Monday, September 2, 2013

Passage of the Seasons

Meeerh what is chronological order anyway? I have a couple of wonderful weekend events to recount plus general ramblings. I will not be doing it in the correct order - it is 'Labor (labour, I know) Day' today, the strangest name for a day off that ever I did hear. No idea what we commemorate today other than end of summer, beginning of autumn. In the spirit of this, I had the delight and privilege of spending Saturday in East Hampton with dear friends, an open bar, a piece of theatre and a swimming pool. To what do I owe this magnificent bounty you ask? Well, Fundamental Theatre Project of which Sam is co-artistic director and our school librarian Katrina is managing director have a friend who just happens to be a CEO or something at JP Morgan and Chase (banks. Big banks.) And who offered his Hamptons summer house as the setting for an FTP fundraiser/it's Labor Day weekend let's have a random excuse to have a party! The owner of the house met FTP a couple of years ago when Sam was starring in a rave-reviewed production of Equus alongside Alec Baldwin on Long Island. I don't know the whole story...the upshot is that at 9.30 (well, 9.45) am on Saturday, I was boarding a minibus on west 37th st bound for East Hampton and crammed with fun young people - it was like going on a school trip except some of us were hungover and everyone was drinking coffee. The bus ride itself was fun fun fun - I've always loved bus and coach trips, and it was of course the first time I've left the city since Christmas AND the first time I've ever been to Long Island. So I was really enjoying myself all the way there and came fully prepared with iPod, book, snacks (in fact I brought an entire lunchbox, not knowing how well annoying vegans were catered for on Long Island) and a cardigan and a scarf for essential back seat bed-making purposes. We spent the trip taking pictures, giggling, chatting to a couple of other young folks who went to American Academy of Dramatic Arts and comparing school notes, napping, all that stuff. Once we'd got there we wandered through the town for a spot of lunch and exploring - everything was small, sweet and painted white including the train station. It was lovely to walk at a slow pace, something I had to consciously make myself do accustomed as I am to power walking and crowd weaving at dangerous speeds getting from place to place in the city. We had a few hours before the event proper kicked off so naturally we took to the pool area. Some fell asleep, some lounged in the jacuzzi yes jacuzzi, some of us danced around in the garden taking pictures and dangled our feet in the pool. Some of us...Lola and myself...did those things while drinking a beer. Our generous host had decided that we should be the ones to begin...well, drinking. What can I say? After spending a couple of hours floating in total bliss the guests began to arrive, a mish mash of Hamptons summer homers, random groups of young'uns and older theatre folk who are long time friends and or patrons of FTP. With the open bar in full swing the atmosphere was convival and I was happy to sit back and observe the high levels of schmoozing going on around me. We enjoyed a site-specific staged reading of a section of 'Valhalla' by Paul Rudnick, a play set in two time periods and places exploring the meanings behind love and beauty through the eyes of two totally separate but thematically connected male characters. It was fun to be so closely involved with the action as we were watching scenes whilst crammed into rooms in the house, beneath the balcony and around the jacuzzi to the point where some audience members were pretty much sharing the stage space with the actors. And then the party continued, the average age of the crowd decreasing as the older guests departed. By around 8.30 it was just the busload and a few stragglers remaining so with a 2.5 hour journey ahead of us we rounded up the crew and hit the road again. This again was just like going home at the end of a school trip, except this time everyone except the driver (Katrina the librarian, natch) and her boyfriend was some degree of innebriated and we had all pilfered the open bar and filled our bags before leaving. Knowing I had a long journey home once we got back to the city and an earlyish start the next day I took the trip home as an opportunity for some shut-eye, so I missed any fun that may have happened. All I know is we were back on 37th by midnight (we made two stops along the way. Ever tried stopping a bus full of tipsy 20somethings so everyone can get food? Don't, you will be worrying that someone will piss off the restaurant by being loud, everyone will have to go to the bathroom, noone will know what order, people will forget to pay then lose their food when they have paid, forget where the bus is parked and generally what should be a 10-minute stop will become a 30 minute operation.) I'm so grateful to FTP for running this thing and to my fabulous companions for making it so much fun. Next year we will go bigger! Well it took so long to document that one event that I feel a separate post is needed for each subsequent (or whatever you call it when it is not subsequent in the actual sequence but it is in the sequence of your account) event. Look, pictures!
Natalia and I at the back of the bus (before I fell asleep for a while)

Portia (of London, Brit power) in the garden

The bus ladies enjoying the party

Bus crew enjoying the pre-show relaxation time

David and Sam mid-scene, 'Valhalla' by Paul Rudnick

OPEN BAR, the way to get us to agree to go to stuff

Lola looking worried about all the relaxation

Lily the dog

Nati and I in the position we maintained most of the evening

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