I seem to be all around the city these days. Tonight I went to see The Country Girl. It got a great review in the New Yorker, but a bad one in the Times, so we weren't completely sure what we were in for. I got my best white shirt, fairly ordinary black pants, snazzy brown shoes, and my finest top hat. I put on "Sharp Dressed Man" by ZZ Top while dressing. I felt ready for anything.
We got to the theater and settled into our seats. The lights dimmed and the curtains raised. There were three people smoking on stage and you could smell the smoke. I loved it. When Morgan Freeman (playing the alcoholic but one-of-a-kind actor) got on stage, everyone could sense he was going to do something great. He started off slow, reading lines, then saying that he has trouble with sight reading. When he got into the improv, he just became the greatest actor in the world. And I believed him too. Francis McDormand (playing the wife who pushes Morgan Freeman to be great) was at first about to leave Morgan Freeman, but her role slowly grew bigger and bigger as Morgan Freeman became more and more unstable. By the second act, she WAS the play. She both loved and hated Morgan Freeman, but the one thing that was for certain was that she was intent on getting him to pull through. The whole play felt so intensely real, that I nearly forgot after the play was over that these were actors playing as fictional characters.
We waited after it was over to see Francis McDormand because my parents know her (I have connections!). I expected to be star struck when I met her, but she was actually extremely easy to talk to. I asked her how she can cry on stage, and she said that you have to really get into the character. If you become the person, the tears will come naturally. I'll try to keep that in mind for any theater I do in the future, whether I have to cry or not, because I think that applies to all aspects of acting.
If you're in New York right now and can get your hands on some tickets, I suggest seeing this play right away. This and "Noises Off" are my favorite non-musical plays, and that says a lot.