What's it about?
Last Call is the story of seasoned bartender Terri Girvin. In its 80 minutes, the play follows Terri through the opening, tending, and closing of her New York City bar while taking periodic sidesteps into her childhood and her relationship with her mother. Terri plays all roles on stage, aided by only a sound system and the audience's ability to imagine.
What was my experience?
“First, I’m gonna become hard to find. Then I’m gonna become hard to understand. Then I’m gonna become hard to stomach. I’m gonna become a man.”
Sometimes I'm an hour early for things, other times I'm 15 minutes late, there is no in between.
For the 80 minutes of Last Call, I was a full 15 minutes late. When I finally got to IRT Theatre, I could hear the show from the hallway. I thought I was too late but one of the women at the makeshift box office snuck me into the small, dark theater and sat me down on a step by the stage. I was clearly late, but I was just in time for the entrance of Terri, the personally distressed but professionally badass bartender.
At less than five feet tall, Terri Girvin doesn't look like the actresses I've gotten used to seeing on NYC stages. And that was refreshing sight for a fellow short person myself. As soon as Terri came in there was a strong, yet comforting presence on stage and in the theater. Watching her, I felt not only at ease, but empowered: it’s not often one gets to see a show about a woman who’s got her shit together.
Terri told the story of her life as a New York City bartender who’s seen it all, while seamlessly integrating the story of her overbearing mother into the mix. Though the clarity of Terri’s delivery made it apparent that her story had been told and refined many times, the emotion in her voice and the slight smile on her face made it clear that every word of the story she was telling belonged to her. As I watched her talk about her childhood, her relationship with men, and, of course, proper bar etiquette, I felt like I was in a classroom, not a theatre. There just seemed to be so much I could learn from Terri. She seemed to me like the kind of professor whose story you want to know more of, the kind you'd say hello to after class.
And so I did say hello after the play. Terri gave me a hug and thanked me for coming. I told her that she was wonderful, that I couldn’t believe that she was telling her own story, and that I adore her presence. I asked her how many more shows she had and she said eight, that she'd be going back to bartending after the run. I wished her the best of luck and she gave me another hug. I said goodbye and walked out of the theatre and out onto Christopher Street feeling pretty ok about not wearing heels that day.