I left the Starbucks on St Paul Street just at 6:46pm, and decided to take the long way around past the Barnes & Noble and through the eastern edge of the JHU before heading back towards Charles St again. I follow Charles down to the end of Wyman Park, and then circle around that block another two times just to eat time. That’s when it suddenly struck me – I had completely forgotten where the theatre was!
I sit on a ledge on the corner of Charles and 30th Streets, and tried to figure out where it was from that. Naturally, the theatre isn’t listed on Google Maps (its address is, and you can see its exterior on Google Streetview, but the building isn’t labeled as such on the map). Obviously, this was going take some trial and error.
I got up and nearly crashed into a harried looking student in a white fraternity T-shirt carrying two packs of party cups. He trips over a gap in the sidewalk and they go flying in all directions. Naturally since I have nothing to do for the next 40 minutes or so, I help him gather as many of those cheap plastic cups as I could. He thanked me sincerely, and then made his way back down Charles again.
After about fifteen minutes of walking back and forth across from Charles through the side streets, I took a rest on a wall at Charles and 28th Streets, and just tried putting the name into my phone: “Autog-“ and instantly got “Autograph Playhouse, 9 W. 25th St, Baltimore Md.”
By the time I got to the theatre, it was already 7:43pm – 17 minutes before curtain. I bought my ticket, and a can of Cherry Coke. As soon as I enter the main lobby, they announce that the house is now officially open.
It was also the first play I’ve seen at Autograph Playhouse, a space much larger (and darker) than I expected yet the audience wasn’t seated in the ample auditorium but directly on the stage (a move that reminded me of their “friends” at Single Carrot). Getting on the stage was a bit tricky, as the one set of stairs they had for that were both tall and deep with no back and somewhat hard to see in a dark theatre – especially since they were painted black. Unfortunately my shoe momentarily got caught in the final step, and if I hadn’t been grasping the handrail. I would have tripped my way onto the stage.
I find a seat in the back (3rd) row in the first chair not “guarded” by a sheer yellow scarf. I was hot, sweaty and tired, and more than anything I needed something to drink. I open my soda, and when I go to take a drink from it, it slides out of my hand and spills all over the couple sitting next to me.
Now, I actually DO have something to fear, once intermission arrives…fortunately, it took a long time to arrive (it seemed like “three hours,” but was probably less than one).
If they hadn’t sold out, I would have changed seats, but, to my surprise, I managed to get back inside without incident (though I did nearly fall on the stairs leaving the stage). I did, however, buy a new soda (they have to make money somehow).
The play itself wasn’t bad, but I was a tad preoccupied during the first half of the show. You can read the rest of my opinions here.
Finally, after two hours and forty minutes, my “Midsummer Night’s Dream” was over, and once again I nearly tripped on the tall backless stairs leading back to the main seating area. This of course left me with a problem: how do I get back to Bolton Hill?
I’m sure I could look up where the nearest bus stop that would take me past Penn Station was, but I didn’t like the idea of waiting all alone on a darkened street in an unfamiliar neighborhood for an indefinite amount of time. I could have called a cab, but then I realized I had already walked almost 2 blocks which meant I had nearly gone halfway to the northern boundary of Station North without even realizing it.
Station North isn’t known as the safest neighborhood in the city (though it has improved greatly even since I’ve moved here), but I made it to North Avenue without any trouble. I was a bit cold, but the relatively light nighttime traffic meant crossing the end of the Howard Street easier than I anticipated.
I opened the door to the apartment, and the first thing I saw upon entering the apartment was the LED time on the microwave in the darkened kitchen. It was 12:05am, and I was dog-tired. Yes, even “criminals” need to sleep sometimes.