Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New York, New York

Play #88 - New York, New York by Lane Bernes

The year is 2035. Thomas is sitting among the other New Yorkers in this subway car wearing his suit, his label (i-Banker), and his Chuck Taylors, which affix his feet to the floor until the train reaches his appointed stop (everything has been standardized and connected to their Metrocards ever since President Giuliani's second term, during which he invaded Mexico in search of weapons of some kind of destruction). Everyone else in the car wears their labels and Chucks too. Then, Lily (label: artist) gets on the train and sits beside Thomas. It seems they were having an affair, but had to stop because long term relationships are not good for productivity. But these reasons are no longer good enough for Lily. She wants to be able to stay with Thomas or to get off at whatever stop she likes or to be able to choose her own path. Thomas is terrified of the implications. They could be kicked off of Manhattan for good for talking like this. Why can't she just be happy the way things are. When Tony Kushner gets onto the train at one stop, Lily yells to him about the old days, and couldn't things be like they were, but he seems completely defeated, as he shuffles off the train at his stop. Still, Lily insists on making a change. When her stop comes, she refuses to get off. She wants to get off the train somewhere else, see something new, explore possibilities. And finally, she is able to convince Thomas to try with her.

This piece could come off as a little heavy handed - the artist against the world - but with the right level of stylization, it could really be a lot of fun. I particularly liked that a couple of Southern tourists who entered the train though Lily was so interesting until they found out she was a playwright - which terrified them. I do have a thing for a good dystopia!

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