The city—the entire eastern seaboard, actually—was being threatened by a major tropical storm, but the weather in Manhattan was nearly perfect. The temperature was about 70-degrees, the humidity was relatively low, and there were only scattered clouds in the sky.
Around 7:15, we headed over to Central Park to see the Public Theater’s production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” It was a “Public Works” production which seeks to “blur the line between professionals and amateurs.” Among the performers were the Jambalaya Brass Band, the New York Deaf Theatre, members of the National Association of Letter Carriers, The Love Show (Can-Can dancers), Ziranmen Kungfu Wushu Training Center and the Cobu Drum Masters.
The cast of about 60 represented a panoply of colors and ethnicities—of the variety that make New York, New York and makes so many arch-reactionaries so fearful of the “browning of America.”
Twelfth Night in this rendition was a musical and to call it rollicking would be an affront to rollicks. The 90-minute intermission-less show whizzed by like the A-train on a good day and you could hardly catch your breath. There were some great Shakespeare lines (Especially a song based on “Some are born great. Some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.)
Perhaps topping it all was the greatness the weather had thrust upon us. The night was serene. Rare for New York, the stars and planets were visible in the ink-black sky. Even rarer, the show was virtually uninterrupted by police and fire sirens and helicopters flying overhead.
The place was mobbed. And wonderfully mobbed with old and young. Strong and infirm. Rich and poor. And people of every shape, size and color. 2000 people living, laughing, clapping, hugging, learning, listening in harmony and peace.
There’s so much horror in the world, so often. Listen to the news and the rantings of the radical reactionary right. The so-called holy wars of hell and the internecine terror that kills and maims and harms so many.
Come to New York and see a different world.
The way the world could be.
You won't want to leave.