it gives a lovely light

After that moment of dithering on Saturday, I decided to Go With Things. One can really only make choices and Go With them, can’t one? There’s no point whining about being pulled in two directions.

So! Up at 5:15 on Sunday and off to Central Park to wait in line for tickets for the last show of Romeo and Juliet, armed with a blanket, a novel, a crossword puzzle, a water bottle, morning rations, and a determined Mr. Ben. When we arrived, however, we found to our dismay that people had preceded us. Several hundred people, to be exact. Damned Manhattanites and their home court advantage! Some even showed signs of having spent the night.

It didn’t seem likely that there would even be a point in waiting, but remembering that life’s a journey, not a destination, or something, and it being a lovely morning, we settled in.

From 6:20 to 1:00 we guarded our place with the zealousness of gold rush prospectors. (I was Humphrey Bogart; Ben was the other guy.) A friend came with three dogs to keep us company — and luckily she brought us breakfast, as leaving the park to acquire food is strictly prohibited by the Laws of the Line. By 1:00 we had been pre-heated to 350 degrees and well broiled and I was beginning to get irritable; just then we were all motioned onto our feet and forward, in slow-motion single-file, to the box office. At 1:45 we arrived at that hallowed spot, the Jerusalem to our Crusade, and managed to snatch two of the very last standby tickets available.

Standby tickets being, of course, no sure thing, we then had to return at 6:30 and remain rooted in place from 6:30 to 8:00 to see if we — and the cadre of friends we had assembled — could all get in. They kept us waiting to the very last moment and then! oh, glory be to Heaven: they handed us tickets.

All that sunshine and heat and sitting around and anxiety were worth it. The play was wonderful. Lauren Ambrose was a fantastically fidgety, physical, giddy Juliet — you actually believed that she was 14 and moreover *understood* the world from her point of view. This was also the first time I got how smart she was, how much respect Shakespeare has for her, how true the last line is, that this is the tale of Juliet, and her Romeo.

Romeo meanwhile was also striking. The whole supporting cast was, in fact, I thought — they deserve an apology from The New Yorker. Hilton Als apparently couldn’t stand Camryn Manheim as the nurse, whereas I thought I’d never seen that character so fully realized. Als was put off by Mercutio too. He has something against actors who emote, perhaps? Those *characters* are annoying, but you can’t really pin that on their portrayers. I agreed much more with the enchanted NYT review.

In any event, it was a worthwhile if exhausting day and I considered sleeping in the next morning to let myself recover a bit. In the end I didn’t and it’s a good thing too: I had thought I was to travel to Boston for work on Wednesday; actually I was to go Tuesday. Glad I got that straightened out! And so yesterday I had Baby’s First Business Trip (TM). I kept thinking of my mother, who travelled for work a lot when I was younger, although of course I was just flying in and out of Boston, whereas she was hopping off to the Marshall Islands. Even with my numerous and lengthy flight delays, I can’t match that.

Today I rewarded myself for that second worthwhile if exhausting day by seeing Harry Potter V: The Best of the Bunch So Far. Whee! I had never been so excited to be at Hogwarts, and no matter how big a dork it makes me, I can’t wait to be back.

One thought on “it gives a lovely light”

  1. Three cheers for Ester and Ben, the merry, unflagging, duly-reinforced enablers of a staggeringly gorgeous night of Shakespeare — and facilitators of the most interesting post-show commentary the 1 train has ever seen!

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