21 May 2009
Well here I am back in Boise, Idaho – seems like I haven’t been away, since I was last here in March. The weather is beautiful sunny and about 25 degrees Celsius. It can get very hot here, but it is a dry heat and more bearable than the UK or the East Coast of the US.
I have started rehearsing ‘The Comedy of Errors’ for the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and so far so good. The other actors are great, friendly and warm; actors are generally the same the world over and are good people to be with. The rest of the Company is also lovely and it does seem like one big happy family.
The Festival has been going about thirty years and many of the people have been with it for a long time. Regional theatre is doing well in the US, but the recession is hitting hard and many may close with the lack of funding on which they depend. The funding is almost all corporate, so the situation sadly speaks for itself.
The play itself is terrific, funny and fun. This production is set in Rio de Janiero in Mardis Gras, modern times. So it’s loud and lively. I am enjoying the rehearsals a lot. The whole cast is on stage at the beginning, dancing and singing and dance practice was rather exhausting and I thought I was in pretty good shape. Still – we have some real dancers in the cast and most of the actors are a bit younger than I am, but I am determined to keep up! Puff, puff.
The standard of acting is very high. I gather that much of the best of the American theatre work is now regional. It is wonderful to be back on stage again and doing Shakespeare, something I had frankly not expected to happen again. I certainly could not have imagined it two or three years ago, as Managing Director sitting at my desk, making sales calls, struggling with the family business, accounts, overdrafts and employee issues.
About that time, we were about to lose our 10 year prized contract to supply CERN- the European Organisation for Nuclear Particle Physics. We had had the contract to supply bi-lingual office staff to CERN in Geneva for a long time and they were now able to use local suppliers in France and Switzerland which was not the case when our company beat the competition, to win the contract. It was a wonderful 10 years and I made regular visits to Geneva, mainly to keep a good will presence and I met many great people working there, from the top to the bottom.
CERN appears in ‘Angels and Demons’ the book and I am about to go to see the film and will be interested to see if CERN is still in the story. CERN is just outside Geneva and has a massive approximate 8 mile long tunnel built underneath it and part of the city. This is where the Hadron Collider is based. I was taken to see the Collider and it really is the real stuff of science at the cutting edge – amazing. I was also lucky to be taken down into the tunnel, where this sort of train hurtles around at great speed, all in aid of re-creating the Big Bang. Most of it is well above my head, but I was very proud that our small company had worked there and made some contribution. Our contract workers were very popular and were known as the Merrow mafia! Many stayed in Geneva, some at CERN and some got married and stayed. It was a fascinating piece of my life.
And now I am in another fascinating stage and able to see the familyand work at the same time in the career that I love. Who could ask for anything more?
More anon dear readers.