Sunday, November 19, 2006

1992: The NYU Days

In 1992 I moved to 3rd Avenue near St. Marks Place -- the border between the East and West Villages. It was the first time I had ever lived away from home. At first I found New York to be lonely – oddly enough the largeness of the city made it easier for one to be alone. Yet after a few weeks I quickly acclimated and met some really good friends, some of which I still maintain contact with today.

Living in New York City was an amazing experience. I loved being there. I loved school. I loved the Village and for the first time in my life I felt as if I was doing what I wanted to do.

I immersed myself into my graduate studies and got excellent grades - maintaining a 3.95 GPA. I took Acting, History of Theatre and a phenomenal Grotowski laboratory: Jerzy Grotowski was a famous playwright and director from Poland -- made famous in the film “My Dinner with Andre”. We got to meet him – his last public appearance before his death. I found graduate school challenging and invigorating.

Academically and professionally, I learnt a lot at NYU but more importantly I learnt to be myself. I was truly “out of the closet” and just living life the way I wanted. I was coming into myself.

I was dating. I met Dan, a beautiful polish guy in my program. Yet he was only after one thing so I dumped him. I then dated a nice Jewish doctor for a little bit, a movie director (they all would say they were in film) and even some crew guy from Paramount. In the spring, on a blind date, I met some guy from Marblehead, Massachusetts. New York was quite the place.

Professionally I got a couple of interesting roles. One of my favorites was portraying a deaf mute in the comedy "Little Pink Riding Hood". I had absolutely no lines -- just lots of mumbling. I loved it. I was the comedic relief of the production and got lots of praise.

Yet the more I studied Educational Theatre, the more I realized it wasn’t for me. I went into the program trying to merge my love of performing with my teaching experience but I found my desire to teach waning.

All the fun came to a crashing halt when I returned to Massachusetts the following summer. I was saddled with a hefty student loan (which I just paid off two or three years ago) and several trips back to New York to interview for an academic position which at the last minute fell through: I had applied for a university position that would have paid full tuition; had I received the job I could have justified a Ph.D., or even just an MA, in Educational Theatre but not at $20,000 a year in out of pocket tuition expenses. After all, what would I have been able to do with the degree? Get a job on Sesame Street?

In July of 1993, in Cambridge, Massachusetts I met “X”. In the fall, opting not to return to New York I moved into an apartment with him in Boston’s Fenway area. We lived there for about nine months while we saved up money to move to Seattle. I was up for a change and “X” was the perfect person to help me fulfill it.


Will said...

You lived very near to my father and step-mother, who were on 14th Street at Union Square.

I had grown up in the city (72nd Street between Broadway and West End) and lived for the weekends when a couple of hard-core arts-oriented friends and I spent Friday night, all day Saturday and as much of Sunday as possible in the theaters, opera houses, concert halls and museums of New York. It was a great way to come of age.

dbv said...

the plot thickens... good reading... i lived in ny too... park and 63rd... in the very early 80's... ahhhhh, the memories... surprisingly enough, i'm still alive... lol...

Donnie said...

I love the "serialized" sersion of your autobiography, Rick. It's like a little treat everyday. Thanks.

Sorted Lives said...

Loving the story. Back in January, I wrote something very similar about my 12-year relationship. Looking forward to more.