Stoppard, Qing, Berg and a slice

Friday found Gigantor and me sitting in fancy section-518 opening day seats. I’m now in search of the perfect t-shirt (having found the perfect hat, windbreaker, and jacket), so I bought a couple of candidates and Opening Day pins for the boy, Aged P and myself… The Mets lost to the Nats, which given my dual baseball citizenship is both pleasing and painful…

Saturday I met the Aged P at TKTS, our haunt from many a perfect day of walking, show-seeing, museuming, restauranting (R.I.P. HoJo’s) and sleeping-on-the-MTA-afterwards. (Ok, that part was mostly me and mostly when I was 10).

While he threaded his way uptown through a pro-Union anti-War-On-Women, I scanned the 1/2 price options and we agreed on Arcadia. Tickets acquired (I had to wait out 4-7 clueless tourists asking for shows that are never half price, turning down obstructed view seats and waffling…always waffling), we walked up to Central Park and soaked up some sun (SUN!!!) while people watching.

Grabbed a quick slice from a La Famiglia (again with the customer  cluelessness…it’s pizza. Point and say “One of those and one of those” and call it a day…) which we ate while we walked to the theater and bemoaned the huge line around the block for Phantom while Next to Normal was shuttered months ago…

Arcadia was hilaaaarious. I love Stoppard when he mixes the old and the new, the physical and the philosophical and the poetical (when he waxes on rock’n’roll and politics…not so much), so this was a lot of awesomesauce for one show.

Bel Powley as Thomasina was a treat, Tom Riley as her tutor Septimus tres loveable, and Billy Crudup…was somewhere between Bill Hader’s James Carville and his Stefon the Club Kid…. And yet perfectly pitched! He cracked me up. Raul Esparza was a total surprise – I have a habit of under-researching my cheap ticket purchases so had no idea he was in the cast, and as always he is impossible to look away from. I could have lived in that play for a day or two, and came out all choked up over the loss of Thomasina aka The Great Library at Alexandria.

Aged P had his heart set on visiting the Met to see  a collection of Chinese artifacts from an Emperor’s retirement complex that was prepared before the Emperor decided just to keep going to work. A hundred gorgeous household items from 300 years ago, any one of which costs as much as my apartment building.

Afterwards we walked across Central Park, scoped out the Angel Fountain, companionably split a diet coke and a nuts-for-nuts bag, and arrived on time for the actual pre-arranged reason for the visit, Berg’s Wozzeck at the other Met. Anyone who has suffered through a theory class with me knows my feelings about 12 Tone are roughly in line with my feelings about Existentialism.

At a certain point you should probably just shut up and get something done.

That said, I’m never going to turn my nose up at one of James Levine’s favorite operas to conduct… and I did appreciate listening to the strung out tonality that tends to emerge when you leave behind major/minor chords in favor of egalitarian pitch arranging…

Afterwards we had dinner at P.J. Clarke’s – not the original where Peggy did the twist in Midtown, but the Lincoln Center edition, and had the misfortune to sit next to two of the most horrible couples visiting the island of Manhattan. The first featured a woman who kept laughing at how terrible her salad was (but managed to choke it all down until her plate was totally clean) and a man who then practically set his receipt on fire while holding it over the candle to see if they’d taken the price of the salad off the bill. The second featured a Marisa-Tomei-From-My-Cousin-Vinny-With-None-Of-The-Charm Loud woman and her lunky boyfriend. Oy.

As ever, Aged P and I conclude a day of thorough self-entertainment being glad we are who we are, even if it means most other people are next to completely incomprehensible.

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