Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sharky's Night

So when I'm not busy mourning the imminent collapse of civilization or, more importantly, my sex life, I've still got the full range of normal activities to tend to. That's how I found myself trying hard to be angry on Tuesday evening. As you must know by now, a couple of weeks ago, I had a particularly nasty case of influenza, and so b&c had rescheduled our tickets to see The Seafarer at Studio Theater. He'd reminded me Tuesday morning that we still had the tickets, but the weather was awful (the schools were closed, and our street was a sheet of ice in the morning), and it hadn't occurred to me that he'd want to walk the three-quarters of a mile from the Metro to the theater in sub-freezing temperatures through slush and wintry mix. (I love the term "wintry mix," even though it sounds like it should be a snack food, rather than precipitation that can't make up its mind.) So I hadn't bothered to pack gloves or a hat or appropriate footwear, so when I came up the escalator and opened my tiny umbrella (which b&c had brought along for me), I started muttering to myself, "eight long blocks dodging ice and puddles in this weather: I am going to be very angry." And, you know, I don't get angry very often, so I figured I should take the opportunity.

Alas, it just didn't work out. We walked about two thirds of the way there and then we stopped at our usual pre-Studio Theater Thai place, and my hands had thawed by the time they'd brought me my tea, and the soup and the Panang Gai were both so good that I couldn't keep from feeling good. Still, I held out hope for later in the evening because, after all, we still had to get to the theater, and the play we were going to see was by Conor McPherson, and just a year or so earlier, we'd seen Shining City, also by Mr. McPherson, and it was one of those humorless, pointless, monologue-laden affairs that I Just Didn't Get. Indeed, I couldn't see why Studio would want to put its audience through the harsh tedium of another McPherson play, but I thought it might work to my benefit because, I knew from the earlier summaries that it was some variation or other on Faust, and I figured that in just a few, short hours, I'd be able to seethe, "I can't believe you dragged me out on a Tuesday night through miles of slush to listen to Conor McPherson's Satanic monologues."

Alas, that didn't work out, either. In fact, my very last potential bone of contention disappeared when, after the play was over, we walked all the way back to Dupont Circle (ok, it's only a little more than half a mile, but it was very cold), and a train pulled into the station just after we got to the platform, so I had no wait at all. I was counting on having to stand on the platform for a good ten or fifteen minutes while my ire reached escape velocity, but some nights you just can't catch a break.

Shockingly, The Seafarer, a drama about the redemptive power of five-card draw poker, (And, really, the Obama administration has arrived not a moment too soon. With Dubya finally banished back to Crawford, I hope that we have seen the beginning of the end of the hegemony of Texas Hold'em.) was neither humorless nor pointless, and while Lucifer had a few longer speeches, they were nothing like the stupefying monologues of Shining City. I think that the Washington Post is probably correct in saying that the director didn't make the most of the solid play and talented cast that he had to work with, but the play was usually funny, sometimes touching, and always absorbing.

Most of the play is driven by a (literal) contest for the soul of Sharky Harkin, and the scenes between Sharky and the devil are the sparest and most gripping. Philip Goodwin was convincing as the Prince of Darkness, but even during his most animated speeches, I couldn't take my eyes off Sharky. That's in part because Billy Meleady is a terrific actor, but mostly it's because I spent the entire evening wanting to shag Sharky. Because Billy Meleady is also terrifically hot. Fifty-something, long, lean, and grizzled, he made me think, repeatedly, that what Sharky really needed to do was emigrate from Ireland to my bedroom. To quit the women and the booze and come up and see me sometime. I elected not to rise from my seat and shout, "Ditch the bitch and make the switch, Sharky!" but only out of an excess of politeness.

Anyway, despite the late night and the weather, it turned out to be a pretty good evening, so I wasn't able to nurture my bad mood, but tax season is starting, so I reckon I'll find another opportunity. I'll have to hustle before it's too late, though: the Washington National Opera hiked its ticket prices for next year, so b&c is not subscribing, so right there that's five lost chances to feel art-inflicted pain. Civilization may be on the verge of collapse, but at least I have been delivered from Wagner.

1 comment:

Will said...

If accounting ever loses its siren allure, I SO recommend becoming a drama critic, perhaps for a gay paper or magazine. Forget dramatic structure, who cares about plot and character development; it would be all about Ted's shagability index with supportive description. I predict a hit!