Originally placed by BeMa and adopted in May 2008 by FamilyMan
Curtain Up! ***MIA***
Title: Curtain Up Letterbox (an outdoor comedy/drama [that depends on
you!] in four acts, featuring an easy walk and easy clues complete with
glossary of theatrical terms)
Setting: Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Vienna, VA. Mornings or matinees any day of the year as the park closes at dark. (Please note that admittance to the park may be limited during actual Filene Center or Theater in the Woods performances)
Admission: Free to letterboxers old and young.
Premiere: November 20, 2002
Prologue: Wolf Trap is “America’s National Park for the Performing Arts”.
The 100 acres of grounds is a nice place to picnic or roll down a hill. It is also home to the 6,800-seat indoor/outdoor theater, the Filene Center. During the summer, you can buy either the cheap lawn seats or the reasonably priced indoor seats and listen to a wide variety of music, theater, opera and multimedia presentations. Wolf Trap also features a special theater, dedicated to performances for children. At the end of each summer, the
meadow is the scene for an international children’s festival, complete with Bob from Sesame Street.
Wolf Trap is right off the Dulles Toll Road. There is ample parking available in the lot. You may also save yourself the walk up the hill by parking in the limited spaces available by the box office.
Act I: The Set Up
Chorus: You have all been cast in an adventure in search of the elusive “Curtain Up Letterbox”. There will be no techs to help you as you descend mighty mountains, cross vast plains and forge great waters (o.k. so that’s a slight exaggeration). The path is easy, the way is clear (and there are lots of bathrooms along the way). Go, hit your mark and break a leg!
Act II: The Journey
At the top of the hill collect the props you will need for this performance: a compass, the clues, the glossary and your other letterboxing paraphernalia. Pass by the Will Call box office on the left and enter through the ticket gates toward the Filene Center. Proceed to the left of the outdoor theater lobby, passing the entrance for Section A. Passing this gangway, go down the set of stairs following the signs to the restrooms. Pass one set of bathrooms (men’s room) on the left and continue down the stairs following more restroom signs. Continuing downhill, cut across the little grass hill following more restroom arrow signs. Go on the cement path, which quickly leads to the asphalt drive toward the back of the Filene Center. Take a left and head across the grassy meadow, passing a whole building of bathrooms (men, women and unisex). Aim for the bridge ahead, passing by birdfeeder #2. Cross the bridge and take the gravel path to the left. Follow the path along the river a short distance until you see an informational display sign, telling about the forests of Wolf Trap. Face that sign and take the path to your left. Pass the following signs identifying the following trees, acting as spear carriers along the path: the American Holly, Mountain Laurel, White Oak, Tulip Poplar, Northern Red Oak, Chestnut Oak, Flowering Dogwood, Ironwood and Flowering Azalea that line both sides of the path. At the “T”, continue to the right.
Act III: The arrival at the Show
In the clearing ahead is the Theater in the Woods. Become part of the house and let a member or two of your company entertain you upon the boards. There is no time for a dress rehearsal – “beginners to their places”. Enjoy the adlibs and asides, prompting the cast and cueing any special effects, while they “chew the scenery”. Once the run of their show has come to an end, let the cast enjoy its curtain call. When the echoes of all the bravos and encores have faded away, join them on the stage and exit, stage left through the wooden wings to the greenroom.
Go out the imaginary stage door at the back of the theater, down the backstage stairs and spot a tree to your right.
Act IV: The Denouement
Starting from that tree, head off in a northerly direction for 29 steps, into the woods. There you will spot a “natural” version of the theater you have just left. The stage is a big piece cut piece of log, standing on its end, mimicking a stage. Before it are other cut sections of logs shaped in a “V” reminiscent of the seats. Look at the apex of the “V” in the SRO
section, if you will, under some smaller logs and leaves for the leading role of the show, the “Curtain Up Letterbox”. Curtain falls. The cheering is wild! Take your bows. Curtain falls. Bring up the house lights. You've starred in another successful show and a stamp in your own special Playbill to commemorate it.
Please send your reviews of this letterbox (raves or pans) to BeMa at
Glossary of Terms
Asides: Lines spoken by actors to the audience.
Beginners to their places: First actors out on stage at the start of a
Box office: Ticket booth.
Break a leg: Good luck.
Cast: Actors in the show.
Chew the scenery: Ham it up.
Company: The cast, crew and staff of a show.
Cueing: Prompt for a technical effect.
Curtain call: Bows at the end of the show.
Denouement: The moment of highest drama.
Dress rehearsal: Final rehearsal, in full costume, prior to the opening.
Greenroom: The room or area close to the stage where the actors relax.
Hit your mark: Stand in the proper place on stage and get ready.
Matinee: Afternoon performance.
Pans: Negative reviews.
Playbill: Famous show program.
Prompt: Hint of a line.
Props: Items used on stage.
Raves: Positive reviews.
Run: Sequence of performances.
Spear-carrier: Actor with a small or walk on part having no lines.
SRO: Standing room only – area at the way back of the audience.
Stage left: The left from the actor’s point of view (opposite to regular
Techs: Members of the technical crew.
The boards: The stage.
The house: Audience.
Wings: The out of view areas to the sides of the stage.