Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Summer of Love

Coming back from California to life on the east coast was a bit of a rude awakening. The heat and humidity were horrible last week and then it thunder stormed almost daily. What am I doing here, I asked of myself. And then I remembered, to go to NEW YORK CITY of course and to see HAIR at Central Park’s Delacorte Theatre. You may remember that last year, I stood on line for my two free tickets to see Midsummer’s Night Dream where I dragged my husband whose enjoyment of Shakespeare could be compared to preparation day before a colonoscopy. This year, I saved him from his husbandly obligation and invited friends who actually wanted to see the show. I may be nuts, but the waiting in line doesn’t bother me. I never mind being outdoors on a nice day where I can read a book, meet interesting people, and fall asleep when I need to. My good friend Kim was just as eager as I was to see HAIR and agreed to the early morning start and long wait. We packing lawn chairs, some fruit and umbrellas and settled down to our spot. Our neighboring line-mates included singers and a cocktail waitress from a supposedly famous bar in the Village called Maria's Crisis Piano Bar who had finished work around 4 am, had the typical greasy breakfast and went directly to the line around 6:30 am. Coming straight from work, the waitress was decked in a black sequined pants suit being the snazziest dresser on line by far. They were quite entertaining. After surviving a torrential thunderstorm around 12 noon, Kim and I were handed our two free tickets each and drove home to rest up to return for the evening performance with our two friends, the lucky recipients of the other tickets. I saw the original version of HAIR back in 1969 but for some reason, it didn't make as much of an impression on me then as it did now. I loved this HAIR. The songs were fun, the production was lively and the set was colorful. I knew each of the characters from somewhere in my life. I remembered the music and yes, the nude scene, but had forgotten the story and how sad it turns out. A group of free spirited hippy friends (the tribe) are protesting against the Vietnam War when one of their members, Claude, receives his draft notice. Claude is torn between making his parent's proud by serving his country or burning his draft card like his other male friends. The play not only depicted the era perfectly, but also captured the idealism of youth. Life gets serious after school is over and sometimes it is met with confusion and rebellion. Things haven’t changed in 40 years. Seeing HAIR was the culmination of a truly wonderful day. So in case anyone wants to try it here are the tips I am passing on to get the tickets: • Bring a low lawn chair, some snacks (if you want), a good book, and rain poncho (or a big plastic sheet for cover). • Arrive no later than 6:30 am. • You can bring your own snacks but there is a deli that will deliver to the line – no kidding. The line monitor (the guy who tells you what the rules are) will give you the number and a delivery person on a bike brings your order. • You can leave the line to go to the bathroom, which is by the theater but you are not allowed to leave the park to go to Starbucks (unless you make friends with the line monitor who overlooks your Starbucks cups when you return). • No one can join you on line to get tickets unless they came with you in the beginning. • When tickets are distributed at 1 PM, go home, take a nap, shower and return with the lucky friends who you have chosen to be the recipients of your extra ticket. A picnic in Central Park (they allow wine) before the performance is the way to go. Lucky friends should provide the food as you were on line all day. • Know what you are waiting for. There were two productions this season, Hamlet and HAIR. To pass the time, and make friends with the line monitor, I asked him to tell me a funny story about waiting in line. He told me of a guy whom this week, stood on line for the usual 5 or so hours, got his tickets and went to the evening performance of HAIR thinking he was going to see HAMLET - and complained about it. At the end of the show, the performers invite some of the audience to come and dance on stage to the song “Let the Sun Shine In”. You know I was up there. Kim even got a hug from Claude! Maybe I’m crazy, but I didn’t mind the wait. I had to see HAIR. To me, it was sooo worth it.

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