Out tonight to see a play written and produced by an old college friend, about difference (racial, ethnic, gender) and the varying ways people find to make sense of reality and the often incompatibility of these ways: scientific, religious, capitalist, hedonistic, childish. It was allegorical rather than realistic, with a Greek chorus who, in the end, play “God,” with some funny bits, much to think about, and excellent performances.
It was in an off-off Broadway venue, I learned today that whether something is Broadway, off-Broadway, or off-off Broadway is determined by the number of seats: off-off is under 100 seats, off- is 100 up to 499 seats, and Broadway is 500 seats or more (there are many “Broadway” theaters that are not on or even that close to Broadway). The play tonight was in a former loft building on 14th Street, up two steep flights of stairs (the freight elevator only ran during business hours). There might have been 50 seats, or maybe only 40.
Afterwards, the friends I was with went out for drinks and dessert and ended up talking about race and how difficult it is to talk about with each other and with people of other "races." ("Race" isn't the same as skin color, I think, since colors come in all shades, and "race" as racists define it is supposed to have clear-cut boundaries. Perception, self-perception, a very long conversation.) We were all white and over 60, but a table near us of six consisted of at least three different colors and they were all young. If we don’t destroy the planet in the next 100 years, maybe there will be hope of burying racism – and I think that was the message of my friend’s play.