As if our trip hadn’t already been exciting enough, now it was time for an afternoon with some XMen. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen star in Broadway’s play, No Man’s Land. We had tickets to a matinee show. What better way to start the day than to sleep in a bit and then go for a Brussels inspired brunch at BXL? Mimosas, coffee, and waffles seem like the perfect way to start every day, especially when camped out in a cozy, two-seater table in a Belgium inspired cafe with it’s very own red Vespa mascot.
The theater was charming and small enough that I’m not sure how anyone with more leg length than myself could possibly ever fit comfortably in those seats. But that’s part of the Broadway experience. I was cozy there in our third row seats. The set seemed somewhat enigmatic as the pre-show music vibrated a track on repeat that gave you the idea that we were about to witness something very dark and mysterious. I had no idea what the play was about. I’m not even sure how I knew it was a play and not a musical. Maybe I assumed? Either way, the excitement was in seeing such great actors up close and personal. I felt as though this was a lovely addition to our already star-struck Broadway list. A few years prior, we had seen Harry Potter (Danielle Radcliff) in How to Succeed in Business and Hugh Jackman on… well, Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway.
The play started. Curtains flew back and there stood Patrick and Ian, both with their backs slightly turned to the audience. Ian spoke first. For a moment, I thought I was seeing double. I was blown away that they could make someone look so much (but not exactly) like Ian McKellen. But then Patrick spoke and I was shocked. “Ohhhh,” I thought to myself. I said nothing of the mistake I had made until, in Act 2, Stark made a similar mistake. I’m glad it wasn’t just me. Maybe it was the hair? When is the last time any of us saw Patrick Stewart sport a comb over?
Still, his voice is undeniable. Both of them have such pristine, careful ways of speaking an English language that seems almost foreign in a day where we all blurt out texting jargon as if it were normal speak. Their acting ability was amazing. At first, Patrick’s character didn’t say much, but his acting was just as important to the scene as Ian’s jabbering on in an almost schizophrenic manner, nearly speaking to himself as he paced the living room set mostly on tip toe. Patrick sat, starring blankly except in the moments he asked for another drink.
The drinks were opened on stage and still, based on the amount they put down in this two hour presentation, there’s no way any of it could have been real. Regardless, I wondered how on Earth they could put away 15+ waters and apple juices a day or how McKellen could eat marmalade jam and eggs every time he did that scene. It’s all part of the act, I suppose.
The play was a true testament to the acting ability that lies beneath even the most decorated movie stars. There’s just something about seeing someone live, in the flesh, for two hours straight without breaking character, laughing out loud, or making any forgotten lines seem obvious. The vocabulary alone made even a five minute span of the play seem nearly impossible to memorize. It was amazing to see them work. How could they know such a prestigious level of work and still, have the brain power to think, “Blink now… nod now… adjust your socks…” It was as though every line was a part of them and the character came naturally.
I thought the play was fantastic. If we find ourselves back in New York City any time soon, I would make a point to see their second Broadway show – Waiting for Godot.
It was strange to leave the play with it still bright outside. We didn’t have much of a plan as to what we might do next, but I had the hankering for some superb steak. So we bypassed the long wait and sat at the bar at Del Frisco’s and shared an amazing bottle of red (as Billy Joel would sing) and the most perfect tasting prime rib you’ll ever discover. We thought we would go grab a pistachio malt at Stardust Cafe for dessert, but the line is never ending no matter what time of the day it is. So we waited only a few moments before going on a hunt for nearby cupcakes. I was the one who wanted dessert so bad. It just seemed like the right thing to do, but in hindsight I would have traded that 550 calorie cupcake for almost anything else… especially when we set back out for some Pie Face just before midnight. I do love me some Pie Face!
Already making New York a bit of a second home, we spent the evening napping and watching television together. We went to bed late (or on time back home) and didn’t bother waking up too soon or too quickly for a flight home the next morning.
This would mark the end of our whirlwind trip and possibly only the beginning of our life in New York. You never know…