Favorite TV Show: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Favorite Cuisine: Korean
Favorite Comfort Food: Hot Wings from Bonnie’s Grill
Favorite Hobby: Baseball!
Ben is a long-time New Yorker who has been an avid patron of theater since TDF introduced him to it in his senior year of high school. He has lived in Brooklyn since we was 6 years old and loves his borough (and Queens is a pretty close second!). Aside from theatre, he is a huge baseball fan, loves to cook and spending time with his girlfriend (of almost four years)! He wishes that Broadway theaters had more legroom and maybe cup holders because, let’s be honest, a guy gets thirsty during an hour and a half long show.
Once On This Island is the story of the Caribbean and of a girl named Ti Moune. It’s about understanding where you’re from, chasing what you believe in, and the struggles that emerge when those two clash.
The subject also seemed kind of obscure. Like, I’m a big fan of theater, but I am definitely not a theater person. No acting, please. I wasn’t totally sold on a play about actors...
More than anything else, I felt a lot of pity for the characters in this story. I perceived them as caricatures of types of people we all know in our lives (or at the very least have heard about).
I particularly loved that the actors played their instruments and sang on stage, like they were a real band.
The first thing that took me by surprise was just how cheery and lighthearted many of the songs and characters were. Gander was cast as a communal, friendly little town. It’s hard to associate 9/11 with feelings of happiness and friendliness, at least for me.
I felt exposed and almost frightened by the character he portrayed - both in the play’s beginning, when he is calm and confident, and its conclusion, when he is reduced to panic and paranoia. I never felt like I could settle into the show. I was always on my toes, and it was exciting!
I was uncomfortable, but not in a bad way. I've never put myself in the shoes of characters like this before. I read about people like them in the news, sure. And I definitely care about these issues, probably more than the average joe. But to see – on stage...
I’m just going to jump straight into it: to me, this show did not make sense a lot of the time. More than any other show I've been to... I struggled to connect the dots, to establish a sequence of events, or to figure out where the show was heading.
Here you have this “radical lawyer” talking about working with the ACLU, defending the Black Panthers, and bearing witness to a state-sponsored shooting (the Attica Prison Riot, for those interested). With these themes and organizations popping up pretty much everyday in the real world right now, it was almost comforting for me to know that – at least in some way – the political reality we occupy isn’t a new story.
This was one of those shows that left me thinking for hours afterwards: about the characters, about the themes, and about how they related to me. I’m always waiting for a play that makes me think in a profound way. Well, Fade definitely fit the bill. I lingered in the theater afterwards thinking about what I just saw (and maybe avoiding the snow and the cold for just a little bit longer).