I love Broadway. The first time I visited New York, on a thirteenth birthday trip with my mom, we saw a show every night. Now that I live here, I don’t have that kind of time or money, but I do try to get to the theater every month or so. And most of the time, I go alone.
There are a few reasons. Many of my friends don’t have the time, money, or inclination to go even once a month. Some would like to go but would need to get the cheapest possible seat, while I prefer (and am lucky enough to be able) to spring for a spot from which I can see the actors’ faces. And then there’s the coordination–doing anything with anyone in New York City requires a superhuman effort to compare calendars, and then odds are high that the plans will be rescheduled. Being busy is a key New York attribute (I’m guilty).
But honestly, the theater is the perfect place to fly solo. You’re literally forbidden to speak. You’re sitting in the dark. Many of the people there don’t even live in New York; they can’t judge you. And here’s the real bonus factor for Broadway: you can get better seats for less money. I saw Hamilton fourth row center all by myself. It was glorious.
The one sad solo moment is when the lights come up, and you want to turn to the person next to you and talk about what you just saw…but when you go see a play alone, the person next to you is talking to the person next to him. Luckily, you’re never alone on the Internet. It’s not quite the same, but it’s far better than staying at home.
And The Humans was an ideal play to watch alone because there was no one to contemplate the tears rolling down my face for the last twenty minutes or so. Truly, it’s beautiful. 95 minutes with no intermission, a single tw0-story set, a cast of six. It’s a glimpse into the life of a middle-class family on a recent Thanksgiving, coping with illness, financial difficulty, love and the loss of it, aging, work instability, religion, and the usual familial sniping that happens when everyone gathers in one room for the first time in months. It’s funny and tragic, life at its highest and lowest in just an hour and a half. The show is in the final week, but if you can, go–even if you have to go by yourself.