POST: 'New York Animals' - New Yorkers are characters
What's it about?
A day in the life of a New York (animal).
What'd I experience?
As I entered the New Ohio Theatre I thought I had ended up in the wrong place. The room had a heavy cabaret vibe to it. Low lighting and small tables scattered around a grand piano smack center of the room. Making me feel even more out of place was the bar, along with the waitresses that kept asking if I wanted to drink anything. I didn't realized at the time why they kept asking me if I wanted anything, probably cause I looked like my date had stood me up. Everyone in the room seemed to either be on a date or with family and friends - then there was me. Alone.
Regardless of looking lonely, I wasn't expecting the format of the show. Another thing I was surprised by - the music. The playbill mentioned that one of the sets of characters were a band, but I thought that was part of their back story not that they'd be singing throughout the entire show. The music itself had a mix of jazz and folk music - classic hipster.
The band members themselves aren't given names so I can't be more specific other than saying that the lead - female, dark pixie cut, and tall as hell - had the voice of an angel. I am a huge (insert synonyms for huge) BANKS fan. Anyway, this girl's voice gave me those delicious chills. She could took me from a gentle lullaby to a power house ballad in like a second. I've never been to a lounge, but if this is any indication of what it's like - I'm ready.
The New Yorker's themselves were hilarious. To any tourist these characters may come off as, well, as characters. But being a native to the big apple I can vouch that these are real people - especially the weird ones. Three that stuck with me were the stay-at-home mum with a Latin nanny that "no habla Ingles," the Mexican delivery boy (played by a Caucasian actor) and the Park Avenue Princess. I think that those types were highlighted to focus on the issue of privilege that exists in this city. Because NYC is such a small place with a dense population, personalities and beliefs inevitably clash.
Given that the theme of privilege was so prevalent in this show. It made me reflect on the fact that most New Yorkers are often seen as cold and rude people. When, in reality, it's all about perspective. For example, if I were to have been raised as a Park Avenue Princess (god forbid) and was born into wealth and success, chances are that things will go smoother in life for me. That seemed to be the issue between the delivery boy and the upscale restauranteur. After waiting on a delivery item that had been missing, the wealthy woman strikes up a conversation with the young man. It's all off to a good start and then suddenly takes a sour turn, when the topic of money comes up. Ironically, it's all fueled by the view the women gets from her penthouse. It's obvious that the delivery boy will arguably be seen as the hard worker unlike the women who would probably be seen as having been lucky enough to be rich, thus undeserving. That same thing is what often happens when I talk about Upper East Siders. I clump them all into one group of stuck up Gossip Girl types, which, in theory, is quite unfair. It's often that people (including myself) forget that they didn't ask to be part of the 'privileged' bunch, no one chooses their life it's all a matter of fate.
The thing that I think New York Animals did, make me, a native New Yorker, remember that we all share the same home. In the end all of these people - from completely different walks of life - end up in the same emergency room at 4am. No matter what their address or bank account balance, they all end up in the same dingy hospital waiting room. I can't think of a more perfect metaphor for New York City. The beauty of this city is that in some weird way it has figured out a way of condensing pieces of the world into the small city we all call home.