I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
September 16, 2016 - 3:16 p.m.
Wow my meds hit just as I was about to write. Oh wait, I still haven't gotten the playbill from last night that I'm going to need to finish this. Know what, I'm going to need coffee to start this so I'll write after breakfast. Remember anything worth having is worth waiting for.
Many hours later and I'm back and writing. I have the magic power of coffee in me now. Too bad I waited so long to start writing as it is starting to wear off but I still have sparks coming out of my fingertips so this might be good. I'm an idiot so perhaps it won't be. I don't want to set the bar too high.
The day before yesterday Marti posted on FB asking who wants to be her date to see a musical about the aftermath of 9/11. I said, "I do!" Marti is theater critic so she gets tickets to shows. I get two great things, live theater and Marti. It's a win-win situation.
The show, Occupation: Dragonslayer was at the Robert Moss Theater across the street from Joe's Pub. I decided to get down there early and shop at Trader Joe's before the show. I just realized that I forgot to buy cat food, the thing that prompted me to go shopping in the first place. Maybe I'll pick it up today. There is a TJ is on the way to Jalopy where I'm going tonight. It isn't easy being an idiot. I hope you all appreciate that. I say it often enough.
My timing was superb. First I got the $5 dinner at KFC then to TJ's. The show started at but Marti and I had not discussed what time we were meeting. I got there at 7:45. Marti showed up a minute and a half later. That's why we are friends.
It is an off-Broadway theater but we got to be VIPs. It was general admission seating but our seats had reserves signs and Marti's name on them. Now I know how Donald Trump feels when dealing with the little people Marti spotted the actor that plays the Sheriff on Stranger Things in the lobby. I don't know the show well enough, I'm only up to the second episode so I couldn’t recognize him. We didn't bother me as we are cool New Yorkers and people that get reserved seats.
I don't have the words to tell you how great Occupation: Dragonslayer is because that would mean lying. It was quite disappointing. For the most part it took place Christmas Eve 2002. For the most part it could have taken place anytime and had nothing to do with 9/11. I of course was writing this in my head as I was watching. After 20 minutes I thought I had it nailed; it felt like a play within a play filled with stock characters. That was wishful thinking. It was far longer than 20 minutes. Except for bookended prologue and epilogue; it all took place in an all-night diner, you know the kind that pretty much didn't exist in WTC area then. It's a bit like Cheers. Almost all the customers seem to know each other and the staff. All the regulars and the two strangers that come up each sing their story while everyone looks on. None of this advances the plot. First thing I'd do if I was a script doctor was cut out all but five characters and make it one act. How many tiny diners in an area where the play acknowledges there's nobody on the street have four people working on Christmas Eve?
Calling the moral/political outlook of the show simplistic is an insult to simplistic. There was not one song essential to the story because there was very little plot to advance. The words that come to mind on thinking about it are pointless and generic. A few of the singers were very good, one played two characters which were even less essential than the others. He comes in, sings his song, and leaves. The waitress was the others. I won't mention their names as they'd find this review and I really don't like hurting people's feelings. But I have to admit it's nice to write about artists I don't know at all and can feel free to be highly critical. I'm a tough audience. There were some kids in it and they were good too, especially the little girl. Yes, there were kids in a diner on Christmas Eve close to midnight.
The piece de resistance was that it ran 25 minutes over. Whoever heard of a play doing that? Didn't they time it in rehearsals? The saving grace is that Marti and I got to share the experience. If one of us had liked it, it would have been unfortunate. This way we could complain to each other and keep respecting the other's taste.
Another saving grace was that Marti had her car with her and I'm on her way home. I didn't have to deal with the subways and racing to make the last bus and it gave us uninterrupted time to talk. We obviously couldn't do that during the play. Marti like Erika is someone that we always end up saying, "We should see each other more often."
Tonight I'm going to the Jalopy Theater 10th Anniversary show. There are four bands I know playing but unfortunately I'll be able to see only two of them as there are two stages and two are playing at a time. There are many bands playing so it's unfortunate that it worked out that way. I'm going to see the Calamity Janes and Mamie Minch & Tamar Korn. I am going to have to race out after Mamie and Tamar if I want any hope of catching the last bus to City Island. It's not much of a hope but I can try. I'm missing Dubl Handi and the Four o'clock Flowers. Here is he complete lineup.
Stage 1 at Jalopy TheatreAnyone else there I need to see? I'm taking a pass on the last two at either stage.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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