Long ago (before the invention of the wheel, it sometimes feels like!), we were just a young couple in love. And when we first started dating, during that universal period in a relationship when everything is about connection and shared interest, we discovered with a great amount of satisfaction that we both had a mutual passion for film, from foreign gems to esoteric indies to cult comedies. We re-watched some of our favorites films together. There was Cinema Paradiso, The Sweet Hereafter, The Shipping News, Young Frankenstein, Dr. Strangelove, and, of course, The Princess Bride. The Princess Bride, in particular, became a rich source of our inside jokes.
Often, in those early days, I would muster my best (awful) impression of Fezzik (Andre the Giant, RIP) and drop this line at an absurdly incongruous moment:
“Why do you wear a mask? Were you burned by acid, or something like that?”
It never failed to crack us both up. Lynn’s favorite, one she still occasionally employs to this very day, was Inigo’s (Mandy Patinkin’s) response to Vizzini’s (Wallace Shawn’s) repeated use of the word “Inconceivable!”:
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
And we’re not alone in our devotion to this film or our continued admiration for the brilliant dialogue and its flawless delivery by its brilliant actors. A quick Google search will produce endless memes appropriating its lines. I found this posted on a co-worker’s cubicle:
Needless to say, we purchased more cookies than we should have.
So when we heard that The New Group was going to put on a play written by Wallace Shawn himself, we were intrigued.
You might have noticed, as we have, that television and movies have been regurgitating material for a while now. Reboots, sequels, prequels, and trilogies have become a normal part of the landscape. And Broadway has not been immune. Show runners have been producing musicals or plays that are derivative of already-popular movies, guaranteeing patronage from a loyal fan base. So Evening at the Talk House, an original work, already had us rooting for it.
Then we flipped to the Who’s Who in the Cast part of the Playbill. It’s a dream team of character actors, featuring such names as Matthew Broderick, the husband-wife team of Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry, John Epperson, Larry Pine, and of course, Wallace Shawn himself. When we arrived at the intimate Linney Theater and saw that the cast members were actually serving sparkling wine and hors d’oeuvres to the guests, we knew we were in for something different.
Evening at the Talk House isn’t easy to describe. Nor would we want to give too much away. Broderick’s character, in a spectacularly long monologue executed to perfection, describes how a play he wrote occurred in a realm that existed outside of the real world, running parallel yet apart from it. And Evening at the Talk House feels the same way. It’s a world that’s rooted in our own, but where things have taken a dark turn. It’s not so far off course that you relegate it to fantasy, which creates tension and an uncomfortable sense of foreboding.
Evening at the Talk House brings together a powerhouse of talent and feels particularly timely. Post-performance talkbacks will undoubtedly be thought-provoking. Visit their website for more information or to buy tickets.
Evening at the Talk House runs through March 12.
480 W 42nd St
Pair it with:
A meal at Ivan Ramen
With all the dining options available in New York City, we haven’t yet found cause to repeat ourselves in our food pairings. But Pershing Square Signature Center, where Evening at the Talk House is being staged, is further west than most theaters. Which means it’s practically next door to Gotham West Market. Although we featured Ivan Ramen’s flagship in our post here, the Gotham West Market outpost (appropriately nicknamed the Slurp Shop) is worth its own visit since it offers several location-specific exclusives. And let’s face it, when you’re deep in the heart of winter, nothing sounds better than a bowl of noodles. Try the Roasted Shrimp Ramen or the Miso Mushroom Mazemen. And if you’re feeling particularly piggish (like we usually are), try one of their combos and add a specialty bun. You won’t regret it.
600 11th Ave
Friday- Saturday 11am-midnight