"With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come." ― The Merchant of Venice
One of my favorite pastimes is ushering at Theatre for a New Audience's Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn. My streak of ushering at least one performance of every show mounted here continues; this weekend I ushered my fourth performance of the excellent production of The Merchant of Venice starring the incomparable John Douglas Thompson as Shylock. Anytime you can see him perform, just go. The clarity, depth, and intelligence he brings to roles is thrilling to behold.
As an usher, I'm inspirited by welcoming fellow theater lovers into a space for art as a shared, live experience. As I show them inside, I relish knowing we're all going to be transformed together, and we will not exit this building the same people we entered. We'll have new outlooks, new words and images in mind, new notions of society and humanity to consider. I see it instantly in patrons' faces when the curtain calls are done and I wish them a good night. There's a look I get over and over as people pass by me on their way out. It's a lingering look that seeks to acknowledge they've seen, heard, and felt this experience in real time with me too, these powerfully intoxicating moments.
I find so many parallels with how it feels to travel and share that joyful anticipation and shared wonder with others. The travel rebound has begun, and add to that a whole lot of people recently recovered from Omicron using their 90 days immunity as a golden ticket to travel the world with fewer restrictions. For the rest, global travel restrictions continue to end from Norway to New Zealand and along land borders like between Peru and Bolivia.
Shared experiences in art and travel expand our horizons, our understanding of what's possible, and our ability to find beauty and wonder in this wide world. Nine Muses Travel is here to reinvigorate you with extraordinary travel experiences, designed to inspire you, change you, and bring you joy again.
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