NELSON/CRANBROOK – A day off. The troupe goes shopping in Nelson. Aaron buys a funky new brim. It suits him. Funny – we’ve just been discussing hats the day before on the road to Castlegar and he mentioned how when he graduated (obscenely recently – him being so young) he and the lads from the stagecraft program all wore fedoras, there being a Ska revival in Victoria at the time. We have to drive from Nelson all the way down to Creston and then turn up the highway to Cranbrook, retracing a lot of the route we’ve covered in the train. We stop in Yahk and browse through the Old Stuff store, which is full of, well, old stuff. Really neat stuff. All sorts of memorabilia: magazines, jewelry, Native masks, comics, crests, buttons and books. The books are the major purchases, including a collection of Canadian plays that Syd picks up. They even have old sheet music, and Caitlin is tempted, but she resists. By the time we get to Cranbrook, it’s almost time for the Tony Wards, and when you’re traveling with a bunch of musical actors, you MUST watch the Tonys. It’s early to bed, though, because tomorrow is a big day: the premier is coming to town.NELSON – We’re here at the waterfront t park in Nelson and because of the onfiguration of the venue, the train’s stage car is open on both sides. Both the players and the band have to switch back and forth, playing both sides of the crowd, but it’s all good here in the crunchy-granola capital of the Kootenays. In fact, Syd turns it into a virtue, playing one side off against the other:
“How are you doing on this side?”
Cheers and applause from the lakeside crowd.
“Oh, this side can do better – how are you doing tonight?”
The highway side roars “Alright!”
The show is more dynamic, with everyone having to play to both sides, and it gives a really nice energy to the performance.
During the finale, there’s a little girl, barely two, who desperately wants to dance with Laura, but is too shy. Syd is dancing with a white haired senior. And the band is really on, going way over the top, singing “a loooo-oove sing!” to the train. A beautiful night. A great show. A big crowd. It doesn’t get better than this. Or does it?