Feb. 19 2017
The crowds gathered in throngs to witness the final leg of the 2017 Pace Academy Chicago theater tour. The experts said that it couldn’t be done; that Commandant Bryan (alongside his faithful aides-de-camp, Cap. Terry and Sgt. Player) was foolish, borderline reckless, for even trying. Seven performances, two tours, and one acting workshop in three days? And with such an unseasoned company of crusaders? Certainly, the odds were not in their favor. And yet, Sunday came, and here they were.
The day began simply enough, with a trip to the rook of Hancock Tower so as to better survey the landscape upon which they would soon be loosing their final expedition. North, East, South, and West, not a bearing was left unsurveyed. Some even took on the Hancock Tilt, voluntarily suspending themselves at a 30-degree angle high above the city so as to gain visual access to the vertical exterior of the Tower itself. Truly, these were brave troopers indeed.
Having studied the landscape, they descended to begin their ground-level incursion. First they infiltrated the historic Chicago Water Tower Complex where they were greeted as heroes with a production of the new play Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth. Enchanted by the blend of projection, puppetry, and magical realism, our fair pioneers afterwards ventured forth into the city where they further laid claim to such mystic regions as H&M Warehouse and the Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop.
Finally, the crew arrived at their final objective: occupying the famed Second City Playhouse. Sated with such noble foodstuff as chicken wings, macaroni & cheese, French fries, and hot pretzels, the 12 young crewmembers filed into the theater and sat witness to the hilarity of a team of comics who, in the past, have produced the likes of Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, John Candy, Amy Poehler, and others. The jokes were fast and coarse, but our squad was up to the challenge. As the lights came up on their final production, the taste of victory was a sweet as any beignet (which was also part of the dinner smorgasbord).
Back at the hotel, the group packed up and prepared themselves for an early morning evacuation back home to Atlanta. These few, these happy few, these band of thespians, had taken on Chicago and triumphed, earning memories as their spoils. One imagines the story of this trip will soon turn to lore and those who participated become legends.