Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Subway Shakespeare

My commute into Manhattan happens to boast (arguably) one of the best views of the city skyline. Coming over the Williamsburg bridge, the city appears at once startlingly jagged and endless from that downtown perspective. I marvel daily at my fellow subway passengers' nonchalant activity as we together witness this astounding view. Most people are not looking out the window; they are sleeping, reading, eating or conversing; some are partaking in illegal activities, others are barely old enough to recite their address let alone take the subway solo.

All this disregarded grandeur, this self-absorbed internal state, is characteristic of New Yorkers. Which is why I was especially surprised when one day, on this same ride in the opposite direction, something managed to distract me from my treasured view, and awaken the other passengers from their anxiety-ridden slumber. And what to wake up modern New Yorkers? An extremely dead British bard, Act V, Scene 3, of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. There were olde English words shouted, a duel of sorts transpired, and murder and suicide all before the J train arrived at the first stop in Brooklyn. Two actors captured the attention of two dozen, crazed, single-minded passengers for a whole 4 minutes.

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Born and raised under the Los Angeles sun and smog. At sixteen spent some time in LA County Juvenile Detention Center, although never really learned her lesson. Moved to Boston for the classic college experience. Spray painted graffiti in the Paris Metro during six month stay in the Marais. Survived an ultra fabulous and frightening internship at Vogue Magazine while living at a nunnery in Hell's Kitchen. Lived a year in Seoul, a city which can only be compared to a Disneyland theme park. Written four hundred sixty-four words of an undisclosed masterpiece novel. Currently pondering her next adventure and also the meaning of her memoirs from an artist's loft in dirty Brooklyn.