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Mark Rylance and Lucy Kirkwood, bravo, brava

Oh New York New York, you’re the best sometimes. Today. One treat after another, of all kinds.

This morning, late after recovering from yesterday – off to my favourite stores a short walk from here – La Maison Keyser, the best bread and croissants outside of Paris, in fact, as good as Paris; The Flying Tiger, chachkas from Copenhagen, just the most fun store, where I went back to buy more $6 leopard and bright turquoise reading glasses and some gifties for the boys; Citarella’s for groceries – soups, yogurts, juice; then to Housing Works, a great thrift shop RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from my cousin’s. Nothing. Thank God.

Then to Lex and 77th to get the subway downtown. Just missed a train and then … inexplicable delay, garbled announcements, something about an accident uptown, nobody knows what to do. I wait 10 or 15 minutes and then decide to get a cab. But then I realize – oh no, everyone else had the same idea and now I’ll be battling hordes of New Yorkers for a taxi, my idea of a nightmare. There’s a woman with her arm out so I stand near waiting till she gets her cab so I can get mine. And when one stops, she says, “Want to share?”

I get in, and of course, she’s wonderful, she rides a bicycle and buys her clothes at thrift shops and is a total kindred spirit. Too bad she got out at Lex and 59th. I continued to 49th and got out to walk around before my matinee at 2. It was freezing today, though, with a bitter wind, and I was underdressed. It’s New York, I thought before leaving the apartment, how cold can it be? Plenty. Just in time, in exactly the right place, there was a pop-up Uniqlo store, so I dashed in, bought some of their Heat Tech leggings, went into the change room and put them on under my pants. Comfie for the rest of the day.

The matinee – “Farinelli and the King,” by Mark Rylance’s wife Claire van Kampen. Gorgeous, beautiful, moving, about the power of music, a magnificent castrati is brought in to save the sanity of the mad king of Spain. Of course, because this is Mark Rylance, it was rich and wise and full. The production was lit with candles, and there was lots of interaction with the audience, and the most exquisite countertenor. Yes, the play is flawed and doesn’t really end, but I forgave it everything.

The set before the show.

And of course the woman sitting next to me turned out to be a lyricist for musicals and has finished one based on a short story by Grace Paley about a woman who has an affair with someone from the Yiddish theatre. Yes! What are the chances? By the end of the intermission, we had not only excoriated Trump, we had exchanged email addresses. I love this city.

Out into the cold to 47th – turned a corner and the sight took my breath away, Times Square, so vast and busy and sparkly!

Met Ted, Henry, and cousin Lori, whom I don’t know so well but now we’re FB friends so getting to know each other better. She lives in the country but has an apartment in town too and sees lots of theatre when she’s not skiing. She’s vegan so we went to a Japanese place and had a lovely meal. They talk money a lot. Her parents – her father is my father’s cousin – are in their 80’s and have moved into a kind of hotel where it costs $14,000 a month for them to live. I kid you not, and that’s not counting the caregivers who are covered by their insurance. A different world. They discussed bonds. I don’t even know what bonds are.

Then Lori went to meet her daughters for one show and we went to the Manhattan Theatre Club to see “The Children,” another British play with British actors – not a coincidence that’s what I see, if possible, here or anywhere, just the best, the very best. It’s by a writer called Lucy Kirkwood and it’s one of the best plays ever, yes, I’m in raptures again. About the end of the world and the fragility of the human heart, if you can believe that – a kitchen sink drama after a nuclear disaster. And guess who walked into the audience a few rows down from us at the last minute? Hillary. Yes, Mrs. Clinton, by herself except with two secret service guys with wires in their ears. And the audience went nuts, applause, people standing, shouting We love you Hillary!

She’s tiny. After the play, she walked right by us and Ted said a word to her – his brother Robert is a big fundraiser for the Dems, apparently, and Ted has met her. She’s quite beautiful. People were so full of love for her. Except the cab driver we got home – when Ted told him she was in the theatre, he said he couldn’t stand her and had voted for Trump. “Look at the economy, how great it is!” he said, and I got depressed again, for a moment. At dinner, the TV was on and that face kept appearing. I saw it in the NYTimes this morning, a picture of him with his cronies after the State of the Union, that horrible human being surrounded by fawning white men and Ben Carson, and I said aloud, “A picture of evil.”

However. Nothing could wreck this day, not even a picture of evil and seeing a play about the end of the world. It was a banquet of New York today, and I am full full full.

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2 Responses to “Mark Rylance and Lucy Kirkwood, bravo, brava”

  1. theresa says:

    Oh this is wonderful. Tried to get tickets to Farinelli and the King in London in 2015 but alas. And The Children sounds enticing. I love your reviews — not just theatre but shopping, street scenes, food…

  2. beth says:

    Oh Theresa, more to come. What is NYC if not street scenes, shopping and food?! Thanks for coming along and sharing the ride.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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