Homeward Bound

I couldn't sleep much. Too excited from the day's events. Also the revelers returning from the Fringe might have had something to do with it as well since they were a tad loud.

I got up around 2:30 to walk over to the reception office and confirm the taxi reservation. Everything was good to go. Junel had gotten up and was getting ready and I knocked on Dave and Teresa's door and they were pretty much ready too.

The taxi was five minutes early, we checked out, and were on our way. When we got there, none of the airlines were open yet, so they got some coffee, I got a Diet Coke, and we waited.

While we were waiting Meg Peart showed up. She had stayed an extra week, had gotten a Scotrail pass and had toured the Highlands. We were jealous that she had gotten to see Eilean Donan Castle and we shared pictures.

I checked email on an internet kiosk and sent a short note to my parents that Junel and I had gotten engaged. I also found out that buyers of my house were making some exorbitant requests (at least in my humble opinion) and I would have to deal with that when I got back. Nice.

We finally got baggage checked, and went to the gate. The flight left Edinburgh about 6:00 am and we got to Heathrow around 7:30. Heathrow, the minicity of its own. A bus took us to Terminal 3, the international terminal, we went through security, and then more waiting. We did some last minute shopping for some gifts and around 9:45 the screen showed us we were to leave from Gate 32. Dave and Teresa had spent a little extra to upgrade to seats by the exit so Dave would have room for those long legs. Then it was walk, walk, walk to Gate 32.

Check passport again. Wait some more. Finally we got to board and were ready to sleep during the ten hour flight back to San Francisco. What we didn't know was that this flight had over 60 movies which one could choose to watch. So Junel, Meg and I didn't sleep much, but watched a lot of movies and ate a lot of mediocre airline food. Meg needed one more Bloody Mary too.

We got to San Francisco about 1:30 p.m. PDT. In Edinburgh that would be 9:30 p.m. We still had a 4 hour drive back to Tahoe. I was expecting it would take us a while to get through Customs, but it wasn't too bad. We picked up our luggage and went to get a shuttle to the Ramada where we had left Dave and Teresa's RAV.

Meg's mom picked her up. What was funny was that we met up with them again at the In-N-Out Burger in Fairfield. We grabbed some burgers and fries (Funny that's what most Americans do when they get back from overseas.) and then headed up to Tahoe.

Dave hung on admirably, driving the whole way back with only partially nodding off once. We got back about 6:30 p.m. In Edinburgh it was now 2:30 a.m. Monday. So came to an end the trip of a lifetime. Fringe Trip '05.


Back to Edinburgh -- The Trip of a Lifetime

We got up at about our regular hour, met Dave and Teresa for breakfast, checked out, and then headed by cab to the Dublin airport.

The flight to Edinburgh was pretty noneventful. We're such "seasoned travelers" now.

We got back around 3:30 and collected our bags. The only problem was we had no where to go. This was the only night we hadn't booked a hotel. We thought about trying to reserve a room at the Hilton near the airport before going to Ireland, but never got it done. Surely no one would want rooms so far from the center of town and there would be something available.

Well, we were wrong. With the Fringe and other Festivals going full speed ahead, everything was booked. We checked into storing our luggage at the airport, but the hours didn't synch with our flight schedule. We were on the same "red-eye" flight that the rest of the cast took last week.

So in one of those great flashes of insight that often occur with creative artists, someone (I forget just who now.) suggested calling Heriot-Watt University to see if they had any rooms available. As it turned out they had three. We reserved two of those, collected our bags, and headed for the taxi pickup. Unfortunately there was quite a long line and it didn't seem to be moving very quickly. Teresa said, "Wait here," and went off in search of a taxi. In about a minute she had located one and we were off to Heriot-Watt to dump our luggage.

Junel and I both had felt such a connection with Rosslyn Chapel when we were there, that we had decided if there was time we would go back.

When we got to Heriot-Watt, we checked in quickly, and the taxi driver said he was willing to take us over to Roslin. It was only a twenty minute ride or so from there. So we told Dave and Teresa we would meet them at the Black Bull at 6:30 for dinner and we were off to visit Rosslyn Chapel again.

I had called to see how late they were open and as it turned out they were open until 6:00. We got there about 4:30, paid our admission, and went inside.

Dave and Teresa meanwhile had wanted to get a picture of themselves at CToo and make a stop or two at the C and Fringe Offices.

I think anyone who has ever visited Rosslyn Chapel would testify to its uniqueness and to the almost magical feelings it evokes. We sat in silence for about five minutes holding hands and just soaking in the vibrations of the place.

Since we had had time to read the books, and since there were fewer people there, I was able to walk around more easily and get more shots from different angles of the Apprentice's Pillar and some of the other carvings we had read about and had missed the first time.

South Corridor, Rosslyn Chapel. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Closeup of a carving of an angel holding a heart. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Junel caught up with me after a while and gave me my cap. I realized I had left my cap and glasses in one of the pews and now I couldn't seem to find my glasses. After searching a bit, I was about ready to go ask if they had a lost and found when I finally saw them exactly where I had left them. I just had forgotten which pew I was in. A mind is a horrible thing to lose.

Junel wanted to take some pictures outside, so we walked out the W door and she took a few more shots.

West entrance to Rosslyn Chapel. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Memorial outside W entrance, Rosslyn Chapel. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

It was about 5:30 and time was running out. The chapel would close soon and we would need to catch a taxi back to Edinburgh because the last bus had left at around 3:00. We went back inside and sat down near the back of the chapel to enjoy a few more minutes of solitude.

After a little while, I sensed that Junel was feeling sad to have to leave this enchanting place. I was feeling a bit sad as well. Especially since neither of us knew when we might have a chance to return. I gave her a kiss, and we both shared a heartfelt "I love you."

When she looked up again at the intricately carved patterns on the ceiling, I pulled out of my jacket pocket a diamond claddagh I had found at one of the jewelry stores at the Dublin airport (You can only imagine how hard it was to sneak off and find it.) and said to her, "Will you marry me?"

I think it was one of the few times I've been able to totally surprise her. Her eyes welled with tears and she hugged me tight and we kissed again.

"Can I take that as a yes?" I asked.

"Of course." she replied. We sat there for a few more minutes just holding each other. I had started crying as well and we both needed a little time to regain our composure.

When we had been there the last time, she had said off-handedly (but I think with some sincerity) to me, "Let's get married here next week." So then I whispered, "I'm sorry I couldn't get the wedding planned in time." She chuckled and I added, "We'd better get going, hon."

We left the chapel and walked a block up to the Roslin Glen Hotel where we had eaten lunch last week to doublecheck for a bus. No bus.

I called a taxi from inside and in about ten minutes one was there to take us back to the city. The driver, Robert, asked us where we were going and we said, "Grassmarket St., the Black Bull."

Robert was fairly jovial and talkative, though his accent was so thick it took us probably a couple minutes to understand anything he was saying. I think we were happy enough to let him do more of the talking while we sort of basked in the afterglow of what had just happened.

We were about 15 minutes late getting there. Teresa asked Junel how it was, and Junel flashed her the ring. After a surprised second or two (Dave is pretty unflappable), congratulations were being offered. Instead of getting dinner and drinks there, and because it was getting a little noisy, we decided to walk toward our old lodgings and look for another place to eat. We tried a few places, but for most of them you needed a reservation, or it was a half hour wait.

Interestingly right by where we stayed was an Italian place called Zizzi's. Again quite a score as the food was delicious. The beer selection wasn't quite as good. But we were all in a mood for celebrating, so it didn't seem to matter much.

After dinner we decided to walk down to this mall we had discovered last week on the bus ride to Heriot-Watt. We checked out the movie schedules, but unfortunately we had missed everything. So we caught a bus back to Heriot-Watt to try to get a few hours of sleep before having to catch a 3:30 a.m. taxi to the airport.

What a momentous day that was and one that we will always remember.


Westport, then on to Dublin

Junel and I got and met Dave and Teresa for our little Continental breakfast (very good) and then we called for a taxi to take us to the town of Westport where we would catch the train to Dublin. There was still time for Junel and I to take a trip back to the steam room and sauna. Interestingly they do not keep the jacuzzi at a very high temperature. It felt good when you first got in, but then it didn't seem quite hot enough. Dave and Teresa went for a little guided walk with Ken, one of the staff there.

View from outside our room at Delphi. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

The taxi arrived and the ride took us back along the fjord and then through some beautiful countryside. 45 minutes later we got to the train station and got our tickets. We loaded up the luggage and then fairly soon the train left the station.

The train ride to Dublin was a little over three hours. Westport is on the W side of the country (Hence its name, no doubt.) and Dublin is on the E side. We were entertained by a somewhat inebriated passenger trying to hit on the lady sitting in the row behind us. We also were able to catch up on some reading. Junel was working on Dan Brown's Digital Fortress. Kurt had read it in in Edinburgh. He "loaned" it to me, and then I gave it to Junel--a good read. I finished reading the Rosslyn Chapel book that Junel had picked up at the National Gallery.

When we got to Dublin we caught a taxi to Merrion Hall where we were staying. It was very close to the US Embassy, so we figured if we got in any trouble we'd be in good hands fairly quickly. The cab driver had recommended Roli's Bistro as a good place to eat, so after we checked in we walked over there and checked it out.

Awesome food. So awesome that we needed to walk some of it off after dinner.

River view in Dublin during our walk. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

It would have been fun to have had more time to check out the sites in Dublin, but unfortunately we had to catch a flight back to Edinburgh late in the morning. That will have to wait until our next trip. We all went back to our rooms and watched a movie on TV and then went to bed.


The Road to Delphi

Delphi Mountain Resort and Spa was our next destination. We had retired to the study the night before and sat around the fireplace (The smell of peat was almost a little overwhelming but added a nice ambience.) chatting and people were saying the rain was supposed to let up.

When we awoke the next day it had. Now the only problem was logistics. We had made reservations for three massages at 3:15, and two at 4:30. Junel's was at 3:15 and we weren't sure we'd be able to go at the speed we wanted (leisurely) and still get there on time. So Dave said that he (or Teresa) would switch with Junel to give us until 4:30 to get there and would arrange it with their staff when they got there. They had gotten up earlier, had breakfast, and were ready to go, so they then took off.

We had a nice romantic breakfast alone, got ourselves packed, and took off as well. Just a mile down the hill from Rosleague was a little shop called Avoca Handweavers. They also had a nice view of the Manor from there, so we stopped and got a shot of the Manor and Junel found a little wool scarf that matched the beret she had gotten in Scotland.

Rosleague Manor from across the road from Avoca Handweavers. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

The next stop on the map was at Connemara National Park. We decided to not stop there, but to forge on toward Kylemore Abbey, which everyone had said was a muststop.

Kylemore Abbey. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

They were right. Meanwhile a short downpour forced us to stop under a tree to wait it out. About ten minutes later we were back on the road. The hills weren't too bad, though I think Junel maybe had to walk her bike up one. But in general, the countryside was lush, and the hills gently rolling.

It was about 5 miles to the Abbey. We got there as Dave and Teresa were leaving (I'm assuming they skipped the park too). It features a gorgeous castle built in the 1860s as well as a magnigicent Victorian Walled Garden.

Victorian Walled Gardens, Kylemore Abbey. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Another view of the gardens. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Oh, one more. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

There was also a small Neo-Gothic Church and they were all nestled underneath a big green mountain next to a beautiful blue lough, or lake.

The Neo-Gothic Church, Kylemore Abbey. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

We probably spent about an hour and a half there walking around and taking pictures. A little lunch was definitely in order, so we grabbed a sandwich and some "crisps" before we set out for Leenane Village.

"Water Feature," Kylemore Abbey. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

It was about 9 miles of gorgeous countryside to Leenane and with a wind at our back and the help of some nice downhills, we got there around 3:00. Leenane is a cute little village near the eastern end of the Killary Fjord, Ireland's only fjord.

Killary Fjord on the way to Leenane. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Having seen pictures of some Norwegian fjords, this one was quite a bit smaller, but nonetheless beautiful. Some people were sailboarding on it and there were fishing boats all along.

We stopped for a breather outside Hamilton's Bar (no kidding). Junel wanted to stop at a little shop nearby. Since it was getting near 3:15 and we still had about 7 miles to go before Delphi, I was getting a little nervous about her making the appointment.

Hamilton's Bar, Leenane Village. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

We left at 3:30 and as I expected, when we got around the end of the fjord there was a gnarly headwind. On the map it didn't look very far and we kept thinking, it's got to be around the next bend or over the next rise. I kept looking at my watch. 3:45, 4:00, 4:15. Finally I told Junel I would ride ahead so that I could let them know she might be a little bit late. I think it was 4:20 when I pulled in, and Junel got there at 4:27 with just three minutes to spare.

Delphi Mountain Resort and Spa. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

It turned out that they had misplaced Dave and Teresa's reservations. Fortunately, they allowed Teresa to take Junel's massage, and then created a couple of appointments for Dave and Junel. I was happy to sit in the jacuzzi, and then go back and forth between the steam bath and sauna. Ahhhhh, can't you just feel it!

We made dinner reservations for 7:00 and again, great food and just very relaxing. Though Junel and I were beat from the mad race to get there, it was nice to kick back and know we had made it, and were now all done with the bike ride.


More on Rosleague

As it turned out they did not have internet and I didn't really have time to blog till I got home. I think I'll still date things as if I were writing while they are happening, but actually I'm recreating Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on Monday.

The tricky part about deciding not to ride was that we still had to figure out a way to get the bikes and ourselves to Rosleague. I called Fidelma Ray of CycleWest and she couldn't pick us up or send someone because she was guiding another tour in S Ireland.

Junel and I also had overslept, so I rushed downstairs to get us some breakfast before it closed and talked to Dave and Teresa. They were still planning to ride, but were going to skip the Sky Road (Too bad, too, because the views are supposed to be gorgeous, but how much fun can it be in the rain?).

We ended up finding a taxi with a trailer for the bikes who was able to take us to Rosleague. Actually without the Sky Road Loop, the ride is the shortest of the three days. We got there and what a beautiful old manor house. It is right on the ocean and even though it was still drizzling, we grabbed an umbrella and the camera and took a short walk and some pictures.

View of the bay and mountain fog from the front lawn of Rosleague Manor. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Then I took a nap and Junel did some reading and it wasn't more than a couple of hours later when Dave and Teresa showed up. We sat in the Conservatory and had a pint of Guiness and they told us about their ride that day. Then they went up to their room for a nap before dinner.

The dining room at Rosleague is simply stunning and the food was fantastic. I think that was the night Junel had rabbit (or maybe it was duck?). Anyway, excellent.

Dining room at Rosleague Manor. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

We decided to see what the weather was like and how we felt before we decided what to do about the next day's ride.

Rosleague Manor

Today as we awoke we noticed it was showering very steadily. That pretty much clinched our decision not to ride the bikes today, but Dave and Teresa decided to rough it. Junel is also fighting a chest cold (the one I gave her) and I'm also still hacking a little bit.

The ride today was to go into Clifden and then along the Sky Road into Rosleague Manor. What's funny is the locals have been saying that all through July and August they haven't had any rain. Yesterday was overcast and looked as if it could rain, and then, of course, today it is raining. Ironic.

Rosleague Manor. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Rosleague Manor looks beautiful, has ocean views, and should be awesome. Don't know if they have internet access, so it may be a few days before I can get back on.


Ballynahinch Loop Ride

We got up about 8:30 this morning and had our breakfast in the dining room. They had a buffet and also entrees that you could order if you desired. We left the castle about 10:00 and headed out on our first ride.

The countryside is gorgeous--very green, lots of "water features." We would stop every so often to rest or take a picture.

Stream along the Ballynahinch Loop. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Along the way we passed the Alcock & Brown Monument that memorializes the first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight. After sixteen hours and twenty-eight minutes they crash-landed in the Derrygimlagh bog. Actually the terrain where we were riding is very boggy.

In Ireland they also drive on the left. Their country roads are barely one lane wide, but the drivers seem fairly tolerant of the bikers. We saw lots of them as we were going. We started smelling the slightly salty air of the ocean fairly soon and shortly after got a really nice view.

Roadside view of the ocean along the Ballynahinch Loop. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

We stopped for a snack at Keogh's Bar in Ballyconneely Village (known for its golf and sea fishing) and then continued on our way. The terrain isn't terribly steep, but Junel and I had a hard time keeping up with Dave and Teresa (the jock and jockette). What was really cool was when we arrived at Roundstone Village, we stopped at Michael Killeen Craft Park and visited the Roundstone Musical Instruments Workshop.

Bell Tower, Michael Killeen Park, Roundstone Village. Remains of a 19th c. monastery. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Dave and Junel each ended up buying an Celtic drum called a bodhran (Pronounced BOW [rhymes with cow]-Rahn). It is played with a double-ended "beater." No, we didn't carry them back on our bikes. We had them shipped. Dave can announce when his first concert will be.

Afterwards we headed back to the castle and stopped at the bar there for a quick beer before dinner. The whole ride was about 30 miles (Ouch!). I think Teresa and Junel were going to hop into the shower (not together) before dinner. I decided to blog a little now, but as I look at my watch I should probably get off the computer and freshen up.

Teresa and Dave in a romantic candlelight setting at Ballynahinch Castle. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Junel and I. Ditto. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)


Another Audience Member Review

Dave mentioned he saw this review on the Fringe site. Obviously Mr. Bell is not familiar with our funding process or our concept of academic freedom. I'll take the liberty to correct some typos, spelling, and grammatical errors:
Spellbinding 13 Aug 2005

reviewer: Neill Bell, Scotland

Not great. Some songs are too bland, but the large cast pull this off remarkably. No weak performances, no dropped cues, just a good, all around, fun-packed edgy show. As they are a community college, I just wonder if their blatant anti-war (Iraq) stance will cost any State or Federal funding. I do hope not. Sadly, the run ends August 12 so I guess you have missed a treat!

I also forgot to mention that on the same page linked above we are listed as a Critic's Choice by The Scotsman. Not every show that was reviewed was so listed.

UPDATE (8/23/2005): I Googled Lysistrata's War and found this review by Rachel Lynn Brody on The British Theatre Guide.
Lysistrata's War: A Rock Opera
By David Hamilton and Mark D. Williams
Lake Tahoe Community College
C Too

This original rock opera is based on Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, and tells the story of how the women of Athens and Sparta banded together to end a war between their menfolk by denying said menfolk any action in bed.

While the score isn't bad, the lyrics are far too loose and repetitive; lines often feel inserted for the sake of rhythm rather than content. Casting seems to have taken place without regard for each vocalist's range, except in the case of Shannon Dolan as Lysistrata, though even in her case it was a good 20 minutes into the show before she hit her stride.

Rhona [sic] Keen is likeable as Calonice, giving an enthusiastic performance, but many of the other cast members seem to fall into two groups: over-enthusiastic and pantomiming, or else listless and unconvincing. Jeff Whitt oversees one bright moment relishing the part of the evil magistrate, but this is a brief appearance and his role as the face of the government is soon taken over by Thomas Sanders [sic] as the Governor of Athens, who is too wishy-washy to be taken seriously.

There are some interesting thematic ideas about war and the government's relationship to the governed, and the juxtaposition of Williams' still images with the millennia-old play are heavy-handed reminders of what war means to those directly involved, but all in all this feels like a workshop production for a musical still desperately in need of development.

Rachel Lynn Brody

Ballynahinch Castle & A Few Impressions of Scotland

Ballynahinch Castle. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.) 

My last post said we'd be taking a bus to the castle. Actually we ended up taking a bus to the town of Clifden and then a taxi to the castle. The accommodations are quite lovely and it is very beautiful here. It is nice having a king size bed for a change and Junel is excited about the bathtub. We took a short nap while Dave and Teresa went for a walk and then we had a light dinner in the bar. Junel and I took a short walk after and then coming back in saw the library and much to my surprise (and probably her dismay) there was a computer with an internet connection.

We're here for two evenings. Tomorrow we take a short (25 miles) loop that goes out into the countryside and returns to the castle. More on that later.

One of the big differences we noticed right away about Ireland is that it is in general a lot cleaner than Scotland. Or at least Edinburgh. Edinburgh has the potentional to be such a cool city, but with the trash everywhere and people not seeming to care too much about littering, it just seemed sad. We saw a few signs that read, "Bin your Litter," which we found amusing and everyone else apparently just ignored.

We're also not missing the smells. Edinburgh's brewery (we think) was the culprit for a really nasty smell. For me having lived in Iowa City, it was reminiscent of the Quaker Oats smell that would sometimes drift down from Cedar Rapids. Or think of the paper mills in International Falls.

We also noticed a fair number of homeless people. For a few of them we think it was a racket. We would see them talking to each other and also sipping on Cokes and doing crosswords. They need to take some acting lessons on how to look more pathetic I think.

Still all in all The Fringe was an amazing experience. One I'm sure I will always remember.

Our Last Show -- A Comedy of Errors

We had a great turnout for our last show--about 70 people. They were energetic and enthusiastic which in turn helped the cast give one of our best shows for the Festival. It was also a little sad since most everyone was coming back to Tahoe and we were all going our separate ways.

After the show a bus arrived to take us to our one night accommodations at Heriot-Watt University. We got there around midnight to discover that our luggage had not been picked up from Napier and delivered for us. Apparently the bus driver showed up to pick up the luggage, but when he saw how much there was and he had no help from anyone to load it, he just left and didn't call anyone (at least that we know of).

Dave was on the phone to AIFS in London and they arranged for a bus to take us back to Napier and then almost everyone else straight to the airport. We got back, got our luggage, did some repacking of props and other stuff. And then the bus left for the airport. Most of the cast needed to be there around 3 am for the flight back at 6 am.

However, a few of the girls had gone out after the show and were going to meet us at Heriot-Watt. When they got there, we were back at Napier. We had left a message for them to just go directly to the airport. So we're assuming after that all was well and everyone got where they were supposed to go.

Dave, Teresa, Joe, Junel, and I took a taxi back to Heriot-Watt and caught a few hours of sleep. They extended our checkout time fortunately. We saw Joe off and then we had a little more of a leisurely day before we headed to the airport for our flight to Ireland.

We arrived in Galway about 10:00 pm and found a taxi to take us to the Ardawn Guest House. We hadn't had dinner so we walked downtown and ended up eating at a Chinese restaurant of all places. So instead of Guiness, we had Tsing-tao.

Ardawn Guest House, Galway, Ireland. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

This morning we met with the bike tour director and she gave us some more detailed information about the tour. Teresa went shopping for a sweater for her grandmother (hope she's not reading this) and Junel went along with her while Dave and I went to the internet cafe.

We will be taking a bus to the Ballynahinch Castle around noon and will spend a couple days there. Should be cool. We're all looking forward to a "real" vacation.


Checkout and a Day at the Gallery

We had to be packed up and out of the flats by 10:00 am this morning which for a few of the cast was a bit of a chore. Junel and I took a bus to the bottom of Calton Hill and walked up to see the Greek monuments and Nelson Monument.

Originally to be a National Monument, the unfinished "Parthenon." (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

View overlooking Princes St. from Calton Hill. Note Edinburgh Castle in the background. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

It was raining and so we decided to go the National Gallery. Junel had gone before with the Taylors, but I hadn't had a chance to see it yet. Fabulous collection of paintings -- some nice Impressionists and also Renaissance artists. We probably spent a good three hours or so in there.

Sir Henry Raeburn's "The Rev. Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch," from the National Gallery of Scotland. (Courtesy Allposters.com.)

Then we were getting hungry so we hiked up to the Mile and had lunch at Deacon Brodie's. Some say he was the inspiration for the character of Dr. Jekyll in Stevenson's novella. Walked around stalling for time before our last show tonight. I'm sure the cast we'll be bummed out we're leaving.

Looking forward to Ireland, though I don't know what the internet access will be like there. I may not be able to get on as often, but I do hope to continue the blog. I'd eventually like to add some pictures too when I get back. Time's about up. Better sign off.


Finally Saw the Castle

Edinburgh Castle at night. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Junel and I had missed the Edinburgh Castle tour that the rest of the group took the first Monday we arrived, so we took it today. In my opinion Stirling Castle was a lot neater. There are some nice views of the city and Arthur's Seat, and we did get to see the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny. However, the exhibits that showed Scottish history seemed a little too Disneyesque for both of us.

The National Gallery, Scott Monument, Calton Hill, and the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh Castle. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

After that we walked down the Royal Mile a little ways and down Lady Stairs Close to the Writer's Museum. There they have exhibits for three famous Scottish writers, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Being a Jekyll and Hyde fan, the Stevenson section was of great interest.

The Writer's Museum, Lady Stairs Close. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Lisa Wilson (who was also in Tahoe Arts' production of Jekyll), the daughter of a good friend of ours, Cindy Wilson Sabatini, is also at the Fringe with a group of actors from UNLV and Liverpool. She had come to see Lysistrata's War on one of the first nights we performed and we wanted to see her show.

Rigged was a high energy, improvisatory piece of physical theatre. A bit abstract for me, but the energy of the cast was infectious, parts were very funny, and they attacked each piece with gusto -- very entertaining.

After that we caught lunch at The Tass on the Mile and then walked to the Fringe Press Office. There they gave me some info to try track down the Tempos Novos review. If I get a copy, I'll certainly post it. However, it may be in Spanish. We picked up a couple of souvenirs at one of those "trendy" shops on the Mile. I got a yellow Scottish rugby jersey with a red lion on it, and Junel got a real pretty sporran -- or as I call it, a Scottish fanny pack.

After the show tonight AIFS is buying us dinner at the Atlas Restaurant. Then we have to be out of our flats by 10:00 am tomorrow morning. A bus picks up our luggage and takes it to new accommodations, we have all day to do any last minute shows, shopping, or sightseeing. Then we do the show and the bus picks us up to take us to the new accommodations. Most of the cast will only get about three hours of sleep before another bus comes to take them to the airport for the trip home.

Of course, Dave, Teresa, Junel, and I will be taking a later flight to Ireland for a week long bike trip along the western coast. I know everyone will be sorry to leave it's been such a great experience.


Bus Trip to Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel exterior with its protective "skin." (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Pam, Junel, and I got up at 8:30 to walk to the bus station and catch a bus down to Roslin where the Rosslyn Chapel and Castle of Da Vinci Code fame is located.

Rosslyn Chapel interior. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

I made sure I faxed the two documents to my realtor and we took off. I had been interested in trying to get there as soon as I found out this whole Edinburgh trip was a go. The Chapel was built in the 1400s and has tons of intricate stone carvings, many with Templar and Masonic significance.

The Apprentice's Pillar, Rosslyn Chapel. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

We got there in time to join the 11:15 tour. The guide was very knowledgeable and it was helpful to have him point out all the significant carvings and expound on the history of the place.

Carving of an angel playing the bagpipes, Rosslyn Chapel. (2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

There is an interesting spiritual kind of energy about the place. We then walked down to the castle ruins and looked around and took a few pictures. Very cool.

Junel and I at the Rosslyn Castle ruins. Thanks, Pam. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

After that we were getting hungry so we stopped at the Roslin Glen Hotel and had a delicious and leisurely lunch. As we finished the bus was pulling up so we jumped back on for the short trip back to Edinburgh.

Junel and I enjoying a couple of pints at the Roslin Glen Hotel. Note the picture of the Chapel in the upper right hand corner. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Stopped at the C Venues office and found out that supposedly Tempos Novos had a review of our show. We just can't seem to locate it. We saw Tom, Luise, and Corey standing in line to see a play there and chatted with them for a little while.

Last night the show had better energy. There were a few people in the audience from The Fix. Many of our cast members have seen there show so I think that helped. We are expecting bigger audiences tonight and through Saturday.

UPDATE (8/12/2005): Rosalia Rodriguez-Vazquez from Tempos Novos emailed me apologizing for not making the show to review it. Apparently she had car trouble.


Train trip to Stirling

At 10:05 this morning Dave, Kurt, Nikki, Chris, Pam, Tom, Louise, Joe, Nicole, Rasmus, John, Junel and I (Hope I didn't miss anyone.) jumped on a train at Haymarket Station and took a one hour ride to Stirling. When we got there we broke up and went our separate ways. Dave was waiting for Teresa to return from a short trip she had taken up to Aberdeen. Junel and I took the city bus tour. Not only is there a beautiful castle in Stirling (that we saw), but it is also the site of the Wallace National Monument which we climbed all the way (246 stairs) to the top.

Stirling Castle from the top of the Wallace Monument. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

At the castle there is a lot of restoration going on. Junel and I had lunch at the cafe there and then toured the Great Hall and the Palace. We also got to see the Arthur's Knot, a candidate for the legendary Round Table, but in reality the remains of a 17th c. garden.

The Great Hall, Stirling Castle. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Main Palace at Stirling Castle. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Arthur's Knot, from Stirling Castle. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Got some really good ice cream and then caught the bus going out to the Wallace National Monument. After Junel and I had climbed to the top and shot some great pictures of the panoramic view, we met up with Matt, Kurt, Nikki, Chris and Pam coming up as we were walking down.

Zoom on the Wallace Monument from Stirling Castle. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

The author near the base of the Wallace Monument. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Did a little more shopping for souvenirs and then headed back to the train station for the ride back to Edinburgh.

I made a beeline for the Copyshop because I am expecting some faxes from my realtor. As luck would have it I sold my house and bought another one in the valley the week before we left.

Well, that's about all for now. Need to get back to the flat and get ready for tonight's show. At least it is sunny out now. It tends to rain right around 3 pm. More later.....

one4review.com review

One4review.com finally posted their review of the show. Go Shannon, Melanie, and Jessica:

Lysistrata’s War

Cast of Lysistrata's War promoting the show on the Royal Mile.

Lake Tahoe Community College present Lysistrata's War. Demonstrations against wars are as prevalent today as ever. This show merges Greek tragedy, rock music and modern photographs of atrocities.

The Athenians and Spartans are at constant war, and apart from the wasteful killings, life is difficult for all. After a poignant nightmare Lysistrata, an Athenian woman, comes up with a plan to stop the war and bring the men home. As well as occupying the treasury stopping the flow of cash to the front, she persuades all the women of both nations to withhold all sexual favours to the men. This causes havoc and turns the ruling body against her. Will she succeed? Will the women hold out? Will the men stand for it.

The college have cast the show to the performers abilities and Shannon Dolan as Lysistrata holds the piece together well. Other performances worth noting are Melanie Zeid as an Athenian woman and Jesssica Howell as a Spartan woman.

The show is very interesting, well performed, beautifully costumed and they use the space in a constructive way.

(3 Stars)

Fringe Programme page number; 122
Company; Lake Tahoe Community College
VenueC Too St Columba's by the Castle
Venue number 4
Dates August 4th to 13th
Times 20-50 (8-50pm) to 22-10 (10-10pm)


Not much new news

The show went pretty well last night, though Shannon was a little sore from a stumble she had taken. In order to let her rest, Dave, Rhonda, Matt, Tom, Melanie and I went to The Lot where they had a showcase called Best of the Festival Musicals going for all of the musicals at the Fringe. We did a couple of numbers -- "At the Front" and "I Miss You." The only hitch was that I had to sing Will Austin's part because we couldn't get ahold of him in time.

The Lot (left) and a favorite cast hangout, the Black Bull (right). (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Houses have been pretty decent and the audiences have been very responsive. No more new reviews yet. I'll post them as we they come in and we find them.

5 shows down -- 5 to go.


Last Night's Show

Energy was a little low last night. The cast still did a great job and I doubt the audience (who has never seen the show before) would know, but we could tell in general they seemed a little off. We weren't as consistently tight on musical entrances either, so I think we will have to give them a little bit of a pep talk. I hope they do not feel discouraged by the review, it really is only one person's opinion.

A few of us are fighting off colds and Nikki had a little bit of a stomach thing going. I'm betting that today most of us will take a break or not do quite as much sight seeing. Rosslyn Chapel and Edinburgh Castle are still on my list and of course, there are shows galore.

Most of the cast now speaks with a Scottish accent (myself included). It was kind of funny that a few days ago a man riding in a car actually rolled down his window to yell in a Scottish accent to Junel and I, "Air ya frum here?" I don't know how disappointed he was when I replied, "Uhn-uh, sorry," in my nonexistent Iowa accent.

I feel bad that somehow John Frederick's and Liz Tomkinson's names got left off of the program. He is playing Leander, she is playing Galatea, and I'm not sure how they got overlooked. So my apologies, John and Liz, and keep up the good work. John actually organized getting a DVD shot of the production. I haven't spoken with him yet on how we can get it converted so that it will play in the US. More on that later.

Well, I should get back to the flat and figure out the plan for the day.

Scotsman Review

The review by The Scotsman was in this morning's paper. The lady wasn't quite as complimentary as the reviewer for Three Weeks (which we sort of expected), but she really liked Matt and Rhonda. Comparing ours with others I've read, I would say we came out well and it should help our houses.

Mon 8 Aug 2005

Lysistrata's War



BASED on Aristophanes' comedy, this is a fun, feisty production by Lake Tahoe Community College. Sparta and Athens are at war; everyone's tired of it, especially the women. What can they do to bring peace? Lysistrata has the answer: withhold the one thing their men can't live without. Sex.

This company aren't the best singers in the world but they make up for it in pace and attitude. The score, although simply arranged, has some catchy tunes and the cast attack it with gusto, if not with absolute accuracy. Songs such as On Top add a cheeky edge while more worthy efforts propound the relentless message that war is an exercise in hypocrisy.

The real stars of the show are Rhonda Keen, in the role of Calonice, and Matt Ault as Philo, Calonice's husband. Their storyline provides a darker edge to the plot and, while Keen's singing is leagues ahead of everyone else's, Ault is the most convincing actor on the stage.

Until 13 August. Today 8.50pm


Oh, found this....

This review was on the Fringe website (I think by an audience member):

(5 Stars) Lysistrata's War 07 Aug 2005

reviewer: Ian Cameron, Scotland

Excellent musical production by enthusiastic group. Their message on war was as appropriate today as in previous conflicts. Comedy, acting, music and production first class.

Catching up

I think all the activity is catching up to some of the cast. I've been feeling a little under the weather today and I know Rhonda and Melonie have been fighting off colds as well. Melonie also had a little accident with her foot the night before our first preview. From what I heard someone had accidentally stepped on the back of her flip-flop and she stumbled and cut the inside of her toe. She had to go to the emergency room and get stitches. From what Teresa said it makes me thankful for our health care system in the States. She is all right now and has been doing a great job.

Matt and a few of the others thanked me for blogging and said their parents and relatives had been following the trip on the blog. I asked them how they had heard about it and apparently they had seen the article in the Tribune where there is a link to the Lysistrata's War website which also has a link to this blog.

Josh Jessup also wrote a nice email saying he had been following the trip on the blog and asked me to pass on a picture to Shannon. She wasn't too pleased, however, when I shared it with the rest of the cast, but it was so cute I couldn't resist. It was Dave Andersen's birthday yesterday, so his wife and daughter, Linda and Rachel, put together a little surprise party for him. Great sandwiches!

I thought the show went quite well last night, though I think I persuaded Dave to have Kurt bump up the background music tonight a little more in the first half. The trio with Matt, Will, and Tom (the new song "At the Front - Until You Stop the War Reprise") was the best it has sounded yet. The harmonies are difficult and a little tricky at the end. We had our biggest audience yet, so I think the word is starting to get out. Shannon has been consistently right on and I am very proud of the cast. The competition here is stiff, but I think our show holds it own against the others.

Shannon Dolan as Lysistrata. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Junel and the Taylors went to the National Gallery on Princes St. Hopefully I'll get a chance to stop in there before we leave. It looks great in the guidebook. Would also love to get to Eilean Donan Castle, but since that is up near the Isle of Skye it's doubtful we would have time to get up there and back for the show. Still checking on that. Dave mentioned about taking the train up to Stirling, so that may be in the cards soon.

I wasn't able to find the Scotsman review yet, but I will post it when I do. I also noticed that Reuters had an article, "Terrorism is the hot topic at Edinburgh's Fringe," though they didn't mention us. Oh well.... I did find our press release and some other info at the C Venues site.

Rhonda Keen and Jeff Whitt are going tonight after the show to a Fringe press event. Apparently we could send two representatives from our show there to schmooze with the press and Dave figured that Jeff and Rhonda would do the best job. Hmmmm....

It's been an awesome experience so far. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself to realize that, yes, I really am in Scotland doing our show at the Fringe, and not in some Disneyland fantasy world.


UPDATE: Three Weeks Review

Just found this review at the Three Weeks website:
Lysistrata’s War

Lake Tahoe Community College

A cast of both young and old work in harmony to address the senselessness of war amidst the power of love in this vibrant adaptation. Professional singing, dancing, miming and acting is headed by an impressive Shannon Dolan as the 'Athenian ladies’ leader, Lysistrata. Clever and punchy modern lyrics are delivered perfectly to the tune of popular melodies and with a fashionable Athenian wardrobe in a show that engulfs an hour and twenty minutes in the best way possible. The Greek world of corrupt politicians and ongoing war makes a relevant commentary on the terrorism that threatens society today, a message helped by a clever use of multimedia, giving a surprising sting in the tail. One warning: sex is the word!

C too, 4 - 13 Aug, 8:50pm (10:10pm), £8.50 (£7.50), fpp 122

tw rating: 4/5


Sabbath - A Day of Rest (Except for the show tonight)

Last night the 2nd preview went a lot smoother, which was good since there was a reviewer from The Scotsman and a good review from them would help our houses tremendously. After the show we stayed at the venue to watch the show that is after ours, Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht's Three Penny Opera (Remember "Mack the Knife?" It is from this show.) . The cast from Cambridge University was quite solid, though we were so tired from climbing Arthur's Seat that we were almost nodding off near the end. It was also quite warm in the theatre.

Today we slept in late, I did some laundry and a little grocery shopping. Our posters did arrive yesterday, so the cast is out on the Royal Mile today putting them up and talking up the show, handing out flyers, etc. Some of the girls went in costume and were going to do "On Top." (See picture below.) If that doesn't help bring in an audience nothing will.

I have also been emailing some of the media to see if they will review our show. So I should probably sign off for now, so I can get that done.


Arthur's Seat

The Crags and Arthur's Seat from Edinburgh Castle. Note spire of Tollbooth Kirk on the left. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Last night the preview went well. Only a couple of small memory glitches; the tech went rather well. We had a reviewer there from Three Weeks. It will be interesting to hear what she has to say. Though it probably won't come out until next Tuesday or so. We also got our flyers from the printer so now we can hand them out wherever we go. Still waiting for word on the posters.

Chris and Pam Taylor at the top of Arthur's Seat. View to the SW. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

Today Pam, Chris, Nikki, Junel and I climbed up to the top of Arthur's Seat. The 360 degree views were spectacular. The weather was great most of the time, though we had a tiny little shower for about half an hour. We got some nice pictures and then headed back. We had a late lunch at a cafe on the Royal Mile and then headed home.

Junel and I at Arthur's Seat. Note Edinburgh Castle in the upper left corner. Thanks Nikki. (©2005, Williams/Bacigalupo.)

I came to blog a little and I think Junel was going to lie down for a little nap. Another preview tonight, but I think we'll lay low tomorrow and just relax. All that sight seeing wears you out.