The past three and a half days have been a complete and total blur…
Welcome to New York City.
I was fortunate enough to spend Thursday afternoon through this afternoon in Manhattan, traveling all over the place with one of my best friends from home. The primary purpose of the trip was to go see The Public Theater’s production of Twelfth Night as part of Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. For those of you who don’t know, this year’s production is headlined with Anne Hathaway playing Viola, a fraternal twin separated from her brother Sebastian (confusion and hilarity ensues).
Before I get to Twelfth Night, I just want to recap the action of the past couple of days. First of all, United needs to work on figuring out how computers work. A glitch that causes a lot of flights to be cancelled is NOT cool. The decision to go with completely carry-on luggage paid off big time, as we managed to make a standby flight after both our original flight and our second flight had been cancelled. After arriving in NYC, besides raining torrentially for a bit, things settled down: dinner at the Moonrock Diner and The 39 Steps on Broadway made for a great first night.
Friday morning involved heading to The Top of the Rock and the NBC Experience Tour, both of which provided some interesting (and exciting) moments. We then ventured over to the Chrysler Building, the Daily News Building and the United Nations (which, for some reason, was closed). The coup d’etat, however, was seeing Twelfth Night at the Delacorte. (My immense gratitude goes out to Steve Showalter at the Public for the tickets; my time interning at the Public is paying back in more ways than I thought). Not only was the performance great, but meeting Anne Hathaway is always a plus. I mean, talk about not only a talented, gorgeous actress, but her willingness to stick around post-show and take photos and sign autographs made me wish all celebrities were as down to earth as she seems to be.
Independence Day was mostly spent visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, a trip that’s worth it if you ever have the time for it. We didn’t have a chance to get tickets inside the Statue, so we stuck on the ferry and took pictures from there. Ellis Island was the real treat here, as you walk the halls of where so many immigrants had once been with the hope of entering the United States. This was bookended with watching the Macy’s fireworks from the Chelsea Piers area, a sight worth seeing (although the amount of people there was almost un-Godly).
This morning involved a trip to the Metro Diner for breakfast and a flight home to Chicago from Newark International Airport. All in all, I enjoyed myself immensely and definitely will cherish this experience for years to come.
Now, on to Twelfth Night. Given the fact that I spent most of the show reciting it word for word (when you’re an actor in a show, you end up seeing it dozens of times, so it just happens), I could tell where cuts were made and where order may have been switched. However, I didn’t feel like any changes or cuts made detracted from the performance at all. On a personal note, the Twelfth Night cast at DePauw got cast shirts that have a line from the show on the back that the Public’s performance decided to omit, which I thought quite a shame: Feste, Act I, scene 5 “(For what says Quinapalus?) ‘Better a witty Fool than a foolish wit.'” (the non-parenthetical part is what’s on the shirt).
The set, albeit somewhat simple, fit the show perfectly, as it looked like a rolling green meadow that could have been pulled from Central Park itself, providing a beautiful backdrop for the outdoor Delacorte. The music (both incidental and what is performed by the characters) was written by the band Hem. It was quite breathtaking in its sound; I considered it very Irish-sounding, as it included the use of violins and the bodhran drum. The performances were fantastically executed. However, given the amount of time and work I spent playing the role of Feste, I must say I was a bit disappointed by David Pittu’s take on the character. And, yes, I do realize that pitting myself against an established actor makes me sound like a hack, but I felt I should say something because, well, this is my blog, so tough nuts if you don’t like it :-D. Pittu played the role a bit too smugly and jester-y for my likes. Feste is a “Fool”, indeed, but I felt the character should have been approached more as a grisled veteran who knows the story but is content with slyly commentating, rather than a mocking jester who’s silly for silly’s sake. This is not to say that I don’t respect or appreciate the work Pittu did; if I had gone to Central Park and watched him play the character exactly the way I did, I think I probably would have found something to complain about as well. As such, I’m happy with celebrating (and appreciating) the differences in approach (even if I didn’t find it as appetizing as others.)
In all, the blur that was the past three and a half days was totally worth it. There’s really nothing like seeing live theater executed well, enjoying the atmosphere of a bustling city and catching up with familiar faces.
P.S. If you’re reading this Anne Hathaway, call me, we’ll do lunch. 🙂