Point of View: Doing My Best

It was only then that Mary told me she had wanted to see the hip-hop version of Alexander Hamilton

As soon as I read the Times’s review, which said “The Humans” might turn out to be the best Broadway play of the season, I reserved two seats for a Wednesday matinee performance a month in advance of a Rogers Memorial Library bus trip we’d signed on to. 

It was only then that Mary told me she had wanted to see the hip-hop version of Alexander Hamilton. 

“Well, if ‘The Humans’ is depressing, we’ll go have a drink afterward, and if it’s not, we’ll have a drink anyway . . . to celebrate,” I said, mindful that not infrequently my enthusiasms can lead me astray when it comes to the arts.

“So, what’s it about?”

“A family’s Thanksgiving dinner,” I said, looking up from a thumbnail New Yorker review. “It says that the acting’s first-rate — the grandmother has Alzheimer’s . . . but that the play doesn’t lead anywhere. I don’t find that a problem, do you? I mean, about life not leading anywhere. . . ?”

“It sounds depressing. . . . Remember that movie you took me to on that other bus trip to the city, ‘Memphis.’ . . .”

“Say no more,” I said. “At least the theater seats were comfortable and we got some sleep.”

“This wasn’t the same reviewer? The one who raved about ‘The Humans’ wasn’t the same one who raved about ‘Memphis’ was he? Remember when you called the box office the night before and asked if there’d be any trouble getting seats the next day and the guy said he didn’t think so. Didn’t you say it sounded like he might have been suppressing an urge to laugh?”

“Well, I couldn’t tell for sure. . . .” 

“That should have been the tip-off.”

“But I was so fixated by then, fixated on treating you to a real work of art, one that held a mirror up to life. . . . Boring movies, depressing plays . . . I’m doing my best, I’m doing my level best!”