Sunday, March 11, 2018

Save Me from Soma

Not everyone cares to revisit the dystopian memories of youth.

To be clear, I'd invited three friends to join me for Quill Theatre's production of "Brave New World." Although not one of us had ever seen it performed live, two turned me down flat on the spot and only one, the ever-agreeable Beau, signed on.

Where's your spirit of adventure, kids?

When he came to pick me up, I invited him upstairs to admire three pieces of newly-framed art I'd just hung. It's all part of my master plan to convince him to finally frame the art he bought two years ago that has yet to make it to his walls.

How do people live with no art on their walls anyway?

Even after I'd made my clunky point, he was still willing to drive us to Brenner Pass for dinner. I don't know what kind of week it had been for him, but he said for the record that he needed something sweet and fruity (no judgement here), resulting in a frothy pink Caribbean Canneberg showing up, while I kept my drinking simple (and bubbly) with a Cremant de Jura while the dining room crowd multiplied around us.

He was curious about what I'd been up to, so I dished on the cyclist I'd interviewed the day before and the month-long biking trips he takes all over the world. He'd told me that once he biked a place, he never went back because he preferred that his first memory of a place be his only, a sentiment I said I could understand.

Not Beau. He was immediately flummoxed. What if you like a place and want to see it again? Why go somewhere new if you liked the last place you went? It's fascinating to me how some people can't even imagine the pleasure of something they personally have no desire to do.

Once we got down to the business of food, there was some horsetrading going on because he wanted the quail (turns out he grew up eating quail...Beau, I hardly knew ye) but he also wanted bucatini, so I agreed to get the bird and share, allowing him to have his pasta and eat quail, too.

But before any of that, I wanted to share the citrus salad, a brilliant choice, it turned out, as we both raved about the complementary flavors and textures.

The quail had gotten the Thanksgiving treatment, with stuffing and pureed root vegetables subbing for mashed potatoes, but it was the crispy, seasoned skin neither of us was forgetting anytime soon.

Amazed to see a new dessert on the menu since I was last in, I felt obligated to fall on that sword. Did I mention it happened to be chocolate? It was called a mousse, but came across as more of a bombe, with a thick coating of dark chocolate ganache over a lighter chocolate, while Beau finally ordered the coffee profiteroles and promptly went into raptures.

Never mind that I'd suggested them when we were there two weeks ago and he'd claimed to be too full for dessert. Of course, he then went on to eat half of mine.

There was no lingering after dinner, much as we might have enjoyed it, because we needed to get to the far reaches of the Henrico county for the play. Along the way, we made a pit stop at the Dugout, not for cheap drinks and the so-so jukebox, but for a photo of us against the sign, the better to taunt the employee we know who wasn't there and missed our brief appearance.

And as a side note, I'd like some bonus points for venturing to the county, since everyone is convinced I don't. We all make sacrifices for art, you know.

Waiting for the play to start, Beau inquired about my break in blogging, asking if it felt weird not to blog when I'm still going out every night. When I told him that wasn't the case, he was gobsmacked. In fact, he was still wrapping his man brain around it when the action onstage began.

Once we got through the initial exposition, "Brave New World" turned out to be a well-acted, creatively-directed take on a story most of us haven't read since high school or college (except Ihad reread it about 6 or 7 years ago), but still mostly remember.

Cliff Notes: Soma is the government-supplied happy drug, babies grow in test tubes and there is no emotion. The end.

In the not-often-enough category, it was especially gratifying to see the colorblind and gender-blind casting of Lucretia Anderson in the main role of Mustapha. Just as satisfying were the sheer amount of lines taken directly from Shakespeare - a joy to hear spoken - along with Caleb Wade's terrific performance (and fine-looking chest) as the savage John.

And lest I sound like I can't get past a firm young body, Jacqueline Jones chewed up scenery as Linda, the savage's mother, but then when isn't she magnificent in whatever role she's playing?

Once we left Huxley's dystopian world, it was for the glamour of Pru's manse and a few hours of conversation. She may not have wanted to go to the play, but she did want every detail on dinner and the play.

As Beau and I fell over each other's words describing what we'd seen, he praised Wade's performance but said he couldn't recall seeing him before. Knowing this wasn't the case and whipping out the program to prove it, I showed Pru his bio listing with its accompanying photo.

"Of course I remember him!" she said, with a wave of her hand, as I knew she would. An attentive playgoer remembers a fine physique talent such as his

Of course, if she'd gone with us, she could have appreciated it from the good seats. His talent, I mean.

No comments:

Post a Comment