Tuesday, December 19, 2006

New York December 2006, Day One: "The Scene"

I imagine most of my half-dozen or so readers know that twice a year I venture to New York for 10-12 days of "filling the well" -- reinvigorating my mind by filling it with as much of what the city offers as I can handle. That usually means museum visits, retail experiences, parks and public spaces -- but focusing on 12-15 Broadway and off-Broadway productions. (This year, the itinerary includes my first trip to the Metropolitan Opera.)

Usually I wait until I get home to compose a long e-mail providing a full report on the shows I've seen, as well as the occasional comment on a special museum or restaurant experience. (I do try make sure all six of you can make the most of any trip to New York you might ever plan.) But this trip I'm going to make an attempt to post a little something every day. Don't know if I can really keep up, since I'm also working on this trip, but I'm going to give it a shot. Starting with tonight's show: "The Scene."

This four-hander revolves around an actor named Charlie (played by Tony Shaloub), his wife Stella (Patricia Heaton), Charlie's friend Lewis (Christopher Evan Welch) and a girl they meet at the downtown loft party that opens the play, Clea (Anna Camp). Clea comes across initially as a very dumb blonde, but as the play progresses turns out to have, if not hidden depths, at least hidden width. She seems to be in it for herself in a vapid way -- but turns out to be in it for herself in a well-considered (if still shallow) way. Without giving too much away, Clea draws Charlie into her swirl of narcissism. Near the show's end, Clea tells Charlie, "life's a party." Both Clea and Charlie are pathologically narcissistic enough -- but in opposite ways. Clea feels she deserves everything, Charlie feels he deserves nothing.

The show is still in previews, so changes could be made, but my sense is the first act needs trimming, but act two generally moves well -- thanks in part to its in flagrante delicto opening scene that is quite a grabber.

Tomorrow: "Company" and "The Magic Flute" at the Met.

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