I am not usually the sort of person who walks around with Sondheim tunes as my internal soundtrack, but I was when I left “An Encounter.” Out on the sidewalk, as I headed toward Astor Place, then down 8th Street, I couldn’t stop scanning the weekend crowds. A snatch of “Another Hundred People” played on repeat in my head: the phrase “a city of strangers,” imbued with more warmth than I’d ever heard it.
It sounds weird, and it was, but “An Encounter” left me in an altered state, keenly aware of these many people around me whom I did not know, and who seemed so alive with possibility, complexity, depth. Any one of them might have sat across from me at that table and been my stranger.
I made my way through the throngs, trying to imagine the contours of their humanity (emphasis added).