When this whole theater group began almost EIGHT years ago I envisioned it as more of a book club model – where about 8 to 10 of my friends would take in a show once a month. My vision was small and narrow and wrong. What began as a ripple, this goal of taking advantage of NYC’s cultural offerings, was embraced with enthusiasm among my friends and waves and waves of more of my friends and their friends. I knew we were on to something when husbands at cocktail parties would slip me their card and whisper to please be put “on the list.”
Strictly through word of mouth our numbers grew to over 700. In January of 2020 – 350 people went to the theater with this group and there were just under that for the month of February (shorter month). Each and every event was a fun and festive, cerebral and culturally imbued evening connecting with old friends and making new ones. Then well, you know what happened next.
Fast forward over some solitary and bleak days, we started in July to think about building out our fall season. To ease both the group and ourselves back into show mode we deliberately started quietly with what we anticipated would be a small group at an off Broadway play. I wanted this to mirror the early days of the theater group. The play we chose was: Letters of Suresh by Rajiv Joseph (from Cleveland Heights, Ohio).
If I had known what a powerful and perfect choice this play was for our group’s or any individual’s return to the theater after an isolating pandemic, I would have made more noise about it. You should go experience this play: the words, the premise, the creative use of lighting, and the super hard to pull off, but brilliantly performed monologues.
There are four characters in the play and they never, not once, interact face to face (though there is one awkward simulated FaceTime call). Yet the characters do connect through their words on a page in the form of letters. Lots and lots of letters over the course of many years that reveal difficult truths, searing life observations, and in the end some hopeful and cathartic healing. Any audience for this show, post covid, is primed to understand each character’s isolation and the importance of connecting far better than we ever would have should the pandemic never have occurred.
Art, for the next little while anyway, will be viewed through different lenses than we used pre March of 2020. Our new lenses offer a new depth that we may have yet to understand ourselves. Thank god the theater gives us a forum to try. If you are thinking of making your return to the theater, this play Letters of Suresh, is completely worthy of your consideration. Grab your thoughtful group and go. It will be on stage until October 24th.
Or join our group to experience one or more of the carefully selected shows below. Click here to grab your tickets.