First things first: bars are amazing. I turned twenty-one on Thursday, and I’m not ashamed to say my life has improved exponentially over the last three days—my liver is another story. But bars are just as magical as I imagined they we’re going to be. At midnight on November 14th two of my close friends escorted me into the Silhouette, a place for free popcorn, darts, and eight dollar pitchers of High Life from the tap. As I slid into the booth, and that frothy golden liquid appeared in a vast quantity before me, I looked to my friend Chris and smiled. We were to share this moment and this beverage, creating for ourselves an age-old but nonetheless exultant event. As more of my friends arrived and gathered, I realized that there were two things bringing us together, birthday celebrations and beer. We had come together, despite the promise of 9 am class, to divulge, dance, play darts and, of course, drink.
Bars are a place to hang out, and hanging out is a time to talk. Talking with my friends day to day is a given, but talking to them over drinks is an event. When you have a drink with someone, you agree to participate in the same experience. To cheers is to journey into a new condition together. It’s communal and awesome, especially when Frankie Valli is playing and someone else is paying—which sounds a lot like my time seeing Jersey Boys with my best friend and her parents. Indeed, all events have a center point, whether it’s a birthday, a drink, or the theatre. The best events combine all three, which is why I’m counting down the minutes until the doors open for the closing night of Kristen Greenidge’s new play Splendor at the BCA tonight. By 7:15 tonight my friend Spencer and I will hopefully have our tickets in our pockets and a drink in our hands as we carry on to the fourth night of birthday celebrations.
I have heard from Ilana, the show’s dramaturg, that there is a scene towards the end of the play where everyone eats a piece of pumpkin pie. Pie is perfect because it can be divided equally and given to everyone. Pie must be shared. My mother gave me a beautiful cake for my birthday, and last night I shared it with a group of people who know me, love me, and care for me with fantastic intensity. They are also the people I make theater with. We have trained together for the last two and a half years, and have found a support system that is woven tighter and tighter as the days go by. The cake we shared together was not just a sweet treat, it was a symbol for the strength of our little community. Cake brings us together, so does pie. Birthdays are an excuse for everyone to gather and celebrate, so is theatre. These are the happiest days of my life, and they are to be shared. So the question is—who’s free for drinks?