Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Performance Worth Seeing in NYC

I was leaving a small playhouse last night when I saw a woman, likely mid-20s, arguing with who I can only assume was her boyfriend just to the left of the entrance. I could have been respectful of their privacy, but I knew it would be much more fun to pry. You know, you can't have "privacy" without "pry."

I pulled out my phone and held it to my ear, pretending to take a call, as I paced back and forth five feet from the entrance -- far enough not to arouse suspicion from the couple, but close enough to hear what they were saying. Or, to be more accurate, what she was saying. The girlfriend was in complete control of the conversation, which was essentially an extensive list of grievances she had against him. The main themes: He wasn't supportive enough; he was selfish; and he only thought of himself.

The boyfriend didn't really respond to any of the accusations. He mostly stood there, with his back literally to the wall, a defeated man. I hadn't seen a lover's quarrel so one-sided since 1989.

As I inched closer for a better view, I studied the girlfriend's face, so full of intensity, so full of emotion, so full of character. And her face was so familiar to me, but I couldn't figure out why.

After a few moments, it dawned on me. She was one of the stars of the play I'd just seen. It was a small production of Death of a Salesman; she was cast as Linda, the downtrodden wife of traveling salesman Willy Loman. She did an acceptable job, but I was much more impressed by her breakout performance on the sidewalk as a downtrodden girlfriend.

She delivered her lines flawlessly, and with conviction. She was much more believable in this role. Much more entertaining, too. I told her as much afterward. I even handed her a bouquet of roses; she earned it.

If you enjoy both the work of Arthur Miller and the sight of an intense romantic squabble, I recommend Death of a Salesman at the playhouse on E. 7th St. and 3rd Ave. Tickets are available at the door. Call ahead to make sure Linda Loman's boyfriend will be in attendance.