Two days ago, at 3:45 am, our troupe set out for Baghdad for their visa interviews. While it's a fact that people do this quite often nowadays, the large size and American affiliation of our group made nerves a little high. The horrible hour of departure was picked to avoid the worst of the traffic, as well as for safety. They arrived at around 7:00 am, and had some light Baghdad traffic -- an hour and a half. Next came an entire day and night holed up in a hotel, a 4:00am wakeup, waiting outside the embassy at 5:00am (to be first in line), and finally, jumping right back on the road for the trip home. As we speak, they are just an hour away from campus, groggy but hopeful.
They have good reason to be feeling both ways. Thanks to the efforts of Phyllis Norris, Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Property Master Paul James Martin, Chris Wyden, Whitney Navarro Castillo, and anyone else out there who helped, our actors had not one, but two letters of support from U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. Can you believe it? Two U.S. senators? How far are we from filibuster power?
So what happens now? All of us, including you, have obviously done everything possible. Now it's simply up to the embassy. Until we hear a decision on the visas, we rehearse, plan, do anything but be caught waiting. I promise as soon as I get word, you'll know minutes later.
Thank you again for giving a lot more than money.