I was a bit unfair yesterday when I suggested that the week had been pretty rotten. My half-day solo walk in Central Park was the highlight to that point, but there had been a number of really great episodes too that I think warrant some spotlighting.
Last weekend I went to see "Macbeth" at the Rose Theater, which is part of Lincoln Center but is located off-site, at the Time Warner Centre, opposite Columbus Circle and Central Park. The best part is, its location affords you views like this, while you're waiting for the show to start:
See? Gorgeous. Now I'm a huge Shakespeare fan, no question. But I'm not a purist in the least. I love it when people mix Shakespeare up a bit and do funny, silly, or just different things with it. So I was totally on board with the National Theatre of Scotland's production of "Macbeth", not least of which because it stars the super-talented and charming Alan Cumming. This production is effectively a one-man show, that takes place in a mental institution. Alan Cumming basically plays all the major roles of the play, and slips in and out of the characters pretty seamlessly. If you know the story well, you can tell what character he's playing by where you're up to in the plot. But if you don't, Cumming's characters have "tells", just like in poker, so you can tell who he's playing by his mannerisms. (smoothing his hair, eating an apple, talking all pompously-British). The way he breathes life into the three witches is especially eerie, with slitty eyes and malicious grins - one step away from an all-out cackle. With no intermission, the performance is pretty intense (to watch surely, but certainly to perform too). I thought it was a really interesting take on a fantastic play.
In a similar vein, I seized an opportunity on Tuesday night to be Kell's "plus one" at a performance of "End of the Rainbow", a Broadway show I'd been wanting to see since I was in London and the play had been taking the West End by storm before coming across the Pond. The musical drama takes place in London, and focuses on a string of comeback concerts that Judy Garland gives, three months before she is found dead of an accidental drug overdose. The play is punctuated by beautiful songs (that are often painful to watch, when you realise what it took to get her out on stage in the first place). Of course I cried, particularly when she closed the show with "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", but sang it so full of bitterness and pain, with her eyes full of tears, that it was a far cry from the innocent black-and-white Dorothy Gale on film. The play was brilliant, and I'm so glad that Kell thought to take me with her.
My rather rotten week rounded out last night with an absolutely beautiful dinner with K and her aunt and uncle, at The Water Club, right on the East River and just a stone's throw from our apartment. I had delicious bluefin tuna for my main meal, that was served with a crunchy rice cake, some freshly-roasted corn and some cool, refreshing tomato salsa. Dessert was a butter pecan and toffee parfait (cause everybody likes parfait!), that was sitting on top of espresso coffee icecream. Yummo! But the prize for theatricality definitely went to K's aunt and uncle, who cleverly ordered the Bananas Foster for dessert. Our waiter prepared it table-side, and the heat that came off that explosion of rum and banana liqueur warmed my cheeks for minutes afterwards. Whoa. I almost had to check I still had both my eyebrows attached! And despite the little slip-up in my Dry July fundraising campaign on Friday night (one glass of white wine, for which I paid my $25 fine), I climbed back aboard the rickety ole wagon and did not have a sip of alcohol at all yesterday - no matter how tempting the cocktail list looked. An opportunity for another time, for sure!