Back in (what turned out to be the final days of) the before-times when I lived in London and seeing plays was normal, I saw James McAvoy play Cyrano de Bergerac in a new adaptation of the of the play. It was excellent; one of the best pieces of theatre I’ve seen. So when a couple of months ago I saw that the same production, with nearly the same cast, would be playing at BAM in Brooklyn, Amanda and I and Bryn (a friend of ours from Denver) planned a trip to see it.
We got in on Friday night. Bryn had separate plans with other friends, so Amanda and I met up with her parents (who also happened to be in town) for dinner at North Miznon. This is the place that I accidentally took Heather, Brynn, and Jordan back in December, only to discover that this location didn’t offer the famous grilled cauliflower, resulting in a schlep across town to the location that did. This time, we went there on purpose–and it was fantastic. We created a tasting menu of all the best things on the menu, from beetroot carpaccio to a heavenly osso bucco. No cauliflower, but delicious all the same.
After dinner we walked down the Upper West Side, pausing at Lincoln Center before continuing all the way back to the hotel at Bryant Park.
Saturday morning was warm and damp. We had a few hours to kill before our matinee show, so we headed down to Nolita to check out the newest outpost of Mud Australia–that lovely purveyor of fine porcelain that had so won our hearts in Sydney.
Naturally one doesn’t leave a store like this empty-handed. I exercised great restraint and limited myself to only a few mid-sized serving bowls that I was confident would fit as a carry-on. This was Bryn’s first encounter and she came away with a little collection of carafes.
From there back to Bryant Park for a Belgian waffle and a stroll through a makers market before dashing off to the theatre.
The matinee show was A Strange Loop, which I’d never heard of but turned out to be one of those “not to be missed” shows of the moment on Broadway. It was just nominated for a bunch of Tonys and focused on some interesting themes around the intersection of Black, gay identities, as well as the difficulty of getting out of one’s head and the stories we tell ourselves.
The matinee let out to a rainy afternoon. We made our way from Mid-town to Brooklyn and a reservation at Meadowsweet, a Michelin-starred restaurant where we splurged on all the best dishes and took no photos at all. Well-fed and content, we walked over to BAM, past the line for Hannah Gadsby, and into the atmospherically derelict theatre where Cyrano awaited.
The play was as wonderful as I remembered it from London. With no set and limited stage action, it highlighted the power of language and the collective imagination of actors and audience. It was a contrast to the high-production of the Broadway musical we had just seen, with its lights, music, and rotating sets. But the pairing of the two plays highlighted a common theme: how the stories we tell ourselves can shape our realities and how we go through life.
And that was basically it for the weekend. After Cyrano got out, we found a late-night spot for dessert; next morning we flew back to our respective homes. I got in late enough that there was no time for grocery shopping, but the new Mud dishes brought a bit of zhuzh to take-out Thai and Netflix… 🙂