Saturday, November 10, 2012

First Stop: Souda Bay in Crete, Greece

Rachel Mlinarchik in Crete, Greece
by Rachel Mlinarchik

As we flew over the islands surrounding Crete, I couldn’t believe that we were finally going to perform the show we had been working so hard on over the last few months, and that we would be performing for our troops stationed in Souda Bay, Greece.

As soon as our plane touched down, we were greeted immediately by Eva Koumandraki and two soldiers who had volunteered their time to help us get our bags together and get settled.

The air in Souda Bay is balmy, and everything on base is within easy walking distance. After arriving and unpacking, we were taken to a beautiful waterfront dinner downtown, then back to rest up for our rehearsal. We also had some time to see a beautiful 17th century monastery nearby!

We were so honored to see that our show had been promoted in the dining area on base where they were playing our demo reel, and that there were fliers everywhere! Another company member (Ashley Clausnitzer) and I even got to do a short interview with the on-base radio station about half an hour before the show, and we were excited to see so many families filling the gym when we returned to wait backstage.

Eva’s incredible kindness, promotion, and support must have worked, because we had a great turn-out for the show, and were astonished to see the entire audience rise to their feet for our first performance!

The best part by far, though, was meeting the soldiers after the show. We were lucky to be there during Halloween, so we were able to spend time getting to know several service men and women during dinner and then again during their Halloween party and Haunted House.

Freedom Tour cast with
CO James Gibson and
XO Demetries Grimes
We were relieved to hear from our hosts and from the soldiers that they enjoyed the show, and we are so incredibly grateful to have this opportunity to perform for them.

During the show, Crishon Landers and I thank our hosts and talk a little bit about Capitol Movement, but the most important thing we try to convey is that our performance is just one small way we are able to thank the men and women at each base for the many sacrifices they make to keep us safe at home. It means so much to have the opportunity to show our gratitude by entertaining them for a few hours, and we all left Greece wishing we could do more.

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