Hellooooo Readers! It’s me, coming to you live from Albany, New York! Well, on a train to Albany, New York. What brings me to Albany? A few things, actually. I’m planning on visiting a few friends while up here, as well as exploring the capital of the great state I was born in. In a recent post, you all saw that my next project coming up was called Lunar. It takes place in a small town outside of Rochester, New York. Unfortunately, I am not able to venture there this summer. I don't doubt that there are small towns near Albany. I know that it's the capital and that there are probably a few buildings, but I expect the surrounding area to be a bit suburban or rural.
My experiences in Rochester, however, have been nothing but educational and exciting. All I did was eat and go shopping. I did get to see Lake Ontario in its glory, which is one of the most invaluable moments on that trip. Rochester is home of the Garbage Plate, which is a platter of food that you would find at a barbeque. Cheeseburgers, hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni salad, french fries...and not to mention “spicy meat sauce”. You can't go to Rochester without having a Garbage Plate. One restaurant I couldn’t stop talking about was called Mad Hatter, a small luncheonette and bakery, with phenomenal food. A trip to Mad Hatter would not be complete without having a cup of tea to celebrate your "unbirthday". I beg Dennis to bring me back an ounce of tea when we come back from break. It's incredible. There's so much I haven't seen there yet, but I promise I will be back.
So why did I set Lunar in Rochester? As you will find out in the play, the protagonist Selini lives on an apple orchard with her mother. The orchard has been in the family for generations, in order to keep up appearances around town. Selini’s mother Zoe, assures Selini that her future is set for her on the orchard. Dennis, my partner, grew up in a town called Williamson, which is where the Mott’s applesauce factory is located, and they have tons of apple orchards there. He told me that he wanted to get out because the town was so small and there’s virtually nothing there for him. This sounds like something out of a movie, but I promise he isn’t the only one wanting to escape the small town woes of upstate New York. Selini wants to go to college in Manhattan, what she wants to study is yet to be determined. Selini doesn’t know she’s a werewolf, which is why Zoe wants to keep her in Rochester. Besides the elements of feminism in Lunar, it is overall a love letter to Rochester, New York.
I am very excited to arrive in Albany. It is a place I've always heard about but never been to. I didn't research or ask questions about what it's like, hence my assumptions from the first paragraph, but I'm eager to see what it has in store. The sights from the window of my train consist of the murky waters of the Hudson River and lots of trees. I'm comfortable, although the coffee I had bought earlier has gone cold and I'm not sure where the trash is located. The first time I ever took AmTrak was when I went to Rochester last summer. I had a wonderful trip going up (lots of trees!), but coming home was...well, something I hope never to experience again. I'm convinced that Penn Station at 3am is another dimension. Albany is about a two and a half hour commute from Manhattan, while Rochester is a 7 hour trip if you’re lucky. One of my lifelong dreams (if you could call it that, I’m only 21) is to discover all of New York state. I love it so much, and I feel like traveling around New York is underrated. There's so much to explore.
Part of my writing process for this play is to learn about this Small Town State of Mind, from real people I know who grew up in such a place. I did not grow up in a small town, although I had that mentality for a while. When I went to college, I met so many people from upstate New York (and learned a thing or two about what is considered "upstate"). It got me thinking about what life is like up there, and why people from big cities romanticize this idea of a small town life. What makes it so appealing? What do the people who live there, both young and old, think about it? What makes them want to escape and why do they romanticize a big city life?
I’m expected to arrive in Albany at 11:45. Hopefully. This will be continued after I’ve experienced Albany. Until then, stay tuned for more updates about my future travels!