Saturday, April 29, 2017

Attending *The Glass Menagerie* by Tennessee Williams, Belasco Theater, NYC, April 19, 2017

When the play ended, tears streamed down my face.

What moved me?

I carried many memories and past experiences with me when I arrived at the Belasco Theater on April 19. As I watched the play, I was experiencing much more than what was transpiring on stage as Sally Field, Joe Mantello, Madison Ferris, and Finn Wittrock expertly and elegantly animated this tender, sad, nostalgic, maddening, fragile, illusory play.

I have been living with this play for over forty years. I first saw it on television. That 1973 made-for-television production featuring Katharine Hepburn, Sam Waterston, Joanna Miles, and Michael Moriarty became a touchstone for me. I can't remember if I read the play first or saw this production first, but I know I first read it in the spring of 1976, my senior year of college, when Whitworth professor Laura Bloxham agreed to let me be her teaching assistant in Introduction to Literature. Reading the play was like reading a long prose poem. Not only was the script rhythmic, musical, metaphorical, and heightened, but so were Tennessee Williams' extended stage directions and production notes, which not only tell how he wants the play to look and develop, but provide a lyrical interpretation of his play.

For the first time, around forty years ago, I realized that a play could be a physical manifestation of a character's consciousness, or, in the case of The Glass Menagerie, a physical dramatization of a character's memory, Tom's memory to be precise. The lighting, music, and progression of the play, its exaggerations, its sympathies, the sounds of the street, the songs playing from the dance hall, even Laura's glass menagerie itself all trigger Tom's memories as he tells his story of his family and I realized I was seeing not just a record of his memories, but I was watching the way memory works.

Back in 1976, I realized for the first time that a play -- or a novel or a movie -- wasn't necessarily about strict verisimilitude or about making a documentary style realistic picture of reality -- as if that were possible. I began to understand the force of a story told from a specific point of view, the power of seeing a story and its characters filtered through the consciousness (or memory) of a single character -- or characters if the point of view shifts.

While this discovery about point of view was, to a degree, an intellectual experience and a great help in my limited academic success, the deep power was emotional, even spiritual. As I was first viewing and reading The Glass Menagerie, I experienced the liberation that results from realizing that I could leave my own experience and perspective upon things and enter into another's. In my day to day life outside of movies and plays and fiction, I wasn't (and still am not) as successful at seeing things through others' perspective as I think I am when I read stories or watch dramas, but, at the very least, I know that how I see and experience things has commonality with others, but significant differences exist, too, because, like Tom Wingfield, our memories and the emotional substance of our experience bends and colors and shapes how we see things.

In the aftermath of my first divorce back in 1982, a divorce initiated by my first wife, it shocked me to learn that my wife was experiencing our marriage so much differently than I was. My longing for permanence and security and my deep desire to see myself as a great husband and to be able to tell friends and family that I was in a good marriage was so strong that I was oblivious to my wife's deep discontent and the many ways I significantly contributed to it.

The dissolution of our marriage, I know now, was accelerating in the summer of 1981, at the same time that I was about to write a four hour exam to demonstrate to those in charge of my graduate education my proficiency in the field of 20th century American drama. My studies of American drama plunged me deep into the heart of these playwrights' persistent exploration of the power of illusion, maybe I should say delusion, in American life, particularly in the American family. I began to realize that these playwrights were equating illusion/delusion with the American love of dreams, the American Dream, in particular, and were exploring the divide between the actuality of these characters' lives and these different characters' dreams, illusions, false self-image, and made-up stories they told themselves and others about their past, their current situations, and what they dreamed for their future.

I can report that as these plays rattled me.  I'd like to report that they called my own inclinations to delude myself into account, that I changed, that I learned so much about the corrosive and erosive power of illusions that I snapped out of mine. But, I didn't. These illusions are powerful. Even when recognized, they are difficult to get rid of and they continued (and continue), against my will, to shape my perceptions of the world around me and define my sense of who I was, am, and what I could and can do in my life.

Combined with my immersion into the plays of William Shakespeare, my twenty-eight year old, freshly divorced mind was jam-packed with ideas and questions regarding the interaction of illusions and actuality when I arrived at Whitworth College to teach in the English Department for two years on consecutive full-time temporary contracts from 1982-84.

The family in America was also preoccupying me, largely because I was frustrated with the simplistic pronouncements inspired by the election of Ronald Reagan about family values and the sanctity of the American family.

I wanted to see if some students and I could dig into the actualities of the American family life. I proposed to the English Department a course called "The Family in American Drama", to be given during the January term when a whole course was concentrated into the month of January. Students only took one course in January and faculty only taught one course.

I wanted "The Family in American Drama" to be intense. It was. Through plays written by Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, and Eugene O'Neill and through a wide range of movies exploring particular families in America, we dove into studying these plays and movies and dove deep into our own family lives and experiences.

I showed students a grainy copy of the Hepburn version of The Glass Menagerie. Many were deeply moved by it. In the 1983 Jan term class, George Benson played the Gentleman Caller and Maia Blom played Laura as they acted out a part of the play's final scene for the class -- including the Gentleman Caller's "stumblejohn" kiss of Laura.

To conclude the course, I assigned students to write a letter home. I didn't read these letters. The students turned them into me sealed in an addressed envelope. I put postage stamps on them and mailed them out. Reports about the impact of these letters began to come back to me. One father drove over three hours to Spokane upon reading his daughter's letter to take her out and talk things over. Students told me about phone calls they received from home and letters written back to them. I don't remember a single negative report, but rather I remember stories of productive truth-telling and stories of the beginnings of reconciliation.

When tears ran down my face at the end of seeing The Glass Menagerie, featuring Sally Field, at the Belasco Theater in NYC on April 19th, 2017, I was moved by the production I had just seen but also by all the experiences I'd had with this play and American plays written in the first seventy years of the 20th century.

I marvel when I read play and movie reviews or when I talk with friends about movies and plays that professional critics and friends alike can write or talk about a movie or a play with such clearly defined standards of what makes a movie or play work and that almost never do their comments draw upon the experiences they bring to the work as they watch it and how that shapes their experience with the play or movie.

Anymore, I can't say that I know what makes a movie or a play good. I am almost always unable to give a good answer if someone asks me if I liked a movie or play.

I don't tend to evaluate or rate movies or plays; I experience them and the best I can do when asked about one that I've seen is to say what I experienced.  It's why I would make a lousy movie or theater critic. If I were to write a review of the Belasco Theater's  The Glass Menagerie, I'd have to say that while I watched it I experienced my history watching Sally Field on television and in the movies; I experienced those days in Laura Bloxham's Intro to Lit class when I first read the play and when I first saw the made-for-television version; I experienced the beauty of Tennessee Williams poetry and not only heard the lines spoken by the actors on stage at the Belasco, but I could hear Joanne Woodward, John Malkovich, Michael Moriarty, Katharine Hepburn, Karen Allen, as well as my former students George Benson and Maia Blom in that stuffy classroom on the main floor of Westminster Hall.

Most of all, I experienced my awakenings. Memories rushed back to me of long walks in Eugene and Spokane, trying to sort out the illusions that governed me from what might be actual and felt the pain I experienced when my illusions took over and I experienced any number of failures in relationships, friendships, and my graduate studies.

All of this moved me at the Belasco Theater while I was invited into the Wingfield family apartment and into Tom's memories of family life there. The production absorbed my attention. For those two hours -- unbroken, I'm happy to say, by an intermission --, the Wingfield apartment and what transpired there was the only physical reality I knew.

And, it triggered a lot of memories and thoughts and emotions. This personal experience with the play was every bit as important -- maybe more important -- to what I experienced in the theater as what happened on stage.

I loved this experience, but it doesn't form a very solid basis for a critique or a recommendation.

I had a very personal and autobiographical experience watching The Glass Menagerie on April 19th at the Belasco Theater. I'd like to be able to write insightful and detailed analytical comments about the production values and the acting and the directing. I can say every bit of it worked for me, and I don't doubt that what I experienced watching it was enhanced by the beauty of the show.


Three Beautiful Things 04/28/17: Thinking and Writing, Beers with the Franklins Regulars, Noshing Away

1. I spent a couple of hours thinking and writing about my history with The Glass Menagerie, working to account for the way the production the Deke and I saw on April 19th moved me so strongly. I think this blog post is going to take a while to complete and I don't know if it will ever be coherent, but I'm sure enjoying thinking back on the over forty years the play has been inside me.

2. A bunch of people from College Park, Hyattsville, Greenbelt, Berwyn Heights (I think) and elsewhere around this part of Maryland meet every Friday afternoon at Franklins Restaurant, Brewery, and General Store in Hyattsville. The Deke and I got to talking to three of the Franklins Regulars on Feb. 28th at Old Line and Jo and Jim and Sara invited us to their Friday late afternoon table. After several weeks of hosting visitors and of travel to Yorktown, Kellogg (me), and Nyack/New York City, when we couldn't join in, today the Deke and I had a couple of beers -- I really enjoyed my two half pints of Ridiculous, a sour red ale -- and a ton of lively conversation with the Franklins Regulars.

3.  Back at our apartment home, the Deke and I didn't want a full meal, so we noshed away on ciabatta bread, Shropshire blue cheese, kalamata olives, dry Italian salami, and Carr's table water crackers. It was a perfect cap to fun late afternoon and helped the Deke further relax after a demanding week of work.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 04/27/17: Phone Calls, Making Plans, Apartment Home Concert

1.  All right. I called the insurance company to find out what to say about insurance authorization when I called the radiology and cardiology offices to make appointments for the tests I need done to stay on the kidney transplant list. I wrote out a script for my phone calls to the offices. I needed a paper version of a teleprompter and I think I succeeded.

2. The Deke had another rough day at school and wanted to go to Old Line for a couple glasses of beer and we had a very good talk about the immediate future, our future living situation, and we are beginning to do what needs to be done to solidify our summer travel plans.

3.  Back home, we tore into the baguette I bought this morning and ate it with aged cheddar and Shropshire blue cheese. I was in the mood to listen to some great songwriting and singing so, with the help of YouTube, I played us a concert of Guy Clark, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, The Highwaymen, Bonnie Raitt and John Prine, Waylon Jennings, Shooter Jennings, and an ensemble of Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Jerry Jeff Walker, Steve Earle, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, and Eric Taylor joining Nanci Griffith on the David Letterman show to sing "Desperados Waiting for a Train."

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 04/26/17: Transplant List Business, Dog Delay, Tuna Casserole Dinner

1. I secured the orders/referrals I need for x-ray, ultrasound, and cardiology tests and made an appointment for my TB skin test. Next up: check in with the insurance people and then make radiology and cardiology appointments.

2. As she got out of the car to go to work, the Deke asked me if I would contact Molly and ask her if we could bring dinner over to their place and pick up Maggie and Charly at that time. Molly agreed and it turns out the delay was a superb idea because the dogs might have gone ballistic with all the noise outside the door of our apartment home as workers blasted out the old linoleum in preparation to install new flooring.

3. I decided I wanted a casserole for dinner. I went back to a recipe I first made back in February: tuna casserole without canned soup. Because it's a mild recipe -- both the Deke and Hiram jazzed theirs up with Frank's RedHot --, I thought Olivia, David, and Ana might go for it.

They didn't! Ha!

In the last several months, I've only succeeded once in cooking food they would eat when I took over fried chicken. Oh, well. I didn't have my hopes up at all and any disappointment I might have felt was overshadowed by how much Molly loved the casserole.  By the way, the recipe, found here, calls for a topping of crackers, preferably in the style of Ritz crackers, but I used the overbaked and dry cornbread I fixed Tuesday night for the topping and it worked perfectly.

Making this recipe also gave me a legit reason to go to Target and buy two new Pyrex baking pans.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 04/25/17: Stocking Up, Back to *Moosewood*, Sondheim and then Van Gogh

1. When I left to join the Deke in New York a week ago, the cupboard was pretty empty; and, with having been gone all day yesterday for my transplant evaluation in Baltimore, this morning I needed to get the kitchen back in order. I started to think about meals and I went to the store to stock up on groceries.

2. This afternoon, I went online and found the Brazilian Black Bean Soup recipe from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook.  I started cooking out of this cookbook just over thirty years ago in the ten years or so before the Deke and I got together. This soup recipe was one I returned to time and time again. I've lost or I gave away my original copy of Moosewood which disappoints me primarily because I had annotated so many recipes, including the Brazilian Black Bean Soup. I made the soup today without my old notes and I overbaked some cornbread to accompany it. It was a comforting and nostalgic meal. The soup recipe is here and a variation of Mollie Katzen's recipe is here.

3. The deep pleasure of having seen Sunday in the Park with George endures and this evening I went to YouTube and found videos of different songs from the original 1984 Broadway production featuring Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin, given in 1986 on PBS's American Playhouse. I listened to the song "Sunday" over and over, surrendering myself to the emotional grip it has on me. I listened to the Broadway/PBS version, here, the version performed at the 1984 Tonys award show, here, and a concert version from the 2010 BBC Proms, here.  (If you listen to the version from the 1984 Tonys, it starts out a little glitchy, but hang on -- the glitchiness goes away.)

I enjoy the art history podcast The Lonely Palette a lot, here. I've mentioned it before. I had hoped the show's host Tamar Avishai had done an episode on "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grand Jatte", but I think her podcasts are focused on pictures hanging in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Seurat's painting hangs at the Art Institute in Chicago. BUT, it was no small consolation that Tamar Avishhai had produced a recent episode exploring Vincent Van Gogh's painting "Postman Joseph Roulin" and enjoyed listening to it, learning more about late 19th century French painting, and more about Van Gogh. You, too, can listen to this episode, right here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 04/24/17: Drive to Baltimore, Transplant Evaluation Day, Debriefing at Old Line

1. I sprang out of bed at 5 a.m. this morning to clean up, get dressed, and drive to the University of Maryland Transplantation Center for my once every two years day of evaluation so I can stay on the kidney transplant list. By leaving an hour before I actually needed to, I drove up in moderate traffic, easily found a parking spot in the hospital parking garage, and had time for a bagel and a cup of coffee at Au Bon Pain.

2. About seven of us were at the center for evaluation and through the day, after we watched a kidney transplant video together, we got called in, one by one, for a conference with a surgeon, social worker, cardiologist, nephrologist, financial/billing/insurance person, and a phlebotomist for blood work.  I spent much of the day waiting for my next conference and read almost the entire issue of the most recent New Yorker. At the end of the day, I had a final conference with the nurse coordinator and in the next few weeks I will get a TB skin test, chest X-ray, echo/stress test, and a kidney ultra-sound. Then the committee will meet and decide if I stay on the list. No one foresaw any problems.

3. I drove back to Greenbelt, picked up the Deke at school. It was the Deke's first day back after spring break and, since I was away all day, I hadn't been to the grocery store to stock the pantry after our visit to New York, so we went to Old Line and enjoyed a light dinner and told each other about our day. April has gone by in a most enjoyable blur of travel to North Idaho and New York and now I look forward to settling back into some days in our kitchen and getting back into the swimming pool and on some walking trails.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 04/23/17: Family Service, Jack's Basketball Practice, LuvPlates at DC Brau

1. This morning Jack, Adrienne, the Deke, and I sauntered down the hill -- Jack and Adrienne live on the hill's crest -- to Grace Episcopal Church for the 9:00 family service. The rector, Owen Thompson, has fashioned a condensed Eucharist out of the traditional one and it is direct, to the point, and beautiful. The congregation gathered around the altar for the blessing of elements and then filed toward the back of the church, down the middle aisle, where Father Owen and those helping him administered the Communion. If this pared down liturgy and its more common language is meant to help the youth of the congregation experience the outline of the liturgy and its fundamental rhythms. this service accomplishes this beautifully.

2. After church, Jack, Adrienne, the Deke, and I raced to a local middle school gym where we watched Jack go through basketball drills and then participate in a short scrimmage. Jack is currently obsessed with basketball and it was fun watching him respond to instruction from the coaches about dribbling, shooting, passing, playing defense, and pouring shots through the iron.

3. Early in the afternoon, the Deke and I left Nyack and as we roared down the turnpike, we decided we'd breeze right by Greenbelt and drive straight to DC Brau. We arrived and immediately fell into conversation with Chef Jay who spoke to us from inside his food truck, LuvPlates. We found a place to sit and I immediately dashed back outside and ordered us three containers, one each of mac and cheese, Mama's greens, and chicken and sausage gumbo.  The food was divine and we told Chef Jay how much we enjoyed it and he told us more about his background as a chef and shared his dream of one day turning his food truck into a storefront restaurant. I will be watching to see if his dream comes true.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 04/22/17: First Drive to NYC in the Sube, *Sunday in the Park with George*, Burgers

1. Instead of taking the train, the Deke and I decided to drive into NYC to see Sunday in the Park with George at the Hudson Theater. I had never driven to NYC or in NYC before and the prospect made me nervous. All went well until we arrived on W. 43rd to park the Sube in a parking garage where Adrienne had reserved us a parking place. Something was going on inside that garage that caused a huge delay and we sat on W 43rd for forty-five minutes before finally turning our car over to an employee who parked it. When I turned off of 11th Ave. to enter W. 43rd, I didn't realize the line of cars waiting to get into the parking garage was not moving and I obstructed traffic in the right lane of W 43rd. When, finally, cars in the parking garage lane could move forward a bit, I got out of the way. I'd been blocking a guy in an SUV who honked one last time, rolled down his window, and roared at me that I should get the f**k back where I came from.  I was thinking at that moment that Kellogg, Idaho sounded like a much simpler place to be!

2. With the car parked, the Deke and I hoofed it down 43rd and then 44th, experienced the mob of people, garish lights, and amplified noise of Times Square, and stopped in at a grocery-deli and split a tuna sandwich before going across the street and getting settled into our seats in the front row of the balcony.

The production of Sunday in the Park with George moved me deeply. Even though it's been around since 1983 and even though I had heard general comments about it over the years, I went into the theater not knowing the way the story would be told and I didn't know the music at all.

I had no idea it would be such a thrilling and moving exploration of the creation and power of art. We went to this production because the Deke has been having her third graders learn about painting through the art of George Seurat. Am I ever happy for the happy coincidence between the Deke's curriculum, the dates of her spring break, and the fact that the relatively short run of this production was still going.

3. Our drive back to Nyack was much less dramatic and, back at Adrienne's apartment, Alex grilled hamburgers served with sweet corn on the cob and a leafy salad.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 04/21/17: Relaxing, Defiant Brewing (and Smokehouse), Dinner at Hearth & Tap

1. The Deke and I decided not to go to a sheep farm in New Paltz, NY and so we relaxed for much of the day at Adrienne's apartment.

2. By about 2:30, we decided to give Defiant Brewing Company, here, in Pearl River, NY a try and were we ever happy we did. Since we arrived early in the day, few other people were there and Jen, our beer and food guide, lavished us with most welcomed attention, pouring us samples of beer, telling us about their food smoking operation, and giving us some tips about places to eat in New York City. We ordered a charcuterie and cheese plate. The three meats were smoked on site, as were these divine, crunchy, and peppered thin cornbread pieces -- we'd never heard of smoked cornbread before. The three cheeses were superb and so were the balsamic pickles. The Deke and I enjoyed the beers we drank and, if we lived here, we would be coming to this place regularly to try out more of their menu and to enjoy their beers.

3. We only ate a snack of cheese and meat slices because we had a dinner date with Adrienne and Alex at 5:30 at Hearth & Tap, a terrific restaurant, here, just over the New Jersey border in Montvale.  We shared and enjoyed a portabella and arugula flatbread to start. I was sipping on a Dark 'n' Stormy. Soon my dinner arrived: roasted lemon chicken on a bed of polenta with lightly grilled carrots and asparagus on the side. It was a substantial and delicious dinner.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 04/20/17: Mary at Fraunces Tavern, Scott and the Lower East Side, Nightcap with the Deke

1. Back on the train today -- the Deke buzzed me over to Tarrytown and I glided along the Hudson River to Grand Central and hopped on the subway to Bowling Green. I'm not very familiar with Lower Manhattan and, to me, it's a tangle of streets and I struggle to even get a sense of northsoutheastwest. I sat down, got out my trusty electronic tablet, went to Maps, and figured out how to stroll the short distance to Fraunces Tavern, New York City's oldest standing structure.  If you'd like to see or read more about this place and how it's connected to George Washington and the American Revolution, among other things, you can go here and here.

I was at Fraunces Tavern to meet with Mary McGrail for lunch. Mary arrived and we dove into some wide-ranging conversation about plays and tennis and readings and the Shakespeare Showcase and her work with the Community Service Society of New York, here.  She came to the tavern after attending a rally at the Federal Plaza to help in the fight against budget cuts to HUD.

2. As I finished my second glass of beer -- wow! -- get this name: it's brewed in the Bronx at Gun Hill Brewing Company, here, and it's a 2IPA called E. Pluribus Lupulin 4: Citrea -- I ordered it as "that Gun Hill beer you've got" -- and as I finished a ham sandwich on ciabatta bread that featured a cheese I'd never heard of and don't remember the name of -- it was kind of sweet and really delicious, yes, as I finished all of that, in walked Scott Shirk.

Scott jumped very smoothly into Mary's and my conversation, but Mary had to return to work uptown and Scott and I had plans to hit a dive bar in the Lower East Side. I think we all wish Mary could have played hookey and joined in, but, alas, that couldn't happen.

Scott and I waltzed over to the Broad Street station and lept onto either a J or a Z train to Essex Street and in a hop, skip, and a jump we were at the Parkside Lounge on E. Houston St. Immediately, I was elated to see that the Parkside had Bell's Two-Hearted Ale on tap.

Scott and I were the only patrons in the Parkside Lounge. Two televisions were playing two different movies, one with Harrison Ford that we didn't identify and the other a black and white classic movie we couldn't place.

Right away, Scott and I launched into scintillating conversation about LeVon Helm, The Band, Tom Petty, the Highwaymen, and other music and musicians before we got going on New Wave Australian movies from nearly forty years ago. Not long ago he and Cate had watched Picnic at Hanging Rock and I wished he could find The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith and then I nearly fell off my stool with the special passion I feel for Breaker Morant and I rambled on too long about how Scott must watch it as soon as possible.

Time flew. Damn. We had to wrap it up.

I wanted to make it back to Nanuet, NY to meet the Deke at our favorite NY taproom, Growler and Gill, so Scott and I staggered back to the subway (at 2nd Street?) and he headed to Brooklyn and I took the F train to Herald Square and hoofed it down 34th to Penn Station where I found the New Jersey Transit ticket machines and successfully purchased a ticket to Nanuet, took the train to Secaucus, and transferred onto the Pascock Valley Line, got off the train at Nanuet, and had a nice short ride on Uber to the Growler and Gill with Hamed.

3.  The Deke and I wound down and capped off our day at Growler and Gill. I enjoyed a shorty of Wolf Among Weeds 2IPA from L. A.'s Golden Road Brewing, but, even more, I enjoyed our charcuterie and cheese plate. The Growler and Gill was quiet, we were helped by the friendliest server imaginable, and it was relaxing and fun to shoot the breeze for a while before returning to Adrienne's for the night.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 04/19/17: Train to Grand Central, Seeing *The Glass Menagerie*, Waiting for Sally Field

1. This morning the Deke and I piled into the Sube and roared across the Hudson River on the Tappen Zee Bridge and made our way to the Tarrytown Metro-North station and leaped on a commuter train and rumbled into Grand Central Terminal, the first time we have been to New York City together.

2. We split a tri-tip sandwich in the Grand Central food concourse, went upstairs and gawked at the gorgeous cheeses, cuts of meat, fresh seafood, produce, flowers, baked goods, and other delights at the Central Market, and then, after a quick stop at Banana Republic, strode up 44th to the Belasco Theater where we watched Sally Field in the role of Amanda Wingfield in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.

My experience watching this production was personal, in fact, autobiographical, and I'm very grateful that the Deke, like me, does not want to leap up and dash to the exits when we finish watching something (or when we go to church). I had to sit for a while and gather myself, regain my equilibrium, and transition out of the Wingfield apartment and its world of illusions, memories, glass figurines, nostalgic music, and a gentleman caller, back into the world of Manhattan.  I plan to write a separate blog entry about what I experienced watching this play later. One thing, though: my experience was autobiographical because of the nearly 45 years I've lived with this play -- and with Tennesee Williams, not because it recalled events from the story of my life.

3. I have never waited outside a theater after a show for the actors to emerge. This afternoon, however, a small knot of people were doing just this and the Deke figured out what was going on and suggested we hang around for a little while. Most of the people wanted to see American Horror Story's Finn Wittrock (he played Jim O'Connor) or were friends of Madison Ferris (Laura Wingfield), so by the time Sally Field came out, the small crowd had nearly disappeared and I stepped right up to the little barrier that we stood behind.

Theater security people announced before she emerged, that Sally Field would not be posing with others for self-portraits.

Sally Field autographed my playbill right after the Deke snapped this picture of her: