This is part 2 of a three-part series following Perseverance Theatre's tour of "Up! The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair" through Fairbanks (March 4-6), Whitehorse (March 11-13) and Anchorage (March 18-21). "Up!" concludes in Juneau at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 28 at Juneau-Douglas High School. The play, written by Bridget Carpenter, premiered in Juneau last spring.
When we last left Perseverance's traveling tour company, the crew had survived a blown tire near the U.S.-Canadian border and was setting up at the Yukon Performing Arts Centre. We join them now on Monday, March 15, more than 24 hours after arriving in Anchorage and 72 hours before their first of four performances at the Sydney Laurence Theatre. Sara Waisanen, a native of Soldotna, plays Maria Shelly. She has lived in Juneau off and on since 2001 and was part of Perseverance's "Moby Dick" tour through Anchorage, Fairbanks and Barrow in February 2001.
"Whitehorse was great. The theater people were really beautiful, and you know, it was interesting. My experience of Whitehorse has been passing through on the Al-Can. This was meeting and getting to know the folks in town. They laughed in really funny places, and they definitely kind of appreciated more of the dark comedy. People don't usually laugh at the end. I don't know what kind of theater they're used to seeing. It was great though. I think we turned the theater company there on to Bridget's work."
"(The laughs) changed the experience, especially for the actors. I'd been to Whitehorse two years ago. (Acting artistic director) Jeff (Hermann) and I went to see one of the shows at the Nakai Theatre, and I was impressed with the audience that they had. I would say that the people that go to see theater there are a much more invested audience than I think I'm used to. I knew they were going to be thinking through everything we put in front of them. I think also in Fairbanks they have a lot of different kinds of theater companies and people putting on different experiences and different kinds of theater. I was impressed with how involved the audience was when we were up there."
"We're a little exhausted, I'll admit. It's been great though. It's been an improvement from "Moby Dick," where we didn't have a crew. The cast was the crew and that was a lot. This time we actually have time to go and get dinner. We don't have to be at the theater for 12 hours a day. In Fairbanks we went to Chena Hot Springs and went dogsledding. These are things that in my life as an Alaskan I've never done."
"We flew all day (Sunday). We left Whitehorse at 8 in the morning. We stopped to refuel and pick some people up in Dawson. We got to Fairbanks, then we got to Anchorage, and we had a little reception at a bar that I used to work at. Anchorage is the big city. I did my graduate work here. I know a lot of the theater company here through different things that I've done. So it's fun. From what I hear, people are excited about seeing the show."