Some theatre each day keeps the doctor away…

Angels in America

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Saw Angels in America at Belvoir today.  Tonight.  The whole day.  Left at 11:15am, got home as the clock struck midnight pumpkin.  Was it worth it?  Yes.  But the play isn’t as great as a lot of people seem to think it is.  Which was disappointing.  I thought today, on the train ride in, that, if it lived up to expectations, I’d be able to come home tonight, get on my computer, and blog the words “this is the most modern great play that I’ve seen”.  (That is, it would have been written after Travesties, which I think currently holds the title.)

The major problem, I think, is that the play is reflecting (by holding the mirror up to nature and all that) a snapshot of a country, and does less of a job reflecting the people that populate it. Countries change, people don’t.  I think it will date, and I think it is dated already.  (Strangely I didn’t get the sense of that with Death of a Salesman, or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, etc, etc.  I think it’s because they don’t constantly reference ‘current’ events and personalities.)

But if we return to the now (and forget that pesky future), then it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

If I ever write a play that long, however, much – much – more time will pass throughout the story.

In the first interval of the first play, a man (who told me he was a critic, though I’d never heard of him (not that I disbelieve him)) asked if he could swap seats with me, as he had just had a knee operation and I happened to be sitting next to the aisle.  The Lord says do unto others as you would have them do to you.  He should have stipulated that you shouldn’t put others in a position where they’re forced to do unto others as you’d have them do to you, methinks.  Bah.  How could I say no?  (You still get karma if you’re begrudgingly charitable, right?)

Then again, the Lord wins on a technicality, because I can’t imagine that I would ask to swap seats with someone, so I wouldn’t have others ask that of me.  (Although if I was in a great deal of pain, maybe I would.  But if I was in that much pain, would I go to the theatre in the first place?)  So no addendum is required.  God the lawyer.

(All of this thoroughly confused the woman who I sat next to after the swap – I had to explain that I’d switched seats, and that she wasn’t going mad.)

Second interval of the second play, I had a rather debonair and handsome young fellow come and sit in the row behind me, lean over, and say, “sorry, excuse me, but what are you reading? I have this thing where I have to know what people are reading.”  Black and English he was, just like I like my tea.  (That’s a lie – I have milk in my tea, but I couldn’t resist the joke.)  I gave him the book – sort of profferred it up to him when he asked what it was – and he spent the next five minutes or so holding it, flipping through it and so on, while we talked.  For the first minute it was me giving rather small answers to his questions, in a bid to get rid of him (“what’s this?” I think to myself, “he asked and found out what book I was reading, why is he still talking?”), then the next few minutes consisted of a more genuine attempt on my part at conversation, except it was tainted by a desire to have it end.  (So I was trying to be affable for the mere reason that I didn’t want to seem completely rude.)  (You see, part of the awkwardness of the conversation, too, was that I don’t think I realised he was interested in a full conversation to begin with, as I was having a drink when he was originally looking at the book, and I thought he was just reading a little bit, as opposed to using it as a prop to continue talking.  I kept expecting him to, having had his curiosity satisfied, end the conversation.)  At one point he said, “so, what, you’re just coming out of high school and going into university?”, which was rather nice on the ego, I must admit.  I get the feeling he may have been hitting on me, but that might’ve been the play talking.  (Stick someone in a bakery and no matter what, they’re going to think they smell bread, right?)  I don’t know.  I never know in these situations.  (He was in an entirely different section of seats from me, so he had to make a bit of a trek to come and see me.)  The problem with nascent flirting is that it’s subtle enough to be abandoned if the need arises, and hence subtle enough to be missed.  He asked me what kind of music I liked, and I ended up mentioning that I’d really liked the Walton symphony the other week, and he was able to mention Walton’s oratorio (Belshazzar’s Feast or whatever it’s called), which quite impressed me – I doubt more than one or two people in that theatre would’ve heard of Walton, unless I’m projecting my own ignorance onto all of them.

Hmm.  I don’t know.  The conversation has stuck with me somewhat, though I don’t know why.  Maybe because most people who strike up a conversation with me, vis a vis my book, are much older than I am, whereas he was my age.  Maybe because I regret the awkward reflex I have for finishing conversations with complete strangers quickly, especially considering that we would have got along quite smoothly if I’d been trying harder, I’m guessing, and so I might have had quite a nice conversation.  Maybe it’s that I recognised a kindred spirit in him being someone my age who goes to the theatre (which sounds more dramatic than it actually is, but given the crowds at the music concerts I go to, these age-issues become more pronounced, then bounce back onto my theatre experience).  Who knows.  Andrew, I think he said his name was, when we shook hands and he said goodbye.

Five or so minutes after he left, the woman in the row in front asked me what I was reading, and I told her.

What is it with this da Vinci biography?  It’s got the most attention any book of mine has for quite some time.  189/whatever in it.  Only managed to read 120 or so pages of it today, even with all the spare time I had.

Maybe people always ask me what I’m reading because I look so darn fascinated in my book that they think, “gosh, I want some of what he’s got”.  Ha.


Written by epistemysics

June 2, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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