Monday, May 9, 2016

I saw "The Woodsman"

What I saw: "The Woodsman," a play with puppets, off-Broadway at the New World Stages theater (an underground, multi-plex venue with spacious bathrooms). 

What I wore: brand new tan-soled gray suede Puma sneakers with brown laces, the stretchy James jeans that I normally save for travel, black blouse, the most amazing gray cardigan sweater with snaps from a shop in Rhinebeck but made In The Faroe Islands by Gudrun & Gudrun, beloved rag & bone scarf, North Face raincoat that I took to Italy and is slightly too small.

Remember: no matter how tough 
your commute is, somewhere in NYC
there might be a guy pushing a hotdog cart 
a similar distance

What I did beforehand: ate and drank and walked. 

Who went with me: quiet strangers.

How I got tickets: online, at the last minute.

Why I saw this show: I have read most, but not all, of L. Frank Baum's Oz books.

Where I sat: front row, A 6,  between a big fellow with a cane and a woman with a long gray braid hanging like a cord from the top of her head; she silently moved from one seat away from me to the seat next to me after her husband arrived and insisted on sitting in seat 8 because that's what ticket he was holding. When the witch appeared for the first time, the big fellow on the other side of me got a case of the hiccups that continued for so long that I began to wonder when or if they would end.

Things that were sad: the story of the Tin Woodsman in the Wizard of Oz is a sad story. This entertaining dramatization is quite sad, and also intensely scary.

Things that were funny: the audience chuckled regularly in recognition of the wordless expressions of familiar feelings, most especially love.

Things that were not funny: the witch in the story, like almost all witches in stories from the days when children were told lots of scary stories with witches in them, was really soulless and scary; her reddish, wispy hair reminded me of the modern day monstrous threat to happiness in the Western world, the "celebrity proto-fascist" Donald Trump. 

The Woodsman himself
What it is: a neatly crafted, nearly wordless yet sentimental play, 75 minutes long, with singing and a lot of movement akin to dance or mime. It is probably too intense for most children except those that like to be threatened by witches. It is also not really a puppet show, but features a number of very cool puppets.

Who should see it: people who like scary fairy tales, fans of puppetry, witch aficionados, Munchkins.

What I saw on the way home: men talking about laser hair removal, a bodega cat, taxis, and trash.

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