Sunday, February 11, 2007

Does the desert have no drains? Why would it?

Last week Dubai was hit by the most devastating of events for a desert city equipped with an exceedingly poor drainage system: a rainstorm. It's like when Californians, unacustomed to snow, shut down an entire urban area at the first fallen flake.

We could have laughed, were it not for Quidam's location in the slight valley of a parking lot outside Ibn Battuta Mall. Within minutes of the show's beginning, we were flash-flooded. Costumes and props were soaked, electrical equipment damaged, and getting onstage involved fording a small river. All this while an eager audience waited patiently in their seats. Water began collecting in pools under the stage and beneath their shoes. While I am an aerialist and could conceivably perform above the rising tide, the show was deemed impossible to put on, drowned out of commission for the night.

Fortunately, the audience seemed gracious and obliging as we sent a few musicians and characters out to greet them and apologize for the cancellation, promising a drier show the next day. Backstage, we celebrated the night off (see our impromptu pyramid-building), though I'm sure the sponsors and producers were not equally elated.

As our technicians cursed the lack of drains or pumps (in a place that's never needed them before), I could just picture Al Gore shaking his head...