Grand Concourse. I did not want the audience to judge her.

 Bobby Moreno and Ismenia Mendes in  Grand Concourse  at Playwrights Horizons. Photo by Joan Marcus

Bobby Moreno and Ismenia Mendes in Grand Concourse at Playwrights Horizons. Photo by Joan Marcus

As a native of the Bronx, it made total sense for me to go watch Grand Concourse. Being that Grand Concourse is as much a part of Bronx culture as the Yankees, I was very curious to see how a play taking place in a soup kitchen in "The Concourse" would be depicted. Within the first ten minutes of the show, the typical Latino male with the Bronx-Spanglish accent was introduced. Much to my disappointment, I prepared myself to watch yet another over the top display of people trying to show "the rough life of a Bronxite."

However, as the show went on I began to realize that the show was not at all about what I thought it was going to be about. The show went in an intriguing direction as the story of Emma, a young adult who failed out of college and volunteers at the soup kitchen, began to be unveiled.

Throughout the show, Emma battles with her personal issues as she seeks acceptance amongst the people in the soup kitchen. While working at the soup kitchen, Emma displays characteristics that range from just plain crazy to thoughtful and compassionate. Emma definitely proves to be a complex person whose actions are difficult to comprehend to say the least.  Although some of her actions were strange and selfish, I could not help but truly feel like I knew what she was going through.

I was taken back to the time when when I took nearly a year off from school in order to resolve some personal issues. Just trying to figure things out is a lonely battle that really takes its toll. That search for anyone's compassion, just to have someone who understands without judgement. I felt her pain. I empathized with her. I wanted her to be understood. I did not want the audience to judge her despite her inconsiderate actions. Being in her spot is a shitty, helpless feeling that I am way too familiar with.

I thought about Emma on my way home. What she went through and all that went on in the show consumed my mind. Sitting in my seat and watching someone on stage that I could relate to so much was an eerie feeling. However, it was great to see that someone else really "gets it." An issue that I thought was only unique to me was displayed with such detail on a stage. I hope that she was eventually able to find happiness after such a struggle that I know first-hand is difficult to endure.

$10 Student Tickets ( with a $10 membership)

Grand Concourse @ Playwright Horizons, thru Nov. 30