See the first part of this two-part installment here.
By this point, the TriTour machine was well-oiled and running smoothly. After an overnight pit stop near South Bend, Ind., we finished the drive from Cleveland to Chicago. Despite all the coffee, it was a low-energy day. It was like we had hit a mid-week, mid-tour slump, going through the motions until we could finally sleep.
Still, after a member of the cast began to feel ill, Kate Short ’23 filled in for the under-the-weather cast member with only a few hours’ notice, shining even more than usual. As I watched her on stage and noticed the little looks and nudges in aid from other cast members — the ones apparent only to someone who’s seen the show a dozen-plus times — I saw the flexibility, resilience, and teamwork necessary for any part of this tour to work.
We woke up in Chicago to the day we’d all been dreading: our next show was set for Boston, so we spent all day driving east, back through Indiana and Ohio, and as far into Pennsylvania as we could before we were halted by the regulatory driving time limit on our bus driver. It’s a day of roadside rest stops, movies, and catching up on much-needed sleep. Somehow, even after a full day on the road, some company members had the energy for pool time at the hotel, but I went to bed after the premiere of Taylor Swift’s “Lavender Haze” music video.
I woke up before 5 a.m. We had to finish our drive to Boston. Once the sun had risen and I had managed to drift in and out of sleep for three hours,I set out to finally finish one of the books I had picked up at Paris’s gay bookshop earlier in the month. An auto-fictional book about a university student in his early 20s during the early pandemic, anxious and writing about his life while stuck with family hundreds of miles away from his life.There are moments while reading when I lose track of who is gazing at who — me at the book or the book at me. The book ended. In a Le Monde review, I read, “Combien de temps peut-on rêver sa vie sans passer à côté?” How much time can you dream of your life without passing it by?
I then opened my email inbox and immediately regretted it. Another email announced a death, offering resources, confirming a horrible thought. There is no need for calendars at Princeton — a cycle of death and grief has replaced them for Old Nassau.
For a moment, we paused our bus chatter to hold and begin processing the news — and then continued on the road. I focused on the passing landscape, on the first sunny sky in some days, until we finally reached Boston.
Unloading onto a downtown sidewalk, the well-oiled tour machine got going but almost immediately needed a tune-up. A bit of miscommunication meant we walked into a theater with no lighting plot ready for us. So, working with the local technicians, we set out to wrench together a rough but workable lighting plot. It’s a chaos of lighting equipment flying in and out above the stage while the rest of the company sets up camp underneath, dodging and ducking. Just in time for an electric Friday night crowd to rock the theater with their laughs, somehow, we pulled it off.
One week, five shows, and nearly 2,000 miles driven later, I woke up for the final day of the tour. We left Boston for New Canaan, Conn., where we performed at the old middle school of our treasured Costumes Manager Clara Bloom ’26. It’s an incredibly nice theater for a middle school, making my life easier. Instead of stressing out about the lights, I could soak up what was essentially my last day with TriTech as a student.
As I waited for my last show to be spent behind the beam of a spotlight as Master Electrician, I reflected on my time with the club and prepared some remarks to share as part of a tradition for graduating technicians.
I thought of “East of the Sun (and West of the Moon),” an old Triangle standard that sticks out among other classics and recent hits during the yearly Frosh Week Show. It evokes a place and moment at which dusk perpetually is on the brink of falling. Here, between the last stray sunbeams and the darkest night sky, love is to be found and hopefully endure forever and a day. It is an impossible place — transient and fleeting. But it is a place worth singing and dreaming of, even if it is bound to escape us. Because here, love will not die — we’ve kept it that way.
As I looked around at my fellow technicians, I felt some odd peace in seeing the love once passed down to me so alive and well in the younger classes.
After the final curtain call, in the chaotic dance to pack up our show, I found my friend and Lighting Designer Cecilia Zubler ’23, so we could both sign the little case we had deemed the “Lighting Master Box” back during our freshman year tour when we were only getting started. It was then ready to be passed down — a new small bit added to Triangle’s many traditions.
Soon after, Cecilia and I boarded the bus for the final return to Princeton and sat down together. It only made sense to end the tour together since Triangle first introduced us to each other three years ago. As some friends put it, we’d been a duo ever since, even beyond Triangle — like at the ‘Prince,’ where she has copy edited so much of what I have written or edited. As we all celebrated the successful conclusion of the tour, she turned to face me. I barely mustered my own comment about the day; I’m not quick with words. But I too was happy as we returned, in the dark of night, street lamps, taillights, and city skylines passing by.
José Pablo Fernández García is a senior from Ohio and Head Editor Emeritus for The Prospect at the ‘Prince.’ He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Self essays at The Prospect give our writers and guest contributors the opportunity to share their perspectives. This essay reflects the views and lived experiences of the author. If you would like to submit a Self essay, contact us at email@example.com.