This one time at Utahshakes

Don’t worry, this isn’t about an earthquake (though those have been hitting my old stomping grounds in Southern California, as you may know). One of my side jobs is that I am a reviewer for Front Row Reviewers, a non-profit organization that works pretty much non-stop to promote arts of every kind. It’s a job I genuinely love because it gives me a huge excuse to write about my non-fictional passions and have experiences I’d never even considered. I’m also privileged to be a member of their board, which has even more fun things to experience.

June was a very busy month for reviewing, starting with Angels in America and ending with RENT, both of which I have never seen performed in person and which are sobering and moving pieces about the AIDS crisis. (In RENT, I knew from experience of loving the music that I would cry during one song, but I didn’t expect to start weeping at the beginning of that scene and not be able to stop until three songs later.)

Then, four days later, I packed my roommate, our suitcases, lots of food, and my laptop bag into her car and we drove to Cedar City for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. I had plans to go to Macbeth and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on the 4th of July, and then drive back early on the 5th after going to a couple of seminars. Well, the Sunday before we left, Katey mentioned to a friend that she really wished we could have seen Hamlet as well. Best timing ever occurred that night when the CEO discovered that it would be best if she could find someone else to review Hamlet and The Book of Will on the 5th. I walked into the living room while still on the phone and just said, “You know, I’m still going to be there and don’t have to be at work until noon on the 6th, so I could absolutely talk to my roommate about seeing Hamlet. I don’t think she’d mind.” Said roommate was stifling laughter in the background, but I was not being manipulative at all. I was just genuinely happy to help out my boss who needed a show covered and my roommate who had decided it wasn’t worth staying around for Hamlet because it would be hard to get tickets. We wound up seeing both shows that day, each with some fantastically memorable things, and driving back at 11 p.m.

But while we were down there, we got even more lucky. Our tickets were all set up by a very nice guy named Tyler. When we got to the box office, they had some trouble finding our reservation, so he came out to resolve it and say hello to us, then asked if we had enough time to go on a guided tour with him. We got to see the costume shop for the festival, talked about shows we would be seeing and questions we had as well as getting to see the stage for Macbeth from above. It was the perfect way to kick off two days at the festival.

Tomorrow marks 5 weeks before I finish serving as a hosting missionary and things are getting very real. I got my schedule changed back to 5 days a week at work, effective September 3. I started counting down 40 memories of working at Temple Square. I bought plane tickets to Boston for two weeks after I turn in my church employee tag on August 16. (My best friend’s kids call me Auntie Kaki and the oldest one is turning 10 over Labor Day weekend. He doesn’t know that on August 30, Auntie Kaki will be arriving at his house to spend the whole long weekend with his family.)

I’ll be posting several times this weekend, most notably some things that I’ve been exploring for my current work-in-progress, but also some things I learned about storytelling from Shakespeare and other writing geniuses.

But for now, I’m going to bed.

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