Simon Says

The Brooklyn Bridge

Friday night was date night, dinner and a show. Dinner was at Cyrano’s, whose smaller portions always leave room for dessert. We shared their delicious key lime pie. At the Rep, the show was Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs. This is the opening offering of this season at the Rep. This coming-of-age comedy focuses on Eugene Morris Jerome, a Polish-Jewish American teenager who experiences puberty, sexual awakening, and a search for identity as he tries to deal with his family. Set in Depression era Brooklyn, this play tells the story of one family’s struggle to make ends meet and to stay together. Included in the cast is his older brother Stanley, his parents Kate and Jack, and Kate’s sister Blanche and her two daughters, Nora and Laurie, who come to live there after their father’s death. This story is the first play of the Eugene Trilogy, the three quasi-autobiographical plays written by Simon, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound. Brighton Beach was an enjoyable show, with a strong cast and a happy ending. Well, as happy as it can be, having just escaped the Nazis. As per usual, with our season tickets near the end of the run, this show ends tomorrow.

I had to Google Map (there he goes again) Brighton Beach to find out that it is at the southern end of Brooklyn. The bridge picture is from our 2009 visit to NYC. We were in the city for the five boroughs bicycle ride. We rode through Brooklyn, but nowhere near Brighton Beach.

It turns out that both of Anne’s sisters were in NYC today. Jay and Carl flew home today, after a week’s vacation there and Jane arrived just yesterday. Jay and Carl and even Rey were in NYC, visiting Ashlan, who lives in Manhattan. During intermission, I felt that we had joined them too.

The three sisters original NYC connection dates back to their father, Harry. He grew up in the Bronx. Looking at the program last night, Anne noticed that Neil Simon is only a month older than Harry. That makes them same age contemporaries of the thirties and early forties in NYC.

Eugene, Simon’s character had two passions in life. There was baseball, by which I mean the New York Yankees. Harry is still a loyal Yankee fan. Eugene’s other passion was girls. In the play Eugene is still quite young, maybe thirteen years old. He doesn’t know much about women, but he really wants to learn more. I’ve pushed this comparison as far as I would like to and would also be politic. Except to say that they both joined the Army in the summer of 1945, but even for Eugene that is another story.

1 thought on “Simon Says

Leave a Reply