The women are brought in a straight line through the main entrance. Adorned in all gray sweat suits, greasy hair, and bare faces. Each carrying child-sized chairs and tables that they scattered around stage. This probably sounds as confusing as it first looked to me, but the one thing that really stuck with me was the attention to detail. The interpretations will obviously vary, but for me the child-sized furniture and props just added to this fantasy world that suddenly appears once the guards leave.
Throughout the show, there's a whole lot of animosity. Everyone was cursing each other out, everyone except the holy one, Penny. Well, her mouth did stay clean until she felt like Lou was being a jerk. I sat there and thought, "Well, that's harsh!"
There is something incredibly enticing about watching people grow before you.
Seven children are presented to the audience. These children are introduced as wide-eyed and innocent, very naturally they begin to grow but it's told through the motions of everyday life. They start off as interesting children, become rebellious teenagers, mediocre adults, and finally wise elders.
The lights go out again. They return. They go out again, return. With each exit and entrance of light we learn a bit more of Biftu’s story. We see the frightened fourteen year old being married off to an older man by her mother. We see the prelude to her wedding night rape. We see her belly pregnant with a life she never asked for.
Despite the tenants’ different personalities, they had learned to cope together, as a family. I connected them to my family, when in an episode of our lives there were twelve people living in one apartment: the kids, the grandparents, the adults, the teens and preteens, all in one place. There was happiness and madness, screams and cries, but much bonding… totally crazy, but I was glad that we were together. The tenants of Hotel Baltimore were the mere reflection of that and I enjoyed watching them.
The Union army portrayed on stage was a troop of musicians that wielded instruments far more powerful than any weapons. As a musician myself, it was hard not to be affected by the sight of them, standing at attention in their uniforms and yet clutching flutes and violins in the place of firearms, as if they could save their lives. And perhaps they could. I wondered: What kind of world would we live in if every time a person sought to harm another person, they created something instead?
The professor was not what I expected. At first, I found him obnoxious and just over the top. He often waddled across the stage like a penguin and spoke in some strange cross between old English and an overly philosophical hipster. Yet, somehow he stopped being a sideshow and won me over with his quirky way of dealing with love.
I just sat and thought, if it only it were that simple. If only people would literally take a step or strut in other people's shoes before they criticize. It made me happy to know that this is what theatre is. What is theatre if it doesn't change people's perspectives?
That's what my twitter page would be saying after seeing Comedy of Errors. I must say, I was a bit iffy about seeing it. Shakespeare isn't easy to digest. I only decided to go because it was at the Public Theater.
Aftermath is an evening that features two complex and serious shows. The first, this is my (trigger warning), deals with PTSD and how people cope with it. The second, Reach, is about a woman (Leila) who lost her husband because of horrible events during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, but is in denial that he is dead. Her ex-boyfriend (Jordan) pays her a visit, after not seeing each other for four years, but Leila doesn't know how to deal with it.