What Vegetable Are You? or, I Have No Idea Who Killed Sister George.

Last night I had a hot date. My friend M, who I don't get to hang out with very often, asked me if I'd like to accompany her to see The Killing of Sister George, now opened at the newly-renovated Long Wharf Theatre. I am not a theater person, but, on the other hand, I am not one to turn down the offer of a night away from my four year old, so I said, "Sure!"

I wasn't fully aware of it at the time I accepted her offer, but this show is a big deal for Long Wharf for many reasons, the most glitzy being, the play is directed by, and stars, world-famous hot tomato Kathleen Turner.

M and I got to Long Wharf and it turned out that the comp tickets we thought would be awaiting us were not awaiting us. It's a long story, and not that interesting. But we were not alone: many others in the same boat also didn't get in. So, the theatre staff, clearly feeling like schmucks, and feeling bad for everyone, offered us all tickets for another performance. The staff was actually really nice, and very apologetic to us. We got our consolation prize tickets and then, of course ,the question was: Well, if we're not seeing the play, what the hell do we do now?

This question was settled by our running into Steve Scarpa. I know Steve a little: we've wasted quite a few hours chatting about nothing in particular, either standing on the street, or at the Institute Library. I think he was rather surprised to see me at the theatre: he knows I'm not that kind of girl, generally speaking. I explained that I was really M's date, just along for the ride. He said he was really sorry we hadn't been able to see the show, and urged us to have a drink and stay for the after-party. M and I considered our options (many and varied, of course -- there is no shortage of places where we could have gone to have a drink; or, we could have just called it a night and gone home, but that'd be dull). The consensus was: What the hell, we'll stick around. So, she (with her complimentary wine) and I (with my complimentary bourbon) sat down in the lobby and had a good old-fashioned chinwag, of the type we only get to have two or three times a year. It was, really, so nice to sit and talk. And in a pretty glitzy setting, without loud music blaring: not bad at all.

At the after-party, where there were tables of food awaiting us, M and I wound up in conversation with my fellow New Haven Review contributor Donald Brown (who is, of course, a real theater buff; his presence at the play was not at all surprising). Among the topics we discussed was vegetables, because we were trying to assure someone near us that the thing she was about to eat was, yes, a piece of fried eggplant -- she seemed concerned that it might be... something else. (No idea what.) The practical aspects  of vegetables taken care of, we moved on to more important questions -- specifically, one, which was: If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be? This is an awesome parlor game, by the way. M swears that years ago, she and my husband and I played this game together and that he said I was, no question, an artichoke. I don't remember this at all but I accept it easily. We decided that being an eggplant probably would be a mixed bag, since they absorb so much grease (a bad thing), but that, on the upside, they adapt to so many flavors so well.

We were wondering whether or not Donald was an ear of corn -- concluding, in the end, that he might well be  -- when Kathleen Turner arrived in the room.

It bears repeating that Ms. Turner is a hot tomato, but in light of our conversation of the moment, M reconsidered and said that she was maybe more of a red pepper. I concede that this is possible. A red pepper is one thing raw, but another thing entirely -- smokier, sexier -- when roasted. We watched Ms. Turner charm her fried-mushroom-eating and spinach-stuffed-bread-eating audience, and finally worked up our nerve to go over to her and shake her hand. We considered asking her What vegetable are you? but decided not to: Too Barbara Walters, we agreed. In the end we simply said it was nice to meet her. She was gracious and spoke to us briefly in her strange raspy voice.

But then: what else was left for us to do? Not much. What do you do once you've shaken hands with Kathleen Turner?

We said goodnight to Donald and headed out. As luck would have it, Ms. Turner did the same thing, and so we had the pleasure of watching her make her way to her car. We didn't follow them closely enough that I could tell you "and we tailed them all the way to Turner's hotel, and then we went upstairs and killed a bottle of whiskey with her -- good times. We picked up a Veggie Bomb pizza from Modern, too, because, you know, when in New Haven..." No, we're not that interesting. M drove me home, and then she drove herself home, and that was that.

A night at the theater when you don't get to see the play should be a frustrating night. Anyone would guess that. But M and I, we had a hell of a good time.