New York City


July 9 - July 15

  

Monday - Day Two

BAHAMIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY

Well first of all, for those of you who are interested (apologies to those who couldn't care less :-) ), twenty-seven years ago today (twenty-seven years and several hours ago to be exact) both Philip and I, and I presume Colin too, and any Bahamian our age who was a schoolchild or a member of some youth group - a choir, a marching band, the Scouts/Guides, or attached to some church, were stood on Clifford Park in Nassau watching the Union Jack being lowered and the Bahamian flag (gold, aquamarine & black) being raised, while Prince Charles & Lynden Pindling & two governors, one Royal & one General, looked on. Policemen and other uniformed civil servants wore white gloves as this new black nation was being formed, and then fireworks danced in the sky for a long time afterward. I was buttoned into my dress Guide uniform - a heavy white cotton shift with long sleeves (for the many badges we were supposed to earn) and a wonderful belt with loops and rings for whistles, penknives and all the cool trappings of the movement. It was hot. It would have been hotter if I had to wear it in the middle of the day. I think there was a little breeze from the sea, though if we had made Independence any later in the year the night would have been thick as kettle-steam. At the time it didn't seem to be the occasion that it seems now that there is a whole generation and a half of people who are either too young to remember that night or who were not yet born. At the time it was just another official way to spend a summer's night.

*

Monday morning: I am washing clothes after we ate breakfast out on the balcony in the pleasant skyscraper breeze (which a year ago was as hot as the wind blowing out of an oven, or generated by the fan of the central air conditioning unit of a large building). Philip goes out hunting down our tickets - an endeavour that will take him all over the southern part of Manhattan to all the theatres we will be going to later this week. We plan to meet Holly for lunch, and tonight we are going to see Phantom of the Opera, a Broadway standard that I have not yet seen. New York, New York, a wonderful town.

*

Tickets have been collected for five of the seven shows that we are going to see this week and in between my collecting, I (Philip) stop off at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (my old acting school) for a visit. Everything looks pretty much the same only older and it's a bitter sweet visit having learned in a phone conversation with Kim just last night that a close friend of ours from that school had died. He actually died three years ago from a heart condition and no one knew how to contact me as I was on my way to start the job at Pearson College. I go up to the sixth floor which is where the administration resides and I run into Thelma Carter who was a director of mine when I was at the Academy in 1978-1980. It was great to talk to her and catch up on old times but my time there is limited as I have to go downtown to collect yet another pair of tickets. I don't get a chance to see Dino whom I assume is the person who auditioned Hernan when he tried out got into the Academy but I send him my regards and head downtown. The plan is for Nico, Holly and me to meet up in front of the Shubert Theatre and then decide where to go for lunch.

*

Philip arrives at a quarter to one, Nico arrives at ten to one, Holly arrives at five past one (Philip is dictating this part) and we all meet up in Shubert Alley and decide to have lunch at Charley O's. It's a nice 3-hour lunch, one hour of which we spend eating and the others we spend talking about all and sundry. Holly looks well, seems happy to be home in New York, seems happy about her job, and is looking forward to Cornell after visiting it with her dad & Bonnie over the past weekend. We hope to meet up with her again later on in the week. After lunch we go our separate ways, and head back to Colin's to rest up for a night out at the theatre.

*

We walk to the Majestic Theatre for our first offering, Phantom of the Opera, the Lloyd Webber musical that's been playing on Broadway for a number of years. Though Philip saw it some years back, I never had. Philip was not overly keen on it, but could never really pinpoint exactly why that was. Since everyone else in my family has seen it, and play the music with some regularity, I finally persuaded Philip that we should go see it together so that when I drive in Mummy's car with the music playing I could at least be familiar with the story. We went not expecting the earth to move, partly because it's been around for so long, but Philip went with an open mind, curious to see what, if anything, it was that he had not found appealing before. It became obvious early on that the biggest problem with Phantom is that there is very little story. There is a plot, but it doesn't necessarily move logically from point to point - I felt that you could shuffle the different scenes around, throw them up in the air, and it would make no difference how they landed - 80 percent of the storyline was that fragmented. But the costumes were fabulous, the opera parodies were very entertaining, and the music was full of what my friend Tinkle calls "sweet spots" - it was singable, and the melodies were pleasant, and in places, such as when LW uses a group of six to perform bits that were like madrigals or fugues, downright interesting. The audience seemed to love the spectacle - like the notorious chandelier drop. But the biggest flaw was that we really didn't feel any connection with any of the characters. So there it is - our first taste of broadway for this trip. We left the theatre and went for our first New York slice (of pizza, that is). Tomorrow we will czech out The Real Thing by that great English ;-) playwright, Tom Stoppard (calm down Kryllie!).

 back to washington
back to day 1
 on to day 3

 

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