Nellie Bly was a remarkable character. She was sixteen when she wrote her first article, passionately denying that marriage and motherhood were the only option for girls. The article impressed the editors at the Pittsburgh Dispatch, enough to earn her her fist job as a journalist. At 21 she spent six months in Mexico, writing correspondences, and getting in trouble with the regime of Porfirio Dìaz for championing press freedom. At 23 she spent ten days undercover in an asylum to expose the appalling conditions of the mentally ill. At 25 she journeyed around the world to beat Phileas Fogg’s 80 days record – and she did it!
Around the World in 72 Days, my stage adaptation of Nellie’s traveling journal, was to have had a public staged reading last year in March. Then things went downhill the way we all know, and the staged reading never happened.
Amidst the whole of it, missing it was really the least of our troubles – and then the Summer reprieve came, and with it the Summer Season, and Nellie went onstage. The audience loved the tale of the plucky American journalist racing across the world to beat a fictional record, and we were all very happy about it.
So very happy that, when putting together a small cycle of events to be broadcast on streaming around Women’s Day, a reading of Around the World in 72 Days was included.
I gathered my cast, scheduled a couple of rehearsals, made a few small adjustments, and…
And now it seems that we’ll be Red Zone again from next Monday – meaning, among other things, that we just can’t leave home without dire necessity. Very much like last year again, this is hardly a major problem – just yet another unpleasant result of the general situation. We are trying to find a way around it, and perhaps we will make a recording on Sunday afternoon, before the new restrictions maroon us all again. It’s proving a little harder than it would seem in theory, but we’re trying.
After all, as Nellie was fond of saying, “nothing is impossible if one applies a certain amount of energy in the right direction. If you want to do it, you can do it.”
And since we very much want to do it, we’re applying a certain amount of energy in what we hope is the right direction. Let’s see what happens.