First of all, I can’t believe you’re reading this. I must congratulate you on reading The Most Boring Title Ever given a blog and still giving it a shot. Thank you. I will make this worth your time, wink-wink. Why yes, that WAS a cheap stunt intended to lure you in with Faux Sexy…
As the non-exciting title strongly suggests, I am in La Crosse, Wisconsin for the tour equivalent of a one-night stand. These are the groaners on the schedule…you drive into town, perform one show, and drive away before 24 hours are up. Unpacking Unnecessary.
“The theatre is so endlessly fascinating because it’s so accidental. It’s so much like life.” ~Arthur Miller, Playwright
But it’s become a cliche. Always, it’s these one-night stands in one-horse towns that provide a real revelation… the most evocative half-frozen lakes, the funkiest bookstores, the funniest storefronts, the kinds of coffeehouses Starbucks only wishes it was.
We pull in and there is Lots o’ Snow. This worries Tropical Me, but when I step out, it is “only” 40 degrees and refreshing. The town beckons me with an impossibly picturesque assortment of art galleries and candy shops and enough bars to make me think that maybe everyone in town owns one.
Speaking of owning, I find a Bakery on this old-timey Main Streety looking area, and IT’S FOR SALE! In an instant, I’m that sitcom character who flies into Small Town USA for “one night only” and ends up buying a bakery To Get Away From It All and Start Over except she doesn’t actually know how to bake and almost sets the place on fire in a cookie meltdown. My friend suggests my Kooky Big City Baker Character meet the Ruggedly Handsome Owner of the Local Hardware Store who runs in to put out the fire (because he’s the town’s volunteer fireman) and to fix her oven (because he’s the only one with parts), but I think my husband would be discomfited at this romance. Unless, of course, I cast HIM in the role of the Ruggedly Handsome Owner of the Local Hardware Store Whose Eyes Disguise a Secret Past about to Catch Up With Him. SEE?! SEE what this place is doing to me?!?
I’ve included a photograph of this TV Sitcom-Inspiring Bakery for sale. Does it not speak to you??? Is it just me then?
Another Imagination-Captivation locale is The Bookstore with all manner of book stacked up to the ceiling that I feel should be staffed by wizards. The Bookstore is attached to an über-cool coffee house with an ostentatious scone that inappropriately ogles me the entire time I wait for my carb-appropriate espresso.
But the piéce de résistance is the carb-inappropriate Ice Cream and Candy Shop, which is directly in front of my hotel window. If Hollywood was casting a Candy Shop, this would be IT… every kind of sugary thing in square glass jars piled high on wooden shelves.
All this lifts my spirits, which need lifting, because I cannot perform tonight. Or last night. Or tomorrow night. Because I Am Broken. This is an only-slightly dramatic way of saying my pinky toe was violently cracked in a rehearsal incident, hobbling me for a week of performances. So now, it’s Pain versus Boredom in the Battle to see Which Is Worse. And because I feel sorry for myself – which is a dreadful thing to do which I shouldn’t be doing but is nevertheless exactly what I’m doing – I am happy to let visions of sugarplums distract me from the fact that after this outing, it’s back to the hotel for another long, quiet night.
Almost showtime and I look out the window at the now-illuminated candy shop to realize the street has come alive. People are walking, shopping, ice-creaming, and yes, about to go to the theatre. I never get to see them, our theatre-goers, before they enter our world. I find myself imagining their excitement at the evening ahead… a big Broadway show comes to La Crosse, Wisconsin on a Monday night and routines everywhere come to a screeching halt. At least for 2600 townspeople, which is how many seats we sold tonight.
Two and a half hours later, I watch them again from my hotel window as they leave. I try to decipher how much they enjoyed the show from their gaits. But I can’t tell. Perhaps they have to go attend to their bars now.
Will Eileen ever dance again? Frozen feet have got no rhythm? Will she buy a bakery? Don’t miss a thrilling development! Subscribe to her blog at: eileenfaxas.com/EF/Blog/Blog.html. It’s fun & free!