Monday, October 12, 2015

Inside All Weekend

It was a weekend here in the north--clear skies, cool temperatures--and we spent the whole thing indoors.

But for good reasons:  we went to Matilda and to New York Comic Con (NYCC)!

This was the second October that we've done a Broadway-NYCC combo; last year, it was Les Mis and NYCC.  It's a great way to spend a weekend (even though no one in our family has Columbus Day off, which is fine with us--Columbus shouldn't be celebrated.  Now if it were First Peoples day . . . . )

What can I say about Matilda?  I didn't expect much, though I'd liked the performance at the Tonys two years back.

Everyone had said we would love it; and we did.   Even waiting for the show to start was entertaining, as we did the word search embedded in the proscenium--monster, phenomenon, acrobat, gymnast, joy, heart, incredible, shiny, burp--then, we noticed when the words appeared in the show.

 I had rushed to read the book earlier this week and the show doesn't materially veer from it, except in the addition of the story of the Escape Artist and the Acrobat.  The musical actually has more of an edge to it, particularly in the portrayal of the children and Matilda--this is clear from the very first, ironic (and sharp or minor-key, whatever the term is) song "Miracle," where parents sing about how their own kids are miracles, though they're clearly "naughty," too.  And from Matilda's iconic, defiant fists-on-hips pose.  

I was curious about the depiction of Miss Trunchbull--a strong, big, ugly Olympic athlete who isn't married and doesn't like children.  Think a butch Miss Hannigan.  Was this a caricature of a lesbian?  The character is even portrayed by a male actor.  (Think I'm nuts, just google "Trunchbull" and "lesbian.")  It's unfortunate, really, but perhaps the figure is such a caricatured and old-school stereotype that others don't notice it?  One would hope.   Though, the musical does give her a song about following the rules, which is a little sympathetic, in the way the book doesn't--except as a non-married, athletic, child-disliking woman, she is actually less traditional and rule-following than the musical implies.

The kids loved the show, which was very stylized and memorable.  The ABC song where the actors climb up on alphabet blocks while they are inserted in the scenery was amazing; the desks rising up and sinking into the floor were great, too.  And there was some imaginative puppetry for the telling of Matilda's acrobat story (reminiscent of Lion King.)  Even the choreography was angular and striking, while the songs were sometimes shrill to emphasize discordance.  Dahl's works are never cheery or simple--even good characters have edges and flaws--just like in the show.

All of which is to say "go see it" if you haven't already.  One of the best, for sure.  Our kids ranked it up there with Phantom and Wicked.

We spent Saturday night in the city--at the same hotel where Lambeth and Mrs Lambeth once stayed, over on 8th, with a cafe on the ground floor.  Clean, quiet, and well-located, it didn't have much character, but we weren't in the room except to sleep.  After the show, we stage-doored briefly and got the signatures of some of the adult actors (the children aren't allowed to come out) and took back to our room some cheesecake, chocolate egg cream, cream soda, and Cel-ray soda for our traditional post-theater snack from Juniors.  Then we watched the sunset over the Hudson, rested a bit, and had dinner at Virgil's, on my old block.  As we ate our barbecued ribs,  brisket, chicken fried steak, collards, greens, mashed potatoes, and sweet tea, we realized that Mama and I had been coming to this restaurant almost since it opened in 1994.

Sunday was for Comic Con at the Javits.  We'd been discussing and prepping for this for months.  Sis dressed up as Black Widow, in a black t-shirt and pants, utility belt, holster, and wristlets.  She focuses on the character's skill and strength as a spy.  Bud was Link, his favorite videogame character.  He only wore his Link t-shirt and green hat because he didn't want to carry the heavy shield and couldn't take the sword to NYCC.  I dressed up in 18th-century dress, plus tartan shawl and specially-crocheted cowl--yep, "Outlander."  I think I was the only member of my fandom there! But no worries, I had fun.  We did a lot of looking--looking at all the wonderful costumes, looking at all the merchandise for different fandoms--and a ton of walking.  We saw a couple of Links and Black Widows, lots of Link merchandise, some Black Widow.  There was a great little Maleficent, a wonderful Totoro, a beautiful Zelda, not many stormtroopers, lots of Harley Quinns, and some oddly underdressed people (what was with the guy in his underwear with a couple of Batman symbols hanging on him??)  We didn't do any autograph or photo sessions--last year, remember, the kids met "River Song"--but still had fun.  They say that want to go every year.  Considering that they haven't even started on "Firefly" or "Battlestar Galactica" or "Star Trek," there is still so much fun to be had.

We got home late afternoon, watched the "Doctor Who" that we missed (one of the more confusing episodes),  and fell into bed not long later, humming along to Matilda.

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