Web Exclusives: On the Campus...

January 30 , 2002:
On the road again
Taking the annual Triangle show to the hinterlands

By Zachary Pincus-Roth '02



5:45 a.m., depart McCarter Theater, Tour Manager Lindsey Mantoan '03 at the helm. Sleep on bus while leaning on seatmate, known in Triangle as "grogging." Arrive Carnegie Mellon University. Unload sets, lights, props, tools, instruments, sound equipment from truck. Truck driver Angelo smokes first of many cigarettes. In boys' dressing room, tour's first game of Mafia (generally, players try to figure out which of them the moderator has secretly tapped to be murderers). Show. Load everything back into truck. Adam Gitlin '03 directs traffic, holding map of where things go. Jews in the company light a menorah. David Turner '02: "Whose birthday is it?"


Meet 5:30 a.m. for seven-hour bus ride. Semicircular thrust stage at the Christian Theological Seminary juts out into audience. Orchestra sets up behind an upstage curtain. 5:00 p.m. company meeting spent figuring out how to know when to begin singing with conductor invisible. Ritual: Costume crew puts name tags next to each actor's changing area, but renames them according to daily theme. Today is Disney characters day. Iris Blasi '03 is "Cruella De Vil." More Mafia. Drummer Dan Siegfried '05, during pre-how alumni dinner: "David's stuck over there talking with a 400-year-old woman." Eric Bland '02: "That's his grandma."

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 16

Arrive, Ladue Horton Watkins High School, Production Manager Katie Grzenczyk '02's alma mater. Star Wars characters day in dressing rooms. Zach Goldstein '05 is C3PO. David Mesrobian '05 searches in vain for his goat costume. Uses Kelly Murphy '03's rhino outfit instead.

Alum, at postshow reception: "Princeton was the best decision I ever made. Including my wife."

Seniors get night off. Some play 1984 Disney version of Trivial Pursuit at Katie's house. Eric, Rob Draper '02, and I wait for taxi at Peter Kidd '02's twin brother's Washington University dorm. Cab driver to riverboat President Casino says someone once won $10,000 and his cabbie killed him. At 2:30 a.m. I leave blackjack, walk to Gateway Arch. Eric wins $160 in poker. Returning cab driver: "I keeps a gun rack on every door." Driver again: "So, that Jeffrey Dahmer was a crazy guy, huh?"

Lia Romeo *03's alum host: "Are you hosting any kids"

Another alum: "No."

Lia's host: "Oh, you're so lucky"


Arrive Pembroke Hill School. Draper wins big in preshow poker. Virginia Pourakis '05 and Chaya Litvack '05 comb wigs. Diseases day. Kristen Smith '03 is "Salmonella." Audience member has drunken, howling laugh.

DALLAS, Dec. 18

10-hour bus ride. Watch Voices, a documentary about champion barbershop quartets. Bus driver Gary announces his wife has floppy breasts. Arrive Ramada Inn for night off. Cab to Deep Ellum, nightlife area. Some end up at a jazz club called The Bone, some down Southern Comfort and Long Island Ice Teas at Orchid Bar, some see Nikka Costa perform at Trees. Everyone returns to Ramada for merriment and flirting. Jesse plays guitar and we all sing "Brown-eyed Girl" and "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard." We know the words but we don't know the order in which they come.

DALLAS, Dec. 19

Show at Southern Methodist University sells out. Only one spotlight (other's broken). George W. Bush jokes bomb. Act I's closing curtain comes down too early, leaving Becky Farbstein '04 in front of it when house lights turn on for intermission. David Turner performs Beowulf rap from show at party in Plano.

One host, stopped at a blinking yellow light for a full minute: "One time I was driving, and my son was furious with me because I saw the light change three times and the guy behind me yelled 'Lady, you haven't gotten a color you like yet?' and I thought it was so hilarious that I just kept laughing and daydreaming. (Two-minute pause.) So I was in Estonia last fall."


A TV screen is embedded into front of the stage, so actors can see conductor. Girls have to walk through guys' dressing rooms to reach stage. "Places They're Likely To Have Sex" day. Cara Sheffler '04 is "Vatican Museum." Liz Greenberg '02 heats up "goop," a lemon juice and honey concoction that helps sore throats sing. Show performed almost completely without microphones — theater is intimate and mike feedback has been recent problem. Jeff Vinikoor '03 and I stay with a gay couple.

HOUSTON, Dec. 21

People play football in Rice University quad while others sit on grass and gossip. I dive for a pass onto a concrete walkway. David Turner's pass pummels grass-sitter Jess Herling '03 in the head. Troy Holland '05 wins Golden Wrench, award for most helpful non-techie. Barbecue dinner. During kickline, both my wigs fall off. Thinking Peter flipped off the second, I steal his. He picks up mine from ground.

28-HOUR BUS RIDE HOME, Dec. 22-23

Movies, Mafia, guitar-playing. Krystal Burger, Cracker Barrel, Steak and Shake. Arrive Princeton 6:00 a.m. Unload truck into Armory. Close truck. Lock storage cage. Have breakfast. Hug goodbye. Or shake hands, if you're a guy and that's what you'd prefer. Most people just hug.

You can reach Zachary at zacharyp@princeton.ed