Confessions of a Much Too Serious Actress; Part 3
It was the next to the last performance and apparently not even people with connections have been able to easily get tickets.
Kenneth had agreed to rehearse a huge chunk of audition sides with me, so I agreed to wait in line with him early in the morning in return.
And 'Shakespeare in the Park' is solely a New York thing.
Years ago, I woke up at 6 AM to go and sleep outside (on the dry pavement under a pleasant summer sun with no humidity) in front of the box office at the Public Theater for tickets to see Meryl Streep in Mother Courage.
I got tickets that day and I even made some new friends. Streep was unreal! You don't really know all of what she can do until you see her on stage.
I took Aussie Auds with me, it was an important birthday present for her. But that morning I was only the seventh person in line. This was not the case yesterday morning.
Yesterday morning, however, in yesterday's rainy morning, Kenneth and I ended up at least 500 people down from the beginning of the line. At least!
It had rained the night before and was still drizzling that morning. This summer in New York has been humid and brutal. The ground was soggy and the air felt thick like New York cheese cake.
Running late to meet Kenneth, (who was already there) I made a b-line for the Delacorte.
While running, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a few dozen people sleeping underneath some trees, on the wet grass, on top of sheets of cardboard, plastic bags, and sleeping bags.I thought to myself, "Gosh! The recession is so bad, there are more homeless people than ever populating Central Park! These are terrible times!"
I proceeded to walk up to the Delacorte and saw about fifty people drumming about in front of the theater. They looked relaxed, some getting coffee, and I thought to myself, "This isn't so bad. The rain must have driven everyone else away."
But I couldn't find Kenneth. I called him up and asked him where he was because I couldn't seem to find him amongst the pleasant throng of only about fifty people circling the front of the theater.
"No, Ann," patient Kenneth replies, "those people that you think are homeless; that's actually the beginning of the line."
"That can't be the line of people to see The Merchant of Venice, is it?!"
I didn't see ALL of the people there at first, or else I would have realized it was a line. I only noticed the first dozen in my rush to meet my friend.
I turned around and actually looked. There were air mattresses lying out, people sleeping next to their baskets on wheels, people spooning together underneath umbrellas, tents, people with their dogs, people with regular mattresses (how the heck did they do that?!), and people just sitting on the ground in soiled wet clothes from the rain. Homeless?
I found Kenneth eventually, waiting way past the 'rock of hope'; the landmark the Delacorte staff uses to mark who will get tickets and who is 'past hope' of getting them.
Obviously, I am no longer a New Yorker to have made such a mistake. Daft Ann.
I didn't take a picture of the gargantuan amount of people waiting for tickets, though others were. I guess I wanted to respect their privacy?
But I did take a picture of the beautiful scenery around Kenneth and I while we rehearsed my audition sides after realizing that the only way we could have gotten tickets is if we too, had for the night, appeared to be homeless.
Kind of amazing, I thought, the wide demographic of people waiting. Who knows if some of those people in line were there for Shakespeare so much as they were their for Pacino.
But because of Pacino, and the nature of the Delacorte, they were availed a unique experience of Shakespeare for nothing more than the dedicated and persevering presence of their own flesh.
Oh well, I confess. So much for being much too serious. Pound of flesh for a ticket?
(photos courtesy of Central Park, NYC and Wire Image)
Yours Truly -- Ann Hu