Splendor in Central Park

“Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, an off -Broadway theatre & Central Park?” In New York, culture happens in the most unexpected moments. When I moved uptown to Harlem from the east 20’s, I was worried about feeling aloof from my Downtown bubble. Instead, I found new rich cultural experiences, walking everywhere from Lenox Ave to 135th Street.

Spontaneous swing dancing on 125th Street, old men playing dominos & street parties with the smell of crawfish flowing through Seventh Avenue filled my imagination with a new found creativity. Nothing quite compared to my adventure walking from my fifth floor walk-up to Central Park.

The park’s northern boundaries are my favorite. Unlike the more buzzing corridors. Central Park North retains a feeling of tranquility. While the sun slowly faded into hibernation mode, I wondered toward a small grassy hill. In the distance, I saw a most inviting pond.

I walked the trail toward the pond and saw people gathered. Across the pond, people were dressed in period pieces, possibly from the late 19th century. They were entertaining a mesmerized audience. “Oh my, I just stumbled upon a play being performed in the park.” I asked the lady next to me, who informed me, it was indeed an “Anton Chekhov” play, but didn’t know the exact title.

I stayed across the pond to view the play. Although, my tuckus was covered in grass, bugs were swarming around me like Costco customers at a sample table and fireflies were buzzing through, I stayed in my grass knoll and enjoyed the show. I could barely hear anything, but the actors running around and the flickering lights spoke to my senses.

As the last light went dim, the actors took a bow. The audience clapped as I scratched away at my bug bites. While walking along Central Park West, I smiled. This is why I live in New York, moments like these. It’s the unexpected, which keeps the mad love affair alive and well.

The Playwright’s Muse

From London’s West End to New York’s Broadway, theatre marquis represent escapism. Delving into an alternate universe where the lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, Agatha Christie’s words and Patti LuPone’s singing voice provide the memories, which sculpt the theatre going experience.

I’ve written various short three act plays in my day. In university, I studied the plays of Lorraine Hansberry, Oscar Wilde and Neil Simon. I loved the art of writing dialogue, but most of all; creating a world for my beloved neurotic and colorful characters.

My settings were diverse. A psychologist’s Murray Hill office, driving in a London highway and even the white wig spawns of Marie Antoinette were all been born from my brain cells and brought to life via 8.5 x 11 inch paper. I love delving into the character, creating their early life, neurosis, medical conditions and even what their fart smells like. Pairing them with antagonists who oppose their world is truly remarkable. Unlike French drama, the American in me loves a witty and happy ending.

I prefer plays. The rush of the curtains rising, audience members’ eyes glowing with anticipation and the thunder of the music indicating a show’s start have brought me to the balcony of theaters from Madrid to New York.

Musicals are that form of theatre, which I have a love/hate relationship with. Singing about a lost turkey sandwich isn’t for me. I’ve always wanted to learn how to write musical. I secretly moonlighted the idea of writing a small and non-lavish musical. Cabaret, Avenue Q and Fiddler on the Roof are those select musicals, which I adore. Therefore, I fancy the creativity behind Avenue Q’s foul-mouthed puppets and the historical value behind Cabaret and Fiddler.

As I grow older and walk past the old theatre marquis, the desire to write plays persists. Writing a play is a holiday from the norm. While life may seem monotonous, predictable and regimented, with playwriting I could go as bizarre as I desire. If I want to drift into 1950’s New York, the Italian Renaissance and French Revolution, my imagination can take me there, no passport or airline ticket required.

Dream Oddity

Close to me by the Cure blasts as I drive past fields of tulips, ponds with fog rolling gently and green colored hills. In this middle of this kingdom of tranquility and chirping crickets is a tiny shack. Although, it’s quite homely looking, the shack serves delicious coffee.

Inside the coffee shop is a handsome and charming man. However, I spend the whole time at the line trying to convince him to pay for my coffee. What? Why so cheap? He tries to charm me with his wit. However, jaded me isn’t buying it.

I go outside for an electronic cigarette. The shack has a vast field where men wearing tights are fighting with very large swords. William Shakespeare would adore the chivalry. As the men battle, my cardigans and khakis turn into an Elizabethan era fashion statement complete with tights.

This look may work in Hell’s Kitchen, but not for me. I want my khakis. The men doing battle are quite handsome. I forget the cheapo inside, revel in the fighting and sip my gourmet cappuccino. What ends up being a real life battle sequence is actually a magnificently staged Shakespearean play. A minute later the curtains go down and I wake up to my real twenty-something reality.

Dreams are like plays. You are either an audience member or an actor giving the grand monologue. Some dreams can be a very emotional and sometimes evolve into a dreadful experience. Other three act masterpieces leave one riveted and with a desire for the light drama to continue.

My Shakespearean style dream last night woke up my subconscious. It brought my love of theatre with male characters, whom I fell in love with at some point in my life. The toughest part was waking up and realizing that a bunch of men in tights were not fighting for my attention in the play of life, oh well. Here’s to more dreams with men, coffee and lots of beautiful geographical scenery.