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.