Review: Six Degrees of Separation

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I had seen exactly zero of the nominees of Best Revival of a Play until last week when Kristen and I purchased tickets on TDF for Six Degrees of Separation, starring the hysterical Allison Janney. The show isn’t selling well and we ended up in the front row. We questioned why this was the case because: Allison Janey, until we saw the play. It’s 100 minutes that is really incapable of being sold in an elevator pitch. Let me try though: “Six Degrees is about three different couples in Manhattan who all have the rug pulled out from under them by a talented conman.” Okay, there, I did it, sort of. But really, does that sound like a play that you’d pay $130/ticket to see? Probably not.

It starts out the day after a couple (Allison Janney and John Benjamin Hickey), an affluent pair of Manhattanites, have been conned, and they’re entertaining their friends with the story. Flashback to the night before and we meet Paul (Corey Hawkins) an incredibly well-spoken and smart African American young man who claims to be friends with their son at Harvard.

The most hysterical part of this one-act anomaly was a monologue delivered by Doug (played by Cody Kostro) during a montage of whiny monologues from the children of these upper Manhattanites. His is by far the most affected and dejected, and hysterical. “You said sex with dad was like having sex with a salad.” Epic. That was the only way to describe it.

This a relatively large cast for a straight play, but luckily, it’s a talented cast. Allison Janney, John Benjamin Hickey, and Cody Kostro were the stand-outs for me for sure.

Since it’s only 100 minutes, it’s a good night at the theatre to see some fantastic talent and laugh your ass off. Even if you leave the theatre a little confused.

Small City

There are 10 million people (give or take) in New York City. That’s a huge number of people, you say. Yeah, that’s a lot of people, totally. Except for when you’re all living within 10 miles of each other. Then not so much. That person who you thought you’d never see again? Oh hey, sitting next to me on the subway!

Anyways, it’s not always bad. Usually it’s comical, or even good! Lots of relationships start because people live near each other (though they oftentimes end and I’m not sure if that’s because of the proximity or just because lots of relationships end, but I digress). We live in this city for ease of access to everything, so we take the good with the not-ideal. 

Anyways, on my floor in my apartment building, there’s a family at the other end of the hall that’s a mother, father, and son. The son is probably in his mid-20′s and he’s a ghostwriter for CEOs and smokes a lot of pot (I can smell it). He’s a super nice guy though, stoner tendencies aside.  

Well, I was waiting for the elevator and my office building this morning and who walks into the lobby? That guy. I looked at him like, “I recognize that dude, but wait, I don’t work with him…” and then it clicked. I think the same thing went through his head, too. He told me his office just moved into the building. 

I couldn’t believe it. How random. It’s a small town that I live in. 

PS: Also small world-esque: A coworker of J’s lives in my apartment building. We run into him all the time now in the elevator!

I found out that The Drama Book Shop was having some hard times when I saw a clip on Facebook from a local news channel. The short story: a pipe burst destroying much of their ceiling and a whole lot of inventory. Lin-Manuel Miranda posted a video about it on Twitter and patrons rushed into the store to help by spending money. Their sales are up 50% and they’re hoping their insurance kicks in sooner rather than later.

I spent many days during my college years (and even before that while I was in high school) wandering the shelves looking for plays for classes and to read on my own. I used to buy a few dozen plays there every summer, coming back once I had finished reading all my prior purchases. 

So, last Tuesday I wandered up 40th and 7th to pay homage to the store that was such a huge resource for me and I picked up a copy of Stephen Karam’s The Humans. I know I didn’t particularly fall head-over-heels in love with the show, but I think that’s because I probably missed a few subtleties. 

I wished the manager good luck with everything, said goodbye to the manager’s dog that sits on the counter, and was on my way.

If you’re in New York City, or are planning a visit soon, please stop by The Drama Book Shop and show your support. You can find out more information here

Naam Sound Meditation with Gong

On Tuesday I was Googling meditation classes in my ‘hood and I came across a yoga and meditation studio on West 72nd Street called Naam Yoga. My usual meditation group (which I inexcusably haven’t been to in, like, a month) wasn’t meet until 7pm and I didn’t feel like killing time in the area of my office for that long.

I went home, cooked dinner (zucchini noodles and chicken with tomato sauce and mozzarella chunks, so good), relaxed for about fifteen minutes and got back on the train to head to 72nd Street.

The studio is on the second floor of a walk-up between Amsterdam and Columbus, and there’s dim-lighting and a zen vibe when you walk in the door. I was greeted by a happy yogi in yoga pants (duh) and I said I was there for the 8pm Sound Meditation with Gong. I filled out some paperwork and decided to go for the special offer they’re doing right now: $30 for unlimited classes for 30 days. Otherwise this one class would’ve been $19. Pretty good deal!

We all sat up and started a series of meditations that incorporated sound and movement while sitting on our blankets/bolsters/various other props. After a half-hour or so, we laid down and started to “go inside” and he started to play (?) the gong.

I may or may not have fallen asleep during it. All I can be sure of is that I woke up in a much more relaxed state than I went in with.

My Name is Jonas.

Fans were lined up outside of the Richard Rodgers today to get cancellation tickets to Hamilton, and now they must be pissed now that both the matinees and evening performances of every show are canceled. 

The above-ground subways are actually shutting down mid-afternoon, the buses are ceasing at 2:30pm, and the NYPD are literally threatening to arrest people if they’re found on the street. 

Call me crazy, but a storm this crazy is so fun. I awoke at 9:30am because I was sure my yoga studio would cancel classes (spoiler alert: they didn’t until 11:30am, oops) and put on my layers and went out for bagels. I walked around a few blocks and even saw some dude running on Broadway in SHORTS. He wins the Crazy Award.

Now I’m doing my laundry, my dude is doing work on his laptop, and we’re listening to the Danny Elfman Pandora station (Batman is currently playing). 

I wonder if being outside under my buildings awning would put me at risk for getting arrested? I may have to find out later. 

Enjoy the storm, my East Coast friends and Tumblrs! Stay safe!

The Week in Numbers

I don’t know why I always get so freaked out when I have to search for a job because I am literally a machine when it comes to job hunting. Here’s how I’m doing so far:

  • Jobs applied for: 47
  • Recruiters met with: 9 (and let’s say I met with an extra 5 who weren’t on my calendar.)
  • In-person interviews: 2
  • Phone interviews: 3
  • Other emails sent to contacts: 10,000 (that’s an exaggeration but you get it.)

I have a call tomorrow and two in-person interviews on Thursday.  And this is just in my first week. Like I said: machine.

Searching for a job is a full-time job, and although it’s not always fun, at least I still have time for yoga.  I have a full day tomorrow and in between appointments I’ll likely apply to the 13 job listings that I found this morning (having a Macbook Air is a lifesaver – so easy to carry around).

I had to stop by my old office today to pick up a bag of things that I’d forgotten and one of the account girls followed me out the door, hugged me, told me she was so sorry and that they missed me already, and then confided that she’d resigned yesterday. Maybe I smiled, just a little bit.

Everything’s alright. 

Lole White Yoga in Central Park

When I entered and won my ticket to Lole White’s free massive yoga class in Central Park, it said the start time was 4:30 and I was like, “Oh well, can’t go. #adulting.” Then I realized the class started at 6 and I assumed probably later (because lots of adults in this city are lucky enough to have jobs) and left the office fifteen minutes early arriving around 6:10 to the Great Lawn. I own zero pairs of white leggings (for obvious reasons) but I wore my mint green pair (also not flattering, but less unflattering than white) and a white t-shirt. 

I was towards the back but I found an unclaimed mat and gift bag (with a Fuji water bottle, a water bottle light, a Lole no-slip headband (spoiler: it slips), a protein packet, a magazine, among other things) and sat down to warm up. 

The class was taught by three teachers and was more vigorous than I anticipated (but i loved every minute of it). There were volunteers walking around helping people with their alignment and it kinda-sorta made me want to take a teacher training course so I could qualified to do the same thing someday. Anyways. The chick in front of me wouldn’t stop stopping to take photos though – and having her male friend take photos of her in random poses. Put down your damn phone, girl.

The class was accompanied by the beautiful music Ingrid Michaelson and the weather was perfect. I rolled up my new mat, tucked it into my new tote bag, and peaced out through Central Park.

It was a good way to spend a Wednesday night. 

What’s the only logical thing to do after you’ve done yoga in a nightclub? Meditate, obviously.

The night after Willkommen Deep House Yoga, I was super excited go to the BE Society meeting because it was uptown this week. Upper east, but still, UPtown. It was held at the Erata Gallery on 80th and Madison. Leading us in an extra special meditation was breath work and incense expert Mei Yann Hwang. She uses sight, sound, and smell to lead groups through deeper meditation experiences. She’s traveled the world and collected wood and other things to burn so we had scents from around the world burning around us.  

We all laid on the rugs in the gallery with eye masks on and let ourselves experience what it was we were going to experience. I know, eye masks sound weird, but it was really awesome, not being able to open your eyes any time you felt unsure of what was going on. 

The gathering went on later than usual, but it was totally worth it. 

Did you know that Venus in Fur had been translated into a movie? And one in French, nevertheless? Me neither. But it was directed by Roman Polanski and starred his wife in the role of Vanda. I love this play and I was super excited to see the movie translation. 

At Symphony Space on the UWS tonight, I had the opportunity to see a small screening of this film that came out at last year’s Cannes. The screening was followed by a talkback with playwright and screenwriter David Ives (pictured above, on the right). I really enjoyed the movie – it very closely followed the script. I will admit that I was wishing the entire time that it was Nina Arianda on screen, but what can you do. And that’s not to say that Emmanuelle Seigner was bad, at all. I just love Arianda.

Afterwards Ives talked about the collaboration with Polanski on writing the film (him and his wife just spent a few weeks in Switzerland with Polanski and his wife). He talked about the first, very brief message that Polanski ever left on his answering machine. He talked about the subtitles being a mess at first and then he took questions from the audience.  There was a lot of inquiry having to do with the ambiguousness of the theatre and how that gets a little bit less-so with a film. At one point he said, “Nobody is real onstage. Everyone is a metaphor for something else.” I thought that was kind of brilliant.

It’s a great film. I highly recommend it. 

PS: David Ives is currently working with Stephen Sondheim on a new musical. So, there’s that.