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CounterPULSE is building a movement of risk-taking art that shatters assumptions and builds community. We provide space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovators, serving as an incubator for the creation of socially relevant, community-based art and culture.

The Pulse in Paris: Le Fin

by Andrew / April 16th, 2010 / Posted in: CounterPULSE.

Well another year and another tour.  We closed the show in Paris last night and as always it was pretty amazing.  There is nothing quite like stumbling out of a theater near midnight, delirious from a combination of adrenaline, wine and exhaustion and being cast in the sparkling lights of the Eiffel Tower.  It is one of the smoothest experiences we have had at the Salle Adyar, the theater in which we perform in Paris.  It poses plenty of challenges but there are also some really wonderful things about it too.  I should preface all of this by saying that every year something seems to go seriously awry when we perform in Paris.  The first year I was on the tour, the author Mavis Gallant was supposed to be joining us for a talkback following the performance and at 5 minutes before curtain we discovered that the person in charge of picking her up had forgotten.  The following year an actor passed out 5 minutes before curtain and we had to send the post-show band up on stage to vamp till we could get him revived and back on his feet.  And last year our Artistic Director fell ill and missed her first show ever in Paris.  So you can imagine why I was a little nervous after a really smooth opening night.  But fortunately it all went off without a hitch.  The worst moment was trying to hail a cab at midnight to cart all of our belongings back to the flat, we eventually had to lug it all about 5 blocks to a taxi stand.  I did try throwing myself in front a few empty cabs in the street but received nothing but angry glares and stream of what I am certain were not pleasantries in rapid fire French.  But we did manage to find a very nice taxi driver who apologized for not having an American made car for us but I assured him that I had more faith in his Volkswagen.  I let others take that cab as it is my tradition to make the slow meandering walk home on closing night of our Paris show.  Usually I am joined by Sue Harloe, but as she had to get up early to teach and since Matisse has joined me on this side of the Atlantic we walked it together.  It is nice to bask in the glory of the moment and the beautiful lighting that illuminates Paris at night.  We walked in the door of the flat just as dinner was being put on the table and that too was a wonderful feeling.

It really has been a rather wonderful tour and it has been a terrific group to tour with.  It was fun for us to take turns recounting the ups and downs over dinner in our own little performance for the significant others who have joined our group.  I definitely echo Dave Young’s sentiments from the dinner when he said that this was one of the most enjoyable groups to tour with.  There were no egos and a lot of great spirit and I was really pleased to get to know all of them better, they are good people.  I echo too the metaphor of our wardrobe mistress Anges who will be leaving Paris this evening to return to her home in Angers.  Her leaving is always sad for me as she truly is my favorite person that I have met in all of France, and we have met a lot of really wonderful people.  She described this time as a collection of fireworks exploding and splitting off each ember traveling in its own direction now and then fizzling out leaving only the smoke, ash and memories of what was for a fleeting moment so beautiful.  She is such a poet and I will miss her dearly.  Another moment also brought a tear to my eye when Brigitte, our host in Nancy, sent me an email about how overjoyed she was at my gift of a sand dollar since she had never seen one before.  These are the small beautiful moments that make this experience so unique and special and close to my heart.  But now I am very much looking forward to relaxing and enjoying my little time left in Paris.  I need to soak it up now since I will be quite busy once I have arrive back in San Francisco doing the lighting design and tech management for our annual May Day benefit, for which Ryan made a totally kick-ass video that you should check out.  It will be a quick and furious re-connection to American culture but I am sure by then I will be very happy to have it.  Can’t wait to get back to CP and get caught up on what I have been missing but for now I’m going to go soak up what I can here.

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