A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 64: Central Park is Like a Box of Chocolates

August 30th · 2 Comments

As the sun set behind the towers on the Hudson, Joo and I stepped onto a bus, destination Central Park. If we hurried we’d just make a free showing of “Misalliance,” a play by George Bernard Shaw, staged outdoors and on the run.

Ushers pointed us to a patch of grass on the Great Hill. We drank juice spiked with rum and waited expectantly. Then the actors, decked out in 19th-Century tweedy trousers and petticoats, emerged from the audience and from behind trees, bellowing in British accents. On with the show.

At the end of a scene John Tarleton, the loquacious leading man, or perhaps Bentley, the limp-wristed suitor to his daughter, would yell “Come along then!” and everyone would stand up with their backpacks and wine bottles and dash after them toward the next set.

So it went, up one hill and down another, into a willowed glade on the bank of The Pool, and with every new location this comedy of British manners grew more tortured and our audience gained a few more passers-by. As night fell, the crew deployed their high-tech lighting system (flashlights, pointed at whatever actor was speaking).

The show ended with a triumphant coupling between a Polish trapeze artist and Bentley, and after the applause died down and the actors held up wicker baskets and bellowed for donations, Joo and I continued on our way.

We crossed East Drive, where some ten-year-olds on bikes swirled under a street (where are their mothers?) and one grabbed my sleeve. “My name’s Coco,” he said. Then he scooted off down the street yelling at a late-night jogger, who ran off in terror.

In the distance we heard the thrum of exotic music and saw the East Meadow ablaze with light. We arrived at the New York Turkish Festival, where the kebab stands had already closed but about fifty people sat in folding chairs for the final number, a 13th Century folk song. From the audience, old women in headscarves sang along with the drums.

Ho hum. Just another night in Central Park.

Tags: Entertainment · Sights & Scenes

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bev // Sep 7, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Oh, I think I must stop reading your blog. It’s making my longing heart heavy. I’m turning green, and not just my thumb.

  • 2 anne // Sep 13, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Be grateful that on this day the play was OUTDOORS, in March there was a production staged IN the restrooms near Bethesda fountain.
    Never a dull moment in the park.

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