What I saw: “The Body of an American,” at the newly remodeled Cherry Lane Theater, 38 Commerce Street, in the West Village, NYC
What I wore: favorite black Fluevog Guides, fishnet socks, Hudson jeans that are too long that now have a ripped button on one of the back pockets because I did that the last time I wore them which was when I saw “Prodigal Son,” black t with white polka dots, black open-knit sweater, burn-out velvet scarf that was the gift of a friend in Seattle in the late 90s.
Mine is the tan car,
stuck behind four yellow cabs,
next to the white bus
What I did beforehand: got stuck in mid-town gridlock and stepped on my prescription sunglasses, the ones I got for Italy
Who went with me: The Bacon Provider, freshly returned from a week of working on the other coast
How I got tickets: Oh, Reader…you knew it would happen. I bought tickets to two shows on the same night this month. Maybe if I had real-life friends here, I’d have asked around and given them away. But I know like five or eight people in NYC outside of my family. Anyway, I bought more tickets and donated back the originals on the grounds that a small theater like this might put the proceeds to good use. Oh, and if you’d like to tell me how to make friends in Bedhead Hills or NYC when I’m 52 and bitter and currently like really into Schopenhauer, you can comment about that below.
Why I saw this show: I think I got a promotional email suggesting it (and here I am, the one who gets all fucking salty about spam).
Where I sat: last row, in front of the light and sound board, in the brand new, comfortable seats. The guy manning the tech showed up and let out two great, theatrical yawns. I wondered what would happen if I monkeyed with his cables. I’m glad I didn’t; this show has exquisite lighting and visual effects. Normally, I cringe at the recent trend of projecting slides on the backdrop of a play, but in this case the set was designed to look as good without the projections, and the images enhanced rather than distracted.
Things that were sad: It’s all been about drugs lately, movies, books, plays.
Things that were funny: I just finished reading Robert Stone’s “Dog Soldiers,” a 70s novel about a journalist in Vietnam who’s pretty lost in his own life and a drug deal gone sideways. My brother recommended it, and I liked the book quite a bit, though when I watched the movie version, “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” I was disgusted by its neutering of the three main characters. Read the book; skip the movie. Anyway, “The Body of an American” is about a journalist who goes to the more recent war-torn corners of the world and is also pretty lost in his own life, and a playwright who wants to write about him because he is also pretty lost in his own life. I completely relate to the theme of a writer lost in his own life: I really do.
There are a few ways to define “funny.”
Things that were not funny: The lighting guy behind me had a tummy ache.
What it is: a play about writers, ghosts, and how life can be scary or seemingly pointless, acted with genuine (and appropriate) restraint by two actors named Michael.
Who should see it: husbands who don’t like the feel-bad family-dysfunction dramas, writers, anyone who just ate dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in the West Village, photojournalists, lovers and haters of snow and/or sand.
What I saw on the way home: I expected to see a certain amount of bad driving on the dark and narrow Saw Mill Parkway late on a Friday night, but I got stuck behind a driver whose foot seemed to have slipped off the gas. I steered around the unexpectedly slowing car, but when it happened a second time to another driver it seemed like a contagious disease had overtaken drivers all over Westchester. Keep going, people. You can’t stop driving until you arrive someplace.