Moravian First Year Seminars in NYC
Friday, October 21, 2011
Family Disputes, Goddesses in Disguise, and History in the Making: Yet Another Broadway Adventure
To call our latest trip into New York City a small adventure would be a small understatement. Not only did we have the pleasure of watching two brilliant straight plays on Broadway, but we also had the questionably privilege of seeing the freedom of speech in action. The day started out early, as usual, and we arrived at Lincoln Center at around 9:30 in the morning. Now, I've personally been to Lincoln Center mire times than I can count. As I live only a few miles from the city, my high school Humanities class frequently utilized the nearby arts center as a means of allowing us to experience various professional arts, including the NYC Philharmonic orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera, and a performance of the Nutcracker at the NYC Ballet. As this was not my first time at Lincoln Center, I was able to point our group to all the best places to stay warm while waiting for our tour.
Our tour of Lincoln Center was really amazing and highly interesting. While most of the tour consisted of going into the various theaters and looking at the performance spaces, there was still a lot of insightful information given to us by the tour guide which helped to recreate the theaters themselves to be another form of art. One of the most interesting moments of the tour was went we were able to view the backstage for one of the shows which we will be seeing next weekend called War Horse. Our tour guide also provided amazing insight into the world of the performers, particularly the dancers, as her own daughter has been a serious dancer from a very young age.
After the tour we traveled down to Broadway in order to see the first of our two shows, Other Desert Cities. This play was about a family which had become broken over political differences and their unspoken past in which the eldest son rebelled against his parents' strongly conservative and Republican ideals and became involved with a horrible bombing which ended in his supposed suicide. The characters were incredibly written and the actors brought them to life in a way which made them seem as if the audience was simply looking in on their family through some sort of secret camera. The only thing about the show which I didn't find to my liking was the emotion. While the emotion of the show was vivid and realistic, it was this realism which make me feel as if I were watching a video of my own family on rerun. Even though my family has never had the exact same problems as the family in Other Desert Cities, the emotions portrayed on stage felt all too familiar and make me feel like I was back home. While the realist emotion was the result of incredible acting, I felt as if it was something which I've experienced too much in real life and wasn't unique to theater.
The second show which we say, entitled Venus in Fur, was certainly a surprise. As the show was described as "90 minutes of kinky fun," all of us were kind of dreading the impending awkward experience. The actual show, however, was not nearly as awkward as we had all expected. In fact, it was a very interesting modern take on the classic Greek legend of a goddess in disguise. While it was not on the same level as Other Desert Cities, Venus in Fur was certainly an interesting show within a show that referenced back to the more Greek and Roman origins of theater with its mythological plot.
While both of these shows were wonderful, perhaps the high-light of my day in the city was the protest which took up all of Times Square. On the very day that we once more journeyed into the city jungle, the Occupy Wall St. protesters decided that it would a good idea to take their message across Manhattan Island. The insanity began about mid-day. As we walked the streets of the Times Square area, we were met with police barriers, zombies, and random individuals with signs. As we neared the heart of Times Square, we found ourselves looking into the heart of a sea of protesters. Shouts rang through the air and the streets crawled with zombies and police officers. As our group took shelter within the nearest clothing store, I couldn't take my eyes off of the protests that had taken over the theater district. As I watched the protest grew. A river of individuals came down 47th St and 7th Ave and pooled into the center of Times Square. Strangely dressed individuals walked about as the protesters climbed on statues and light posts. Police cars and vans lined the side streets and the protests continued to flood Times Square. While I may not agree with everything that the protesters were saying, there is the undeniable fact that the protests themselves were strangely beautiful to watch. As a history buff, there is a certain trend I've noticed when it comes to change. Change has a way of no simply just occurring, but rather it needs some sort of spark. The people need to speak out and say that change is needed, for better or worse, in order for change to happen on any level. So whether you agree or not with the Occupy Wall St. protesters, the fact remains that they are demanding change. And for better or worse, change is needed. So even though I didn't agree fully with several of their messages, I found the protest fascinating simply because I was able to witness and experience the very heart of social change. And whether I agree or not doesn't matter so much as the fact that individuals have stopped simply sitting around and complaining to their t.v.'s about what they think needs to be done and are actually out there shouting to the world that they believe that time for change has arrived.
Posted by Alexandria at 9:21 PM