Sunday, July 31, 2011


Yesterday was a pretty incredible day. I started off by going for a really long walk in Riverside Park, which is just a couple of blocks from my dorm. For those of you who are interested and know the area, I'm at Columbia Teacher's College on W. 121st. I really like the area. How strange is it that I could not make myself get off my zaftig ass all summer and work out, and the first thing I did here was take a long walk? Of course, the walk looked like this:
So maybe that explains it. This is my street:
After walk and breakfast, I met up with one of the other participants who is also a theatre teacher, and we had brunch with a friend of hers. One of the things I was nervous about when I was coming here was spending two weeks with total strangers, but that's been one of the best things so far. Julie and I spent the whole day together and went to two shows, Jerusalem and War Horse. And if I didn't see another show while I was here, I would be perfectly happy, because it doesn't get any better than those two shows.

I think most of the time, when I see an actor, I mostly have at least a little glimmer or insight into what processes the actor used to invoke his performance. But Mark Rylance (Jerusalem) was a complete mystery to me. I don't know what he did to do what did. He was indescribably incredible, and I can't believe that he does that character 8 times a week. Julie and I had the same reaction: we were speechless. This is why I like plays better than musicals. I've yet to see a musical (though I do like them) that has an fraction of the power to move me like that play did.

And it was difficult to believe that theatrical experience could be improved upon, but I think War Horse is the best show I've ever seen. Ever. EVER. The best possible combination of spectacle, technology, story-telling, and creative thinking exists so coherently in that production. It was stunning. Beautiful. And I don't often use this word to describe live theatre, but it had incredible imagery. The projections were amazing. Everything. If you don't know about this show, look it up, because it's too complicated for me to try to explain. And then plan a trip to come see it, because you HAVE to see it. So moving. I cried several times, a couple of times because of sheer astonishment.  A play that actually depicts war in a horrifying  and realistic way, in spite of (or perhaps because of) its stylization.  I am so incoherently stunned by trying to describe it that I almost put an apostrophe in the above "its." That's how good it is. It was my T-shirt show.

Oh! I took a picture of dinner because I didn't mind being nerdy in front of Julie. Open smoked salmon sandwich with dill and avocado:
So good. It was a good day. Today: The Cloisters! Finally! And the opening night reception party.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Not In.....

Well. You get the idea.

A few notes about travel:

1.Does everyone feel that indescribable joy when the middle seat is empty on the airplane? The very long flight was much more tolerable because of that.
2.Piercing screams of infants/children are always startling and unpleasant.
3. Mostly everyone on the Denver flight was wearing a sweater or a hoodie. Obvously their weather experiences are different from Wichitans'.
4. Electronic devices just make travel more pleasant, as do podcasts of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.
5. Friends who will drive you to the airport at 5:30 in the morning are invaluable. You know who you are.
6. If you do not tightly turn the cap on your shampoo, it might spill all in your suitcase all over EVERYTHING, necessitating a visit to the laundry room in the first hour of your stay. Not that this happened or anything.

Anyway, I'm here. Shared a cab with two of the other teachers. The Columbia College dorm room is quite nice and bigger and cleaner than some of the hotels I've been in. And here's my view:

So not bad at all. And here's the room:

A bit on the austere side, but the bathroom is quite roomy, and I can sit on the toilet without turning sideways. This is all I ask out of life.

I didn't take a picture of it (I was with people), but dinner was: garlic bread topped with goat cheese, salad with hearts of palm, mango, and goat-cheese stuffed figs,  linguini with lobster tail and shrimp, and pistachio gelato. Also had a lovely pinot that I need to try to find in Wichita. However, due to the expense, I will not be eating anything else.

A can of chicken soup is $3.29 in NYC.

Oh! And there was teacher swag! Pencil bag and jump drive!

I've been up since 3:45am. Gonna read a little Henry V and go to bed.