PlayRaid 97 — Trip Report

There were 3 of us in PlayRaid: Karen, Lisa, and Myself. We all spent tuesday night at my place. Remember sleepovers?

Waking up early wasn’t a problem… we hadn’t slept! We each put on our “PlayRaid” sweatshirt and headed for the metro. We left Washingto DC on the 8:15 am train.

After arriving in New York we made a beeline for 42nd st. A song fragment about 42nd st kept going through my head the whole time; I just wish I could’ve remembered the whole song. I discovered that pedestrian road crossing is a martial art. It wasn’t a very long walk. And the theater was only a half a block over. It was hard to miss. I just didn’t expect it to look so small. Karen and I kept looking at each other. “Are we really here? Were really here! We did it!”

We bought programs, I bought a ballcap (of course) and we proceeded into the theater. Unlike all the other people outside hanging about or in that awful line, we had TICKETS. WOOHOO! or… to quote Rafiki…

‘Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!’

I didnt even notice the inside of the theater. (yes, I know.. shame on me.. yeahyeahyeah) We were directed to an elevator, and sent upstairs. The mezzanine level already had many people waiting to enter the theater. So we bought pins to put on our sweatshirts. HEY DISNEY… HOW ABOUT SOME PATCHES?

The doors finally opened, and we all flowed into the theater, where ushers directed us in an efficient way to the general area of our seats. We were in the nosebleed section, although, there was one row behind us.

Somewhere in here I should mention… I did not like the movie much, and I did not like the music from the movie. Good thing the play is not the movie. It is most emphatically NOT the movie.

The calling started, the drumming, the lights dimmed — dont ask me in what order.. I have no idea. The music from the play is… well …positively metabolic, with rythms straight out of my childhood in Brasil. Oh. And those toys. Those wonderful toys! By the time the giraffes strode out I was already wiping away tears. When the elephant climbed up to the stage and into our field of view, Karen grabbed my arm just as I grabbed hers. Fergit the JV… I want to meet the person who made all those beautiful toys! Huh? Oh right. Finish the report.

I could go down the list of actors and say how good each one was. They *were* all good. You have to watch them all the whole time. I didn’t quite manage to do that. The ones to really watch though are Zazu and Rafiki — they are usually up to something. Oh yeah, and if you see a dancer who looks like he just witnessed the birth of his first child or something, that is Lebo M, who helped write the wonderful music.

And Scarr? Ledicious. I believe that Janis of MCEB (http://www.io.com/~cortese/mceb/np.html) may have mentioned in passing that John Vickery has a rather pleasant voice. Its true, he does. (talk about understatement) Samuel E. Wright (Mufasa) has a fascinating voice as well. (its not James Earl Jones’ voice, but no one can be compared to him.)

Of all the toys, my favorite were the hyenas. They not as graceful as the cheetas, or as moving as the giraffes and the elephants, but I could not keep my eyes off them. I kept looking for the human.. “there has to be one in there somewhere”. The masks and the movements of the puppets looked so… inhuman. A great effect. The Lions wore masks above their heads, rather than puppets like the other characters. The lionesses’s masks were regal, as was Mufasa’s. Scar’s mask was wonderfully evil.

Then came the ghost of Mufasa. My mouth hung open. All thought fled my mind. They sculpted with light. I felt like a child, staring in wonder. They sculpted with light.

The play was over all too soon. We sat a while, partially waiting for the crowd to thin, partially just trying to recover. We discussed how to describe the play to someone who hasn’t seen it. (Lisa’s method: “Just tell them to go” — which is precicely what I did in my review) We all bought soundtracks on the way out.

We did not wait at the side door — turning into a blithering idiot is not my idea of fun. (no comments from the peanut gallery please) We made a beeline back to the train station. I want to know why they waited till the last minute to tell us what track the train would be on. We survived the stampede, but it would have been nice to be able to sleep on the way back.

I had never been to a broadway play before. I will probably never get to go to another. Lion King was a good choice for my first trip to NY and broadway, it added a good deal of magic to a day that already had more than a touch of magic in it.