Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


I got a call from Trish on Tuesday.

"Do you have anything on your schedule for tomorrow night?"

"No..." I said.

"How about Thursday morning?"

"Ummmm... no..." I said.

"Ok, then, block them out. Don't schedule anything for Wednesday night or the following morning."

I hung up the phone a little confused... but only a little. Conversations like this happen between Trish and I a lot; given the anything-can-happen nature of our lives, we pretty much live by our Outlook and Palm Treo schedules. An audition, rehearsal, or shoot could pop up at any moment (not to mention the day-to-day challenges of our day jobs), and we're often checking with each other to make plans.

She usually tells me what she's planning, though... she obviously had something special in the works. I didn't know what she had in mind... but given how crazy our lives are and how full my upcoming month is going to be, we've resolved to grab any chance we get to spend a little time together. I reconciled myself to the fact that I wouldn't know what she had planned and let it go at that.

So, yesterday morning Trish told me to lay out any clothes I'd need for Thursday (in case an appointment did pop up). After an audition in McMinnville I met her downtown. "The place we're going," she said, "has expensive parking. Lets drop one of the cars at home." After doing so, she directed me to drive back downtown, and to Portland's Riverplace Hotel where she'd rented a room for us. After a little bit of food in the lounge (the "3 Degrees" restaurant has a fantastic happy-hour menu... good food, good drinks, and all for $3 each! Can't beat it!), we wandered down Portland's waterfront to...

Cirque du Soleil's traveling show, currently residing in Portland: Corteo. She'd found a pair of seats in the third row on a "rush" (she assumes there was a cancelation, as the seats were much less expensive than you'd expect) Tuesday, and she'd set the whole evening up from there.

The show itself was, to be honest, a little disappointing. The acts were, for the most part, the high-quality circus acts we've come to expect from Cirque du Soleil (we've seen several of their shows). The style of this show, however, was very different from the other Cirque show's we've seen in the past. The action on the stage was much more episodic, with blackouts in between many of the sequences... and the over-all "story" of the evening wasn't as fully realized as the other shows we've seen - characters were introduced that didn't seem to go anywhere, clown acts didn't seem to fit the over-all arch of the tale being told, and the general momentum of the show didn't carry through to a climax. Also, most of the characters in the show spoke English... generally the speaking parts (largely clowns) speak French or a nonsense language, getting their message across through action and intention rather than dialogue. Hearing actual lines seemed to lessen the experience somewhat (for me). And a couple of the performers were, frankly, weak (being as it was a Wednesday night and there's a flu bug sweeping Portland, it's possible that we were seeing an under-study or two).

These are fine points, however. The evening was still a fantastic paegent of costume, light, music, special effects, engineering, and of course acrobatic excellence. Memorable high points included a group of women suspended on chandeliers, a little clown (as in "little person") suspended by helium balloons, a phenomenal arial strap performance (at one point, the male in the pair was actually suspended by the female's hair), acrobats rolling around the stage in metal hoops, and a ladder routine that would have to be seen to be believed.

After the show, we had a nice, intimate walk down the waterfront back to our hotel. A wonderful night... what can I say, folks. I'm incredibly lucky to be married to such a crafty woman!