If you took all of Bluebeard’s Booty, copied it, set it beside itself ten or twelve times, and then set it on top of itself another fifteen or twenty times, you’d have Times Square. It’s Bluebeard’s Booty times 15, squared. (Get it? “Times”? “Squared”? I came up with that myself!) The house that’s been in my family for generations has so many rooms that I haven’t been in them all, but if you put it in the middle of Times Square, it would barely obstruct the view. Times Square is big.
I had an hour to kill before Spider-Man, so I wandered around a bit. There’s a store dedicated entirely to M&Ms. It’s three-stories high. It’s just like Bluebeard Booty’s City Hall, except it’s filled with colorful chocolate candies. I tried to get into a cute local eatery, Bubba Gump Shrimp, but there was a line out the door and down the street. So I settled for McDonald’s, which is actually fairly cool for me, because the closest one from my house is an hour-and-a-half walk.
But nothing I had seen in New York, or really in my entire life, prepared me for the Friday-night preview of Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark. The last show I’d seen was The Sound of Music at Rogers High School in Newport. Spider-Man was sort of like that, if the children sang rock and the nuns swung through Salzburg nabbing criminals.
I should admit: I didn’t really understand the story. But it looked spectacular! At one point, Spider-Man was swooping down from a tall building and he hit the ground really hard. I’ve never seen a more painfully realistic portrayal of serious injury. You would have thought that compound fracture was real!
They brought on another Spider-Man—that was one of the plot things I didn’t understand—and he flew out over the audience, did a couple spins, then plummeted on top of the guy playing electric guitar. It was amazing! I don’t know how they do that stuff without actually hurting themselves.
This time was funny, too, because while they were cleaning up the orchestra pit and bringing in a new guitarist, the Green Goblin came out and sang some songs. They were really funny, with jokes about people falling and breaking their wrists and stuff. It was such genius to insert some comedy there, just to let us wind down between the impressive stunts.
The climax of the evening came when a spider-woman (my program spells it “Arachne”) was hanging way above us for half-an-hour. It had to be really taxing to stay up there for that long: you could tell it was difficult, because the actress was crying for the last fifteen minutes. It was a real showstopper. They actually stopped the show for a while so we could admire her skill and endurance, suspended above us. They even announced something about “mechanical difficulties,” just to make us feel a little more tense.
Just before they finally let her down, she screamed a few words that I can’t type on a blog where my pastor might read it, and said she was quitting. It really blurred the line between actor and character and drew me into the show and the story (though, as I said, I didn’t really get the story).
The ending was abrupt, but I guess that’s why they haven’t opened yet. Our fourth Spider-Man of the night (I forgot to mention that the third did a stunt where he appeared to completely sever his right leg—amazing!) flew up too high, hit the top of the stage, and just kind of hung there limp. If I hadn’t seen so much stage magic already, I would have thought he was dead, or at least out cold. They announced that the show was over, and we left.
After I got home to Bluebeard’s Booty, I read that a lot of people think Spider-Man is a pretty bad show. But I can tell you: until you’ve seen the amazing way the first Spider-Man’s forearm appears to be jutting through his skin, and until you’ve heard a grown woman scream in agony for half-an-hour while slowly turning above you, you don’t know what real theatre is about.
That’s my New York story. Hope you liked it!!