Dear theatre friend,
Thank you for the many, many appreciative responses I’ve gotten for suggesting a creative way to deal with our loss. Few, however, have included a story to share in lieu of going to a play. A couple were from friends and for my eyes only, or unprintable because they are pending publication elsewhere.
In response to my request and our bizarre circumstances, Kate Hanenberg, a composer and lyricist, has written this poem (lyrics?)– perhaps she’ll send the melody next:
How odd it is, how quickly things change
In this fraught world, where nothing that we knew
Or guessed at, prepared us for these strange
And altered times. What is it we can do
To remind us of the way we were before?
Funny, how in the space of several days
We welcome things once thought of as a chore:
(Grocery shopping, long lines, train delays).
And even as we face a sudden shift
Such little things don’t seem so very small
Knowing that we still share the precious gift
Of work and friendship. Hoping that you all
Will reach out to each other, and you’ll tell
The ones you love:” Please keep safe, keep well.”
I promised I’d tell you more about me if you’d share your stories. They can be as brief and inconsequential as this. I hope you find it diverting.
In today’s NYTimes, there’s a book review of “The Dairy Restaurant” by Ben Katchor. This memory returned:
When I married my first husband, he wanted to show me NY landmarks of his Italian-American heritage. I was introduced to his favorite 9th Avenue opera-singing butcher; we ate our way through the San Gennaro Festival (where he won a frightening six foot maniacal stuffed rabbit. He took me to countless meals at Per Bacco, Orsini’s, Barbetta.
For a cultural and gastronomic shift, I took him to Ratner’s Dairy Restaurant on Delancey Street on the Lower Eastside.
I adored their basket piled with rolls enclosing moist onions, the velvety cabbage soup, the ancient waiters. It was an entire Eastern European Jewish experience I hadn’t grown up with, but found welcoming and delicious.
Dan looked through the endless menu of poster-sized pages. When he got to the end, he did it again. He then and looked at me blankly said: “there’s nothing to eat!”
Please, please do write something for me and our fellow deprived theatre lovers–I need a diversion, too!
Carol Tambor publishes a monthly newsletter, which announces worthy shows coming to New York, along with occasional information about London theatre and, of course, the Edinburgh Fringe.