Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"No Power? No Problem." A Story.


This past weekend was the 4th of July which is the official start of the high season in Bar Harbor.  We had two sold out shows on Thursday, July 3rd.  Traditionally we're closed on the 4th, we don't try to compete with fireworks.  Then we reopen on the 5th and it's game on.

This year was a bit different because Hurricane Arthur headed up the coast and hit Bar Harbor on the 4th.  They talked about canceling the fireworks but the winds were predicted to be worse on the 5th so they kept them on the 4th.  

In Ellsworth, where we live, the storm wasn't bad.  Bar Harbor was another story.  They had very high winds and many limbs (probably weakened from the winter) fell taking the power lines down.  When we woke up on Saturday, we realized we had no power at the theater.  After a bit of sleuthing, we discovered it's been out since 7:30am.  Everyone was sure it would be back on shortly.

We arrived at the theater at 2pm to find it dark and silent.  No power.  Larrance had an old analog phone in the storage room so we dug it out and hooked it up.  Now, we could answer the phone.  We fielded calls all day telling people we were sure we'd have power back on by 7'ish.

Meanwhile, I called Bangor Hydro/Emera power and they said 10:30pm but I didn't believe them.  If that was true, we'd lose our whole night and everything in our freezers and refrigerators.  I couldn't believe it.

So we kept taking calls.....then at 7pm our staff, Frank & Bryce, and the actors arrived to find us sitting in the dark.  We all chatted and everyone agreed we should stick around until 10pm to see if we could at least do that show.  I was standing outside and I said, "I suppose we could do the 8pm show in the courtyard."  The power didn't come on but a light went off in the room.  We leapt into action.  The actors got into show clothes, we carried chairs to the courtyard, Bryce and Frank got the bar ready to serve what little we could (red wine, sodas, mixed drinks, iced tea) and then the customers arrived.

Right before the show started, someone mentioned that they'd heard the power wouldn't be back on until the next morning or maybe as late as Tuesday.  That was a sobering and very depressing thought.  We pushed it aside and moved foward.

We weren't sure they'd go for it but the audience seemed energized by the idea.  One woman told me, "We have to stick together.  I'm not leaving.  I want to see you through this."  So at 8pm we all went down to the courtyard and did an hour long show...

When we were just about to start, Shelby came up and said our neighbor, Great Maine Breakfast, was just about to start his generator.  If you haven't been around generators, they are very loud and smelly.  Larrance ran down and asked if he might wait to turn it on.  Larrance told him it would 45 to 60 minutes.  Without hesitation, he agreed to wait.

So the show was on....

The beginning of the show!

Bill, Jen, Shelby & Mark take the stage while Larrance stands by.

In the audience, there were regular customers and first timers and they made for an amazing audience.  They were supportive, friendly and ready to laugh.  

For Larrance and me, the evening went from a huge downer to an uplifting experience.  We felt buoyed by the audience and our actors' willingness to play along.

After the show, the generator roared to life.  I delivered some cold beers to thank our neighbor for waiting and we went back inside.  We sat down and I wondered if we should have a drink or wait to see if the power would come back on.  Larrance said to wait so we sat in the darker dark and chatted.

At 9:15pm, the power came back on.  We cheered!  I jumped up and down and, really.  

Larrance called every single reservation and I listened as the they all cheered.  We did a 10pm show for about 40 people.  The show was funny, lively and very festive.

We left the theater that night feeling renewed and grateful.  

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