Tickets: 651.291.7005

Posts Tagged Carolyn Pool

Another Funny Camping Story: The World’s Worst RV Park

From September 15 to October 22, Park Square Theatre presents the American premiere of the international hit Henry and Alice: Into the Wild on its Proscenium Stage. This hilarious comedy by Canadian playwright Michele Riml features Twin Cities actors John Middleton and Carolyn Pool as spouses Henry and Alice, two inexperienced campers who rely on a copy of Camping for Dummies to survive their ordeal.

Camping in the Great Outdoors can certainly be a terrific bonding experience amongst loved ones; but more often than not, it gives you some of the funniest memories to cherish. Before and during the run of Henry and Alice, I’ll share some humorous camping stories submitted to our blog. Be prepared to laugh until your stomach hurts after reading this one from Calvin of Asheville, North Carolina:

Calvin, Zach and Isaac before their horrible camping experience.

After riding our loaded bicycles since dawn in the 90+ degree heat, we stopped at the World’s Worst RV Park in East Cape, Ilinois, at about 7 o’clock. I was so hot and tired and fried from riding all day in traffic that I was ready to camp in the gutter. Maybe that’s why the dusty gravel parking lot that was supposed to pass for a campground looked OK to me. When I get really exhausted, my mind is less than keen. Blinded by the sun, I felt my way into the A-frame office, where a woman with a big black wig told me it would cost us $21 to pitch our tent under a leafless tree 20 yards from the highway. Wanting desperately to avoid crossing a busy bridge just down the road during rush hour, I forked over the dough. By the time we set up our tent, we knew we should have kept going, even though we had already ridden 70 miles. Steady traffic from IL Highway 3 assaulted us with noise, dust and fumes. A bouquet of sewage wafted out from under the bathhouse we were camping behind.

“We paid $21 for this dump?” Zach said. “We could get a motel for $30.”

“If we could make it over the bridge without getting killed,” I said.

He snorted. “The smell alone’ll kill us by morning.”

“This is what hell’s gonna be like,” added Isaac.

I bloodied my leg killing a mosquito and walked over to the pay phone on the wall of a car wash on the other side of the parking lot. The receiver of the phone was so hot I could barely pick it up. I stood sweating in the late afternoon sun talking to my wife Maria.

“We’re in an RV park a mile from the Mississippi.”

“That’s great! I can’t believe how far you’ve gotten. What’s all that noise?”

“Could be all the traffic on the highway we’re camped beside,” I told her. “Or maybe the boys kicking the drink machine?”

“How’re you feeling?”

I took a deep breath. “This has been one of the worst days so far. Hot, tons of traffic, incredibly awful camping spot, right by the outhouse. We’re all ready to come home before we kill each other.”

“I’m sorry. I’ll bet it’ll be better once you get back on some better roads.”

“Hope so. We gotta get through Cape Girardeau before we find any better roads.”

“How you gonna get across the river?” Maria asked.

“Bridge is only a mile away. we’ll cross early in the morning before the traffic heats up.”

“Be careful!”

“My middle name.”

We showered in the foul-smelling bathhouse and swatted at mosquitoes while we ate spaghetti and French bread again for what seemed like the hundredth time in a row. The dust settled on my sweaty body and transformed me into a Cape Buffalo.

“This sucks,” said Isaac. “I’m going home.”

“I may go with you,” I said.

“We should have gotten a motel,” said Zach.

Craving sugar, the boys walked across the highway to a restaurant. They returned with six huge slices of homemade blueberry, coconut creme, lemon chess and cherry pies.

Darkness, usually a sign of bedtime, brought to life bright sodium lights that lit up the inside of our tent like a police spotlight. If we zipped up the tent, it got hot as an oven. If we left it open, the bugs feasted on our sugared flesh. We spent a miserable night listening to heavy trucks grind toward the bridge to Missouri, swatting bugs and trying to find a dark spot in the brightly lit tent. We were too depressed even to listen to the radio. It was a lousy end to a long, hard day. The boys complained a little, but then Zach fell asleep and Isaac got quiet, too.

After a night of sweating in the hot tent by the busy highway under the bright lights enveloped by the stench of the bathroom, I knew the World’s Worst RV Park, in East Girardeau, Illinois, had taken its rightful place amongst the worst camping experiences of my life. I lay awake in my self-made hell, waiting for sleep or dawn, whichever might find me first.

Calendar Girls: Featuring Carolyn Pool

As part of our ongoing Meet the Cast of Calendar Girls Blog Series, let us introduce you to Carolyn Pool:


ROLE:  Celia, 40s


The fact that Celia is in the WI is the greatest justification of its existence.  A woman more at home in a department store than a church hall, . . . she always feels like she’s drifted in from another world.  Which she has.  She is particularly enamored of Jessie [see blog featuring Linda Kelsey], and despite the fact Jessie has very little time for most Celias of this world, there is a rebelliousness in Celia to which Jessie responds.  It’s what sets Celia apart from the vapid materialism of her peer group and made her defect.  Ideal car—Porsche, which she has.  Ideal holiday—Maldives, where she often goes.


Carolyn Pool had a deep feeling for Celia as a human being but also for the physicality of an upper class English society woman who is ready to live among middle class women as an equal.  Carolyn also has a great comedic sense and incredible sense of space.  Carolyn always seems to instinctually move where and how Celia would.  She also has a very deep understanding of the play as a whole and I love that about working with her.


Celia, more than the others, must move in a circle of upper-crust society with its unspoken but strict mores.  What did you learn from playing her?

When it comes to issues of class within this play, Celia is sort of on her own.  She is called a “trophy wife” by her friends, her husband is older and retired, and probably doesn’t pay enough attention to her.  She is considered beautiful by all and probably has been considered so her entire life.  This is probably why she doesn’t seem to have many female friends in her own “class” (the golf club girls).  But, the women of the WI hold her affection I think because they treat her as one of their own.  True, they don’t always know what to make of her, but I do believe she has, for the most part, become one of them, and is especially close to Jesse and Cora.

As for what I have learned playing Celia, it’s been interesting playing a woman who is used to being primarily valued for her beauty, but who does not let it define, limit or shame her.  She has a quiet and dry sense of humor, and, while she may be considered a bit “cool” and superficial on the outside, she does care deeply about issues affecting the women of the WI and shows her affection in subtle ways.


Park Square 2 Sugars, Room for Cream; August: Osage County; Dead Man’s Cell Phone; The Sisters Rosensweig; Proof; The Last Night of Ballyhoo; Born Yesterday
Representative Theatre Hippodrome Theatre: Women in Jeopardy; Old Log Theater: Almost, Maine; Illusion Theater: Three Viewings; Gremlin Theatre: Orson’s Shadow; Jungle Theater: Honour
Training B.A., Augsburg College
Awards/Other Artist/Mentor for The Chicago Avenue Project; Ivey Award winner 2008 (Ensemble, Orson’s Shadow) and 2013 (Ensemble, 2 Sugars, Room for Cream); Best Actress 2011 SoCal Film Festival (Rotations of the Earth)  Upcoming Projects 2016 MN Fringe Festival: Sometimes There’s Wine


Theatre News for you!

Sign up to get the latest Park Square news