Attending the first show of our New York excursion, I drop into my seat beside my wife and announce,
“I am now officially a woman.”
Before you jump to bizarre conclusions, here’s why I said that.
The play is called Peter and the Starcatcher, a mischievous prequel to the Peter Pan story. Before I head down to my seat, I ask the usherette where the Men’s Room is. She immediately starts to chuckle. Apparently, the young woman finds some secret amusement in the idea of a man who has to pee.
I am thinking of riposting a clever, “Hey, you pee too, lady!” when she directs me to a long line of men, to the end of which I confusedly proceed. It is there I learn that the only available Men’s Room is flooded, meaning all male theater patrons feeling “the need” must line up and wait, till the problem is taken care of. There are still fifteen minutes until showtime, so I decide to wait.
It is now almost showtime, and the scuttlebutt is that the Men’s facilities will be Out of Service” for another twenty minutes. There’s some chatter about us invading the Ladies’ Room, but this is just men-desperately-needing-to-pee “Big Talk.” There is no way we could possibly pull that off. (Though I have experienced trailblazing women who did.)
The lights start to flicker, the universal signal for, “Please take your seats, the show is about to begin.” I reluctantly abandon the line and – like the throngs of women who queue up outside the “Ladies Room” at “Intermission” but never get to “go” – I proceed unhappily to my seat.
How was Peter and the Starcatcher? As I later, reported to my daughter who asked precisely that:
“Mom liked it. I had to pee.”
One’s critical faculties are significantly affected by the undeniable Call of Nature.
Next, it was Once, a musical based on the movie of the same name which, when I saw it a few years ago, had really gotten to me. Spoiler Alert: Nothing ultimately happens in the relationship. But, somehow, the “nothing” that happens in the movie was more satisfying than the “nothing” that happens in the musical.
I am not exactly sure why that is. It could be because the musical spells things out more than the movie did, when, for the sake of balance and proportion, as well as respecting the intelligence of the audience, they needed to be spelled out exactly the same amount.
Still, as with The Book of Mormon which I had seen in L.A. two weeks earlier, it was enjoyable seeing a new generation of writers invigorating the musical form.
A break from my theatrical musings to report some good news:
On previous visits, while riding New York’s public transportation, younger people were invariably getting up and offering me their seats. I must be looking healthier because this time, everybody just sat there.
Sitting down is nice. But it’s encouraging when they think you don’t need to.
Follow-up: At a restaurant, Dr. M insisted that I take the last seat available for people waiting for tables. Apparently, my wife thinks I’m in worse shape than strangers do.
(This may sound racist, or observant, or possibly both, or maybe just wrong, but when you’re in a Chinese restaurant and Chinese people are dining there, doesn’t it always seem like they’re eating better stuff?)
We saw a new comedy/drama called Grace, which had opened only two days before. A printed sign in the lobby announced that the play would be performed without an intermission. You know a show is not to your liking when the first words that come out of your mouth when it’s done are,
“Imagine if this were twice as long.”
Forbidden Broadway is a revue in which four super-talented performers play multiple roles lampooning current musicals and their ego-inflated stars. Two observations: One – the bigger the target, the bigger the laughs. And two – a staple of Sid Caesar’s classic variety series Your Show of Shows was the spoofing of the blockbuster movies of the day. The difference is that Caesar’s comedy was the product of artful but venomless exaggeration, while Forbidden Broadway’s formulating principle seems to be, “Everyone’s an idiot, except us!” Though satirically skillful, what we’re left with is an unmistakable sour taste.
An unexpected surprise: The New Yorker’s Arts Festival was going on during our visit, which included an event featuring Girls’ writer/director/Executive Producer/star Lena Dunham. As it turned out, our cousin’s wife knew the woman who’d be interviewing Ms. Dunham, and was therefore invited to attend.
I, however, was not.
Instead, I attended Hotel Transylvania with our cousin and their ten year-old daughter.
How was the movie? I would not know. I fell asleep.
Writer’s Note: Not all unexpected surprises are good ones.
A whirlwind extended weekend in New York. We used to enjoy these transcontinental escapes early in our relationship. We wondered if we were up to the rigors of such excursions thirty-plus years down the line.
It turns out we were.
On top of the fun and excitement that makes New York a wonderful place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there, it’s reassuring to know
We’ve still got it.