Feb. 25th, 2017

hannah: (Martini - fooish_icons)
Tonight, people thought I was part of the show. I didn't intend for that, and it's still how it came out. I don't know if I broke any rules, and I don't regret doing so.

Tonight I'm two-for-two with New York Theatre Workshop productions on getting a drink of wine during the show. First was some champagne during Hadestown, and tonight was a couple of sips and the end of a bottle of South African Chenin Blanc at The Object Lesson.

People thought I was part of the show because when the bottle came out, I said, "Please pass the wine." And the whole theater laughed at the fine joke I'd made. And the main actor laughed, too, saying we'd been in here for minutes and she should have a drink, and shortly after asking if the lady had gotten to try the wine yet. He'd been unearthing memories of his time in France, eating bread and goat cheese and drinking wine, and all those foods were pulled fresh from a box and passed around the audience. Because you can do that, when you're putting on a play.

The Object Lesson is, in and of itself, an object lesson in the full understanding of the nature, constraints, and possibilities inherent within a given medium and the power that comes from embracing all of those: the main theate space was transformed into everyone's waking dream of an attic-garage-basement-back closet storage space, a card catalog, lamps and found objects, boxes upon boxes stacked four and five and six deep from the floor to the ceiling, every one of them containing something - one was labeled "air guitars" and had tennis rackets - with a boat and a bicycle and bolt of chairs and a canoe hanging from the ceiling. The story, such as it was, consisted of one person's examination of a few memories, a handful of moments, and a contemplation on life as it goes from beginning to end. Not much to it, really. But it was the use of space that stood out.

Pulling objects from around the room and out of boxes to create a little living room-type speaking-space. Climbing up the boxes to unearth a traffic light and turning off everything else in the room to let the audience watch it go from red to green to yellow and red and through again. Two audience members on different sides of the theater space each naming objects they'd brought with them, pulled in as part of the show. A strange dinner date with someone else from the audience, tap-dancing in ice skates to make a salad. And finally, channeling the spirit of Harpo Marx to pull a bathroom, an office, and a lifespan from a single small cardboard box. There were some astonishing things done with light and dark, and sound. And space. Because the actor ran around the room, climbed up and down, tossed stuff around, and in some very controlled movements he managed to fold time into itself: being very careful, recording himself and people around him as one half of a conversation, then playing it back to provide both halves at once.

To have that unfold in front of you, the craft and honest trickery of it, was nothing short of amazing.

If you have the ways and means, go see it.

And don't forget to ask to be passed the wine.

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