Power to the people! Uh, literally. Who could have predicted that a crane operator in the parking lot across the street from The Dance Palace (our community center host site in Pt. Reyes) would drive through nearby power lines with his crane up, knocking out electricity in the neighborhood one hour before show time?
“Will the show be canceled?” a little girl (former participant in our afternoon juggling, hooping, mask-making, acro balance and singing workshops) worried. Even as a Chautauqua newbie, I felt confident assuring her we don’t cancel. We modify! Fortunately, the Dance Palace was equipped with enough solar power to run the lights. And with an all-live-music revue and a bunch of loud mouths, who needs amplification?
“Quick,” Harry shouted, “Let’s knock on doors and tell people that since their TVs no longer work, they must come see vaudeville!” We didn’t actually do that, lest someone think we plant a bumbling crane operator at every stop, but kudos to Harry for a spontaneous and funny marketing strategy.
There’s something to be said for packing folks into a venue, running on nothing but the energy of our own voices, instruments and skills – and still evoking standing ovations. Tons of kids and families went home happy. And although this may be the only stop where our early evening parade was upstaged by the Marin County Fire Department and their electricity-detecting wands, it all just went to prove that we don’t even need the grid to energize communities and produce powerful shows.