I’m typing this from the foyer of La MaMa Theatre, amongst all the mountains of set and props ready to go back into the shipping crate and back to New Zealand. Every single item needs to be checked off a four page list to get out of the country or we get pinged. Karah and Joel are off to pick up our rental car and then it’s off north to Rhode Island and the first stop of our mini tour of Future Guidance.
I didn’t mention the explosion did I? On the day Wants and Needs opened, almost a whole block of buildings on second avenue, just around the corner and up a few blocks, exploded and collapsed due to some kind of gas issue. Two people are still missing. The block is still cordoned off, I walked past it on my way up to the falafel place. It’s just a big hole where there used to be buildings. Something may be happening now because there were several news anchors there. Everyone here is pretty shaken up still.
Last night Karah and I went out to Brooklyn to see An Octoroon. It’s a reimagining of a play called The Octoroon, written in the 1860s, and which is never performed today for very obvious reasons, the main one being the fact that it’s an outrageously racist melodrama. The play uses text from the original and a lot of commentary and other material around it to create a really outrageous and horrifically funny performance- white actors playing black characters, black actors playing native americans, and so on and so forth. I was in the front row, which makes you very very nervous about whether your phone is on or off. It felt very, very close, and I got fake blood in my hair, a fair amount of spit on my clothes, and a cotton ball at my feet. It wasn’t participatory exactly (though I didn’t think they handled it too well when a (black) woman called out a bid in the mock slave auction scene), but you certainly felt exposed in the audience. A big white backdrop threw a lot of light back at the audience. A good one to be close to. I liked the way the performers just tore this text to shreds and stitched it back together into something really beautiful and scary.
Checked out St John the Divine/Unfinished up in Harlem. It’s the biggest cathedral in North America, and sure feels like it. Different ends are in different styles because they changed their approach and architect part way through. We also explored Columbia’s campus, which is opulent beyond anything I’ve seen. Spent a half day in the Met as well, where I saw a billion things.
Now its off on the road. This is going to be something else again.
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