We went to NYC this weekend. We saw the Strauss opera Der Rosenkavalier on Friday night. We ended up having terrible seats. We were sharing a box with some strangers who were tough to see over. I was very annoyed and it probably affected my enjoyment of the opera. I found the first act too long. Obviously, the music was beautiful, but the narrative could use some tightening.
I moved to a new seat at intermission. Act 2 was a real joy, and act 3 was ok. I started to doze off toward the end of it. It felt like we were at the end, and then there was one more scene, and then another, and then another. Before I left Philadelphia for NYC, I was talking to my lead, and he asked me about opera. I said, “It’s a German opera that I suspect will feel about 2 hours too long.” I was right.
The next day, we saw both parts of Matthew Lopez’s play The Inheritance. It’s wonderful. I’ve been thinking about what I want to say about it, and am lost on how I want to describe my time at the theater. I wept and laughed and leaned so far forward I almost hit the women in front of me. My husband cried on our walk out of the theater and we both considered how much we take for granted on our walk to the hotel.
There is something transcendent about really good, dare I say, great theater. It’s not like any other art form. I fell into this play from the beginning. I regretted not having read or seen Howard’s End or read any of EM Forster. Forster is a delightful narrator and character in the play. The play made me want to sit and write with others and pen a tale that we worked on together. It made me think about my gay community and angry about the generation of mentors stolen from me. I was watching but living in the world being created in front of me.
The play made me reflect on my life and my work. There is a line that I am unable to quote, because my memory is not as good as it once was. Basically, we are confronted with the fact that a character is wasting his potential because of his need for security and stability. The quote was something like “his days accumulated like snow on an autumn day.” Oh my reader, that hit me like a ton of bricks. His days were just occurring and amounting to nothing. It is the only time yesterday I thought about my job, a sentence was never so apt at describing how I feel about my work. Brilliant. I still can’t get the picture of snow amounting to nothing on a browning yard out of my head. Magnificent.
The Inheritance is a natural successor to Angels in America. It’s very long (almost 7 hours) 2 part play about gay men in New York City. This is about my generation. This play is set in 2018 rather than in 1985. It’s a different world and there are new stories to tell. Lopez is obviously paying homage to Kushner. And much like Angels, I like part 1 better than part 2. Though it is critical to see both parts.
I cannot recommend this play enough. I think everyone should go see it, but I think it is absolutely imperative for gay men to go and see it. I think that is wonderful. Like many of our lives, it is funny, tragic, serious, sexual, and deceptively profound.