Saturday, February 26, 2011

First Day: Plane Ride, Morning Call, HONO, Magazine Street, Communal Cooking, and Rehearsal!

Our day begins at 2:45... am. Whisked to the airport by the almost certain speeding of Super Shuttle, we arrive at JFK with no headaches, but a large desire to sleep. Needless to say, we continue our sleeping on the plane - wide mouthed and leaning on one another. Once we land however, we quickly grab our bags, and head into the blissful warm air with new found energy. Mitch and Patrick begin an impromptu cello performance and various lines of Maya Angelou are spoken between actors while the group waits for the next leg of travel.

Up roll two large vans in which we manage to pack all of our luggage (the efficient use of limited trunk space would make Dads everywhere proud) and ourselves. Immediately after, we race to Morning Call, the local hotspot for beignets and frozen cafe au lait. Sufficiently overloaded with sugar, we head to Hands On New Orleans (HONO), our humble abode for the week.

The house is beautiful. We quickly realize that we have the good fortune of being the only group occupying this house which is four blocks away from the trolley (the easiest way to get to the French Quarter), and a coffee shop - both of which are ideal living circumstances for artists.

After a quick meeting to re-group and plan the rest of the day, we agree on a voyage to Magazine Street. Two hours of walking at a humane pace, not bumping into busy New Yorkers pining for their next fix of caffeine, does wonders.

Out of this serenity comes a run to Walmart and Whole Foods to get our supplies for the next three days of cooking. The culinary maestros of the evening prepared a very satisfying pasta with meat sauce, mixed salad, and a healthy portion of Texas Toast (which Natasha found to be the highlight of the meal). The dessert? A slice of King Cake, a tradition for the locals of New Orleans around carnival time - or Mardi Gras.

Then, off to what we do best: rehearsals. With a performance tomorrow morning, all the divisions split up and then came together one on one to develop a program for the First St. United Methodist Church. With Macy tapping in her socks (so as not to disturb our neighbors below), Samora jamming out on his melodica, Kerry (an actress) learning choreography from Evan (the dancer Evan), it is clear that artistic expression is brewing at HONO.

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