A night out -- 07/01/02

Nancy and I had a marvelous time last night at 2nd Story Theatre in Warren, R.I. (They do have a web page but it's a full season out-of-date, listing their spring productions rather than their summer series... a collection of actors not web techies... but here's a news article about them... and another one.)

The only downside came as we set out on our journey there (it's almost 45 miles if I drive up around through Providence to avoid the Jamestown and Newport bridges over Narraganset Bay -- and since Nancy really hates crossing those bridges I chose to take that long way around). I had expected to hit some coming-home-from-the-beaches traffic on Route 1 -- and I did -- but I had not expected the bumper-to-bumper stop-and-go traffic on routes 2 and 4 and on I-95. I had forgotten about the annual air show at Quanset Point, thousands of extra cars on the same roads I needed to drive on. There is a good Indian restaurant in Warren, within easy walking distance of the theatre, and I had planned on a leisurely pre-theatre dinner. The snail-pace traffic put an end to that plan. Fortunately, the theatre is literally a 2nd story theatre, upstairs from a restaurant (A.J.Dylan's -- where I'm told cabaret entertainment holds many theater-goers after the plays end on Friday and Saturday nights -- but we were there on a Sunday). The restaurant people were very helpful when we told them we were hungry but we only had half an hour (the solution: big salad bar salads plus a plate of chicken finger appetizers... and Bass Ale on tap).

2nd Story Theatre seems to be specializing in what they call "Short Attention Span Theatre" -- collections of three or four short one act plays. Last night they did Your Life is a Feature Film (by Alan Minieri) where (in a spin on The Truman Show) a young man discovers on his 21st birthday that his entire life has been filmed and everyone in his life is really an actor -- and now that he is 21, the director needs him to sign legal release forms; You Belong to Me (by Keith Reddin) where a group of friends in a bar keep having murderous fantasies -- a place where every song on the juke box is by Patsy Cline and whenever a character picks a song, an actress dressed as Patsy Cline steps out and sings (a good voice and a good Patsy Cline impersonation); The Mystery at Twicknam Vicarage (by David Ives), a risque spoof of British drawing room murder mysteries; and Desire, Desire, Desire (by Christopher Durang), a tour de force that throws every Tennessee Williams play into a blender, along with selected works of Samuel Becket, Eugene O'Neill, et. al.), played at madcap pace. Oh, and the plays are separated by brief musical interludes, including a hilarious romantic song about, uh, self-love.

The audience is seated, stadium style, on the long sides of a rectangular floor area that is the stage -- total seating is in the neighborhood of ninety to one hundred. They were full last night and the reason we went on Sunday night was because Friday and Saturday had been sold-out. They have three more collections of Short Attention Span Theatre to present this summer and we hope to attend all of them. An intimate venue, talented acting, imaginative staging, and damned funny!

I had a long day at work today, attempting to clear up as many tasks as I could so that I can take the rest of the week off. I succeeded -- although I may find myself doing a few odds and ends of work-related stuff between now and next Monday, for the most part I am going to be dividing my time between relaxing and a lot of hard work on the yard. I have a thousand dollars worth of sod being delivered in a few days -- half on Friday and half on Saturday -- and a few hours delay in laying it down properly can destroy it, so the yard has to be perfectly prepared in advance of that.

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