Molly Z, one of the professional artists volunteering her time on CWB – USA’s tour to Puerto Rico has kept a journal of her experiences. This project blog gives a sense of the day-by-day experiences of clowns on tour.
We have our first show today in a big town square in Morovis. Apparently we’re in the only section of the town that has electricity—all other blocks are still without. About 150 people come to the show, grandparents to toddlers. We have a 6:00am wake up tomorrow for a 3-show day.
Some middle-schoolers drew a really cute picture of Pepito and Carmelita and give it to me after the show! We pass a lot of hurricane damage on the drive; you can see inside of brightly colored, obviously loved homes, because whole walls are gone. Two quick power outages tonight and the water is off for an hour or so. This island is very beautiful, the water is warm, and I’m going to sleep.
Three shows today. The kids and Pepito have a blast together. We play a fun walk-a-round game where Pepito introduces himself and shakes hands with a kid on the other side of the fence (high schoolers are separated by a chain link fence with barbed wire at the top) and then gets his hand stuck. The kids help Pepito get free and then Pepito is so thankful that he wants to shake their hands again. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. It works with the teenagers helping on one side of the fence, and with the younger kids helping on my side of the fence.
Humacao: The area where the hurricane touched down upon the island. The beaches look bleak, it’s very windy, and the palm trees are toppled over and look gray. Few people have returned to their houses, and telephone poles made of concrete and rebar are snapped in half, still lying on the ground five months after the storm. Power lines, too, hang around in piles. We’re there on the 12th and 13th of February. Some towns and villages in the nearby mountains have been told not to expect electricity, ever.
The first show today is for teenagers and the local news. There’s a storm in the middle of it and the speakers crash to the ground (I catch one just before it hits the cement!). A teacher grabs the other. The sound stops working and there’s a bit of chaos, but the show must go on. I very much enjoy the shows for teenagers. It’s such a delight when I can break through that coolness/apathy shell and see them smile and laugh.
Then we go to an area that still doesn’t have power, and perform at a community center. A police officer/dad is pretty devastated about everything and just starts talking to me in Spanish. I can see why the people here are traumatized.
On the 13th, we go up into the mountains and do a really cute show. It’s small enough that I can play the ukulele and kazoo with the kids. I feel sick but Pepito is a good clown. The next show is at a school that has sewage backup and black water. I think it goes well but it’s hard to remember because I feel so ill. Afterward, I sleep all afternoon and night.
I don’t write in my journal for a few days because we’re so busy. Mike leaves early and we go from having a four-person cast to a three-person cast, so we have to re-work stuff. I get to do Mike’s doggy act, which is fun and challenging. People here have been very kind and appreciative of the work we do. I hope to come back.