Tag Archives: Theater

New York

I love New York.

I love the buzz of the city, I love the subway, the crazy yellow cabs, the skyscrapers, the tiny neighborhoods, and of course the theater.

The other evening I saw two plays back-to-back: Long Day’s Journey Into Night and The Father.  This was two days after I had gone with my daughter to see The Sound of Music. Nuns, nannies and Nazis, all intertwined around a delightful and timeless score. The Nazi bit was a little grim but it’s pretty light with the sing along stuff! So here I was in NYC taking in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, an intense play, three and a half hours long, by playwright Eugene O’Neill. The Father is a French tale by French playwright Florian Zeller and translated by Christopher Hampton who was the one who single handedly transformed a 1782 Choderlos de Laclos novel to make the incredible play Les Liasons Dangereuses.  It’s pretty intense. It’s a study of the tragedy and gradual deterioration associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Brought tears to my eyes as I thought about my father too.  And what to do after all of that? Head to a great restaurant of course and that would be Esca, my favorite restaurant in New York on 43rd between 9th and 10th Avenue.

The next day, I grabbed the metro and went down to the Empire State Building and took a stroll from 33rd to 14th street on the High Line, a fantastic community effort along the discarded elevated train tracks. It dropped me off right in the meatpacking area and I got to pop into Soho House for a quick bite and a view from the rooftop pool across the Manhattan skyline. I then took a walk through Central Park, saw the seals in the children’s zoo and thought how amazing to have such green space in between all of this bigness and towering glass structures.  Of course I ran out of time and jumped a yellow cab to La Guardia. I should have taken the Acela, but honestly, at three hours and 50 minutes, it still doesn’t make a lot of sense when you have an urgent appointment back in Boston.

Plea number 100: Open up this Eastern seaboard corridor Mr. President and run fast trains down the line.

The Acela is anything but accelerated! It’s slow and the service on board is dreadful. Why is Amtrak so bad?

High Line Park

High Line Park

Central Park

Central Park

Long Day's Journey Into Night

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

London Theatre Pietro Place Peter Jones

London Theatre

Every time that I go to London, I try to see a play.  Last time I was there, I went to The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the indoor Globe theatre.  I saw Shakespeare’s Cymbeline . It is still playing actually.  At the Wanamaker, there is no electrical lighting inside of the theatre and only candles and candelabras on pulleys.  It is classic London Theatere: good old Elizabethan fare served up on bare sets with traditional music in the background. Catch any performance there if you can.  It is like no experience I have experienced.

This time, I was invited by a friend of mine, Lee Curran, to go see a play at the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square.  Lee is the lighting director; a “creative artistic type” that lights up much of London and Stratford with his art.  The play was Linda, a play by Penelope Skinner and starring Noma Dumezweni.  She plays an award-winning business woman promoting beauty products while facing the hypocrisy of how beauty is marketed to women.  This was a play originally starring Kim Cattrall of Sex in the City fame but she pulled out with just a week to go before preview.  Noma stepped in out of the blue, out of nowhere really, and pulled off one of the greatest tour de forces in acting.  Talk about a crash course in learning lines. She was amazing, as was the play.

For me the real buzz was that I got to sit in the tech box with Lee high above the performance and watch the play through his critical eye.  That was a first.  It felt a bit like being in the cockpit of an airplane next to the pilot.  We saw the next to last performance of the play.  I got to meet the star and even got to grab an Indian meal afterwards.  A truly perfect night in London.

London Theatre Pietro Place Peter Jones