Thursday, July 19, 2007

Angel and W 40th

I had the sense to do a little research before I headed to New York for the day, to confirm the address of the office, to check what was to be had, beheld, within a few blocks' radius of it if I had a few spare minutes before meetings, or if I could sneak away at lunch, or before making haste for the airport again at day's end. Sadly, I had none of those opportunities; but I did have a 15-minute coffeebreak, a break I stretched to 20 (which, fortunately, amused my coworkers, rather than brought their disdain).

The Drama Book Shop, a mere 5 blocks away, was known (by me, what with my careful and indepth investigation techniques) to house 5 copies of Patrick Hamilton's Angel Street, otherwise known as Gaslight, though I'm confused now as to which was the original title. (Oh, right there on the copyright page, originally "under the title 'Gas Light'.") I'm delighted to say that the Drama Book Shop now has one copy less.

On my coffeebreak. I ran. I found the shop. Confused by why some plays would be shelved alphabetically by author and others by title, and against my natural impulse to 1. browse and 2. figure things out for myself, I asked at the information desk. Filed by title, this one — well, one of its titles. There it was. I grabbed a copy, and paid — just a little more than the price of a fancy coffee. Then I ran back.

Within the front matter, a copy of the program of the first performance of the play in New York announces the role of our villain is played by Vincent Price.

I'm not much for reading plays (Shakespeare included), as I feel they're meant more to be seen, experienced, rather than read. But for Patrick Hamilton I will make an exception.

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