisies for the spring.

We rehearse outdoors, so we douse ourselves with sunblock every morning, and sometimes it’s really cold. The company provides lunch, which is really nice, and dinner too when we rehearse in the evening. We all sit down at a big table and eat together every day. The Dutch all eat sandwiches of butter and chocolate sprinkles, and the first time I saw one, I laughed out loud, until I figured out they think it’s perfectly normal. I still prefer Nutella.

Rehearsal photos to come!

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