We got up earlier than usual Monday to catch the ferry to Ellis Island. This was another part of Smithsonian's itinerary that I was opposed to - we spent all of the morning and the early part of the afternoon visiting Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and riding the ferry about. I would have opted to see both from Battery Park and call it good. Still, some of the kids had never been on a ferry before, so at least there was that.
The later part of the afternoon was given over to an improv workshop with Christopher Scott, a director and character actor. He had the kids up on their feet right away, thank goodness, and ran them through a lot of basic exercises and a bit of scenework.
Dinner was at Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square (strange to eat at bowling alley with no intention of bowling), and we had a bit more free time afterwards before the show for the evening. My kids were feeling much more confident in the area, so I gave them some geographical parameters, reminded the of the three rules, and turned them loose. Some shopped, some bowled, some went after cheesecake. I walked around, enjoying a bit of time to myself in the midst of the Times Square crowds without needing to constantly count ten bodies.
The last show of the trip, as I mentioned, was Phantom. The kids had been super excited to see it, but were generally disappointed. Paul leaned over to me immediately after the house lights came up at intermission and asked, "Does it... get better?" I told him, no, it does not. The students and I talked through intermission, about how very much it is a museum piece now, that it's best appreciated if you think of what it would have been like in 1988 to see such a show, and that their criticisms of it are perfectly justified. We also discussed the audience's behavior, which was different than the other audiences we'd seen that weekend. This was very much a tourist crowd, people who were here because seeing Phantom is something you do in New York, not because they especially love theater. At least I hope that was the nature of the crowd, given the number of talkers, the rustle of cellophane, the lights from cell phone screens, and the occasional photograph snapped. Oy.