Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Chilly Dickens

Having a mild winter works out really well for going north for a fun time in Tarrytown. Usually by this time of year, we'd be drudging through snow, so this was the perfect year to go see Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" as told by Jonathan Kruk, Master Storyteller. The Hudson Valley folks who put on the creepy scary Halloween events in Sleepy Hollow offer up this much sweeter, much less horrifying show. Eddie had no idea what this was all about when I sent him the link to see if he was interested. He simply clicked the link and bought the tickets and bam! I had a Christmas present.

We found a close enough diner for dinner after we drove about an hour up and through the town. The Eldorado Diner? Has seen better days. So has its chef. My omelet tasted a bit like burger, and Eddie's burger tasted a bit like disgusting. Maybe I'm a diner snob. Or maybe Eldorado should simply change its name to Elgrosso.

Because we were so close to Christ Church, where the show would be performed, we got there in no time, found parking, and hopped on line. We were maybe five people back. The seating is general admission, so this worked out in our favor. As we'd driven through, we'd seen a very long line of people waiting outside for the previous showtime. We didn't want to stand in a very long line. The show before ours ended at 5:30ish, so we figured we'd be in line for 20 minutes tops as we got there at exactly 5:30.

Waiting on line for only ten minutes....
Half an hour later, the sun had gone down already, and the crisp air of northern territory crept in. We were shivering. We were hopping in place. The woman in front of us was doing calisthenics. The man behind us was talking non-stop. I don't think he was doing this to be warm. He was doing this to be annoying. Or, rather, that was the end result even if it was not his purpose.

I found out that he was having dinner on Tuesday and the woman with him would be there for dinner if it wasn't served too late, and he was happy to have her come to dinner, but he needed to run out to the store first, and he was wearing the wrong shoes because he hadn't expected to be waiting this long and when we all finally got inside, the woman was to make a left and sit four rows back because he had seen this show three times already and knew the best place to sit and he'd seen a different show at a different place that has a fireplace and he knows to sit near the fireplace because that venue gets cold and then their friends showed up and one of them asked the woman if she could get him to be quiet for a minute and she said no and the guy started talking about Tuesday dinner again.

Rumor had it that the show before ours began late, so we'd be waiting a while. The cops there scanned our tickets so that we could go straight in when the show eventually let out. The people in front of us had more people come to meet them. I'm not a fan of that. We've been freezing our asses off and then they have people simply jump the line? I can see one person meeting one other person, but to save a space for four or five more people when there's general admission seems sketchy. One of them had a cane, so there went my need for outrage. Canes and walkers calm my outrage every time.

Finally, people started pouring out of the church. We were let in immediately. Eddie and I sat a few rows back from the stage on the aisle, all the while making sure we didn't go left so that we wouldn't be near the Incredible Talking Man.

It's warm in here.

What was more incredible was that the Incredible Talking Man, having seen this show three times previously and knowing where to sit and loving moving his mouth and making words come out of it, this man did not participate in the singing. Yes, there was singing. The accompanist welcomed us by strumming his guitar and pacing the stage in his Dickensian suit with only socks, no shoes. He led us in singing The Twelve Days of Christmas. We got to 9 without a problem, and then it started to fall apart. Singing The Twelve Days of Christmas while thinking about what you're singing is much harder than simply singing it mindlessly. We got through the whole song, and then he went to sit behind the organ. I don't know if he put on any shoes.

A Hudson Valley person went up on stage and explained the history of the church. This was the church where Washington Irving worshiped. His pew is off to the side.
Then came the "silver-tongued" storyteller Jonathan Kruk, dressed in a red Dickensian suit complete with red plaid pants and a red top hat. He told the story of "A Christmas Carol" using different voices and a few props. Only once did it seem to lag--a part when the Ghost of Christmas Future shows Scrooge people selling off things from Scrooge's funeral and laughing about it, and it was one too many people selling one too many things and having one too many laughs. But then it was over within an hour and I realized I hadn't heard the entire tale in years. It was a wonderful way to meet it again.

After the show, the storyteller stayed for photos. We checked out Irving's pew and then left the church in to the cold but not wintery night. Merry Christmas, everyone. (See what I did there? It's so literary!)

No comments: