Friday, March 27, 2015

New York, New York

27th March 2015

I am not a great fan of cities. Three days and I am in sensory overload. Three days and the green zone of my brain starts to dry and shrivel, and I am gasping for something natural, which cities surely are not, this overload of human beings (human beans as Stephen King puts it.) I am more likely to be watching a pidgeon pecking on the sidewalk than ogling the Empire State Building. WB Yeats didn't take the fire in his head out to the concrete jungle but to the hazel wood. It wouldn't have been as lyrical if he had. It wouldn't have done him as much good. Somewhere along the line, I set myself in orbit around the natural world, or maybe I was just born that way. My sixteen year old daughter dreams of big city lights, while I picture swallows swooping over fields of gold. I say, just you wait: The city will in the end erode your best sense.

So, I am in New York City this week, wandering around like a lost soul, trying to navigate my fragile life of trees and bracken through the traffic at Times Square, standing at the edge of the subway station, looking for the mice that in some unbelievable turn of their natural lives scurry around with trains rushing overhead. As long as I am in the city, I feel like one of those mice, rumbled
down to my core, deafened and deadened.

It's no accident that big explosive theatre resides in the city, because big explosive escape is what you need when you come here. I escape the noise of too many people packed into a tight space. too many cars, too many sirens, by going to the theatre. Stories are my business and my distraction, and if you throw in some good music, I forget my discomfort (and the fact that I am hemorrhaging money at an alarming rate) and I am all agog. I have seen Wicked about eight times now, and musical theatre doesn't come any better. Writer Stephen Schwartz is the John Grisham of theatre.  Here music and lyrics perform a magical pas de deux: "There a few at ease with moral ambiguities and so we act as though they don't exist..." So, I take it all back. For those three hours in the theatre my soul claps hands and sings and I am a happy recruit in the tireless march of the city.

No comments:

Post a Comment