Well it’s a Saturday and it was a pretty good day. Bill was up and out this morning, he needed to go to his parents apartment to meet the latest home health care aide. Last night he had to dismiss the previous aide since she wanted $200 under the table to take care of Bill’s mother as well as what she was contracted for, his father care. Funds being tight, she had to go. She wasn’t much help either, lot’s of attitude, so it’s bye bye for her. Bill gave his goodbye kiss and was out the door. I woke up at 7:30. I wasn’t feeling that so I went back to sleep, getting out of bed at 9:00. I had my coffee and was out to get the sundries. Back home for breakfast and I plotted my day.
I was reluctant to do anything but I had planned on heading into Brooklyn to see a Samuel Beckett play, Happy Days, starring Fiona Shaw who I loved ever since I first saw her as the physical therapist in My Left Foot. She also plays Harry Potter’s aunt in the movies, in case you wondered where you might have seen her. But the scene in the restaurant in My Left Foot is incredible and quite intense, she playing Daniel Day Lewis’ unrequited love. It’s sad and scary to see the Christy Brown character go out of his mind with anguish, and the look on Fiona Shaw’s face just adds to the despair. Fantastic. I headed towards the bus so I could catch a subway to Brooklyn. Ran into Gary Jennings with his boyfriend on the bus. Don’t know the boyfriend’s name, but I met him a year or so ago at the Hoboken St. Patrick’s day parade. Nice guy though. It was a nice chat with Gary, catching up. We seem to meet on buses these days, rather than the bar at McSwells.
They and I parted ways and I wandered through the bus terminal headed across town to Grand Central Station. Midtown Manhattan is a haven for tourists on weekends and they were everywhere. I did my best to avoid them but there they were standing on escalators, not moving, and not allowing anyone to pass, or they’re having conversations on top of stairways or at the bottom, or just stopping right in my path when I have a good trot going on. I hopped on the 4 train to Brooklyn and was soon on Flatbush Avenue. I looked at a street map to figure out where the BAM Harvey Theater was but couldn’t figure it out, so I just turned the corner and there it was a half block away. I walked to the box office, explained to them that I couldn’t make last night’s performance and that I was told I could get a past date ticket in exchange. That worked out quite nicely. Whereas yesterday I would be in the balcony for last night’s show, this afternoon I was in the 10th row in the orchestra.
I hung outside the theater having a quick smoke, when I saw Kathleen Turner walk by, then Lisa Gay Hamilton, then someone who could have been Peter Coyote, but I wasn’t sure. He had one of those four footed canes to help him walk, and he looked like he could have been a Digger in a previous life. Got to my seat where I was totally mesmerized by Fiona Shaw waist deep in dirt. The stage design was decidedly post apocalyptic. A Fantastic play, bravura performance by both her and Tim Potter who played Willie to Fiona’s Winnie. It was a full house, though the three people seated in front of me didn’t stay for the second act. I don’t think they understood the play, and it’s not easily understood, it does border on the absurd. I never saw Waiting for Godot, another Beckett play but from what I understood, sometimes half the audience is in stitches and the other half deep in though trying to figure out a deeper meaning. Samuel Beckett never gave anything away and took the secrets to his plays and other work to the grave. At intermission they actually played the theme from TV’s Happy Days. ♫Sunday Monday Happy Days ♪ I swear I am not putting you on.
Photos: Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times
The second act lasted what seemed to be about 20 minutes. I walked out into the Brooklyn daylight and saw Lisa Gay Hamilton walk by. Bill and I saw her in an episode of Law and Order a few times and she is simply amazing. She was also in The Practice years ago, and she also directed a documentary on Beah Richards another great and overlooked actress. Beah Richards played Sidney Poitier’s mother in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. She more than likely broke your heart in other shows and movies, just look her up on IMDB. I called out, Miss Hamilton and Lisa turned around. I explained that Bill and I were fans and we loved that episode of Law and Order SVU with Ludacris, which was amazingly powerful. She was great and charming and has a beautiful smile which she showed when her sister took our picture.
I was feeling game and remembered that before the show I saw Fiona Shaw walk in the direction of what I figured out to be the stage door, and me being a stage door Johnny, I made a bee line over there. There was just one guy besides me standing around, then Kathleen Turner came out, smoking and chatting with a friend. I was going to ask her for her picture but I was intimidated actually. Fiona Shaw appeared and was talking to Kathleen Turner while trying to get in a taxi. I just asked if she would sign a copy of the play that I bought after the show in the lobby and she did, then asked for a picture and she insisted on having a picture with Kathleen Turner.
Fiona and Me
No problem, then I asked if Kathleen Turner’s friend would take a picture of Fiona and myself which he did. I was going to ask for a picture with both Kathleen and Fiona but once again Kathleen Turner intimidated me, not by her doing, but by her persona. After that I giddily walked away. I walked down Fulton Street listening to the Kinks, then onto the Brooklyn Bridge, still a marvelous thing, it is my favorite bridge. I’ve ridden my bicycle across it many times, but never walked across it. Still a thrill and tourists aplenty taking snapshots.
I decided to walk over to JR and pick up a copy of My Left Foot, but they were out so I bought a copy of My Beautiful Laundrette instead which isn’t anywhere near My Left Foot, but both star Daniel Day Lewis and start with My. Then I walked over to the World Trade Center Path train where I missed a train since I helped tourists figure out what train to take. That was it, all in all a really good day. I have to stop being lazy and get out more. It was all worth it, it was fun, and I finally saw my first Samuel Beckett play starring the wonderful Fiona Shaw.
What did you do today?