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  • Josiah Howlett

Where's Witless?: The Adventures of a Tour Actor/Director

Updated: Mar 19, 2019

(To the tune of Adele's hit single, "Hello") Hello. It's me. I was wondering if my blog was one that you'd like to read.


YES. You read that correctly. I AM WRITING A BLOG NOW. You may ask, "what do you have to write about?" To which I would answer, "nothing." But, alas, I have a computer and I will not be stopped.


So, here I am to share with you my adventures as a Tour Actor/Director with Missoula Children's Theatre. Over the next year, I will be traveling to bring theatre to kids across the country. It seemed like the perfect experience to document online. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, I'm sure you're wondering, "who's Witless?" Well, you're in for a treat. This. This is Witless the Woodsman:

Witless is the character my tour partner, Sage, and I play in the Missoula Children's Theatre show, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Since we take this show to different communities from week to week, I thought I'd feature Witless each time I wrote about my adventures. Plus "Where's Witless?" is a catchy title.


Anyway, let's get this thing started. After two weeks of grueling (lol, just kidding; it was actually a blast!) training in Missoula, Montana, Sage and I hit the road in our #LittleRedTruck! Now, let me explain for those of you who are unfamiliar with the job. Tour Actor/Directors of Missoula Children's Theatre drive a red Ford F-150 (usually) from town to town and put on a show with a new group of local kids each week. We travel with 60+ costumes, a full set, light and sound equipment, and our own luggage and bodies.


On our way to our first residency (the town in which our show will be performed), Sage and I stopped at Yellowstone National Park. Sage is an avid hiker/national park visitor, so she has a year pass to all the national parks. So, we can just roll our little selves into any park we want, whenever we want. It's pretty fancy. Obviously we took advantage of this right away. Yellowstone was absolutely gorgeous. Our time there was limited, but I did manage to capture some of the beauty in a few pictures. Here they are:


If you haven't been, I highly recommend going. My goal was to see some fun wildlife, so you know I was thrilled when we ran into a bison on the side of the road (even though Sage wouldn't stop the car for me to pet it). I wish we had been able to visit longer, but we had to run along to Salt Lake City, Utah, where we stayed the night on the way to our first residency. Though I was sad to leave Yellowstone so soon, Salt Lake City was an adventure in itself. You see, Sage and I thought it would be fun to stay the night in an Airstream camper, and boy were we right. We found the perfect mobile home on Airbnb to squeeze ourselves into for the night. Upon our arrival, we discovered that the camper only had one bed in which I could barely fit. So, Sage ended up sleeping in the breakfast nook (sweet gal). However, it was beautifully decorated, and Chad and his family were wonderful hosts. After a good night's rest in tight quarters, we got back on the road and resumed our journey to our first residency.


Our first week on the job was in Sedona, Arizona, and let me tell you, it was something else. Now, I had been to Arizona once before, but I had no idea how much beauty this state had to offer. Not only that, but it seemed like Sedona was the crown jewel of beautiful scenery in Arizona. So, needless to say, Sage and I were feeling BLESSED.


We stayed in the dorms of the Verde Valley School, on a campus surrounded by stunning red rocks. The view from just outside our front door was enough to make you want to slap someone in the face. I'm not even kidding; it was GORGEOUS. Here's a picture to prove it:

But, the views didn't end there for Sage and me. Oh no. Our fabulous and incredibly generous contact set us up with a sunrise jeep tour of some of Sedona's most jaw-dropping scenery. This was one of the coolest experiences of my life. Our tour guide (I feel that it is important to share that her name was Ray-Ray) took us on a bumpy, off-road drive through the wilderness of Sedona. This woman could tell you literally anything you wanted to know about the trail, Sedona, the world, you name it. She had a fact to share about every single leaf that we passed... and it was awesome. She was actually one of the coolest people I have ever met, and she had a lot of beautiful things to say about Sedona and the world in general. At one point, she said,

"Earth is a living organism. Everything has a reason. It's just up to us to find it."

I don't know. That just struck me as a really cool thing to think about. She explained how Native Americans used the different plants that we drove by to fulfill various needs, and even referred to some plants as "shopping malls" because they could be used in so many different ways. And, not only were these plants useful, but they were lovely to look at (and apparently dangerous if stepped upon). Literally everything on this tour was beautiful. Again, I'm not lying. Here is some more proof:

So, yeah. It was amazing, and I feel so lucky to have had that experience. It was everything I could have hoped for in a first week on the job!


The jeep tour was the last thing Sage and I did in Sedona. After that, we hopped back in our #LittleRedTruck and started off toward our next residency. On the way, we had an interesting time navigating the narrow streets of a little ghost town called Jerome, Arizona. Jerome is a quaint mountain town that is not #LittleRedTruck friendly. We'll leave it at that. The winding roads past Jerome eventually led us to an interstate that brought us to our next town...


...which you will have to read about next time. Hopefully I'll have a new post up every week! But, you never know; the schedule of a Tour Actor/Director is an unpredictable one.


P.S. I can't promise that all of my entries will be as visually stunning as this one. I was blessed with a lot of beautiful scenery this past week!


Love,

Jos


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