Magic in the Sky and on Stage

There is something about the moon in the sky, shining between the silhouetted skyscrapers that gets me. Every time. Like with the Chrysler Building, when I look up and see the white glowing light, I am mesmerized by its beauty. It’s my shining beckon of hope in a sea of  bad dates, auditions that go no where, gray skies, and cold sidewalks. The moon, high above me in the sky, keeps me grounded, reminds me there is more in this world than the self-made worries in my head and the man-made concrete of my surroundings.

Too bad it’s difficult to capture on film, especially with 12 Megapixels, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

This was my walk home the other night. The moon was my escort and accompanied me to my door. I needed companionship and strangely, the glow of a celestial orb 240,000 miles away was preferable to punching in numbers on my phone and getting a friend’s voice mail.

Last night I saw “How I Learned to Drive” at Second Stage Theatre. It’s a play I read nearly three years ago when I was commuting 2+ hours and thus reading a play a day. That summer I attempted to read all Pulitzer Prize winning plays. “How I Learned to Drive” received the honor in 1998, especially remarkable as one of the few winning plays written by a woman (yeah Paula Vogel!)  When I saw the play in Second Stage’s 2011-2012 Season, I knew I wanted to see it. I remembered the plot, more or less.  I remembered it being extremely captivating and well crafted. I remembered the two main characters and their monstrously complex relationship. I certainly remembered the theme: plays involving pedophilia are hard to forget.

On paper (on screen?), it appears I remembered a lot. In my mind I thought I remembered a lot. In reality, sitting by myself is the darkened theater and watching the actors on stage, I was surprised by how much I’d forgotten. I forgot the structure of the play, a series of childhood memories. I forgot the jarring, uncomfortable finale that had the woman seated next gasping and clutching her blouse. Only after watching it did I remember visceral feeling I’d felt from simply reading the play. Needless to say, that same feeling was exponentially magnified after seeing the play.

I left the theater in a daze. My throat was closed up, my stomach in knots, I felt emotionally spent. This is why I love theater. It is the rare performance that has a full-body affect on me, lingering sometimes for hours. When that happens it is utter magic.  Now there are different kinds of magic, as any reader of Harry Potter (or any fantasy book really) knows. When the curtain closes and your mind feels like it’s been rung out like a wet towel, it is decidedly of theVoldermort/black magic variety.

Norbert Leo Butz and Elizabeth Reaser give wonderfully believable and nuanced performances. Kate Whoriskey directs this stylized Off-Broadway play with the perfect balance of nostalgia and brash realism. It is the strength of production that left my out on the street feeling as though I was the witness of a traumatic event. I would highly recommend this play (so does the Times review) but with a disclaimer: DO NOT SEE IT ALONE. It is an unlikely mistake, as few people go to the theater alone. However I am one of those few people; I usually like seeing plays and movies by myself. But “How I Learned to Drive” is a play you will need and want to talk about at its conclusion. I lagged behind, eavesdropping on the fellow audience members conversations, hoping for closure. It wasn’t enough. Writing this post about does the trick, but if you see this play send me a message or comment.

I walked home in my theater-agitated state, taking solace in the moon. White magic, “Order of the Phoenix” magic. The man in the moon, like most men in my life, comes and goes. He disappears for days at a time but he’s never gone for long. You can always count on the moon.

It’s Fashion Week in my neighborhood. That circus is back in town, along with the thrill of knowing a concentration of crazy famous people is just two blocks away. The constant buzz of excitement, and literal buzz from the generators heard all along Amsterdam. I captured this picture of the moon over the tents and the back, less glamorous side, of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. As I pressed the button to capture the image, I heard someone shout my name. It was my roommate. Together the three of us- me, Miranda, and the moon- walked the final two blocks home.

How about you? Have you ever seen a play or movie that completely affected you mental state? Any mutual moon-lovers out there?

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

5 thoughts on “Magic in the Sky and on Stage

  1. I really need to go to the theatre soon – it’s been way too long. And I have similar thing about the moon. There’s just something about it.

    Also…. guess who got goodies?! Thanks so much!

  2. I particularly like your line “The man in the moon, like most men in my life, comes and goes.” I remember seeing, on TV, the earth-man’s first moon steps. The man I was watching with went out of my life soon after. I didn’t regret his leaving – actually, he was pushed – but I do regret having him lodged, apparently forever, in my memories of an historic event.

  3. I just had a similar experience with Arthur Miller’s Death of Salesman. I had read the play and seen it in high school… but it still took my breath away seeing Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman, Obie Award winner Linda Emond as Linda Loman and Andrew Garfield as Biff Loman. I was glad to have my boyfriend with me to talk about it afterward.

    And the man in the moon is always a happy site to me. A full moon is always a fresh of breath air in this city. When the city seems overwhelming and huge, it’s presence always seems to calm me and bring me back to my Big Sky Memories of child hood.

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