It’s been a busy fortnight. In addition to seeing relatives at my nephew’s engagement party, I also got together with many old and new friends in the last two weeks. Being with friends makes the fun times more fun. Being with friends can also make the bad times fun, too, though. Sometimes.
Last Sunday, during a 4-day stay in NY, I got together with two of my friends, Maria and Tilda, and we went to an Off off Broadway show in Morningside Heights. That’s George Carlin’s old neighborhood, except he used to call it West Harlem to make it sound tougher. The show was called A Map to Somewhere Else. The cab driver, Mohammed, didn’t need a map. He knew exactly where the theatre was, and we zipped up the West Side Highway, past the Intrepid, and a whole bunch of buildings branded with the Donald Trump logo.
When we go there, the first floor was some kind of church. That’s why Mohammed knew the address. A small sign said that the theatre was on the third floor. We climbed the steps half-expecting to be mugged on the way. We got to the theatre and it looked worse than my last apartment before I moved out. It was packed with cardboard boxes. Were they there on purpose? Were they part of the set, or were we supposed to sit on them. We were dumbfounded.
Tilda broke the silence. “They’ve done a great job of making this place look decrepid.”
Maria and I agreed immediately, and we all laughed.
There were some seats here, and some seats there, and a few seats everywhere almost circling the center of the room. The couch in the middle looked like it might be part of the set, so we sat in the section of seats with the most people. We took three seats in the second row. Those had to be good seats, we thought. Until the show began.
I’m new at this theatre stuff, so I don’t know who does what, but whoever did the staging did a very poor job. It seemed that whenever the actors spoke they were always facing away from the audience, even though the audience practically surrounded them. I have a small hearing problem, so I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Then, I looked at Maria and Tilda and realized that they couldn’t understand the actors either.
I need glasses to read, but not to watch a play, but I still missed half the action because there were boxes in my way.
At intermission, Tilda had to explain to Maria and me what was going on. We didn’t even understand her explanation of the show.
Act II was longer that Act I. At least it felt that way, even though I was starting to get used to the acoustics, and I finally understood what they were saying. Except I still didn’t know why they were saying what they were saying.
On the cab ride back to Penn Station we immediately gave the show three thumbs down, and yet, we also instantly agreed that we had fun. It was an adventure, an adventure to somewhere. None of us were sure where, but it was an adventure none the less, and we enjoyed it.
I sure could have used a map, though.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,