Monday, August 14, 2006

Flying to Columbus and the ICWP Retreat

In the air-- and on the way to Ohio--but not before troubles. Orbitz called at 10 something to say that my flight would be on time, and then called as we were heading out the door to say---? I couldn't figure out how to retrieve the voice mail until we were on the Turnpike headed for the airport, and then discovered that the call was "flight cancelled". Next we saw a turnpike sign saying that the tunnel was closed-- the weekend paper had said that it was opened to the airport, BIG DIG collapse notwithstanding. So we don't know whether to go or not, or whether we can get there if we do go! David gets off the turnpike at the South Station exit, hoping to thread his way either to the airport or home if "cancelled" means nothing for hours and we should wait at home till further notice. I try to thread my way through Orbitz or USAirways voicemail to find out what I'm supposed to do about my cancelled flight. South Station is surrounded by police and fire trucks, and all the people are being herded away from the building. A bomb? Train wreck? Boston City Lockdown? Are the train and air problems connected? Nothing on the news station or elsewhere on the radio. Struck in traffic gridlock, I have enough time to reach a human being after a long thread through "push 3" instructions, and the human tells us to continue toward the airport where passengers whose flights were cancelled will be re-routed. I end up on a NYC shuttle leaving half an hour after my scheduled flight, connecting at LaGuardia for Columbus. That connection is TIGHT. The shuttle lands early, but the airport congestion is such that it sits on the runway for half an hour waiting to be cleared for the terminal, and I arrive at my flight gate right before takeoff. The maddening extra security precautions that are supposedly causing the delays don't seem to be in force-- the clerks at the desks do not ask to see my ID. I show it anyway. On the other hand, the screener has me take it out of my wallet and holds it up for intense scrutiny while I wonder what she's looking at. Red hair, glasses?-- I'm back to the haircut I wore 10 years ago when the picture was taken. It looked younger than I really looked when it was taken, and is now even less plausible when compared to my birth date--- but the resemblance is pretty close: it could be a photo of my daughter, or younger sister. Or is she checking to see if I live in a "safe" zip code? Anyway, I'm waved aboard. Since I've rushed onto the plane, I never got to check out the passengers to see if any look like potential Women Playwrights, going where I'm going. There could be 3 on this flight-- women coming from somewhere and scheduled for arrival at about the same time I was supposed to be flying in from Philadelphia on a different plane: Alan Woods sent an email saying he'd pick up 4 of us together about 5:30. Th 50 seat plane is only about half full, and most passengers are men. The few women seem to be in the back, and I glance at them to see if any look like I think an ICPW sister-lister might look. I have a "suspect" or two. If we'd been waiting in the terminal, I might have walked right up to the woman and asked if she were headed to the Retreat--- but it's not a graceful thing to do, schrunched into a bucket seat 30,000 feet in the air.

I brought material to work on, both catch-up stuff and notes and documents for the play or plays I'm planning to work on. But there hasn't been much uninterrupted time. I expected to sit around and wait, but instead it's been brusts of activity catching up to the new travel arrangements. All I've done is read the opinion section of the Sunday Globe and half of the current issue of The Nation. We're ten minutes from ETA-- but then the wait in the plane at LaGuardia for at least 45 minutes-- was that figured in when they announced the ETA? I think i just heard the plane make that "ding" that indicates a change of altitude, though-- so maybe we are really about to land....,

At the baggage area I didn't see Alan or anybody who looked as if they might be sent by Alan. I saw a uniformed man in the baggage area and asked advice: he asked if I want to have Alan paged-- which I did. Not long afterwards Alan came strolling in-- a very welcome sight. He radiates beneficence. Alan said that he was trying to find out when and where Carolyn Gage's fight would arrive, and we set about doing some detective work. We used my computer to get to the email with Carolyn's info: well, that's one good reason for lugging it back and forth! Her flight was listed as at 6:20 pm, and, though it was barely 6pm, as "arrived". So we scrutinized the deplaning passengers at the gate and baggage area, trying to guess what Carolyn would look like based on the pictures on her web site-- we guessed right!. On to check in at the dorm, and then, a wee bit late, to the 7pm reading of the work the others, earlier arrived, had accomplished Monday. No sooner had I settled into my chair when Vicky Cheatwood gave me a wonderful comic monologue to read: Real Dallas Woman. I'm afraid I did it in Generic Southern instead of Dallas accent: there wasn't time to think or ask for an example to follow. Several familiar faces among the readers: mostly from the Senior Theatre project.

Very tired after the readings, but unable to resist the "pajama party" with The Girls. When we gather together at whatever age for a PJ party, we revert to The Girls. Lots of catching up to do. I was so delighted to see Mags MacSeveny, one of the inspirational people on the planet and definitely our Fearless Leader. I hadn't seen her since Edinburgh about 6 years ago, but her voice and presence are so central to the ICWP list that I can't help but feel close to her. Vicky was even more of a fireball than at the previous retreat. She had an event scheduled for Thursday back in Texas, and was testing and refining the material to be read at it under the pressure of that deadline. Carolyn had a deadline, too. Not only was she doing a Workshop presentation, but her play about an opera singer with body issues was the main public event of the ICWP program, with a script in hand performance Saturday night. She'd be rehearsing.


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