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May 19, 2014

Claire in the air

Pictures by Claire Sabattié

There was an excited and anticipatory energy about the ship this week, when the schedule for Monday included; Performers- in the Sky 12:00 to 1:00. After our morning warm up’s Jesse, Daniel and myself were the first to climb up to the truss where we will be performing the show. Robbie and Cihan gave us the safety run down, demonstrated how to clip on and off while climbing up the ratlins (ladder like ropes leading to the crows nest), got us into our harnesses and sent us up one at a time. Robbie positioned himself in the crows nest to help us onto the truss (the large suspended platform we will be performing on) and Daniel led the way, followed by Jesse, and finally my turn came.

It felt so momentous to finally get to explore the upper parts of the Amara Zee and familiarize ourselves with our performance space. It is quite a unique opportunity as well, I can’t say I’ve ever performed at 55 feet in the air before and it brought about quite a thrill. What struck me most was the need to be completely conscious of each movement of my body, to be aware of where my feet and hands are supporting me in every moment. Precision was key and there could be nothing laissez faire about ascending to such height. I can honestly say I felt no fear climbing or making it to the top, except for a brief moment of doubt as the ratlins become very narrow just below the truss. I called upon Robbie to coach me through that tricky bout, and carefully hauled myself up, clipped onto the strong silver safety line and found myself looking out over all of metro park, where we live and are docked. The skies were blue and Jesse and Daniel were already moving around, negotiating the empty squares in the floor of the truss and maneuvering to the opposite ends of the structure. We were all a little giddy from the newness of the experience and grounded ourselves by doing some singing over the St. John’s river. Selections included ‘Time Warp’ from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and ‘Do you hear the people sing’ from Les Miserables. Lowering ourselves down back onto the ratlins took a little getting used to as well, but we figured it out, Jesse being the bravest reclining away from the ratlins to accustomize himself to trusting the ropes of his harness, a feat I would not attempt until our next climb. We celebrated our little victory with high fives all around and added the afternoon to our lists of awe inspiring caravan moments thusfar. Having been up several times since then, we now play games, do improv and go up and down with much more expediency and comfort. All in a day’s adventure….

Claire Rouleau

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Tour 2014