Last night the MAPP staff went to the Soho Playhouse for the one night only performance of Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell, staged as a benefit for the Spalding Gray Award. We recently agreed to work with Kathie Russo and Lucy Sexton to tour the work, and hopefully to give it a second life after its off-Broadway success in 2006.
I had never seen thiswork before, and am embarrassed to say that I don’t know a lot of Spalding’s work other than Jonathan Demme’s Swimming to Cambodia. I can’t say how moving the show is any better than Ben Brantley did in his review of the Minetta Lane show in 2007, but I will say that it seems to me time to bring the work back. I can only imagine there are many more people like me out there, particularly of younger generations, who never got to see Spalding live. And while we never will be able to, I think it’s important that he lives on in live theater which provides the opportunity for “unifying accidents” which bring the audience and performers together to experience not only his pain, but also his humor and magical wonder at moments approaching perfect, at being there.
After the show there was a reception with the performers which I should have stayed for, but I found myself craving some time to let the words swim in my head. I took a walk down muggy, grimy Sixth Avenue and felt a lot of love for being here in New York.