Ramblings From The Road
So, I was walking to the theatre one sunny afternoon and I pass by a bus shelter. Inside the shelter on the ground was what looked liked the inside, the guts of some kind of radio or tape recorder... or bomb. My first thought was find someone, a cop, and tell them to look at it or better yet pick it up and get rid of it. Then irrational thinking took precedence and I hightailed it down the Avenue thinking if it goes off now, there will be minor damage to my body. I kept thinking about the consequences of a bomb exploding as I made my way down the Avenue and turned right on 49th Street, "Will they cancel the show? What will happen to Josh and Matt? The south wall of Colony Records will protect me.... or will it? It's all glass." All was well when I turned the corner... that's just how it is in NYC. You turn a corner and it might as well be another country. WHAT KIND OF CRAZY THINKING IS THAT????? It was obviously not a bomb but where is my head? The terrorists have won with me. I am suspicious and terrorized.
I'm in the gym in my hotel one day before the matinee. There was only my friend who trains me and me in that rather small gym. We are listening to the radio that is supplied by the gym. In walks a young woman who turns the radio station to the station she wants to hear without asking us if we were listening to the radio prior to her arrival or even acknowledging that all of us were even in the same room. I got pissed but thought it wise not to speak up... I made my male friend do it when we were done working out. He asked her if she changed the station and she was all apologetic and I thought, what is going on in America today? She is decent enough, but is she oblivious to her surroundings? Is she self-absorbed? Is she terrified of the world (like me these days) and too afraid to speak to strangers? Well, that's not quite me. However, I've decided that we have become an Unconscious Nation. We are locked into our individual worlds that have tremendous needs and no one is allowed to penetrate that world for fear that we won't get OUR QUOTA! That quota being computers and big screen TV and ATVs and all the toys we can afford or not afford. Thirty years ago in Athens, Greece, an American Greek told me that Americans were being force-fed consumer products to keep them pacified. That remark has come home to roost. We also don't like anybody. We have become an insular, selfish, self-important, self-entitled society lacking manners, wisdom, judgement, compassion, and civility. I see it on the streets of Manhattan, on our roads traveling back and forth to NYC, and nightly when I look out at the audience. People in the audience do not acknowledge the other people sitting to the right, left, front, or back of them. It's as if they are sitting in their home watching this event unfolding in front of them ALONE. It's not even theatre that is taking place in a venerable, beautiful, historic building. For the most part these folks, and mark me, it's a minority, are slobs. How did we get to be such slobs! Where is the self esteem and pride in who we are?
I'll step off the soapbox now.
Ben Magnuson plays Anthony in our production of "Sweeney Todd" and he plays it with such intensity and passion. He is truly wonderful in the part. I love sitting behind him on stage right before the curtain goes up. We wish each other a good show. It's our nightly ritual. Here's a story that should give hope to all aspiring actors. There were 2 producers vying for "Sweeney". When the other producers had the property, both Ben and Diana DiMarzio were cut from the auditioning process at the casting director level, meaning they would not get in to see the director. When the producers ended up being the Frankel office, a different casting director was hired and both Ben and Diana re-auditioned, got through to the director, and GOT HIRED!!!!! There is a God! Both are wonderful in their roles and just plain wonderful people.
Remember, smile at a stranger... see what happens. Be Eastern in your philosophy... acknowledge the other person to the right, left, front, and back of you. Let's all try.