The Last of the Red Hot Mamas closed last Sunday night. It feels like it was a month ago. The next day, I made my way to Quincy, IL to start rehearsals for Muddy River Opera’s production of Pirates of Penzance. When we walked into the Quincy Starbucks, my friend and traveling companion remarked that we clearly weren’t in St. Louis anymore. The orders were placed slowly, the orders were taken slowly, and the orders will filled slowly. If folks moved at that pace in the Central West End, there would be annoyed comments from the peanut gallery. Let’s not even think about what would happen in New York City.
Michael Kelly, from Country Cork,
lost his sweetheart while on holiday in New York.
Last of the Red Hot Mamas, New Jewish Theatre
Photo by John Lamb
I went home for New Year’s, and on my way back up to Quincy, I listened to the fellows on Radio Lab. The story was about cities: how they live and die, and what makes them feel the way they feel. Do people make the city, or the city make the people?
They did some experiments.
They recorded the pace at which individuals from different cities delivered information: how fast they talked. And then, they recorded the pace at which individuals moved down the street: how fast they walked. Not surprisingly, people in bigger cities covered more topics and more ground in less time than those in smaller ones: the pace was faster. And apparently, we all have an internal tempo that agrees with one pace more than another. I wonder if the people who absolutely love NYC have an inherently faster internal tempo, or if they naturally adjust when they get there? And if they can’t adjust…
Regardless, I feel my internal tempo slowing down in Quincy. I don’t know if that fits into the Radio-Lab-guest-scientist theories, but it’s true. Red Hot Mamas feels like a month ago, and I’m okay with that. I’m enjoying the pace. I’m happy to enjoy the resting time before I head back to St. Louis, the city that sets my metronome a few ticks higher–but not too high–day in and day out.