My First FringeNYC Adventure, Part 4: Another Opening, Another Show

September 2nd, 2010

My First FringeNYC Adventure Part 4: Another Opening, Another Show: I woke up on Tuesday later than I’d wanted (a recurring theme this trip, and a fitting start to My First FringeNYC Adventure Part 4). Considering I’d gone to bed barely six hours before I got up, I’m surprised I came into consciousness on my own at all. Quick prep and we were off to the venue. We got there around one, had a relatively easy load-in and were ready well before curtain. Erin ran through the cues a few times while Sean went over notes again with the cast. I knew we only had two reservations on the books for that day… and it was a ninety-seat theater. Ouch. Well, it’s tough to sell tickets to a 2 pm Tuesday matinee, even in New York and especially when you’re trying to coordinate the marketing from across the country. Imagine my surprise when we had eleven walk-ups!

Unfortunately, that glimmer of hope was dashed pretty quickly.

Interesting fact about this audience – it was mostly older women (and two Broadway producers checking out the show). Not exactly our target demographic. On top of that, I’m going to be honest and admit that it was a rough run. We’d just re-blocked the show for a thrust stage 24 hours before. Combine that with a non-responsive audience and… well, I won’t go into detail.

Shows have rough runs. This was one of them. Shit happens.

The great thing about theatre is that there’s almost always another opportunity to try again. The producers stuck through the show and seemed to enjoy it, however, three members of the audience walked out midway through. Oh, well. Like I said, I didn’t write this to be the next Hello, Dolly so I’m not shocked that they had trouble getting into it. It stung a little when I saw that some of the remaining audience didn’t applaud at the end of the show, though. That’s just plain rude. Even if you don’t like a show, you shouldn’t be disrespectful to the performers.

Fun fact: Friends Like These has an average run time of 1:45 without intermission. We found out this performance that it only takes 1:39 when there are no laughs.

Sean gave the cast notes and said his goodbyes – he was flying out to LA the next day before the next run. It was bittersweet. I gave everyone a quick pep talk after the show, saying that this was as good as another tech rehearsal and that we’d hit our stride the next performance. Call time Wednesday night was 9:30 for a 10:15 run. Be there or be square. Everyone split.

Erin and I grabbed some pizza at this little hole-in-the-wall joint a few blocks away from The Cherry Pit and talked about the run. We were both confident that everything would be fine the next night and glad that we opened at such an obscure time because the cast effectively got an extra dress rehearsal. I mean, we’re all professionals here and we don’t ever “phone one in”, but it’s not easy for a cast used to working in one kind of space completely re-block a show one day and then open 24 hours later. Anyhow, the next day would be better, no doubt.

I’ve got this cool app on my iPhone – StubHub. It allows me to shop for tickets for concerts, sporting events, etc., and buy them online. The tickets are then sent directly to my e-mail. So, while Erin and I were at our late lunch with no plans that evening, I quickly browsed tickets for that night’s Mets game. A few clicks later and I’d purchased two nosebleed tickets for us for a whopping $20 total (including taxes and fees – these tix were $19 each, face value). On our way to the subway where we’d catch a train to Flushing, we hit a copy shop and got the tickets printed. Away we went!

It was the Mets vs. the Florida Marlins and we had seats HIGH above the 3rd baseline. Did I mention that the rain had let up that day? Well, a cold drizzle started falling about 20 minutes before the game’s scheduled start time. Erin got a long-sleeved Mets shirt from the team store (scandalous – she’s a Philly fan) and I picked up a stuffed Home Run Apple. A quick run to the Dunkin’ Donuts stand in the park and we were fortified against the cold.

This game was a lot of fun. The Mets had R.A. Dickey on the mound, a knuckleballer. I’m a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox’s knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield, so this was a treat to see the only other knuckleball specialist in the game at work. I was impressed by Dickey’s velocity, routinely hitting the mid-80’s with his pitches. Wakefield’s pitches typically float across the plate at 65 or so and are almost unhittable when he’s “on.” meaning Dickey’s must be a real bear to spot, much less hit.

Now, I am a HUGE Red Sox fan, but I was born on Long Island to a family of baseball fanatics (split evenly between the Sox and Mets, believe it or not). I have very fond memories of being young and going to see the Mets at Shea Stadium (back when the chants of “Daaaaa-rrrryyyllll, Daaaaa-rrrryyyllll” would echo through the park), and I still have a soft spot in my heart for New York’s blue-collar team, even though I’m a card-carrying member of the Red Sox Nation. So getting to see the Mets at the new Citi Field was like revisiting a piece of my childhood.

Three innings in, we decided we were tired of freezing our asses off and getting drizzled on, so Erin and I staked out a standing-room-only spot above the seats behind the home team dugout. We stuck around there for a few innings, then managed to get proper seats from some season-ticket holders that were leaving early. We finished out the game sitting beside the first base foul pole. I was disappointed I didn’t get to snag a foul ball (I even brought my glove!), but it was awesome to watch the game (especially since the Mets won in dramatic fashion with a walk-off single in the ninth). If you’re interested, check out a full game recap here.

We headed home and got back to Greenpoint around 11:30. Sean was already there, getting ready for bed. Erin and I hadn’t had dinner yet, so we headed back out into the drizzle, looking for that diner we knew was off the Greenpoint stop on the G Line, right by our apartment. Except, it wasn’t. We walked around the neighborhood for over an hour and a half looking for this place, until we realized that it was actually above the Metropolitan station, two stops down the line. We jumped on the train (after an additional 20-minute wait) and headed back to the Metropolitan stop. We walked into the Kellogg diner at around 2:30 am. We ate and hung out for a while, getting back around 4:30 am. While we were out, both our phones had died, which is why Sean was awake and in a near-panic, by the time we walked in the door. We let him know we hadn’t been mugged and the three of us hit our respective flat surfaces for some well-deserved shut-eye.