supercheesegirl: (brock Yeeaaahhhh!!1!)
You guys, we saw Hamilton. On Broadway. Eeee! And it completely lived up to the hype.

The occasion was F's 40th birthday, for which we'd planned a grownup weekend in NYC with another couple, F's best friend Mike (also celebrating his 40th) and wife Sarah. F and I went up on Friday afternoon, and Mike and Sarah joined us on Saturday morning. We knew we'd do a show on Saturday night, but Mike really, really wanted to see Hamilton. We eventually agreed that if he could get tickets for $300 each, we'd be in. So Friday night, F and I are drunk on bacon (for serious) and exploring Central Park when we start getting texts from Mike, who has found tickets. I'm not sure how he pulled it off, but he'd been looking online for weeks, and Sarah's dad had offered them some cash as a birthday gift toward getting theater tickets, and I believe the tickets were close enough to our $300 cap that Mike and Sarah just kicked in a little extra. So, yes, tickets were acquired the night before the show.

I needed to spend the first five minutes of the show suspending my disbelief that it would make sense to rap about a guy born in the 1700s who was best known for the US Treasury. Once I got past that, before the end of the first song, I was hooked. It was amazing. Surprisingly, the first half with the Revolutionary War was the uplifting part; I cried twice in the second half. I cried twice during a rap show about Alexander Hamilton. It was just so good. So many nuances and layers. Such amazing performances. I loved it so much.

Afterward, we adjourned to Lillie's Victorian Establishment for drinks and to decompress and talk about the show. We left there after 1, I think, and stopped for a slice of pizza on the way back to the hotel, which was an amazing idea. Got to bed around 2. Awesome night.
supercheesegirl: (happy beach)
Our family went on vacation for a week in Cape May the first week in August: me and F and f, my parents, and F's parents, all in one house together. On Tuesday 8/4 F took advantage of the grandparental presence and arranged a special night out for my birthday, just the two of us. I knew we were having dinner, but it was a surprise to find out it was dinner and a show!

We had dinner at the Washington Inn, one of the oldest restaurants in Cape May. It was an excellent meal. We ate:

  • Appetizer: me, mixed greens salad; F, corn chowder (which was the correct choice, it was amazing and there was smoked gouda in it)

  • Entree: me, grilled shrimp with summer squash over polenta, with some kind of amazing sauce that tied it all together (I don't remember what F got but it was meat and he enjoyed it)

  • Dessert: me, coconut panna cotta; F, brownie sundae; flight of dessert wines to share

  • Dessert #2: cherry sorbet (a happy-birthday treat from the restaurant)


Everything was excellent. After dinner, we had some time before the show, so we walked out to the ocean, looking at the old houses along the way.

The show was at Cape May Stage, which is a really nice little theater in a converted church. Their whole 2015 season is celebrating women playwrights, which of course I can totally get behind. The show we saw was "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe", a one-woman show originally written for Lily Tomlin in the 1980s by Jane Wagner, who eventually married Tomlin many years later. The actress, Tricia Alexandro, did an excellent job of carrying the show. I thought she was a bit weaker on the primary narrator character (Trudy the bag lady), but she blew it away on the minor characters and brought a lot of individual personality to each of them. It was a pleasure to watch, a pleasure to be out with grownups doing something adult.

And on the walk back to our beach house, we saw a Japanese lantern that had just been lit and released, traveling up into the night sky, while behind us storm clouds and lightning approached in the distance. Then more lanterns were lit, in all different colors, each taking the same path, the same wind out into the night. A really cool moment.
supercheesegirl: (me - R & F engagement)
Last night F and I went to a performance of Twelfth Night by Pig Iron Theatre Co. at Swarthmore College's Lang Performing Arts Center. This production has been selling out in both NYC and Philadelphia, but several of Pig Iron's founding members are Swarthmore graduates, so they brought the production to Swarthmore and tickets were free. It was a fantastic show.

With the play's setting in Illyria, the company decided to use Balkan-inspired music. A gypsy band threaded their way throughout the play with violin, bass, accordion, trumpet, trombone, sousaphone, and drums. They were an integral part of the play and the music really set the tone. I need to look up Rosie Langabeer, who played the accordion and composed all the music.

I think often Feste (the Fool) is the character who steals the show when this play is done. However, in this case, it was Sir Toby, played by James Sugg, who infused the role with such a wonderful sense of cheery drunkenness. Sir Toby came across as the kind of constant drunk who is nevertheless a good-humored host and fun guy to be around. We first see Sir Toby in a loosely tied bathrobe and cowboy boots and he just got better from there. The level of physicality Sugg put into the part was amazing. He riveted my attention every time he was on stage. If I ever see this play again, I know no future actor will be able to stand up to my memory of Sugg in the role.

I also liked the way they handled casting and costuming for Viola and Sebastian. Early on, as she's dressing to go out as a man, a door opens and Sebastian, in the same outfit, acts as her mirror. It's clear that she's modeling her look and behavior on her lost brother. Subtle and really nicely done.

Some of my favorite things in this production were things Shakespeare never wrote: the gypsy band, Sir Toby's wedding scene with Maria (which was unexpected, wild and hilarious). I've never seen Shakespeare done so raucously, and I love that Pig Iron was so willing to be crazy and loose and just have fun with the play.

The other awesome part about last night was - F and I went out. Just us. It was the anniversary of our first kiss - seven years. We had a nice dinner out, and then we went to a play! My mom hung out with Freyfrey and they had fun together, and I didn't even have to feel guilty about the free babysitting because I helped my mom with an MS Word project this morning. We went out on a date!! I didn't realize how desperately I needed to go out on a date until we did. It was lovely. The dinner and the play were nice enough, but underneath it all was the knowledge that no one near me was screaming or throwing food or falling down or escaping, and if anyone near me did start doing anything like that, I would not be in any way responsible for controlling it. We've decided that our new goal will be a date night at least every other month. We had our hotel night date between Christmas and New Year's, and last night was March 1, so we're roughly on track. Late April/early May, I'm looking at you.
supercheesegirl: (buffy mud by isabel0329)
Saturday night we went to see Sleep No More in NYC. It was amazing, and I have pretty much been talking it to death, but I wanted to get something down about it here.

Quick summary: Sleep No More is an interactive, immersive, film noir version of Macbeth in which you roam around a five-story hotel and let the play build around you. Sometimes you're in a room in which a scene from Macbeth is taking place; sometimes you're in a room with an actor and something odd is taking place; sometimes you wander around by yourself for half an hour without seeing a single actor, but that's okay because the sets are beautiful and intricate and you can sit down at a desk and read all the letters on it or explore the graveyard or any number of other amazing rooms. Seriously, I wandered around for 2+ hours, and on the way out, we walked past a room that I somehow had not seen. (It was full of dead birds hanging from the ceiling, which I *would* have remembered.) It's all very episodic and odd, and the actors don't speak, you don't speak, the choreography is intense and wild, and by the way you're wearing a white Venetian-style mask and so are all the other guests. There will be times when you'll see an unmasked actor rush past, followed closely by 15 people in masks, and it's intensely creepy like the actor is being chased by evil ghosts. The sets and scenes are creepy enough on their own but then you yourself add to the creepitude. The masks give a sense that this isn't a play, you aren't really there, you are a ghost spying on the real events. Catching a glimpse of yourself in a mirror is scary. This is all just the beginning.

Read more... )

And this is just a snapshot of my night. Can you see why I want to go back and see it again?

::edit:: Just bought tickets--we are definitely going again, on Friday April 8. Woohoo!!!
supercheesegirl: (fairy tale - little red)
Saturday F and I went to IKEA. We love IKEA. It's so much fun. We came home with a new rug for the office, and new curtains, and a bunch of other things (most of which were actually on the list) and we have ideas and measurements for what we want in a new TV stand now. (The current TV stand is a repurposed microwave cart that the wheels fell off of--it's really ugly but so far is succeeding at the basic function of holding up the TV. I would be okay with keeping it as-is but F really wants a new one, and I can't argue considering that the current one really could collapse at any time.) Then after IKEA we got dinner at Baja Fresh and I had the yummiest burrito I've ever had there (the new BFF with shrimp). Saturday was good stuff.

Sunday we got some chores done, including putting out the new IKEA rug in the office, where it looks awesome. Then we drove up to my parents' house for birthday dinner. There was a thunderstorm and my parents lost power, and then their grill wasn't working right, but we managed to construct a delicious meal anyway.

Sunday night we went to the PA Shakespeare Festival. We've been going since at least 1997, maybe earlier. This year we saw Romeo & Juliet. It was a pretty good production: I liked a lot of the choices. The set was beautiful, and Juliet's costumes were all terrific. The Montague guys were well portrayed as, well, a bunch of goofy young drunk guys who get in over their heads. All the young actors were exceptionally pretty (which doesn't happen every year). Romeo and Juliet were both well cast. Papa Capulet was an actor we've seen probably a dozen times before (he was in The Sixth Sense too, as the dad of the little ghost girl whose mom poisoned her)--we always like finding the familiar faces. The only thing we really didn't like was the crazy dance scene to a Prince song in the middle of the party in the first act--a Prince song, really? It seemed like they were trying to depict Romeo's fantasy here, but it was distracting, and I thought it undermined the resonance of the scene, this moment where they see each other for the first time. I also thought it was interesting how the whole first act was like a party, lots of physical comedy and laughter, very light-hearted up until the part where people start dying--other productions of R&J I've seen have carried a dark cloud over the whole thing, but this show didn't seem to realize it was a tragedy until people started killing each other.

Overall, though, it was a good production, but next year I think we all want to see a comedy. The past three years we've seen King Lear, Antony & Cleopatra, and now R&J. That's some depressing stuff. R&J for me is even more depressing than the others because the title characters are such idiots. Even Friar Lawrence is an idiot--I mean, he sends another friar to Mantua with a letter for Romeo, so why not just send Juliet with that guy as her escort and just skip the whole fake-dying scenario? Or, I mean, Romeo has to leave by dawn to escape the city--why didn't she just go away with him right then? He was her husband, what's wrong with setting up house in Mantua together? I guess at that point they still thought they could smooth things over, bring Romeo back to town, and then joyfully announce the marriage, but later on, really, why not just sneak her out of town in the middle of the night instead of trying to fake her death? They already had a handy rope ladder from when Romeo had to sneak out of her room. Anyway, I do understand that a fatal character flaw is what makes for a real tragedy (as opposed to a regular ol' sad story, like when 15 people are killed in a hurricane--it's sad and terrible, but it's not technically a tragedy, and I am always annoyed when the news media refer to such events that way). Part of why Shakespeare is still so compelling is because he's so good at writing these complex flawed characters. But still, next year, maybe a comedy.

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