Saturday, July 9, 2011

at least it didn't cost much (lyn)

I haven’t seen Mary (who lives in Chicago) since December.  She is coming to NY and writes a few weeks ago:

I have no plans except for a business meeting Monday.
 Movie, dinner, depressing play - let me know.

I laugh at her note.  Last spring we saw a Beth Henley play, Family Life.
The NY Times began their review this way: I want to go home. It’s no fun here.” This cri de coeur erupting from an antsy teenager is likely to fall on receptive ears at the Lucille Lortel Theater.

So this time, I am determined to find something upbeat to do.  I look on my $4 theater site and find an intriguing little off-Broadway play called, Spatter Pattern: Or, How I Got Away With ItThe play is described this way, “A screenwriter becomes entangled with a university professor under investigation for murder.”  Sounds like fun.

Next, I buy a $25 coupon for $3 and chose a little French restaurant in Cheslea, Trois Canards.  We meet at 6:30.  I immediately point out my swollen, distorted lip, as I don’t want Mary to wonder politely what happened to me.

Dinner is great, and Mary (who is fit and healthy) is a good influence.  I order the excellent signature duck as an entrée and no dessert.  The bill is only $23 each.

We walk the four blocks to the theater.  It is stifling hot.  We enter at street level and are told that the theater is four flights down.  We had no idea that anything could be that far down.

We take our excellent, second row, dead center seats.  The person to my left is in her late 70’s, or so.  She tells us that she has just gotten out of the hospital after being there for a while.  I can only wonder why she was there.  The play starts, and within the first few minutes two things become clear.  We would leave if we could, but it’s a 90-minute one act so we’re stuck.  And, the mystery-element of the play is secondary to the dismal, depressing lives of the two main characters.  One is an angry, lying, falsely accused professor who loses his job, wife and self.   The other is an angry, mourning gay man who recently lost his lover of twenty years to lung cancer.

Throughout the play, the woman to my left mumbles to her husband, “This is awful.“  “When’s it going to end?”  And then a character on stage lights a cigarette and this same woman has a coughling fit.  Then she starts sneezing.  Long after the smoke has cleared, she is still suffering, clearly in distress.    Maybe she was in for pneumonia and they let her out too soon?

Finally, the lights come up and the actors take their bows.  There is an awkward applause.  

At least dinner was good.

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