By Holli Harms
Eleanor Rigby is Waiting, presented by Boundless Theater, and written by David James Parr, at The Duplex, is divided into two complementary chapters – “Electricity” & “Closure,” each one happening on different nights.
“Closure” addresses the many places we meet in the city. It’s where we fall in love, or out, or just to the side of it, where we connect as city dwellers in public restrooms, coffee shops, subway platforms, sidewalks, and Columbus Circle, all of these are the settings of the eleven thoughtful, poignant, and quick vignettes. Reality in the face of loneliness is what the play is about. The reality of connecting, We meet in so many different ways, strangers meeting on a subway platform, or for the first time on phones as we are heading to a rendezvous, talking, trying to sound clever before we have even shaken hands or laid eyes on one another. It’s something we were deprived of for almost two years. Something we all still slightly fear because it could get us sick.
“Ah, look at all the lonely people,” is the chorus of The Beatles’ song “Eleanor Rigby” and that is what the play recognizes, all of us trying to connect, crawling out of our loneliness. Connecting with others entails waiting. There is power to be had in waiting. You can purposely make someone wait and that gives you the power. Making them wait, you become the star, and they, the audience.
There is the rumble of a quenching storm coming, or is it the interweaving of all the souls in the city trying their best to reach out?
The dialogue is quick, snappy, clever, and hilariously cutting at times as is the city’s persona. The actors throw themselves into each vignette and the characters that Parr has created to tell his story. They are interesting New York characters with gusto. These are all the people who you see, meet, and avoid on the streets of Manhattan. It is the kind of play that we need right now. We need to remember what it is like to start up a conversation on the bus, on the subway platform, to try to fall in love in a city that never sleeps.
The audience was having so much fun the night I attended, just being an audience together, listening to great dialogue, stories, and songs. We were hooping and hollering! Because of the experience, I made several connections with audience members that continued outside of the theater. Connecting. It felt good.
The evening opens with the sultry, sexy singer-songwriter Hadiza Dockeray and her band. Dockeray sings her cool jazz songs of love, of connecting face-to-face, person-to-person, closing with her rendition of “Eleanor Rigby.” It was so damn good, DAMN GOOD, that my date and I leaned in and exclaimed, “I want to hear her sing all of the Beatles songs. ALL OF THEM!”
It was a delectable, perfectly entertaining evening at The Duplex. The Duplex, a Village Landmark, was pitch-perfect. We were all close to one another but everyone was so considerate, and shout out to our waitress Lisa who truly was doing a circus balancing act as she delivered all drinks through small narrow spaces to each audience member without a drop spilled.
The Duplex, 61 Christopher Street NYC 10014