Trip To New York, Part III

Saturday April 2nd, the day of the show! Nan wasn’t home so I had a figure out a way to get to the train station. She gave me a couple of numbers of local taxi companies but they were out of business. After trying a few more that didn’t come out to Sayreville I decided to try Lyft. I contacted them and a driver came to the house rather quick. He drove me to the South Amboy train station, I bought my tickets, and I awaited the next train.

The train that took me to Manhattan to see my New York live theater debut.
A bright sunny day along 7th Ave after I exited Penn Station, great day for a show.

The show was scheduled at 3PM and I timed my ride so I would arrive at around 1PM. The venue was near Penn Station so I would have enough time to walk around for a bit. I decided to try the New York pizza I heard so much about so I went to a pizza joint at the corner of 8th Ave and 38th St. It was a plain, unadorned place and I ordered a slice of pepperoni, but it turned out to be a slice of pepperoni and bacon. The bacon made the pizza too rich and didn’t belong, but I ate it anyway. I thought about ordering a slice of something better but I also wanted to be able to still fit into my pants so I left and promised to try another pizza joint before I went back to California.

I walked around midtown some more, got a coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts (very few on the west coast so I thought I should take advantage while here, one opened in Santa Cruz across the street from Ferrell’s, a local donut shop, but Ferrell’s is still there and Dunkin’ isn’t), then made my way to 312 W. 36th St. I arrived at a nondescript, narrow office building, entered, and took the elevator up to the 4th floor. I got out and walked around a corner to a small lobby area. I met the director Ken Wolf and hung out as people began to arrive, buy their tickets, and enter the theater. Before long it was almost 3PM and time to enter.

Ad for the entire show
Sign right above the entrance
First view of the performing space

I was happy to see that most of the seats were full and I sat in one of the few empty ones at the front right corner. Once it was 3:00 I turned off my phone and waited in the buzz that permeates a theater just before actors take the stage. Then the house lights went out and the first two actors came out for the first play Under the Lake, a story about a man trying to spear something under a lake and his daughter trying to calm him down, very poignant. Next play was The Twila Zone, a comedy about a first date that quickly goes off the rails, witty as well as physically funny. Third play was Josie In the Bardo, a story of a lounge singer who after a near death experience finds herself in a purgatory with her older self, deep and otherworldly. Below is a link to digital program that lists all the actors and playwrights.

Last but not least came my play. Since I wasn’t present at the rehearsals and only knew the actors by name I had no idea what to expect. The lights lit back up and the first two actors came out on stage and spoke dialogue that hereto fore I only had only heard in my head. I hadn’t read the script in some time so I didn’t remember all of it but it sounded like they stayed true to my script. Then came the other three actors and now I was seeing my words brought to life. I was pleased with all five actors and they brought new elements to the characters I didn’t know were there. This is always the case but since I didn’t see it until the premier it was an extra surprise. They even added an extra bit with a beach ball that brought an extra laugh. I was very happy with the final result!

Another shot of the performing space, after the show
One of the props for my show, a balloon animal
Posing with the balloon animal, picture by Marina Chan

Here’s the link to the video of play:

After the show I talked some more with Ken and a couple of the actors while basking in the post show after glow. I now officially had one of my scripts performed live in New York, and as I finally left for Penn Station and took the train back to South Amboy, I felt I had accomplished something I had dreamed about for years!

Tomorrow Sunday the 3rd would be the second and final performance of the show at 6:30PM. I stayed in NJ on Sunday, had breakfast with Nan at the Colonial Diner in East Brunswick, then shopping at WalMart. It was drizzly that day and I didn’t want to be riding around in unfamiliar territory at a late hour so I missed second show, but my flight back to California was scheduled to depart on Monday the 4th at just past 8PM so I would have one more day to visit Manhattan. An actor friend who was in my two online productions out of New York was going to show me a part of Manhattan I didn’t even know existed, the High Line.

Next: Trip To New York, Part IV

©2022 Robert Kirkendall

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