When I lived in New York, I saw a lot of live theatre. I saw Broadway musicals and Shakespeare in the Park. I saw Off Broadway shows at the Public Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, and I saw Off Off Broadway shows in tiny black box theatres in the Village. Those shows usually had a friend or school-mate in them. They were all wonderful (well, they weren’t ALL wonderful, but you get the drift.) I’m a fan of live theatre. But I hardly ever go anymore. Not since moving to LA. Occasionally I buy a ticket to the touring musical at the Pantages in Hollywood and once or twice I ventured downtown to the Ahmanson theatre, but these outings are few and far between. So since a friend’s husband/ very talented actor was staring in Ms. Julie at the Geffen recently, I decided it was a “must see.” So naturally, I waited until I had a free evening, and I waited until towards the end of the run, and I waited until I found an equally theatre loving friend to go with me, and then a week in advance I went to buy tickets. FAIL. SOLD OUT! Friday night at the theatre was sold out and I had blown it. So, instead, I went to the movies.
In fact, I went to the movies twice last week, on both of my free nights. First on Monday and then on Friday. (Just so you know, the Geffen is dark on Mondays so I couldn’t see the play that night.) Both movies were fun, enjoyable and with an independent spirit. On Monday night, I saw Before Midnight, and on Friday I saw Francis Ha.
All in all, going to the movies is easier than the (debatably) more culturally enriching experiencing of going to live theatre. And all though I was disappointed in myself for not being able to make my night at the Geffen happen, I was secretly relieved to not have to get dressed up (as I feel one should for a night at the theatre), fight the traffic heading deep into the West Side and find parking all in time to make an 8:00 pm curtain. Again, I do LOVE live theatre. I love watching the actors tell me a story that is slightly different from the story they told the night before. I love the idea that I might see an actor on a particularly “off night” or an extremely great one. I love that they are real, in the flesh, right there performing for me…LIVE. That is exciting to me in a way that film can never be. But that being said, a night at the movies is simply easier, and some nights, I just want easy.
When I lived in New York, theatre felt almost as easy as going to the movies. There were so many theaters all over town. There was public transportation and the TKTS discount ticket center in Time Square offering me tickets to shows I desperately wanted to see at a price that was in my budget. I had friends that worked for live theatre and could get me free tickets. Hell, I sold concessions at a small professional theatre in West Village and saw all those plays, multiple times, for free. I saw the original production of the Last 5 Years and an amazing productions of Burn This with Edward Norton and Katherine Keener for free! It was great. Now I live in LA and my friends work for tv shows and in movies and no one has access to free theatre anymore. So, I go to the movie theatre near my house and park in the large parking structure that takes the movie theatre’s validation and I use my Stubs card to earn upgrades on popcorn and eventually free movie tickets and I sit in the dark and watch Super Heros duke it out, or couples turning 40 fight about their marriage, or young people who feel lost but find love in the end. And I LOVE this too. I really love it. And I can excuse my lack of theatre going by telling myself that I write movies, not plays, and so I am in the right place because it is my business and not because I was too lazy/busy to get organized ahead of time and buy a theatre ticket before the night sold out.
Last week I was also supposed to go the LACMA to see the Stanley Kubrick exhibit, but that didn’t pan out either. Oh well, maybe one day soon I’ll get some culture, but first I need to see Star Trek: Into Darkness in 3D. Anyone wanna come with me? It’s playing everywhere, all the time. Come on. It will be easy!