Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Receipts Must Be Available For Our Inspection

Joshua and I had dinner at my parents' house tonight, and we are all trying to decide what to do over the Memorial Day weekend.

For my parents, that decision is an easy one: they are going to New York to visit with their grandson that weekend.

My middle brother and Josh and I cannot decide whether to join them in New York, or whether Josh and I should go to Denver and visit with my brother that weekend.

We talked to both of my brothers tonight, and my middle brother, who has the farthest to travel if we all gather in New York, is going to make the decision, and the decision he makes for himself will also be the decision for Josh and me, too. He is going to sleep on it tonight, and decide tomorrow whether he wants to go to New York (in which case Josh and I will go to New York, too) or whether he wants Josh and me to come to Denver for a visit. Josh and I will go along, happily, with whatever he wants.

To help us make a decision, we were all discussing whether there are any performances in New York that we might want to attend and, upon close examination, we found that the theater offerings in New York are positively depressing. My parents and Josh might enjoy "Journey's End", but my middle brother and I saw the same production of "Journey's End" with a different cast in London two years ago, and we do not want to see that play again. It is a period piece, and not a particularly strong one. My sister-in-law hates that play--she had to read it in school, since it is part of the British school curriculum--and she volunteered that she could only be persuaded to join my parents and Josh at a performance of "Journey's End" if she were paid $500.00 an hour, starting at the time she left the apartment and ending at the time she returned. My father said that he would get back to her on that particular point.

The only other theater offerings that any of us could even sit through, we estimate, are two musicals, "The Drowsy Chaperone" and "Grey Gardens", the latter a show that people either seem to love or to detest, with little or no middle ground. Myself, I would be happy to skip both, and so would Josh. Neither of us is a big fan of musical theater unless a full orchestra is used and unless the singers are unamplified.

New York City Ballet will be performing that weekend, with performances on Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. The company will be presenting three different programs that weekend, and Josh and I would like to attend all three of the programs very much, if that were possible. However, it is not feasible for Josh and me to expect to spend most of our weekend at the New York State Theater.

My sister-in-law loves to attend City Ballet, and I know she would want to come with us, and my mother could easily be persuaded to attend one ballet performance. In the case of my father, he could be persuaded to attend the all-Balanchine program on Saturday night, because he loves Balanchine.

However, neither of my brothers has much of an affection for classical ballet, and for the rest of us to go to the ballet would leave my brothers out of the loop.

Aside from New York City Ballet, there are really not any New York performances worth going out of one's way to attend over Memorial Day weekend. Consequently, Josh and I will be perfectly happy to go along with my brother's decision, whatever it may be.

Tonight, my parents were having a discussion they seem to have each and every year: whether to attend this year's Shaw Festival in Canada. They have never attended the festival, not even once, and yet they ordered the festival brochure again this year, which they always seem to do. I am surprised that the people in Canada even keep responding to my parents' request for a brochure, given how many times my parents have ordered the brochure, but not purchased any tickets.

There are a lot of good plays on the bill this year, as there always are. My parents would be happy to attend performances of Shaw's "Saint Joan" and Somerset Maugham's "The Circle" and Tennessee Williams' "Summer And Smoke" and Brian Friel's adaptation of Turgenev's "A Month In The Country". They also would not mind seeing the Jerry Herman musical, "Mack And Mabel".

My parents wanted to know whether my middle brother and Josh and I wanted to join them for a trip to Niagara. They even suggested that we make a stop at Canada's Stratford Festival, too, and catch performances of Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband" and Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance". (My parents have been ordering brochures from the Stratford Festival for years and years, too.)

My brother and Josh and I explained to my parents that it would be difficult for us to schedule a trip to Canada this summer, because we were all saving our vacation time for a trip to Europe in September. My parents' response was "Oh, we weren't going to go to Canada until September, anyway--we were going to wait until the summer crowds thinned out. Why don't you come with us in September to Canada, instead?"

Of course, it was very hard for my brother and me to take our parents' Canada plans seriously, given how many times we have listened, over the years, to them talk about going to one or both of the Canadian theater festivals. We told our parents to let us know if they made firm plans, and to have their credit card receipts available for our inspection, because we would require firm evidence before we believed that any such trip would occur.

I do not believe that Josh and I will need to pencil in any tentative Canada trips on our calendar.

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