Monday, April 12, 2010

Everything waits to be noticed

I'll take a moment this time to muse on the wonderful incongruous things you can find in this here city.

-C.— and I went to see a whirlwind Hamlet Friday. New York Classical Theatre specializes in putting on plays in unusual locations (this time the World Financial Center) then making the audience move around from scene to scene. There's something surreal yet effective about Shakespearean characters emerging from behind corporate edifices, playing speeches to grand stairwells, having it out with foils in front of an office building. There are so many theatrical spaces in this city if you only know where to look, as NYCT so clearly does. Bonus: We quite liked the unexpected comic relief when businesspeople would find themselves walking awkwardly through the "get thee to a nunnery" scene or other such tense moments. Plus the kid sitting in front of us who stage-whispered, "She's dead!" upon Gertrude's sipping from the cup. I loved how child-friendly the production was: maybe more people would be into theater if it were this fun. Go see it!

And, in less salespersonal, more impressionistic bursts:

-On the side of Prospect Park Saturday, a gaggle of seven cowboys crosses Empire Boulevard to make their way into the park. Spurs, hats, fringed jackets, roan and pinto and dun. Why? They're not telling.

-Brooklyn Botanic Garden, secreted between the larger Prospect Park and a bunch of gas stations and drive-thrus. The Japanese Garden a secret pool with giant carp and a family of turtles sunning itself on a rock. The plants all mysterious names and vivid colors. Walking outside the garden, you can just about glimpse the tips of the cherry trees, but only if you look close.

-Chanticleer, in concert at the Metropolitan Museum. They file out through the audience, all bleachy hair, Dali moustache, beatific smiles, good-natured stagy faces, to stand in front of the Temple of Dendur. As they sing, the sun sets on Central Park and gradually the windows fill with mirror-image audience in a warm containing glow. Makes you wonder why there aren't more concerts here. The comfort of the reflections, the solemn silliness of the performers. The sound curls, refracts, solidifies. Somehow it's not only sound. There are moments you can touch it, see it, taste it. To borrow a line from Maggie Nelson, it is the light of early spring.

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