Sunday, November 26, 2006

Battling in Gettysburg

We did our show in the Majestic Theatre, Gettysburg, yesterday, and the theatre itself presented some very unique challenges. The stage was a full story lower than the loading dock, so we had to unload our truck into an elevator, bring the elevator down to the stage, and then unload the elevator again to get everything into place. But in the midst of all of this fun, two items (the lighting towers and a large truss piece) did not fit in the elevator, so we can to carry them around the building and bring them in a side door. And then when we had to load out, we drove the truck down a narrow gravel path near a set of train tracks to make it easier to load those pieces in again. We had a good crew, and they were very hardworking. Erica, our costume maven, actually sewed a new hood to replace the one that was lost, but the material that we gave her to use is a little thicker than the rest of the hoods. As a result, we have one grape-colored hood (the Grape Ape) that is much warmer than the others, with limited visibility. But at least it fits.

After the show, we rounded up the gang and wandered down the street to join the historic Ghosts of Gettysburg walking tour. As luck would have it, we got into literally the last tour of the year; they re-open again in March. For the next two hours, we walked around downtown Gettysburg, mostly across the Gettysburg College campus, leaning about the ghosts and legends of the old buildings. A lot of them were about soliders taken to field hospitals during the battle, but there were a few that had nothing to do with the Civil War.

One legend tells of a star-crossed young couple who planned to commit suicide by plunging from a bell tower together. When it came time to jump, the girl leapt to her death but the boy changed his mind. Now, men claim to have seen a beautiful white whispy creature on the top of the bell tower, trying to lure a young man to join her forever in the afterlife. The legend of the Blue Boy involves a 12-year old runaway from a local orphanage being hidden by girls at Gettysburg College. When a random room search threatened the boy, the girls hid him on the third story window ledge on a cold December night, promising to bring him in when the inspection was over. The head mistress, however, took all the girls to the first floor office for some additional investigation, and when the girls returned to their room and opened the window, the boy was nowhere to be found. They searched the ground beneath the window, but no trace of him was ever found. Over the next generations, people claim to have seen a young boy outside the window, colored a ghostly blue as if from servere exposure to the cold. One girl even saw a message written on the outside of the window - "Help Me."

The tour itself was okay. Our guide wasn't particularly memorable or exciting, and some of the stories lacked a little bit of punch that would have greatly improved them. But it was a great way to spend the night, bundled against the cold and literally clinging to each other for warmth. After the tour, most everyone hit the hay, but I, Andrew, and Erica (who had joined us from the theatre) went out for a quick hot chocolate and some more conversation. We're about to leave for Burlington VT this morning, and I'm still trying to confirm our hotel reservations for tonight. I think I may have spoken to this theatre already, but I have no notes of it. In any case, it'll be quite a drive to get up there.

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