“I’d do it again you know? Us, you, me the kids, all of it. I’d do it again. I’d choose you every time.” ~ Steve Carrell as Phil Foster in “Date Night”

Saturday night The Grinch and I escaped our parental responsibilities for a few hours and embarked on an all-too-infrequent, and much-needed parenting adventure — DATE NIGHT.

It wasn’t easy. We had to find a day and time that didn’t interfere with our children’s ever-changing sports’ schedules. Then we had to find something to do that was early and entertaining enough to insure that we two “party animals” would stay awake long enough to enjoy the evening. Once that was accomplished we had to make sure we actually made it to our destination on time — easier said than done. Thing 2 and Thing 3′s Little League game went into extra innings and threatened to derail our well-thought-out plans, but The Grinch and I were determined. With a little quick shuffling and a few minor changes to our plans we still had a Date Night agenda we could live with. *In all honesty, we would have settled for sharing a bottle of cheap Lambrusco and a large sub on the public beach up the road. It had been that long since we had been out alone. But what we did was soooooo much better!

DATE NIGHT MUST-HAVE #1: Food

Our date began with a quick dinner at a local tapas restaurant. If you are from or visiting the Berkshires, I highly recommend Mission Bar & Tapas in Pittsfield. The atmosphere is cozy, and I always feel like I’m holed up in one of those cool hip NYC or Boston restaurants where the tables are so close you can practically grab the food off of your neighbor’s plates. Because this is the Berkshires, we had a little more space, but we still managed to strike up conversation with the woman at the table next to us who was dining alone and savoring a glass of wine while she wrote her sermon for a guest engagement at a local church. I hope you got it done L!

My husband and I perused the menu, making sure we didn’t order any of the things we had on our last trip there nearly a year ago (not because the food was bad, but because the date didn’t go as well as we had hoped and we didn’t want the reminder of that night to sour our evening).

We ordered drinks — a Vino Tinto (red wine) for me called Mas Petit, and a Smuttynose Porter for the Grinch — and then decided on bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese and topped with ground almonds, fried calamari in a jalapeno lime remoulade, and marinated olives for the first course.

The calamari was, well calamari, nothing too fancy but the aioli on the side was nice for dipping, and there was a slight kick from the jalapenos that I wished was a little more prominent. The olives were plentiful and a nice little snack. But the star at the table were the dates. A perfect balance of sweet and smoke from the bacon and dates, and a little tang from the cheese combined with the nutty flavor from the almonds created a small bite that just melted in your mouth. It’s what the Food Network chefs would describe as a well-balanced dish! Absolutely delectable!

With a little room left in our stomachs we each ordered another drink — The Grinch stuck with the porter and I tried the Vina Zaco — and patatas con chorizo (fried potatoes with ground Portuguese chariso, arugula and aioli ribbons). That dish was yummy, too. The three main ingredients were tossed in some sort of light tomato-y mixture, and then topped with the aioli for a bit of added flavor. Alone the ingredients were just OK, but when we made sure our bite included a little of everything, then our taste buds were rewarded with a smorgasbord of complimentary flavors.

DATE NIGHT MUST-HAVE #2: Non-sleep inducing entertainment

When I scored tickets from one of my favorite press directors, Barrington Stage Company’s own Charlie Siedenburg, to the company’s production of “Lungs,” I knew I was in for a treat. But never in my wildest dreams did I realize what an understatement that would be.

This is how the play by Duncan MacMillan was described in the press release: “In a time of global anxiety and political unrest, a young couple contemplates having a child. If they over think it, they’ll never do it. But if they rush, it could be a disaster. What will be the first to destruct – the planet or the relationship?”

Recalling our own foray into the World of Parenting …

The Grinch: “Wouldn’t it be great if we had twins?” Me: “Um, No! And please don’t be making any wishes that involve my body. OK?” …

The Grinch and I couldn’t wait to see what humorous potential parent anecdotes this play would unveil. We didn’t have to wait long to find out.

The opening scene found us smack-dab in the middle of a modern-day young couple’s first “conversation” about the possibility of the having a child. The future dad (played by Ryan King and simply known as M in the script), brings up the subject, innocently enough, while shopping (in the middle of an Ikea). That fact combined with the implications for having a child at a time when the state of the World — physically and politically — is in question, is just too much for his partner to handle. Seconds into the opening scene the character of W (played by Brooke Bloom), who to me could only be described as a combination of Sex and the City’s Charlotte York and Miranda Hobbes on crack, launches into a 15-minute frenetic monologue about the ramifications of having “the baby conversation,” and begins to let M (and the audience) in on her thoughts regarding the matter. None of which anyone could follow in its entirety, but that elicited some of the biggest belly laughs I have ever heard in a theater.

From the meaning of life and childhood visions of motherhood to the disgustingly enormous carbon footprint produced by a single child and her fear of creating a child that may look like M’s father, W covers it all, leaving everyone, including the two actors, out-of-breath and exhausted by the time she’s done.  I was instantly in love with W and “Lungs.”

Photo by Kevin Sprague: Brooke Bloom and Ryan King star in Barrington Stage Company's production of 'Lungs' playing in Pittsfield, Mass., through June 10.

The play lasted an hour and a half with no intermission, and the only indication that so much time had passed was my husband’s constant fidgeting in an attempt to get comfortable in the seat next to me. Throughout the performance the actors moved seamlessly from scene to scene, never stopping to change costumes (they remained in the same casual dress throughout the play), or switch sets (there was none), and that small detail only made the performance that much better. The acting was so believable that I could imagine the couple in the middle of a floor room full of makeshift living rooms at Ikea, cuddling in bed in their apartment and swapping massages on the couch, or  in a hospital room, M, strapped spread eagle in the stirrups.

Through the years The Grinch and I have learned how to blend our theater tastes — for him the non-musical shows must remain quick-paced and entertaining, for me fresh and relevant to the times — and “Lungs” certainly did all of that and more. Director Aaron Posner did an amazing job directing this modern, true-to-life, production for BSC’s experimental St. Germain Stage, where Artistic Director Julie Boyd continues to bring “fresh new voices” to Berkshire theater-goers.

This is definitely a must-see, especially for the 20-something to 40-something crowd! So hurry up and get your tickets because the show ends next week on June 10.

DATE NIGHT MUST-HAVE #3: Dessert

The Grinch and I wrapped up the evening with a trip to the closest dairy bar for a Heath Bar Wizzard (a spin-off of DQ’s Blizzard), for The Grinch, and a large vanilla soft-serve with chocolate sprinkles for me. Delicious!

It was the perfect date night! And we were home and in bed by 10 p.m. to boot. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Other “Lungs” reviews:
Metroland Reviews ‘Lungs’ by Duncan MacMillan at Barrington Stage
Troy Record Reviews ‘Lungs’
Berkshire On Stage Review

 



3 Comments so far

  1.    Mom/Mima on June 4, 2012 8:43 am      Reply

    Love the new set up! Can’t wait to see the logo. How did I raise a vanilla ice cream girl? Chocolate all the way!

  2.    Marie on June 4, 2012 2:37 pm      Reply

    Love that you’re a Food Critic!!!! Laughed that you’d eat a sub down the rd. at a local beach. I admire that you were in bed @ 10PM. Thanks for reminding us all how important DATE NIGHT is!!!

  3.    Kelly on June 4, 2012 4:09 pm      Reply

    Not a food critic just a girl who LOVES her food (especially any munchie, appetizer-type food!)

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  • Kelly RM

    Kelly RM

    In the midst of watching my three young kids begin to define who they were in the world, I finally took time to discover myself ... and I was surprised by what I found. If along this long winding bumpy road called parenthood you've forgotten who you are, perhaps this blog will help you find your way back.

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