I saw "Prodigal Son"

What I saw: “Prodigal Son” at the second-most generically named theater I’ve yet been to in New York, the Manhattan Theater Club (also known, even more generically, as New York City Center Stage 1) at 131 W 55th Street, which is off-Broadway.

What I wore: favorite blue Fluevog Guide heels, Hudson jeans that are much too long and puddle annoyingly around my ankles, black no-iron stretch cotton Brooks Brothers blouse, black Eileen Fisher cardigan, gray rag & bone scarf with black dots that for a while I thought the cleaners lost and I cried over it because you can’t buy them anymore but then I found it so I wear a lot and maybe clutch it jealously sometimes, tiny purple Kate Spade purse with a long skinny strap that is really no replacement for women’s clothes having functional pockets but what can you do?

What I did beforehand: When I first moved to New York I complained that you can’t get a decent cup of coffee, but I have since gotten over the general badness of a lot of the coffee in New York and found where to go. Before the theater, I ate a molasses ginger cookie and drank a decaf cappuccino from Blue Bottle coffee (which is a New York outpost of a West Coast chain) and then walked to the subway to catch the uptown E train. I got on the wrong train, hopped off and then got on the right train and got off at the wrong stop. I was supposed to be meeting the Bacon Provider for dinner and had to walk five blocks instead of no blocks.  

Who went with me: The Bacon Provider and The Graduate (who we should have invited to join us for dinner) 

How I got tickets: online, full price, in two batches because I thought The Bacon Provider was going to be out of town and when I found out he wasn’t going to be out of town I bought one more ticket, in the back row

Why I saw this show: recommended by a friend at the barn who has a friend who is an actor and the friend recommended it

Where I sat: Row B, Seat 5

Is your phone off?


Things that were sad: Sometimes, I miss teaching. Sometimes, I think the wrong people get into teaching. 

Things that were funny: I did not like the rambly, new-agey incidental guitar-and-sometimes-piano music used in the show. It was correctly engineered, but I just didn’t like it. File this under #myunpopularopinion; it was composed and performed by Paul Simon. Also, when the lights came up, just before the actor spoke his first line, the woman next to me said aloud, “I like the set!”

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Things that were not funny: how many prep-school coming-of-age stories are there left to be told? But if you want me to sit on the edge of my seat, tell me a story of redemption. Because, you see, I, too, was a liar once, and know well what liars can do.

What it is: the best written play I’ve seen this year; the script is for sale for $17 at the coat check afterwards, and they may not have change, so buyers will have to choose, as I did, between paying $20 for it or waiting for change.

Who should see it: fans of the wildly gifted young actor, Timothée Chalamet; people who think about Socrates, Nazis, T.S. Eliot, and Jesus Christ

What I saw on the way home: Before the play begins there is a book lying on the stage. If you go to see the play, and you should, check to see what book it is.  Also, check to see what book is left on the stage at the end.

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