Robert Galinsky, playwright and the defacto Mayor of New York’s East Village, is a most inspiring breed of human being. Part time poet, part-time artist, part-time digital entrepreneur, part-time actor and full-time street philosopher, Galinsky gave up a comfortable life-path to live his art and activism in a way that many consciously choose to skirt. Purposefully sharing the trenches with a wide array of many who are overlooked by society, he has found a purposeful life and certainly a mission that day-by-day is reaching the masses.
It was now many years ago that Galinsky consciously chose to exit the coordinated path of the suburban white male for something deeper, riskier and certainly more meaningful. Choosing the road less travelled, Galinsky shifted his paradigm in search of truth and wisdom—the type of truth and wisdom that is born on the streets and in the communities of downtown Manhattan. It is here in the back alleys, halfway houses and in the jails mentoring incarcerated youths, that he spends time with “the best of the best, ie: those who have less and do more with it” that Galinsky finds his inspiration.
His recent one man show, “The Bench, A Homeless Love Story” brings to life an array of characters that in my opinion, everyone on some level should find relatable qualities. Characters whose humanity explored though Galinsky’s genius writing, have some of their own wisdom to impart. It is on this stage where it rapidly becomes very clear that we are witnessing the birth of an astounding character actor—one whose very life experiences shape these unique individuals with whom you are certain to fall in love. His innate understanding and empathy has been developed through a life that has been lived with these lovable and loathsome odd balls we most often ignore, laugh at and vilify.
He’s drilled down into the details of their existence and psyches, and now brilliantly brings it to life for us to understand and from which to grow. These characters are certain to teach us a bit more about ourselves and one another, and will certainly provide a megadose of compassion and empathy for all of those fortunate enough to attend a performance (The show runs every Friday night at 7pm at the East Village Playhouse in Manhattan, tickets and info, https://www.thebenchplay.com).
Others have done it before him—ones who left the comfiest confines of their ordained destinies and went in search for the truth—at any cost: Bob Dylan, Patty Smith, Bruce Springsteen, just to name a few.
The street characters portrayed by Galinsky are ones that he has lived with in his chosen community… outsider innovators, the sexually abused, the abusers, ghetto thought leaders, prostitutes, prisoners, outcasts, the homeless, mentally ill—they are his brand of reality. They are the silos he explores. “They are the disrupters.”
Like Hyman Roth, aka Meyer Lansky said to Michael Corleone in The Godfather saga…
“This is the life I have chosen.”