Saturday, July 23, 2011

What would William Blake have thought?

Today was another stinker in New York - lots of sun, little breeze and yet off I trotted to Pilates at 2pm, to strengthen my core and try not to scream obscenities at my teacher.

Let me tell you that I rocked the sh*t out of the class today. It was really different to last week - this time we really focussed on our Pilates breathing and finding our "neutral pelvis" (uh huh), and the instructor said "pubis" a lot, which gave me a fit of the giggles. I don't feel as sore this week, but I suspect my core is still in shock. Come Tuesday I will probably be paralysed again but at least for now I feel really good.

Tonight I went to a fabulous restaurant in Hell's Kitchen on 9th Ave (where there are SO many restaurants). I mean, if you can't find something to eat on 9th Ave, it probably doesn't exist and you should just leave town.

Anyway as I was saying, went to Ember Room and I thought it was great. I am still keeping up my good eating plan, so I had some grilled shrimp (prawns to us real people) and then for my main course I had a beef salad. Because of my Pilates efforts earlier in the day, I had a scoop of real vanilla icecream for dessert - it was delicious. And to drink? A cranberry juice and soda water. I know, it is TOTALLY not like me to do that and I have to be honest, I was dying for a glass of white wine but I am really taking this seriously and I'm trying hard to do all the right things. The food, the decor and the service were really great and I want to go back. Guess what I saw on the menu? If you give the restaurant at least 48 hours notice, you can order a whole suckling pig! I couldn't eat that all by myself of course but damn, that would be good. I will totally do that, after the wedding when I can slacken off this healthy eating regimen a bit.

So after the restaurant we wandered up the street to the Music Box Theatre to see the production of "Jerusalem". I'm still trying to work out what I thought of this production, to be honest. I'd seen the main star (Mark Rylance) back in London when he performed in "La Bete", and I thought he was fantastic. And then when I knew that he'd won the Tony this year for Best Actor for his role in "Jerusalem", I was all the more convinced I wanted to see the production.

The title of the play comes from the English hymn of the same name, adapted from the poem by William Blake. In my Playbill book, the Director's Notes suggest that the hymn's sentiment is "so optimistic, yearning and human". I'm not sure the play is all those things though; in fact, I found it to be quite dark, at times unsettling, but very compelling. There is also an element of mysticism underlying it - because the character that Rylance plays is about to be evicted from the caravan he has illegally squatted in for years, to make way for a new housing development. Except the land is on an energy highway line that runs all the way through the area, through Stonehenge, and then up through Rylance's beloved plot of land. Sure he's a drunk and a drug dealer and prone to bouts of verbal diarrhea, but you also get the impression that he feels a spiritual connection with the land that underscores his obvious disinclination to leave. I might have to think about the play for a few more days before I decide if I enjoyed it or not. I can certainly say I enjoyed Rylance's performance (again). He was intense and a definite scene-stealer, but he just commands your attention and you can't look away.

On the way home in the cab, we had the misfortune of driving through Times Square but at least we got to see The Naked Cowboy. High brow to low brow in two short blocks. That's New York for ya!

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