Theatre Mirror Reviews - "What I Think..."

THE THEATER MIRROR, New Englandís LIVE Theater Guide

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KNOW WHAT I THINK?

A Piece of Fiction
by larry stark

I pressed the button at Mass Station and waited for the elevator to come down, thinking...

When did I start using the elevators in MBTA stations? I didn't when I was on crutches for the left knee replacement, did I? I didn't even know where the elevators were until only a year or so ago, did I? Maybe I started with the one at Park Street --- to remind myself when getting ON that I wanted to use the end-car to get OFF close to the elevator, and it became a habit...

And then the door opened.
I went through the "slide-stiles" and turned right immediately. A chilly drizzle dampened the bike-path as I spiralled down to the dead-end of Northampton Street, thinking...

This is the reason I want a booklet called "Going to Theatres in Boston Without A Car": people with G.P.S. and the address of The Factory will be standing in front, at the main Tremont Street entrance, wondering where the theatre us --- and its all the way around behind the building, with a below-street entrance two-thirds of the way into the RESIDENTS ONLY parking-lot. People ought to know; they ought to know both the 70 and 70A busses out of Central Square will take you to The New Rep in Watertown, if you remember to go PAST it and cross the street wand walk back from the School Street stop. (Why can't the damned MBTA put a bus-stop in front of The Arsenal Center for The Arts?) And a bus from the Malden-stop on the Orange Line will take you to the front door of the Stoneham Theatre. Easy once you know...

At the entrance I lumped down the steps clinging to the gritty sandstone-like left-hand wall --- the only banniister is on the other side --- thinkng...

Brick. Old, uneven, paint-speckled bricks. The Factory is a two-story "brick-box" flexible playing-space, with a room through a not-quite prosceneum-arched hole in the brick facade opposite the usual place of the risers. Seats Fifty, I tell people, though it's really just 48 legal seats. Assinine! When was the last time anyone died in a fire in a THEATRE --- not a Night Club, like The Station and The Coconut Grove?...

And then I was inside.
A seat was "Reserved" for me --- the seat to the stage-left of the center aisle. I threw my coat and program underneath and sat, thinking...

Two programs and no "Press Packet"; the company knows me so well. But these are Barry's favorite seats. He Says he can't see the action, if actors roll on the floor, from rows farther back. But in a wide, shallow space like this, if people are blocked on two sides it's like watching a tennis-match sitting on a line with the net! I like to see some audience around me...

Then the show started.
"Did'ja like it?" She launched herself into my arms. "No," I urmured, "I Loved it! And those Shoes! Perfectly in character!" I pressed her up into me for a sincere moment, thinking...

They still care, whether I can write or not. I used to say "If I don't like a show I won't write a negative review" but I hope people don't think that everything I DON'T write about are shows I really don't like. I don't want people thinking what I say to them is insincere. I learned when the Kirov came to New York that you can't hold a dance or a play in your arms, but there are useful alternatives. I'm a hugger and I do love theater people! I don't kiss actresses, but maybe that's the reason people trust me...

It was a short show, and on the way home I decided to get off at Jackson Square and buy a few things at the local Super Stop&Shop. I splurged on a chunk of gorganzola and a box of Stoned Wheat Thins even though it was dangerously near the end of the month. "Come the end of the money I still have month left" --- oldest joke I know. They were cautioning us that the store was closing as I hustled to the counter, thinking...

Why is it that I come here, even with a note in my pocket about needing one specific thing, and half way home I realize I bought everything But that one specific thing? My mind is mush, and I'm still deciding what "lead sentence" will let me write a review of the show I just saw. But here we are at home...

Okay, now I'm home --- and hungry! Sure, I have a choice of using the time to write a review, or feeding myself, and guess which I'm going to do? Dice the pork (or chicken thighs?) while water for spaghetti's heating; douse it with chopped onion and green pepper, slathered it all with chou hou & garlick curry sauce before four minutes under the broiler, and oolong tea tonight. There's e-mail to read and react to as I eat, thinking...

I should review this show. I did Love this show, I think I know what to say about it. I have a lead sentence in my mind, and I'm sitting at the keypad ready to...

And the phone rings.

Sometimes some of me friends Need To Talk. And when they do, I have to listen. Listening is really a creative act --- understanding what's said and what's meant and what the reply should be isn't just a passive performance. But Creative Listening takes some Thinking, and by the time the conversation and the food are finished it's late, and I'm too tired to spend an hour or two trying to recapture the words that would make a review relevent. Better to get a night's sleep and hit it in the morning.
So I sleep.

And I come awake after a very long, vivid "lucid dream" that feels like a complete short-story. I lie in bed, thinking...

Well, what do I do now? The whole thing is in my mind, waiting to be written down. If I don't run to the keypad and get at least some of it down, it will evaporate. Other stories have! How much do I owe the theater people who give me comps, and how much do I owe the stories I've been trying to write for the past --- Damn! --- Sixty years! Until Joe Hanlon made me a theater reviewer all I wanted to do was "Write hard-cover books for money" --- as Pappa Hemingstein said. So maybe I should just fire up the computer, and Write!

But there's e-mail when the machine comes alive --- and three of them are reviews other people have sent to The Mirror. I sit there, thinking...

One of Them reviews the play I saw last night. Can I get it uploaded without Reading it? If I read it, can I still write my own review, without sounding like half of an argument with this reviewer? Isn't it better to get One review up, whether it's mine or not? Hell, don't I owe something to the person who trusted me to put their reviews up, un-cut and un-edited, in The Mirror? Can I, in all honestly, disappoint my contributors here?

But there are three of them, and shepherding all three through my rather unique FTP thingie and correcting all my errors and typos eat up more time than I expected. Suddenly, it seems, it's time for a quick shower and a shave before rushing to the Stony Brook MBTA station to see yet another play.

And so I pressed the DOWN button at the station and stand waiting,
thinking...

---30---

THE THEATER MIRROR, New Englandís LIVE Theater Guide

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