The theater I've seen so far has refreshed my ear for both Shakespeare and contemporary lyricism. Twelfth Night at Shake & Co. was solid, if not brilliant work, the chief virtues of which were it's warm-hearted romanticism and textual clarity. Measure for Measure was more of a mixed bag, since it was an intern show, but it had the virtue of mixing well the comedy and near-tragedy. The Dreamer Examines His Pillow was, to my taste, a slightly over-earnest, dramatic version, in which some (but by no means all) of Shanley's humor was lost, but the text and argument were very clear and easy to follow. It was also a touch more piquant for being played by a black cast, which I supposed could be considered 'non-traditional,' but if so, only because the author is not black. Dreamer moves through the lens of our frequently fervent sexual obsessions down into the universal substrate that is also an explicit subject of Our Town, which, when one gets passed our over-familiarity with it, is a bracing remonstration for the same kind of sleep walking that panics Shanley.
David Cromer's production of Our Town is intimate, done primarily under house lights and in contemporary dress, as if it were a rehearsal. The acting is direct and un-fussy; the choreography, affecting, as actors move through a small space crowded by a full audience. I'd never seen the show before, and have not read it since high school, so this was a rare opportunity to experience a 'classic' with nearly fresh eyes. I was grateful.
Another thing I've done on this trip: been too physically close to impending violence two days running. On Saturday night, Adam and I went over to Jersey City to visit a friend of his who is managing a restaurant there, and at one point I was called a "piece of shit" by a drunken, undercover cop who veered all evening between playing grab ass/yelling at his drunken girlfriend and waving his gun at the bartender, who wasn't pleased. Sunday afternoon, Stephan introduced me to a stand up comic friend of his who got into a shouting match with an extremely aggressive bum. We were at French Roast, at 85th and Broadway, so many upper west side white folk looked alarmed. I tipped the waitress $20 on a $50 to ease her discomfort.
I also spent three days with my brother and sister-in-law at the house on Lake Champlain, visiting with old mutual friends, swimming, boating, eating, and catching up on family matters. Later this morning, I go up to the Bleecker Street Theatre to participate in a table read of a new play by Tom Simes. Fun trip, so far.