Sunday, December 29, 2013

NYC Day Four

Today was already set as far as ticket purchases went, so we were able to sleeeep iiiiin. Our rented apartment room has no windows, so when we both woke up - around noon - there was no indication that it was actually daytime. And, in fact, once we were both showered and ready, and ventured outside, there was still no indication it was daytime: the rain was coming down steadily from metallic gray clouds. Our theatre was close though, so rather than hike back up four flights of stairs for our umbrella, we dashed down the street and south a block to the Cort Theatre to see Captain Picard and Gandalf in Waiting for Godot.
Once we got there, our ushers discovered that a delightful mistake had been made, and rather than aisle seats in the back of the center section, we had near-aisle seats on the far right in the back of the house. I'll tell you, spontaneity hasn't really been a huge friend on this trip. Next time I go, I'll probably try to make sure I have the money to buy guaranteed orchestra tickets to every show I'd like to see.
Anyway, we settled into our seats and got used to the scent of mildew wafting from all the rain-soaked patrons. The show itself was great. Beckett's text is so weird and disjointed on the page, but the acting and the excellent direction made it all make sense. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen were both luminous and funny as Vladimir and Estragon (Di-di and Go-go), and Shuler Hensley and Billy Crudup were the perfect supporting cast. I believed in the characters completely. Sadly, because of the rain and the matinee, nobody came outside to sign programs.
Afterward, we grabbed some lunch, and Daniel convinced me to spend $24 at the Times Square Discovery museum, seeing an exhibit called The Art of the Brick.
It was so cool! It was all art from a 'sculptor' named Nathan Sawaya, who creates sculptures entirely out of thousands of LEGO bricks. The first section was all recreations of other famous works of art: the Mona Lisa, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Whistler's Mother, American Gothic, etc. The second section was made up of original works (not quite as cool or effective, but still fairly interesting), and the last bit was a mini-gallery for other artists' LEGO creations. All in all, definitely worth the 24 bucks.
After the museum, we took our time going back to Shubert Alley, and to the Booth Theatre for our 7 o'clock performance of The Glass Menagerie
The best thing about the show was the design. The set was a precarious floating arrangement of hexagonal 'rooms' - just the floors - with a series of shrinking fire escapes extending up into the ceiling. Surrounding this apartment was an empty black stage flooded with a shallow, reflective pool of water. It was awesome. The sound and lighting were wonderful too. The costumes were a little bit simplistic for my taste, but there's nothing wrong with that. The performances (Zachary Quinto, Cherry Jones, Celia Keenan-Bloger, and Brian J. Smith) were all interestingly off-kilter and filled with tension, but also endearing. Having seen this show once before at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, it was both surprising and gratifying to see the love that still existed in this dysfunctional family - it wasn't all friction and resentment and fear. And the Gentleman Caller was just as awkward as the family. Great stuff.
We got a couple signatures afterward from Brian and Celia, but Cherry and Zachary snuck out on us, so everybody missed them. However, while we waited, I had two very nice conversations with a pair of girls from Singapore, and another pair from Australia. All four were with impressed with my perspicacity on the subject of Tennessee Williams.
We tried to stop in at Junior's for some cheesecake, but the wait was over an hour, so we tossed that idea and just went home. Tomorrow will be our last chance for shows! Wish us luck!

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