I arrived at the New York State Theater last night in a state of near-exhaustion. I’d been racing the engine pretty hard for several days in a row, shorting myself on sleep in the process, and that day had been especially long (I went out to Brooklyn to interview Madeleine Peyroux, a singer whom regular readers of “About Last Night” know that I greatly admire). Under normal circumstances I would have been taking better care of myself, especially since I have to see eight plays and write five pieces between now and next Friday. Alas, I’d grown a little self-neglectful, and by the time I fell into my seat I was running on fumes.
The curtain went up on the Mark Morris Dance Group, and within minutes I realized that I was having trouble making sense out of A Lake, the first work on the program. I didn’t have much more luck with Marble Halls, a lovely ensemble piece set to the Bach Violin-Oboe Concerto. At that point I leaned over to my companion for the evening and whispered, “I’m going home at intermission.”
Needless to say, I don’t normally bail out of performances, and I never leave a play that I’m reviewing for The Wall Street Journal, no matter how awful it may be, until the bitter end. The idea of missing the second half of a Mark Morris performance would normally be horrifying to me. This time around, though, I knew I wasn’t all there, and as much as I hated to miss Jesu, Meine Freude, which I’ve never seen, I figured I’d better quit while I was behind. So I did.
The rest of the story is quickly told: I went straight to bed and slept for eleven hours. Now I feel surprisingly human again. And while I have a New York International Fringe Festival performance on my plate today, it’s a matinee, meaning that I can and will do the same thing tonight.
To all of you who’ve been writing to urge me to take it a bit easier: I read you loud and clear.