If it's true there comes an age when a person is "too old" to dress up and pretend to be someone or something else, well then somebody forgot to tell the actors. We've already established those of us who choose a life in the theater are basically perpetual children who always indulge our imaginations, and Halloween seems to be the one day a year when everybody else joins us in welcoming all things weird. Because it is weird, isn't it? If we're really honest about it, grown men and women playing pretend, working together towards the collective delusion of a group of spectators, that's not totally regular. That's a little silly. And yet, here we are.
So why do we do it? Why did we choose a life doing this silly, unnatural thing of playing pretend when we know, probably better than anyone that "unnatural deeds to breed unnatural troubles." Troubles like having to constantly defend why we do it.
When a group of theater makers put on a play we are doing it because we believe there is something which needs to be said, that this play is saying it, and that performing it will be our way of getting it through to another group of people (namely, the audience). We do it to entertain, sure, but also to engage. And so it is when we don our costumes each Halloween.
Every year on October 31st, New Yorkers take to the streets to entertain one another in this interactive spectacle, delighting in seeing and being seen, and dissolving the lines between audience and performer until they disappear completely like so many spooks. Halloween, ironically, seems to be the one night a year when the people in this city are not afraid of each other. Those who on any other commute would normally have their eyes glued to their phones or their noses buried in the latest Donna Tart, instead look up and all around, taking an interest in their fellow human beings. And they like what they find there; they find common ground. A pair of Donald Trumps on the M5 bond over their perceived mutual cleverness; Mia Wallace meets a festering Cinderella near Astor Place, and compliments her on her ghoulish make-up job while they wait in line for lamb over rice. In this way, we open up dialogues. No, the conversations we strike up in the waning hours of this holiday are not going to change the world, but at least we're talking to each other. The autumnal ritual has already succeeded in breaking down barriers, however small, and in doing so, set a hopeful and powerful precedent for more traditional mediums of theater to follow.
And so, in the spirit of Frankenstein's monster, of piecing together parts of different wholes, blurring lines and meandering in the foggy, gray areas, here are a few fun options for a night out tomorrow that combine the frightening with the theatrical. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
"The Broadway production of Wicked will offer a special lottery on Wicked Day, which is being held this year on Halloween, October 31. For both the 2 PM and 8 PM performances at the Gershwin Theatre, 100 lottery tickets priced at $30 will be available for each performance, cash only."
This immersive theater experience, part play part haunted house, takes you through The McKittrick Hotel to explore Shakespeare's bloodiest tragedy in a new way.
"Lt. Sulu is inviting Klingons, Vulcans and any Starfleet officers for a night out at the theater. George Takei is encouraging sci-fi fans to "trek or treat" in Star Trek costume for the Halloween night performance of his new Broadway show, Allegiance. Takei will participate in an audience conversation after the Saturday 8 p.m. show and choose a costumed fan to take a picture with."
This New York staple will host costume parties with candy themed drinks on Halloween at 4pm, 8pm, and 10pm. Best Costume wins bottle of Moet and Chandon Champagne!
Dress to express!