I saw "Plenty"

What I saw: “Plenty,” a play at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street in New York City

Who went with me: my friend B., who I met on Twitter, and I am happy that he’s moved back to NYC. 

What I did beforehand: took the dogs on a potty-walk, fed the cat, drank green tea, went to pilates, ate some cottage cheese, said goodbye to the Bacon Provider, walked the hour-long trail with the dogs in the woods, continued vacation negotiations with the BP via text (because he travels for work, he only wants to spend vacations at home), showered, tried to dry my hair, gave up, got dressed, thought about how I’ve worn denim skirts with black tights and a black shirt since starting my first job teaching math at the University of Utah in the mid-eighties. 

I bought a round-trip ticket at the vending machine and went to stand on the platform. It was cold enough that it was just me and a few crows. The rest of the passengers waited inside.


When the train came I had to do that quick grapevine dance step, sideways down the platform, looking for seats that face forward, and ended up in a window seat in a set of three rather than my preferred window seat in the sets of two. I had a momentary panic that I had forgotten to take my ticket out of the machine. But I found my ticket in time to get it punched. A young woman sat down next to me and spent a half an hour curling her eyelashes and putting on makeup.

What I wore:
black tights that I bought in Barcelona that are as ill-fitting as they are long-lasting, black Fluevog boots with stacked heels, James jeans dark wash denim skirt, black Tanner belt,  black no-iron cotton fitted Brooks Brothers blouse, rag & bone gray scarf, silver bracelets, vintage earrings, black North Face hooded parka, American-made black drawstring leather bag. 
How I got tickets: online, a while ago, and, for the record I put this evening on my husband’s work calendar but his demanding job made it so he had to leave a day earlier than originally planned. Do I sound bitter? Read on. Something happened that never would have happened with my discreet husband at my side.

Why I saw this show: I like the Public Theater

Where I sat: front row, on the end, between my friend B. and a very old man who fell asleep in the first act and was startled awake by gunfire onstage. 

Things that were sad: I get sad on the train. It passes through Chappaqua. 

Things that were funny: no one writes a play without funny lines, and my friend B. laughed even louder and more frequently than I. 

Things that were not funny: B.’s laughter fleetingly cracked up the male lead, played by the excellent Corey Stoll.

Other things that were funny: at curtain call, the beautiful and talented Rachel Weisz, star of this mad-woman’s-descent-drama, gestured at B. and me in our seats and thanked us, with a laugh and a gesture, “Love you guys.”

In the lobby, we were able to thank a number of cast members for their excellent performances. Everyone displayed grace and good humor. 

Something I ate: banana cake with coffee ice cream and walnut crumble.

What it is:  a revival of an exciting play from the early eighties, featuring intrigue, smoking, gunfire, madness, and nudity, lasting two and a half hours with one 15 minute intermission. 

Who should see it: any adult except anyone who thinks that all women are crazy. 

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What I saw on the way home: some of the stores in Katatonia are getting a jump on Christmas decorations.


I saw “A Day By The Sea”

What I saw: “A Day By The Sea,” a play from 1953, staged by the Mint Theater Company at the Beckett Theater at 410 West 42nd Street, off-Broadway in NYC.

What I wore: Chinese-made Australian boots, James jeans, indigo-dyed Tanner belt, brown Eileen Fisher jersey top that I wear when I can’t think of anything better, taupe Garnet Hill fringed cardigan (a thing I sometimes love and other times hate to wear), mascara.


What I did beforehand:  walked and fed the dogs; had a riding lesson; took a shower; rode a train where I sat in the quiet car and people sat down next to me and argued loudly in two languages for 40 minutes, undeterred by occasional announcements that the last two cars are quiet cars; saw the dentist which was supposed to be quick and simple, but was less so; visited the Morgan Library to see my favorite baby Jesus again and the Dubuffet drawings which I gushed over; ate some food when the numbed teeth woke up.


Who went with me: plenty of old white folks, and a couple of my demons.

 How I got tickets: on line, in the middle of last Saturday night.


Why I saw this show: impulse, because it seems like a dentist appointment alone isn’t reason enough to go to the city.

Where I sat: Row E, seat 2, between two men who were also there by themselves.

What it is: a play from the fifties, about loneliness, or the crisis of middle age, when so many of us realize that we are running out of time to correct the course our lives amidst the crushing accumulation of disappointments. 

Things that were sad:  see, “What it is.”

Things that were funny: there were many funny and/or poignant moments. According to the program, before serving in World War II, playwright N.C. Hunter wrote frothy comedies for the London stage. After, his works were more bittersweet, but not without humor. I believe there were more laughs in this script than the studious, elderly New York audience was willing to let loose. 

Things that were not funny: I laughed regularly, but alone. At one point, my giggles were joined by others’ chuckles, until an audience member on the other side of the theater shushed us.

Who should see it: people who laugh; fans of TV shows set in English manors in search of better-written plots, more interesting dialog, more honest interactions, and fully-fleshed-out human characters, who, like me, might have had to stop watching after the rape scene.


What I saw on the way home: turned my ankle avoiding the puddles of vomit on 42nd Street.