theatre

365 Challenge: Day 166 – Comet

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Cometa celestial object consisting of a nucleus of ice and dust and, when near the sun, a “tail” of gas and dust particles pointing away from the sun; the Broadway musical I watched this week

comet

A comet is basically a dusty snowball that shoots around the sun, often remarked for the images they create with trailing gases and the speed at which they can race through the galaxy. Sometimes that’s how we feel… like a comet shooting gases (our mouths off) all in the vain of trying to get somewhere. Although I try to keep my mouth shut 99% of the time, there have been moments where I just needed to vent. And that’s OK. Venting can be a healthy way to let off steam and propel you forward to whatever comes next.

A friend of W’s, who is also now a friend of mine, suggested we see the Broadway play, The Great Comet of 1812, this week. I love Broadway and I enjoy going to musicals and shows, but they can be expensive. When this one came up, knowing I had a list of others I knew I wanted to see, I wasn’t initially interested. I was also way too busy to stop and look up anything about it so I felt educated in my decision. I remembered seeing it mentioned at the Tony Awards when we watched them last June, but also uncertain if it had been nominated or just discussed. Then I remembered Josh Groban was in it, so I got excited and said, “yeah, let’s go.” The day finally came this week and we went to dinner first, where I asked about Groban’s role and the point of the whole show. Again, I really should have looked it up in advance. Two things happened at that moment: (1) Josh Groban isn’t in it anymore and (2) It’s an adaption of parts of Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace.’

OK, three things happened, the third being me dropping my fork and grabbing my glass of cider — with alcohol, of course, as I was not thrilled about seeing the show anymore. But I hide it well and got through dinner, hoping maybe it wouldn’t be a boring show about fighting and fixing things and the world from 1812. I love history and I love all things based on timelines, but War and Peace on a weeknight? Another glass of cider… maybe two… dinner ends, we walk to the Imperial Theatre. I’m online, looking at all the advertisements and watching people on line waiting to get in. (Aside: oh, that was funny… on line… on line…)

It’s a Russian story, so I am starting to grow more intrigued. But at the same time, I’m worried it’ll be boring, despite my friend seeing it five previous times and raving about it. Sometimes I can be quite a lump when I get an idea in my head that something will be bad. And then I won’t let any positive thoughts shine through. By the way, that’s not a good way to be — I’ve worked hard to get rid of those parts of me… but every once in awhile they shine through. Kinda like a comet, I suppose. When we arrive in the theatre, I’m absolutely shocked, impressed, magnetized and confounded. They’d re-configured the entire theatre to look more like a cafe. Seats were removed in the normal seating area, replaced with mini-stages and walkways for the actors to wander around and interact with the audience a bit. There were seats on the stage, both regular seats and tables as though you were in a 19th century Russian club. It was breathtaking. I loved it and asked tons of questions in the fifteen minutes before ‘curtains’ opened, as there were no curtains. The actors had already been out wandering around talking to people. It truly was a remarkable show, in my top 5, and I’ve seen hundreds at this point in my life.

The music was incredible, everything from opera to rap, reggae to house club, ballads to rock songs. All original. All chosen to determine the mood of the character who was ‘center-stage’ in those scenes. The choreography was impeccable, almost like a circus performance with almost unbelievable body movements and dancing. The lighting was brilliant and always on point. I never pay attention to the lighting, but between smoke machines, lanterns, spotlights, strobe lights and lights descending and swinging around the entire theatre, the beauty never ended. Truly one of those shows were you are fully immersed in everything happening, as it’s basically a 360 degree play all around you. I don’t often buy albums or music, but I will be getting this one.

I also have a new theme for a giant birthday party next year. And I hate birthday parties. That’s how fun this show was. I implore anyone in the NYC area to try to get there before it closes on September 3rd. And if you miss it, find a performance somewhere near you just to hear the music and see the fantastic beauty. If you’re interested in learning more, below are the links to the Broadway play’s website and Wikipedia’s page on the show.

 

 

So be your own comet. Leave a trail. Shoot across the galaxy that is your world. And give things a chance before you get all pissy over something that you’ll end up loving!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 152 – Matchmaker

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Matchmaker: a person who arranges relationships and marriages between others, either informally or, in certain cultural communities, as a formal occupation

dolly

Ever since I saw Hello, Dolly earlier this week, I cannot get some of the songs out of my head, nor the other famous one: “Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match…” All these tunes prompted me to make today’s 365 Daily Challenge word ‘matchmaker.’ At some point in our lives, we’ve all met or been exposed to some form of this meddler, the (wo)man who takes it upon himself or herself to set up other people, trying to bring joy and happiness into a new couple’s life as they meet for the first time. It’s a divisive topic. Some say “bring it on,” while others scream “mind your own business.”

Looking back throughout my days, I’ve been setup on a date with someone else a few times; it never worked out. I luckily have no horror stories to tell, as the worst that ever happened to me was that the guy was quite fickle. A friend from high school thought we’d be perfect together, so we all up met up for drinks. The match brought one of his friends (a girl), I brought one of mine (a girl), and then we had the matchmaker (a girl) who brought us together. Date seemed to be going fine, but the girl he brought kept sitting on his lap, crossing the line between very friendly and ‘did you two need a room?’ Though I would usually just ignore it, the entire situation puzzled me, as we were kind of on a date, yet tried to make it a casual group thing. I felt forced to ask the question… explain my point of view… but my words fell into a deep hole, and I’m not sure an “ah-ha moment” ever actually came out on the other side either. Nonetheless, I doubt you care to hear the end of that story. The point being… matchmakers… always trying to meddle in other people’s lives assist their friends.

Dolly is a matchmaker in the 1880s in New York City and Yonkers. She’s a widow who holds hundreds of jobs, always with a business card and a new title for whatever you need. She brings together couples all across the bustling city, ignoring her own needs until she’s simply grown too tired of it all. Enter a somewhat charming and rich older man who is searching for a wife… oodles of antics occur and in the end, many couples are united despite all the chaos that ensues. It’s an overly simple summary of a truly remarkable show, but since these posts won’t be as endless as they’ve been in the past (I hear you cheering — NOW STOP THAT!), it shall suffice. I’d heard of the show before the revival came to Broadway, but had never seen it. My friends were absolute crazed when it came back to life with Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce in the lead roles. They insisted on tickets, I shrugged my shoulders. “Sure, sounds fun, do what you will…” I said. They shot me furtive glances, I heard the whispers… “Has he lost his mind, it’s Bette.” Then I watched a performance on the Tony’s and thought, ‘oh, this could be good.’

And yes, the show was amazing, despite the concerns that grew inside my head over the course of the following weeks. You see, some ladies in my apartment building had been gossiping about it weeks ago when we were all at the gym. They sat on a weight bench for about thirty minutes admiring the lovely equipment. I was doing some weird form a squats and lunges, listening in as one does in the gym when seventy-ish women are talking about the show you’re soon to see. “Her voice wasn’t as good as I expected.” “She called out a couple of days and might not finish the run.” I tried to complete my routine, but it just wasn’t working anymore. Not because my life would be over if I missed seeing Bette. But W’s life might be… he had his heart set on seeing her in the show. And I don’t like seeing his heart in a bad place.

And a funny thing about W and me, at least in as far as how he and I met; it was through a matchmaker of our own. I know, crazy how things come together despite what I said earlier. But I promise, there’s no trickery at hand here. This particular matchmaker was quite pushy. Every day I had a message, a reminder, ‘You two should really meet. You’d be good together.” There’d be side-by-side pictures displayed on a phone screen with a few comments dropped to convince me. “You’ve got so much in common. And you live so close to one another.” I believe there were even percentages and blocks being discussed. And then on a weekly basis, a reminder would show up. “You haven’t checked anyone else out this week. Aren’t you forgetting about someone?” You see… our particular meddler was none other than “Match.Com.” Yes, we met through the Internet. And each day, it would tell me he lived a few blocks away from where I worked. Our profiles had 95% in common. And that I still hadn’t exchanged a message with anyone else on the site. But I digress… online dating… perhaps a topic for another day.

Hello, Dolly was all that you’d expect it to be. It’s one of those shows that is unafraid to truly connect with the audience. Certain lines in the show that related to problems in today’s political dramas garnered funny facial expressions from the actors, tons of laughs from the audience. Bette and David took the art of repetition and doing nothing to extremes. In at least 4 or 5 moments, they did zilch on stage for at least two minutes, but it was captivating. Sometimes she was trying to feed him, others she ate food herself while nothing else happened. How many marshmallows can one woman stuff in her mouth? I think they were marshmallows. And every night? Poor Bette, that’s not good for the body. I should know. It’s how I eat my cookies. When I get them. Someone told me I couldn’t have them anymore.

The voices were good, not stellar, but when combined with everything else, it transported you to the setting and you felt absolutely enamored with it all. I knew none of the music, yet it enthralled me. I knew none of the actors other than the two leads, yet I have a few selected to follow to other shows. Though the story took place nearly 150 years ago, it was timeless. The staging was marvelous. The entrances and exits were unexpected yet what we’d all predict if we had a moment to stop being entertained so we could actually process what was happening. It was non-stop shenanigans with a fresh breath of comedic timing and the humor we absolutely all needed. If you’re going to be in NYC, pre-plan as it’s hard to acquire the tickets. But if you have the chance to see the show wherever you are, it’s definitely worth it.

Have you ever seen Hello, Dolly? Been to a matchmaker? Suffered through online dating? Think of the stories we could share…

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • In honor of this lovely show, I am not including a Recommended Blogger to know today. It deserves the spotlight all on its own. We’ll return with regularly scheduled programming over the weekend.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Review: The Cherry Orchard

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The Cherry OrchardBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to The Cherry Orchard, a tragedy and comedy all rolled into one, published in 1904 by a great Russian, Anton Chekhov. I’d heard of this play during my high school years, but never actually read it. In college, I had a course in modern drama and theatre, where this was one of the 16 plays we read: 1 per week for the 4 month course. Our school also performed a theatrical version a later semester where I participated in some backstage work. We also did a video and literary analytical comparison. I know the play well. Commentary on society. Discussion of values. Choices. Understanding what you will give up for what you need to have. The themes in this one are so large, it’s often hard to discuss them without getting animated.

Additionally, The Cherry Orchard was the piece that I did my technical and textual analysis on, so I had strong opinions and theories about the characters and the action. When I saw the video, I was a bit shocked at some things, but I also realized that many things were done in the way that I would have done them. The whole discussion/argument about the play being a comedy or a tragedy is one that comes to mind.
I thought while reading the piece that it was mostly a tragedy. The Ranevskys were losing their estate and cherry orchard. I had sympathy and pity for them. Then, I thought more about how it was played in the video, and what the narrator had to say. I also recalled the action in the play and realized that the action is external, and therefore, it depends on the way that characters are played by the actors. It was the acting, at least for me, which showed the tragic side of the play in the video. When Lopakhin is announcing at the end that he is now the owner of the estate and the orchard, the staging and directing was brilliant. The entire stage was silent, and the characters all stood around Lopakhin. The orchestra was playing a little bit also, and Lopakhin began his speech. He was somewhat hysterical, but also vindicated. Watching this scene is what convinced me that the play was more tragic than comic.

The actress who played Madame Ranevsky was a great actress. When she broke down about losing the estate with her brother Gayev, there were more tragic tones to the play. It was hard to decide exactly how I felt about the piece because there were the interruptions to let the narrator talk for awhile. Overall, I liked the version because it appeared very classic. By classic, I mean in the lines and the dark colors. I wish that I saw the actual orchard. I felt a little deprived because the orchard was the focus of the piece.

There were parts that were left out also that I wish I could have seen acted. In my opinion, the entire play should have been put on, and then afterwards, the narrator should have commented on it. They could have held flashbacks and then remind us of specific scenes that were played in a certain way, etc. The end was good when Firs was left alone. I like that part. He was on the couch and I wondered what was going to happen. When I read the play, I thought that he was going to die, but I was unsure about his character in the film. There was a lot of discussion about the sounds of the piercing harp string and the axe at the end when the orchard was being cut down. This discussion was very interesting because it helped me to understand the importance of the sounds before I gave my textual analysis.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Three Sisters

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The Three SistersBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to The Three Sisters, a Russian play published in 1900 by Anton Chekhov. What an introspective work, but then again, Chekhov is always at the top of this particular game, that is, presenting a slice of life we know dear to our hearts. In this one, perhaps his most famous play, three sisters are stuck in a small Russian village, but year to be back in Moscow. Circumstances prevent it. If you don’t know any Russian history, you might want to brush up on it before taking this one on. I struggle to recognize this book came about less than two decades before the famous Romanov family was executed. It feels so very different yet so much the same. I digress. This story is about choice. Or lack of choice. Or more appropriately denying yourself the ability to choose because you lack the confidence to do what you need to do. The three sisters, arguably quite different, might indeed by the same woman inside. Life is hard. Seeing what happens around you when someone else controls the minutes, can be difficult. And you feel stagnant. But when this happens, a writer can capture the beauty of something known as nothing. It’s the little things… that make life so interesting… and this book so wonderful.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: Master Harold…and the boys

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Master Harold...and the boysBook Review
2+ out of 5 stars to Master Harold…and the boys, a play written in 1982 by Athol Fugard. It pains me to give this work only 2 stars as I know the value it truly brings to highlighting apartheid in South Africa when it needed more attention. Perhaps because I read this when I was still fairly young, I couldn’t connect with it. As a younger reader, I often struggled with themes around depression, war, slavery and human rights. I couldn’t fathom not treating people equally and fairly, and struggled to read the stories. Might be that I didn’t want to feel those emotions or I didn’t know how to at the time. With this work, the language, the theme and the overall setting was so unfamiliar to me, I thought it wasn’t doing justice to the story and the cause. It was meant for an older audience, and probably if I went back to read it now, I’d like it more. It’s interesting to think about how you’d change ratings for books and plays as you age, hence why on my blog, I’ve created the “what age to read which book by genre” series… to help ensure books receive the best possible attention when being read. That said, I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading this as it wasn’t bad; it just fell too flat for me. I suppose the characters were meant to feel like templates… archetypes as opposed to real people suffering… in order to show how this was happening all over in many respects, shapes and forms. In the end, it was work to read it, and when that happens, which is rare, I have to give a lower rating. Anyone read this who felt differently? What did I miss?



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Zoo Story

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The Zoo Story
The Zoo Story by Edward Albee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Book Review


4 out of 5 stars to The Zoo Story, written in 1959 by Edward Albee. If you haven’t read this story, you’ve missed out on something intense and truly spellbinding. It’s a classic American play staged on Broadway (and other places), but so few have probably read it these days. The story is amazing and not what what anyone would expect from the title, of even in general. Two men sit on a bench in Central Park. Uppity business man taking a break from his day. A man approaches, appears a bit like a vagabond. He wants to talk. The business man wants to ignore him. The vagabond asks useless and painful questions. The business man wants to walk away, but the vagabond tickles him. A fight ensues. Something bad happens. One man runs away. The other reflects on what he’s learned.

What a commentary on society. Forget age, gender, race or class. It’s a story about how different personalities handle conflict or friendship. Do you get close or stay distant? Do you listen or talk? Do you ignore or immerse? And when something bad happens, what kind of character do you have? Do you stay or go? Do you deny or admit? All the choices we make in life. Wrapped up into a little old play so many of us haven’t actually read or seen.

So what are you waiting for? Sure, it’s not a suspense novel (which I love). It’s a not a page-turning thriller (which I love). But the dialog is on point. And it should be read. So go now.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Comedy of Errors

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The Comedy of Errors
The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Book Review


4 out of 5 stars to The Comedy of Errors, a comedy (seriously, did you think with that title it was one of his tragedies… oh my) published in 1594 by William Shakespeare. So… who knew Shakespeare invented the humor of mistaken identity? Wow! Think of this as a cross between any daytime television soap opera, “Dumb and Dumber” and “Dude, Where’s My Car?”

And if you don’t know what that clip is from, you have no watched the right kinds of movies. So go figure it out and come back to chat. That said… this is definitely one of the funniest plays he’s written, as you’d expect. But it’s not just a single set of twins, there are two pairs. And no one knows who is who. Sometimes you might get lost too. But that’s what I’ve learned to love when reading Shakespeare. If it’s a historical play or a tragedy, make it serious. If it’s a comedy, then do whatever you’d like. I’ll make up my own interpretation.

And that’s what I did with this one. And when finished, I talked about it with some fellow students. We all agreed… I had the most interesting interpretation. And then when we got into class, the professor talked about what he thought it was about. And what do you know… I had the closest version. Woo Hoo! I’m good for something, I remember thinking to myself. On a serious note, this is worth a read if you want to get into more Shakespeare. Don’t make it your first one tho… you’ll regret it.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews