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Once Upon a Time...
A Fable for Houston

Janet Harreld
Houston Promotions Coordinator

Once upon a time in a far away northern university, lived a charming and kind young cutter/draper. The cutter/draper possessed great potential but she was very young and wanted to discover a source whereby she could increase her knowledge and hone her skills. The costume designer, the technical director, and the scene designer at her frost-encased institution all agreed she needed to attend the USITT Conference where, indeed, such wisdom might be found

"How now!" cried the lovely young woman after conducting an extensive search on her trusty desktop. "The 2008 USITT Conference is in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center!"

The 20-something cutter had been told of immense, shimmering, glass pyramids that contained rainforests and aquatic life from around the globe; of men who donned gadget-covered suits and fishbowl-like helmets and strolled through the heavens; of a colossal urban park that gave rise to premier museums, to rolling verdant spaces where people chased small white dimpled balls with sticks, and to an open-to-the-stars theatre where people picnicked upon the hillside while captivating performances occurred; of a spectacular mall where ice skating happens even in midsummer; and of a massive 60-foot concave tower where 11,000 gallons of water fall every minute. She was desirous of seeing these things for herself and of participating in the amazing opportunities of the Conference.

But she was sorely troubled. For as much as she wanted to partake of the enlightenment offered at the USITT Conference and of all of the magical things the city could provide, the Conference was to be held on March 19 through 22 -- right before Easter! The youthful cutter/draper realized that Easter Bunny, of whom she was so very fond, may not be able to find her in the maze of downtown Houston buildings.

She would miss her white, fuzzy friend and the time they always spent together on that particular morning chatting and partaking of rich chocolate and brightly colored jelly beans.

Hastily, the young woman wrote an urgent note to the wise and all-knowing staff of USITT in the quaint community of Syracuse nestled in the rolling countryside of lush upstate New York.

Understanding the cutter/draper's apprehension, the USITT staff quickly reassured her that her furry friend would not only find her in Houston but that she could easily bring the bunny (along with all of his off spring) with her to any of the many activities Houstonians schedule to celebrate that special time of year.

Churches large (the First Methodist just a few short blocks from the conference hotel or one of the "mega" community churches with a congregation of 30,000) or churches small would welcome guests to their egg hunts on the lawn or to the quiet meditation of their services.

The little ones could be kept happily engaged during the Conference by strolling through shark tunnels at the downtown Aquarium and taking a spin aloft its gigantic Ferris wheel; by visiting komodo dragons and 3,100 other animals (including some distant cousins) at the Houston Zoo; by experiencing more than 14 separate galleries of vibrant exhibits absolutely bursting with action-packed fun; by churning butter at the Heritage Society's 19th century Duncan Store, or by doing dozens of other things that all little bunnies would love to do.

Still filled with trepidation, the young woman wrote another electronic epistle. "I realize there is much for the E. Bunny Family to do and see in Houston, but what if we want to visit each other in my cozy home in the chilly North?"

"Forsoothe you should not worry, childe!" replied the astute staff in Syracuse. "As Houston has one of the largest air transportation systems in the nation, you can acquire a convenient flight after the Saturday Banquet and still be home to spend Easter with the Bunny Family!"

Finally relieved of all her apprehensions, the young cutter/draper made arrangements to attend and enjoy the USITT Conference. The tender-hearted woman knew that she and Easter Bunny had many joyous hours to spend together choosing which activities they should experience.

And they all lived happily for the next year in contemplation and anticipation of the 2008 USITT Conference and the city located deep in the heart of Texas.

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Attending USITT's 48th Annual Conference in Houston should not trouble any new or more experienced professionals.

Illustrations/Janet Harreld