In the interest of fiscal responsibility, it’s always a bonus to find a new experience that is also a freebie.
Who’s got two thumbs and loves a bargain? This girl.
25. The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Happenings at the Harmon, weekly free(!) lunchtime performances, which I only recently discovered. (Note: once a month the Happening is a happy hour. Who’s got two thumbs and really loves a bargain plus a glass of wine? Do you even have to ask?)
As appealing as the happy hour version is, my first Happening was the lunch edition. I saw A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup, presented by Shoshinz, apparently “one of Tokyo’s most acclaimed clowns.” The performance featured a ridiculously creative and clever combination of physical comedy, quirky music and sound effects, and a parade of props (see a clip from last year’s Fringe Festival here).
I can’t say that I loved all the bits – see, e.g., cracking a dozen imaginary eggs for breakfast, releasing chirpy chirpy imaginary birds, marching them around the apartment and generally having a grand old time with them, making me LOVE the cute chirpy chirpy imaginary birds and THEN?
Imaginary live, but still.
One crunchy chirpy bite at a time.
Imaginary chirpy crunchy birds aside, it was bizarre and fascinating and never the teensiest bit boring.
Almost as fascinating was the motley crew that assembled to catch the free performance – a couple other worker bees like me, random and sundry tourists of all ages, and a remarkably well-behaved student group. Also, some weirdo hipster yahoo whose cell phone rang on cue as they were making the pre-performance “silence your phone” announcement. Which he answered. Then proceeded to talk at a normal volume while he was still in the room. If it’s not one clown, it’s another.
All-in-all, it was not a bad way to break up the work day. It’s never a bad idea to get away from your desk at lunchtime, to take a walk and let the stink blow off you (as Momma Pussykat would say). If you can find a way to add some free(!) kulture to the mix, all the better. But save the wine for happy hour. They seem to value sobriety in the workplace.
26. Hip Hop Theatre Creator Award-winning performance at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.
I’ve been Millennium Stage adjacent on multiple occasions, but for the first time went specifically to see one of their free(!) daily performances (every day! 6pm!).
Repeat partner-in-crime Sara and I saw Blood at the Root, part of a two-week festival, One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide, “a celebration of this uniquely American art form, positive cultural movement, and global phenomenon.”
Blood at the Root, written by Dominique Morisseau, told the story of the “Cedar Six,” young black men imprisoned after an altercation with a white high school classmate, following a series of events fueled by racial tensions. It was inspired by the “Jena Six” of Jena, Louisiana. The play posed tough questions and illustrated the complexities of finding answers when friends and family members perceive and respond to the same events very differently. The play and production were excellent (and free!) and I’m proud to say that the director, choreographer, and talented cast hail from Penn State’s School of Theatre.
The performance seemed to be well received by all. Except for the couple of people who departed when the dialogue became particularly colorful. And the inevitable couple of yahoos who took phone calls mid-performance (seriously, what is that about?), including the man who climbed over us THREE times – when he arrived late, when he left to take his phone call, and when he returned, after which he promptly fell asleep.
Who’s got two thumbs and gave that guy the stink eye? Oh, you’d better believe it.