March 12, 2010: David’s Journal

Today we did two smaller hospitals, CDTI and Saint Francois, both in Port Au Prince center.

At CDTI we started by playing a lot of tents. It was bloody hot and this was our sixth day in a row but Dave Clay had a lot of energy and we had some good improv in the tents. Each little tent would have 4 or 5 adult patients and 1 or 2 children and an equal group of family members. Like the other hospitals, lots of bad fractures with heavy hardware on the legs, fair amount of amputees, some burns. The space is tight, we have to squeeze in and thread around immobilized limbs sticking out. We often do a fair amount of show in a tent.

Often we’ll do a little head appearing lazzi before we enter. One clown appears then disappears, then another, another, then all three, pistons etc. Then we shake hands, greet and touch everyone as we come in. We begin with our hat trick sequence with Leah playing the clown. Then a few simple magic tricks, clowning around, spinning balls on fingers, etc. In one tent we had a dance improv by tuning a radio to different stations and dancing with each other and a staff member. At another Dave had a nice improv stealing a shoe (going further on what I had done the day before.)

We did about 6 tents, spending about 2 hours at it then took a break. (There actually was an office tent where we could hide at this hospital) Then a last tent and a full show out in a nice looking central area next to the waiting area.

70 minutes in the sun, we were seriously fried. Collapsed, drank water for a while, then took a short ride to the second hospital.

Limited time here, we decided to do a show, it was a great one with a 125 people or so on three sides, and in back of us, completely open to us, a tent busy with wound cleaning, procedures and small operations. That’s right you can watch the clowns while they stitch your wound. Huge rowdy laughs from the start and all through. There were lots of people and patients in chairs, on gurneys, coming through. Leah started out with a bunch of great follow-mime style improv, very dead faced. Early in the show the intercom called out in English, Dr. Chang to the O.R. and a few seconds later an Asian man walked right through us by Dave and I in the center of our area to do some procedure behind us.

I went to play with this security guard in the audience at one point and he started playing wildly with me. At one point I was crouching on the ground with him sitting on my back and the crowd going totally nuts. When I came out in old lady mask and costume the crowd went totally nuts. When I started dancing with a man one old lady sitting next to Dave playing guitar was hanging on to people to keep from falling out of her chair she was laughing so hard.

Today I did sponge ball and scarf magic into the hands of several youth who were missing body parts as a result of the earthquake 2 months ago.

When we got home, still no water. We had the dirtiest costumes ever. But we drove to another house, a real rich person’s mansion filled with art from all over the world where there was a shower and a swimming pool. What a cool down. What a strange world.


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