Day Twenty-Four. Solo Play.

April 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

I am not afraid of doing things on my own. In fact, the majority of activities I have participated in for this blog have been solo endeavors. So on Day twenty-four I left work early and drove downtown to see a play on my own. My coworker and friend Jeremiah had partnered up with some other dudes and created a production company called Griot’s Fire. Eugene O’Neill’s A Long Day’s Journey into Night was their first play, so I decided to support Jeremiah and accomplish something new by seeing the performance at the 14th Street Playhouse.

Unfortunately, I miscalculated the amount of time it would take me to get from Duluth to Midtown. I left enough leeway for all the traffic I had been hearing about and ended up in a parking spot an hour before the show began. I played around on my phone for a bit before texting Jeremiah, who incredulously asked, “Are you here already? Wow, you’re early.” I waited a few more minutes and headed in about 7:30 for an 8:00PM start time.

It was very quiet in the lobby, about 8 people silently munching on their purchased snacks and drinks as they read a book or played on their phones like me. I felt a little nervous and jittery, but didn’t know if it was from being there alone or the big coffee I downed before leaving work.
Jeremiah came out to meet me in the lobby and took me back to see the stage. He was stage managing in addition to producing the show with his partners. He gave me a brief stand in one place tour of the stage and then it was time to go back to the lobby and reenter as a patron.

Where do you sit in the theater? I chose a middle seat about half way up, similar to where I would sit seeing a film. The center seats in the first few rows filled quickly, and I wondered what kind of person wants to be that close to live acting. Maybe the hard of hearing? I certainly fall into a category of spectator who desires to be more removed from the action. Being alone made me more self conscious of my body and positioning. Although no one was looking at me, just the idea of being in a theater alone kind of made me feel like a performer.

The play was alright; the length of it kind of clouded my judgment. I had neglected to use the restroom at intermission, so by the fourth act my bladder was full and I was squirming. I thought most of the actors performed well, apart from one who played the drunk brother. He had a tendency to stomp back and forth across the stage demonstrating the character’s frustrations, leading him to be something of an over-actor. It was a bit distracting.

So four hours after I had parked my car, I returned to the parking garage. Yeah, that long. Despite not necessarily connecting with the play as much as I would have liked, I did enjoy myself. Experiencing a social activity alone is very calming. I like that I went several hours without physically or verbally interacting with another human. I was completely present, but removed. It was an introspective evening, even as I was involved in a story unfolding before me. I would totally do it again.

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