November 2006

New York, NY.  To round off this week I couldn't find anything of interest through TKTS so I got tickets to two musicals and also visited the Vollard Exhibition at the Met. Since I have to figure out how to fit far too many new books into my over expanded suitcase before tomorrow morning, a quick impression follows  -  no pun intended - really.

New York, NY: It seems that in New York, as in Vancouver, standing ovations have become so common place that they have lost their significance. I have frequently observed, in perplexed amusement, audience members leaping to their feet after quite unexceptional shows.

New York, NY: So back I went this evening to the 13th Street Repertory Theatre for the performance of these four pieces. The Municipal Abattoir  and  The Palooka preceded a brief intermission and These are the Stairs You Gotta Watch and Mr. Paradise  concluded the evening. Blues guitarist,  Casey Spindler, provided the continuity that linked these four disparate pieces.

Philadelphia, PA:  For at least the past twenty years whenever I visited a city where there was a Children's Hospital, I always made a point of arranging a tour of the laboratories.  It was endlessly fascinating for me to see how practices differed from our own pediatric laboratory at Children's in Vancouver.  And since yesterday I was here to visit the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia it was great to have the chance to see around their impressive facilities. But in keeping with transitioning my life from science to the arts, for the next twenty years when I travel I plan to make a point of visiting theatres instead of labs!  That's why over the past year you have seen Rants, Raves and Reviews from Chicago, London, New York, and now Philadelphia.

VANCOUVER, BC: I'll admit my bias right up front. I thought Lane was the only character in this play with any semblance of integrity. And it is not just because she is a female doctor at a "very good" hospital who has devoted her life to her patients. Or because I wished I could look as gorgeous and "together" as Susan Hogan did after a grueling day at work. Or because I really loved her house and her elegant modern furniture. Nice set, John Thompson, it's my kind of home.

New York, NY: I always find the audience demographics an interesting pointer to the nature of a play. A few weeks ago I was at the opening night of "Take Me Out" at the Waterfront Theatre in Vancouver. The male to female ratio was probably around 8 to 1, certainly not the usual preponderance of women and older couples. This afternoon in the 88 seat black box Lion Theatre, one of six theatres in an interesting complex on 42nd Street, men outnumbered women in the audience at about the same rate.

New York, NY:   Ah, New York city. In Elizabeth Barrett Browning's words  "How I do love thee, let me count the ways."   It's not just the never ending sense of life and energy that pulsates in the air night and day; nor the plethora of restaurants  around every corner, nor the  fact that there are so many theatrical events on right now that I can't even sample more than a tiny fraction. It is  just the most exciting city in the world and every time I come here I wish I could stay here for longer than a week or two.  Anyway this time I thought I might combine my theatre impressions with  restaurant reviews when appropriate. Sort of like dinner  and a show.

VANCOUVER, BC: A catalogue of horrors due to man's inhumanity to man would start in prehistoric times and continue into the unforeseeable future. Despite slogans like "lest we forget" and "never again", evil continues to thrive. Yet even in the darkest of circumstances some people are able to retain their humanity and not be drawn into perpetuating the cruelty they see all around them. In "Gonzo", Gordon Pascoe pays tribute to one such man, a Japanese guard in the prison camp where Pascoe lived during World War II.