A little bit of Prague downtime, finally.

My first two days in Prague consisted mostly of just settling in and getting my bearings through following Kurt around the city. It is a beautiful city. But once the festival started, my days started settling into a routine that allowed very little in the way of downtime.

In the past four days, my typical schedule has consisted of waking up around 8 am, coordinating shower time with my roommate Lale, getting ready for the day and trying to pull my head together to make sure I have everything I need for the day in my backpack, as I rarely get back to the apartment once I leave. Starting on the second day, I needed to have my photos from the previous day prepared and sent to James at the Prague Post by 11 am so that he would be able to submit his reviews by noon, and as the only spot in my flat where the internet consistently worked was also the spot where Lale slept, I generally headed off to Starbucks for an hour or so of reliable internet and quiet, uninterrupted head time to do my work. Because I’ve discovered that if I’m trying to work and interact with others at the same time, I invariably leave some important loose end untied.

Preparing and uploading photos to James generally takes about an hour, and then preparing and uploading a greater number of photos to the Prague Fringe Facebook page generally takes another hour. While Lale was here, we scheduled morning tours of “places of interest”, generally starting around 11am, so I had to make sure my work was done by then so that I wouldn’t make everyone wait for me, or miss the tours myself. We’d walk, we’d eat lunch, and then I’d generally have to separate from them to get to my first show, which generally started either at 3:30 or 4:00 pm. Shoot the first ten minutes, watch the rest of the hour, then take off for our venue, leaving enough time for a coffee or maybe a bite to eat (depending on my schedule after the show), and be relaxed while setting up for our show.

Generally.

It’s wonderful that the show before us ends a full half hour before it’s supposed to. The extra fifteen minutes of setup time it provides for me really settles my nerves. I don’t have much setup to do, I just have to focus two lights, preset the light board, and get the sound system ready. Kurt and Andy preset all their own props, most likely contributing to a greater sense of preshow security for them knowing everything is under their own control. Then Kurt and Andy disappear into the green room, the house opens, and before I know it, it’s time to call places.

I’ve been with this show now for three months, and it still amazes me that, no matter how many times I’ve seen it, it still engages me enough to make the hour fly by.

After the show my routine has varied. Sometimes I’ve run off to another two shows, other times I’ve had time for a beer or dinner before my last show of the night. Then comes the afterparty, and then home to bed, hopefully with enough time to sleep before doing it all over again.

After the first night of fringe, Lale and I stayed at the after party until past 2 am, then went home and chatted another two hours before falling into our respective beds. My body was still on Wisconsin time, and I didn’t feel tired in the least. But after that night, I don’t think I slept enough again, so that each progressive night I got more and more tired and crabby by midnight. But Sunday was Andy’s birthday, and Monday was Lale’s last night, so despite the protestations of my body, I stayed out and did my best to be agreeable and awake.

I should have listened to my body.

Last night, by the end of dinner, my body ached and my eyes wanted nothing more than to close. But it was Lale’s last night here, and I didn’t want it to be a letdown for her, so I stayed out. By the end of the night, my head was burning and my intestines had begun a valiant effort to process and expel as quickly as possible, in whatever way possible, its contents. I still had to give Lale a gigabyte of digital images I’d taken during her time here, which with our different operating systems turned into a difficult job, and just standing upright was excruciating. By the time I fell into bed I was burning up with fever. It was a bad, bad night. I woke up in the night, burning hot, drenched in sweat and suffering from terrible diarrhea. Lale had left early this morning, so I appropriated her bed (the couch) and just drifted in and out of sleep all morning until the diarrhea had subsided. By 2 pm most of my symptoms were gone, except for a headache and a general feeling of having tumbled through a dryer cycle.

I’m not sure what triggered it, if it was my pub dinner last night (not very good goulash and a dessert that tasted like old freezer burn), or the Fernet and selzer drink I had last night, or if it was something that was just destined to come over me after a few days of drinking foreign water. Or maybe it was all the late nights. I know this about myself, that if I don’t get enough sleep over a few nights, that I get sick.

In any case, I was able to get out and shoot a 3:30 show today, am about to head to my show, and afterwards I’m sure I’ll feel up to another show and hopefully dinner. (I’ve only had an apple and some tea so far today … I’m not going to experiment with what food might do to me before my show.) But you can be assured it will be an earlier night for me tonight.

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