POST: Brooklyn College's '40s & Chestnuts' - change is always going to come
What's it about?
A group of friends friends befriend an older lady who is having a hard time accepting the changes in the neighborhood.
What I experienced?
Walking into the theater there were two things that stood out to me- 1) it was hot and I was so confused because it felt like a summer day in the middle of spring and 2) the stage looked like two houses with stoops across from each other separated by a street. The cool thing about the set up was that I felt like I was on that stoop as well watching everything as a non participating bystander.
One of the first scenes was a group of children on a stoop and them befriending an elderly lady, who they called young lady and shared 40s (this is alcohol, lol) and chestnuts. This seemed like home to me. I grew up in Sunset Park, Brooklyn where it was the norm to see people hang out on stoops and drinking or smoking or whatever. I never had a stoop, myself, but I always thought they were so cool. The interactions between the teenagers and the older lady truly reminded me of this part of my childhood.
The biggest conflict in the play was similar to what happened in my own neighborhood -- everything was changing. Change isn't always a bad thing but in this case, it was. There was this group of people living in the house across from Young Lady who sold drugs and were up to NO good! The old lady kept snooping, and that made me so nervous!! The lady seemed so sweet and I truly didn't want anything to happen to her. The teenagers from the beginning felt the same way and I was so frustrated at her stubbornness. One of the main characters Dominic was so angry he yelled at the lady... but then he took drugs and was out of it... ok.
The interesting part was that I although I have never been on drugs before, I felt like I was tripping as Dominic was with the homeless guy Mr. Esquina because the changes in scenes were crazy. Also, when the scenes changed the characters would be dancing and having fun. I swear, I wanted to run on stage and dance with them at those moments. Until the scenes began, the serious issues, and then I was all like OH NAH, IM GOOD HERE.
So, then, we see Young Lady snooping and being taken into the house with the no good people. I was so scared. But this never went away, because we never see her again!! I swear she was murdered. Most characters said she went to a nursing home because... it wouldn't make sense, otherwise... But, why did the no good people have her cane?!? I really needed answers to feel better!
I never did get my answer because before I knew it, time passed and the neighborhood once again changed! This time, the two stoops transformed into a night club! Wait, what? How that's possible still baffles me, why people wanted to be on stoops and pay to be there.... I think if that was done in my neighborhood they would be out of business quick. Maybe. Who knows? The club was named "40s and Chestnuts", remembering the old lady and everything that happened on that very street.
The ending, to me, said that we must embrace the change and move forward. Many aspects of this show were really close to me. My neighborhood is changing now, as it had changed many years before, and I will try to embrace those changes while remembering the good from the past. Change is always going to come and although it is not easy you must remember the good memories such as the teenagers remembered the young lady.
Want to see it?
Sorry, this show is not currently showing :(
What did you experience?
Let PXP know in the comments below...