The Allergist's Wife -- 05/22/04

Thursday night Jill and I went over to 2nd Story Theatre in Warren to see their production of The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, a delightfully witty comedy by playwright Charles Busch. It's the story of Marjorie, the middle-aged wife of a New York City allergist. When we meet her at the beginning of the play she is deep in a fit of existential funk, drowning in the throes of a mid-life crisis, unable to cope with the death of her therapist, not to mention problems in her relationship with her husband (who has retired from his practice only to spend just as much time lecturing to medical students and providing medical services to the poor at a free medical clinic he has established) and with her mother (an aging "Jewish Mother" who is obsessed with age and bowel movements, constantly crying "Will somebody please call Dr. Kevorkian!") -- and then add the sudden reappearance of a childhood friend who has lived the life Marjorie has dreamed of, a globe-trotting bohemian life in which she hob-nobbed with Kerouac, dated Gunter Grass, visited China with the Nixons, cooked soup for Andy Warhol (she mentions that he particularly liked the way she stacked the cans). She is someone who appreciates the very things that pseudo-intellectual Marjorie worships.

2nd Story Theatre -- located on the second floor of a building -- is a very intimate theatrical space, seating only around one hundred people. You can never be more than four rows of seats back from the stage area -- the actors perform surrounded by the audience on four sides. It's a marvelous little gem of theatrical space that allows a talented troupe of actors to really concentrate on theatrical magic. The cast of the Allergist's Wife were all quite good. I had an especially good time because the part of the allergist was played by Jim Sullivan, a friend and former co-worker of mine. (Well, we still work for the same company, but where we were once in the same department, we are now in different branches of the company. Jim was the colleague who was working with me in Mexico a few years ago.)

As usual, Jill and I had dinner before the play at her favorite Japanese restaurant, a little play on Wickenden Street in Providence, in the neighborhood where she was living briefly a couple of years ago. The restaurant and bar that used to be downstairs from the 2nd Story Theatre went out of business. The theatre company bought the building and they have converted the downstairs into The Downstairs Bistro, where they serve meals on play nights. Jill has suggested that maybe next time we could try the bistro. (Their menu sounds interesting.)

Last night Nancy was scheduled to chaperone a dance at her school -- so I had figured on an early dinner so she could get there before seven -- but the dance was cancelled due to lack of sufficient advance ticket sales. So... I went out for a run on the bike path and Nancy went for a brisk walk on the treadmill in our basement... which meant we didn't eat dinner until around eight o'clock. Before dinner... veggies & dip (carrots, green beans, broccoli with French onion dip) and then a salad (red leaf lettuce, red onion, carrots, green beans, and lots of sliced tomato) and then flounder almondine with steamed broccoli and a nice crusty multi-grain bread... and an inexpensive but pleasant Australian chardonnay (Banrock Station)... at what we like to call our Bistro table in the kitchen, sitting around talking and sipping wine after dinner. (Jill and her friend Joe had eaten earlier...they connected Joe's laptop to my desktop machine in the den and were playing a networked computer game all evening.)

Jeremy has been working a lot of hours since school ended -- he's begun working helping a stone mason a couple mornings a week (doing the lifting and hauling grunt work) and Friday morning was one of those mornings -- then, just enough time to come home to shower and change clothes and he's off to his job in a pizza restaurant in Narragansett. (He only worked the afternoon and dinner shift on Friday, came home to pick up computer game equiment and his spare television to spend the night with friends playing computer games. Tonight he's working dinner through closing, which includes closing down and cleaning up, so he won't be home until 3:30 in the morning.)

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