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Piccola Cosi, Day 13

February 4, 2010

Seeing the city through my friend Ariana Chris who lives with me when she’s not in Toronto or traveling around the world singing, I remembered even more of the magic of New York this week.  She spent much of the week singing, auditioning, coaching, and catching up with friends, some planned and some unexpected.  I too had a wonderful time this week catching up with friends, including a friend of mine from high school, a pianist who works and lives only fifty blocks away.  I’ve not seen her since I moved to the city almost three years ago and although we’ve spoken through facebook and met some mutual friends.  Tonight, we each took a subway ride on the 1 train and accidentally met together in the same car and finally caught up face to face.

Another New York moment materialized for Ariana and I both tonight when we, along with our friend Todd, attended an amazing one-woman show at the Triad Theater, a smart and charming theater on 72nd Street, just off of Broadway.  Very happily surprised to run into five of my friends from the Metropolitan Opera, we sat down in the upper mezzanine to enjoy my friend Aja Nisenson‘s show, Piccola Cosi.  Rightfully reviewed enthusiastically in Backstage and Time Out NY, Aja held nothing back and brilliantly performed a revealing and endearing account of her time spent in Italy as a twenty-one year old virgin.

Aja, I admire you.  Thank you for giving voice to the common feeling that we have when visiting a foreign country, when we give in to our childlike desire to learn a new language and try new foods and to our idealism to openly try anything we otherwise might fear trying at home.  Thank you for trying, at home,  a script that must have taken so much time and thought to write, a program involving other musicians and lighting cues, and a perceived fearlessness to do and say just about anything in front of an audience that included your peers and your closest family members.

When I first decided to attend Aja’s performance tonight, I knew it would make a perfect blog topic of someone who I admire for creating and performing something as revealing and complex as a one-woman show.  I had no idea she’d be so bold, mentioning her father in the audience perhaps twenty minutes before conjuring up the motion of a handjob with a microphone, so uncannily accurate, illustrating the thoughts that can go through a singers head while singing, or so ridiculously talented, singing her way from an operatic style to scat to gorgeous and buttery lines of jazz.  I’ve very briefly thought of trying my own show sometime but have always given myself the excuse that I don’t write well enough to pull off such a tricky task and especially not in front of an audience.  Perhaps I need to ask Aja about her experience with the process.  She clearly found a way to step out of several comfort zones and create an expressive and exciting night and journey for all of us.  Brava.

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