As a tourist, I try to take in everything I can without burning myself out. The advantage to being here for a long stay is that I can afford to do one activity per day and then take it easy. Two days ago, I took a food tour in the pouring rain that took us through Chinatown and Little Italy. During that tour, I met a lovely group of ladies who were reuniting in NY for a week-end of shows and culture. I ended up having lunch with them after the tour and spoke mostly with Peg, who has had a successful career as a stage manager and who just wrote a book about theatre in the twin cities. We had a lovely talk about the theatre and about life and all of the ladies wished me the best of luck with my goals.
The next day, I took a tour of Brooklyn, which was also very informative and fun. The weather was so beautiful, I took off my sweater and sunbathed. We saw some astonishing views and then, once again, I had a meal with some fellow tourists. I met a shy young photography major who had just moved to Brooklyn from a small town for his studies. I gave him my card in case he ever needed a model. We’ll see if he decides to contact me.
That evening, I finally went to see a show. It was called Futurity and was a new musical put together by a group of emerging artists. The play was held in a small but charming theatre in the East Village. I don’t know where to start. First of all, I instantly liked the neighbourhood, which struck me as incredibly young and vibrant. The theatre itself was quirky and, once again, the crowd was very young and energetic. A packed house in a small venue is one of my favourite sights. And the show did not disappoint. It was a kind of Steampunk musical set in the time of the American civil war. The music was a mix of folk and blue grass. Every singer also played an instrument, so they formed a lovely orchestra. The singers were FANTASTIC, musically flawless and every one of them had a rich tone and a soulful voice. And the show itself was soulful, carrying a message of peace and idealism. The plot was centered around a correspondence between a soldier and a scientist, attempting to create a great “steam brain”, a rational, mathematical, mechanical mind, which would put an end to all war. The staging was beautiful, the set design was stunning and very clever. The best part of the whole show for me was the percussionist. Not only did he play brilliantly and with a presence and physicality that filled the entire room. He was also a sculptor and had designed all the strange contraptions that he was playing percussions on. Muscial and visual works of art. I could go on.
The best thing about seeing this musical was that it was exactly the kind of show I wanted to see while I was here. A show created by incredibly talented emerging artists, who came together and created an inspiring work that was the fruit of their own sweat and ingenuity. I read up on the show. It went through many stages of workshopping to get to this result and the fact that they managed to get enough funding to put on such a brilliant production of it is truly inspiring. Because the work is good. Plain and simple. And according to their bios, every performer on that stage is also a musician, a writer, a creator of new works. No wonder they were pouring out so much energy. No one there was “just” an actor or “just” a musician. They were all creators and I have no doubt that every one of them contributed in some way to the quality of this production.
That is the type of work I would like to do.