Friday, June 11, 2010

The Play Experience

I don't understand how she does it, but Mary Ann works 40 hours a week and goes out to a play every other night. So I asked her what play we should see. She said The Tosca Project at the ACT.

I was excited because it had been an age since we had been to a play. So I'm writing more about my experience than about the play itself, which you can read about if you click the link above.

First off, buying the tickets online was kind of fun. I had gotten out my credit card and was ready to plunk down $100 +++, when I saw out of the corner of my eye something that said Thursday night was a 10-up night (whatever that meant). I clicked on it and found out if you sat in the 2nd balcony you could buy tickets for $7.50 apiece. That's less than the cost of seeing a movie! We decided to find out what our seats would be: 101 and 102–right in the middle of the first row. So we pounced on the tickets.

We got there five minutes early and discovered that the theatre had two nice bars, one downstairs and one on the 2nd floor. I asked the usher if he thought we had time for a glass of wine, and he said, "PLENTY," that they now allowed you to take wine to your seats in the theatre. So we each bought a glass of wine (another $7.50 per) and took it up to our front row seat in the top balcony. We were thrilled with our seats; plenty of leg room. Not so for the people in the rows behind us.

The place was packed. The show started and I was entranced–as much from the novelty of being downtown at the ACT than anything else. But about a third of the way through, when it was time for the beat poets and musicians to take over, the play came to life for me. The play is a funny and sweet San Francisco story that revolves around the Tosca Cafe.

It also made me cry. I came to the conclusion quickly that there's something much more emotional about seeing a play than seeing a movie. Parts of the story had an Armistead Maupin feeling, and it's odd because I noticed that Tales of the City is on the ACT's agenda. I'm dying to get season tickets.

There was one point in the play where the 1989 earthquake occurs. It felt so realistic–that was the only time it was not comfortable sitting in the first row of the second balcony!

Afterwards we walked across the street to the parking garage. The line to pay was around the block. So we walked into a cafe and had lots of coffee. Before I knew it I had ordered a giant cheese quesadilla. I believe this is what experienced theater-goers the world over know to do.

We then were able to zoom out of the parking garage. Something my eye didn't catch last night: If you park at the Mason/O'Farrell Garage, which is where we parked, and you show your ticket stub as you're leaving, you can park for $10.00.

These are some things I learned on our great night out. What else should I know if we decide to get season tickets?

Here's a pointer for you if you decide to wear a dress for once in your life. If it's chilly, and you wear leggings, make sure your boots aren't too short. Otherwise you have to keep pulling the bottoms of your leggings down.

Another bit of information: If you sit in the first row of the second balcony, be sure not to set your wine on the ledge in front of you, which looks flat, but is actually tilted toward the audience below.