Sunday, April 09, 2017

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG ('Wrong' is supposed to be red - can't change the color so even the title here is WRONG





THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

        This is my kind of play to write about because if I my grammar or spelling is wrong, “Hey, everything goes wrong in this play. I’m Just going along with the theme.” 

     Full disclosure - I have a teeny investment in this play. What sold me? 

  1. It’s in it’s forth year in the West End playing to a packed house each night.

  1. It won the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy (England’s Tony award)

  1. The Lyceum Theatre is small and intimate (950) Not a bad seat in the house. 

4. Theatre goers need mindless and silly these days.

   And, mindless and silly it is! I took my friend Debbie to opening night. I knew she’d love it. She’s been laughing at my jokes for thirty years, so she obviously has a highly developed sense of humor. 

  The show is a show within a show. The Murder at Haversham Manor is the play that’s doomed by dead bodies moving, scenery collapsing, actors colliding and lines muddled. 

   It’s hilarious to see and best of all each movement is done with incredible precision. It’s a circus in the best sense of the word. 

   Written by three crazy Englishmen, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, who I couldn’t wait to see at the afterparty at GUSTATINO’S (a very cool place that is actually underneath the foundation of the 59th Street Bridge.) When else would I be able to use the word “bloody” as I rave about a performance? 

   I wasn’t able to catch them, but I did see Director Mark Bell, and a few of the the producers, Kevin McCollum, J.J. Abrams, Kenny Wax, Catherine Schreiber, Ken Davenport, Corey Brunish and Jamie deRoy. 

   None of them are English so throwing in “bloody” every other word kinda made them stare at me oddly and move away quickly.

   I was having a ball, anyway, first taking a photo with Debbie, then stalking Stephen Colbert for a selfie and by tackling J.J. Abrams I got a reddish bluish photo with him. (there was reddish bluish lighting in the room and of course, I don’t know how to adjust the color) I turned to ask J.J. but he was already gone. 

    Buy a ticket to THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG. I will make about four cents on it, and you’ll have a bloody good time.


    


     

Monday, April 03, 2017

SIGNIFICANT OTHER ON BROADWAY

My significant other, Mickey, was out of town, so my old high school buddy, Lily, dragged herself from Brooklyn in a downpour to meet me at the Booth Theatre to see Broadway’s SIGNIFICANT OTHER.

    From what she had read she couldn’t relate to the premise of the story. I had to promise her Kit Kats and M & M’s.

   “Barbara Barrie plays a widowed grandmother to a twenty something grandson” she whined. “Who cares? I’m not there yet. And I don’t need to listen to kids younger than mine grumble about finding thee one. Been there and done that.” 

    Finally, the play began and finally Lily shut up. By the time Sas Goldberg (Kiki) spoke her third line Lily was laughing and choking on her M & M’s. I was laughing, too, and bursts of howls bellowed from around the theatre. 

   There were soft, teary times too and because the cast was extraordinary those moments were genuine.

    Jordan Berman, a gay 29 year old is played by Guideon Glick, a gay 28 year old. Yes, acting was still required. He was charming and vulnerable as he cried and ranted each time his best friends Kiki, Vanessa (played by the fabulous Rebecca Naomi Jones and Laura played by the very talented Lindsay Mendez) found the love of their lives and beat him to the alter. 

    Barbara Barrie, (Helene Berman) plays a widow who are like many widows I’ve counseled, not quite broken, but not quite whole. She attempts to be to Jordan what all of us grandparents strive to be, wise and beloved. 

   In the end she persuades her grandson to imagine his life like chapters in a book and his next best thing could be a page away.

    As the audience jumped to their feet to give the cast a standing ovation Lily stood right along with them. After she wiped the chocolate from her teeth, my buddy, producer Jamie deRoy led us backstage to meet the cast. 

    I am excited to report to you that Ben Stiller, his wife and teenage daughter were there! They were friendly and outgoing and I overheard Barbara Barrie say as she hugged Ben, 

   “Remember how we used to call you Benji?” She squeezed his cheek and looked at him lovingly like he was still six years old. I could tell he loved it. He may have blushed, but he had a deep tan so it was hard to tell.

   It must be cool to be ‘babied’ by an actress who was nominated for an Academy Award, an Oscar and three Emmy Awards. The closest I ever came to being babied by a celebrity is when Hugh Jackman accidentally stepped on my foot and said “Sorry, Baby…” 

    We all took photos and got a chance to tell John Behlmann how great he was playing three roles, Will, Conrad and Tony. Also, we posed with Luke Smith who was fantastic as Zach, Evan and Roger. 

   SIGNIFICANT OTHER turned out to be a wonderful theatre experience. Someone please tell Joshua Harmon, the playwright that Lily gave it two thumbs up. I’m sure he’s been holding his breath.   

                                



    

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Bite Before I Die

I'm lazy. I feel guilty when I'm not writing, but I guess not guilty enough to write. Anyway, enough

about me. How are you? Have you missed me?...at least noticed that I was gone?


Today's blog - well, I wrote this because there I was at my cousin Sara's baby shower last month and

Cindy, my other cousin said, "My grandmother was allergic to caffeine so she couldn't eat much

chocolate. She loved chocolate. When I was little she made me promise that if I could catch her as

 she was dying, I should put some put some chocolate to her lips. I just want a bite before I die"she

told her.


 I said, "A Bite Before I Die? Great title!"

About 7 of us decided to write an essay with that title- no particular length or subject. We knew, of

course our stories would be diverse so we couldn't wait to see who wrote what. We gave ourselves a

two week deadline (which works wonders for lazy people like me) and this is what I came up with.


                                                                A Bite Before I Die

 He took good care of me. I had my own bed, a fenced in yard that often smelled of freshly cut grass, and the flowers, oh those flowers, the scent of sugar.

 I wasn’t allowed sugar. I craved the taste, so the smell had to do. Sometimes when we snuggled, he’d say, “Give me some sugar, honey.” I’d kiss him sweetly, but I never quite understood how I was supposed to give him sugar, or anything, actually. He was my man. I was his dog.

 When he cooked, the aroma from our kitchen was overwhelming, but I was, “A good boy” and learned not to jump and beg. My only hand-out would be dropped by mistake, not given on purpose. Max, the toy poodle next door (I was a Boston Terrier) would tease me, “Pepper, your human doesn't

 love you. Mine gives me spaghetti and meatballs right from his dish. Sometimes, he lets me lick his
ice- cream cone!”

 I’d begin to salivate right there, but I’d cover with, “You bark and bark so your human feeds you just to shut you up!” I’d think to myself, I’m a good boy, but where has it gotten me? Kibble and doggie treats! What are those white things? Marshmallows! Oh, just a bite before I die…

 And, then, I got sick. I’d been slowing down for some time, needing to back up and give myself a running start to get up on the couch. Soon, I couldn’t reach the top cushion at all. My human had to lift me. I seemed to slip into old age just as fast as my human could say, “Wanna go for a walk, Old Man?” Now he called me “Old man.”

 One night he let me sleep on his bed all night. That had always been forbidden. In the morning, my body ached like I had run for an hour in the dog park, but I hadn’t. My human kissed the top of my head and said, “Want a sugar cookie, Pep?” Uh, oh… this is it. I must dying, I thought.

 I tried to communicate that yes, of course, I want a damn sugar cookie! Hadn’t he noticed that I frantically lick the kitchen floor when he opens the bag? “Daddy, look at me! What I really want is one of those white things!”

 My eyes had already closed for the last time and my doggie soul was hovering above my still body
when he came back into the room. The last thing he said to me before he realized I was gone, was
“Sorry, Old Man. We are fresh out of sugar cookies.”

 These days I romp around a small apartment,reincarnated as a Beagle. My human is a nice middle- aged divorcee who drinks a cup of hot chocolate every night. By barking my head off, I’ve trained
her to toss me three mini white things while she sips.

I’m getting a little tired of those white things, though, and I sure do miss that nice big yard with the sweet smelling grass and flowers.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Are We Survivors THAT Needy?

Last night I dreamt my late husband was sitting next to me wearing a dark suit, blue shirt and tie. Talk about “all dressed up and nowhere to go…” 
Jimmy hadn’t aged a bit. I was just about to ask him what moisturizer he uses, when I opened my eyes, shook away my sleep and sat up knowing he’s been gone for ten years. He’ll always be 56.
dreamstime m 47447673I just turned 66 and believe me, very few 56-year-old men would date me unless his name is Quasimodo. Hence, I’m too old to date my dead husband. That realization shouted out how long a decade is.
In my dream I kept playing with his beard. The thing is Jimmy never had a beard. Mickey, my boyfriend, does. I pet it often. I woke up wondering what that meant. I didn’t tell Mickey, afraid he may think that I’m thinking about Jimmy as I touch his beard. I’m not. It was just a stupid dream.
Or was it a sign? I stopped looking for signs ever since, well, ever since years went by and I never got one. Early on my nephew Chuck saw his Uncle Jimmy twice a week.
Once I walked in the house and he said, “You just missed him.” Occasionally, he’d have a message from Jimmy. “He doesn’t like this green color you painted the kitchen...He liked your hair better before you cut bangs...He wants to know why your screen saver isn’t him.”
I’d say, “Chuck, your Uncle wasn’t all that observant in life. As a matter of fact, if I rearranged the furniture and dyed my hair purple he may not have noticed. I have a feeling these feelings are yours!”
Every so often I’d get a compliment. “He’s very impressed that you learned how to pay your bills on line,” Chuck would relay. That one was actually a two in one accolade because bill paying was Jimmy’s department and my computer skill stopped at turning it on.
As any widow or widower knows, honing new abilities is necessary. We adapt because we must. We drag out the garbage cursing the full stretch of the driveway and back. We fume because we didn’t sign up for this. We look up to heaven, “I’m getting older, but you wouldn’t know about that! You and I used to bounce from the car at a rest stop. Now I’m stiff and creaky after a 20-minute ride. I hobble to the Ladies Room and barely make it.”
As Bette Davis said and I said in my last post, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.”
Life gives and takes. Poor Jimmy missed out on the joy of being with our grandkids yet he doesn’t have to deal with play dough in his hair. Does he see the humor in this? Does he see us at all?
When the ceiling fan fell, our one year old had just crawled away. Did he protect her? Maybe, but where was he when I left my phone in the cab?
Some report they find shiny pennies on their nightstand and out of nowhere white feathers float about. Aren’t those “universal” signs? How did that come to be? Are we survivors that needy? I wave away that “nonsense” and yet, there’s something familiar about that Robin Red Breast who edges closer than the rest.
Could Jimmy possibly be an inanimate object? Did he turn himself into a tube of lipstick so we could sort of, kind of kiss?
Sometimes my dog Tony, a little guy who only barks when the doorbell rings, stares at the wall and wags his tail. He barks and barks. There’s no sudden swish of cold air they say arrives with spirits, but I give Tony a treat so he’ll bark and alert me next time. And, maybe next time I’ll see Jimmy and it won’t be in a dream.

For some crazy reason comments can't be left here so if you feel like putting in your two cents (not literally) please email me at: carolscibelli@gmail.com

This blog was originally published in pathfindermag.com 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Being a Writer is Not for Sissies


At her 4th book signing in two years I gushed to the author “I can’t believe how prolific you are!” There was zero comprehension in her face. She said simply “That’s what I do.” I begin to tell her that I too, am a writer, an author, but so many days go by that I just don’t get the urge. Then, her face said, “Move along” so I did.

Off the line I read her inscription “Carol, hope you enjoy this book” and I knew that night I would read the first fifteen pages, put it down and click on demand TV. Or I might play video poker on my phone, fall asleep and dream about getting four of a kind.

Interviewers ask, “What books are currently on your nightstand? Now I can name her title along with the others I haven’t read. Which is my favorite? That’s easy – the one I use as a coaster for my wine glass.

After I left the signing my schedule was wide open so I did what I do most days to avoid writing. I shopped. I convinced myself that it was going to rain so I bought an umbrella since I was three blocks from my apartment and God forbid my hair gets wet – although I straighten it and have it professionally blow dried twice a week.

My husband left me well heeled. Damn him! Didn’t he know I would nap the day away, then sleepily eat take out while watching terrible news clips of people much less fortunate than me but with way more spunk?

“Yup, we lost our home” the couple clinging to each other croak. “But we have each other, Charlie, our pet pig and the man up above.” Their heads, as though choreographed tilt up together and just as they began a small salute to I’m guessing God, a branch from a charred tree cracks, sways and lands inches from Charlie.

“We’ll be just fine,” they say. The horrified reporter, forgetting her microphone is on backs away from them, blurts out ‘jinx’ and the screen switches to the anchor.  

I watch and wonder if it’s worth it to get up from the couch to heat up this last slice of pizza.

Note: Title adapted from Bette Davis quote: “Old Age is No Place for Sissies” which, of course, is also true.

To comment please email me: carolscibelli@gmail.com  
I know there's a 'comment box' - but...not to get technical, because I can't - safe to say the only way to comment is to 'contact me' or email me. Thanks! Carol 




Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Interviewing Santa

This piece was originally published in a similar version in Pathfinder:Guide for the Widow/er's Journey

I assumed it would be impossible to interview Santa Claus so close to Christmas. Why would he agree to talk to poor widow me? He had nothing to plug. He wasn’t starring in a movie; he hadn’t written a book and he was too lovable to run for President.

Since Santa’s toys are basic, wooden and old fashioned (similar to Melissa & Doug puzzles) I communicated the old fashioned way. I called him...from my landline. I didn’t text him because how could he text me back with those chubby fingers?

Santa, THEE Santa did call me back and not from the North Pole. He was in Macy’s Department store, THEE Macy’s on 34th Street – from THEE movie “Miracle on 34th Street.”

Santa suggested we meet in the men’s room during his bathroom break. Really Santa? That’s just creepy. He clarified. He meant the Men’s Department. He needed a new black belt. His was 150 years old. It was time. I guess elves only make toys.

Santa looked sad. I thought it was because Macy’s didn’t have a belt in his size. There was more, much more to this Christmas story.

CS: Santa, there are plenty of stores in the city. One is
    bound to have a size 92 waist with a gold buckle. Can
    you do silver?

SC: It’s not that, Sugar.

CS: You remember that my nickname was Sugar when I was a
    kid?

SC: I remember everything. Is your mother still whacky?

CS: No.

SC: That’s good.

CS: She’s dead.

SC: (Santa starts to cry)

CS: It’s okay Santa. She’s at peace now and not annoying
    everyone.

SC: No. I’m crying because Mrs. Claus is very sick. I’m   
    afraid I may lose her.

CS: Is that possible? Aren’t you guys immortal?

SC: I thought so too. Apparently, a loophole in our
    contract. Who reads the fine print?

CS: You should give coal to lawyers and the little kids who
    will grow up to be lawyers!

SC: Carol I’m Santa Claus, not Cruella Deville. Anyway,
    Doc from the seven dwarfs warned Mrs. Claus not to eat
    so many of the cookies she bakes, but the smell...she
    can’t resist. Now she’s at risk.

CS: At risk for what?

SC: Cookieitis – Deadly. She’s beginning to have symptoms.

CS: Tell me what you’re most afraid of.

SC: What if she dies? I’ll be all alone.

CS: You have the elves and Rudolph.

SC: Your husband died and you had friends and family around
    you. Did it help?

CS: Not really, but maybe if I had elves. (laughs) Sorry.
    You’re right. I was lonely and it was scary for a long
    time.

SC: I’m terrified I won’t be jolly anymore. Kids all
    over the world are counting on me to be freakin’ jolly!

CS: You won’t be jolly for a while, but little by little
    parts of your old self will peek out.

SC: You mean first I’ll shout out “Ho!” and then the next
    week the other “Ho!” and then two days later the third
    “Ho?”

CS:  And, eventually you’ll put it together again with a
     “Ho Ho Ho!” And your ho-ing will be genuine. You’ll be
      happy!

SC:  I could never be happy again without Mrs. Claus.
     Anyway, the pickings are slim up at the North Pole.

CS:  You’re a catch, Santa. You work from home at a
     seasonal business, you’re a natural with kids, and you
     drive at night!

SC:  I’m depressed. I should throw myself into my work.
     Maybe I’ll make Christmas twice a year!

CS:  Running away from life isn’t healthy, Santa...wait,
     twice a year means more presents for me! Terrific idea!

SC:  Or, I’ll close up shop.

CS:  A hasty decision. Think of the elves on Unemployment.
     Hallmark will plummet and I own stock!

SC:  I’d hate to disappoint the children, though. Don’t you
     have grandchildren?

CS:  Yes, umm, of course, the children. It’s all about the
     ummm, children. Screw Hallmark. What kind of heartless
     person worries about stock prices at a time like this?
     I was just kidding.

SC: My cheeks will never be rosy again. She pinches
    them...sometimes a little too hard, but I like it, if
    you know what I mean...

CS: I do. So it’s Mrs. Claus who puts that twinkle in your
    eye.

SC: Yes, except one December 23rd when I was up against the
    deadline. We had Chinese food delivered to the
    workshop. The girl who brought it was a doll.

CS: A doll like a toy the elves make?

SC: Not quite. Let’s just say I almost put my slinky in her
    stocking!

CS: Santa!

SC: I said “almost.” Hey, I’m only human.

CS: No you’re not.

SC: Whatever...Ohh... Mrs. Claus is Face timing me! See?

CS: (looking into the iPad and waving) Hi Mrs. Claus. Long
    time fan, here!

SC: (to Mrs. Claus) You look wonderful, honey...And,
    healthy, like the old you! You seem full of energy
    like Rudolph did right after we got his nose to stop
    blinking!

    You are healthy? You’re cured? Doc said so?

    Santa spun me around and kissed me on both cheeks.
    The store’s piped in music played “White Christmas”
    and he began to sing along.

    He winked at me as only Santa could and then he
    skipped away towards the shoe department, holding his
    iPad close to his beard. I think he was kissing the
    screen.

    Outside of Macy’s, the beauty of the season was unfolding.
    The first winter's snow was starting to stick right there 
    on 34th Street. Even the grownups were giddy; They were 
    gliding and stomping and loving the sound of the crunch under
    their boots.

    Did Santa singing “White Christmas” make it snow? How is 
    this possible with global warming? The temperature here in 
    New York is 70 something...in December! It couldn't be snow! 
    Perhaps some editor was shredding my latest submission and
    tossing it from a building above me. It wouldn't be
    the first time.

    I tasted it. Nope. It was snow all right - Magical snow conjured
    up by a relieved Santa. I was thrilled to be the first person to 
    report this story, however Santa could have warned me. I was
    wearing four inch heels.

    But, hold on, I had met Santa Claus, THEE Santa Claus
    and Mrs. Claus was going to be okay and there would be
    a jolly Santa and Christmas this year!  

    Still my shoes were ruined and my hair was wet and
    frizzy.
         Merry Freakin'Christmas!