Minetta Lane Theatre
"Falling behind again...never wanted to...what am I to do...can't help it."
It would seem the change in seasons has not put a spring in my step. I'm in Month 8 of my Year of Plays and it looks like I’ve lost some steam. Three out of the past four weeks have been post-less. Bad Anna. Maybe I burned myself out when I overstacked with theater tickets back in March, or maybe the case of actor blues I recently contracted rubbed off a bit on my writer self. Or maybe it’s just that travel, visitors, and a new job have disrupted more than my circadian rhythms. Probably all of the above. But fear not, my loyal readers. I have not abandoned you. All along, a very tiny Daniel Day Lewis has been in my head shouting, "STAY ALIVE! NO MATTER WHAT OCCURS! I WILL FIND YOU!" and it has kept me afloat. And now at last I am seeing some shore on the horizon.
My first sight of land while adrift in that sea of blues last week was seeing 666, a dose of non-verbal, physical comedy from Spanish theater company Yllana. While I’d like to say it was artistry that lifted me from the doldrums, in truth it just felt good to laugh. Nothing like a little clowning to lighten my load. You know, some slapstick, a little audience flirtation, a stage full of oversized, veins-a-bulging phalluses. What? Did I say a stage full of oversized veins-a-bulging phalluses? Oh yes, this was clowning of a coarser kind. A don’t-take-your-Grandma kind of event. No, I take that back because I think my Grandma would have laughed herself silly whilst hiding behind her lovely arthritic little hands. All the same, the humor in 666 is not for those easily offended, nor for those who wish to keep their clothes dry. Thankfully I’m neither, so I had a grand ole time and left the theater feeling quite light.
Now there’s an aspect of theater I haven’t spent too much time writing about this year – theater as good old fashioned entertainment. Theater as diversion. Escape. A leavening agent. Not unlike baking soda. Because let’s face it, sometimes what we really need is a little fizz in our lives. And while movies and TV are where we usually turn to satisfy this craving, theater offers plenty to snack on as well.
And yet, we don’t tend to think of theater when we’re looking for a lift. When we’re down, we want a quick fix and seeing a play requires a little more effort than following the masses to the multiplex or turning on Real Housewives of New York City. Not that I watch that show. Only bad people watch that show. Only awful people who are shamelessly hooked on the disintegrating friendship between former besties Bethanny and Jill and the resulting gloat-fest from the Countess Luann and oh my god what the hell is wrong with Ramona this season?? And thus theater suffers.
Well, actually, this is a point of some contention. Not that theater suffers due to increasing numbers of self-flagellating Housewives watchers named Anna – no point in arguing that – but that theater requires more effort than movies. Some people say it’s just as easy to buy a theater ticket as a movie ticket, and that oftentimes it’s just as inexpensive, if you know where to look. But that’s the problem – if you know where to look. The average entertainment-seeker doesn’t know what plays are running (if they’re even in a theater town) let alone where to find discounted seats. And while it takes just a few extra clicks of the mouse to figure it out, that’s all that’s needed to keep a consumer at bay.
Or at least so says consumer expert Anna Moore.
At any rate, 666 provided me with some much needed diversion, and according to Yllana’s company bio, that’s precisely what they were seeking to supply. It wasn’t high-brow or revelatory or even truly provocative (phalluses on stage have been old news since the ancient Greeks, after all) – but thanks to them and the tiny Day-Lewis in my head, the blues have been banished and this blog shall live to see another day. Perhaps next time with a little more spring in my step.