Dear theatre friend,
Theatres and theatre companies are working frantically, figuring out how to satisfy their audience’s appetite for plays. I just spoke to Val Day, the Artistic Director of 59 e 59, about postponed companies’ archival footage and how to get it online. Stay tuned.
I just received an email from The Fisher Center at Bard— they will have a digital interactive version of Caryl Churchill’s “Mad Forest” coming up soon. I loved this highly original piece when I saw it in London– here’s the Guardian review.
Much information is available on the Broadwayworld.com website, which just published the obituary for the great, prolific playwright, Terrance McNally. Do sign up to get lots of news– however, they can’t publish everything. So, please reach out to your favorite theatres and companies, get on their mailing list, and find out if and when they might have a play we can all see online — then email me so I can share the information.
This time of enforced solitude is bringing out creativity among readers. Gifted playwright, Barbara Hammond, told me that Christine Wolf was writing beautiful poetry prior to the current reality, but she just posted “Pledge”, which I know you’ll relate to right now. I hope Barbara, despite having two small children, will send us something of her own soon!
For the writers and scholars among us, you need no longer go to the library to do research. You can get a library card at New York Public Library and have access to over a million books which have been digitized. If you are looking after out-of-school children, there are tutoring services available, too. For non-New Yorkers, get in touch with your local library to find out what books, films may be available remotely.
I’m sure many of you are busy, checking in with friends and relatives, so my pleas for you to write to me, are not at the front of your mind. But, since you’ve enjoyed reading– I now implore you to dig up a juicy tale!
Here’s one from actor and writer, William Kinsolving– an obedient reader!
“Sometime in the 60s, I was in a dreadful British drawing room comedy that would not die. It was a vehicle for the aging Claudette Colbert, who returned to Broadway for the sake of her fans. They mainly came to see how she looked– and I can say, she looked fantastic!
“The play was truly awful, however, and those of us stuck in it were eager to find life in our performance. One night, a cast member, Robert Drivas, shot me a line which wasn’t in the play. It was such a good line, it inspired my response of pithy originality. We continued for four lines, then neatly oozed back into the script. We were elated, thrilled with ourselves– we’d found a way through improvisation to get back to being alive onstage!
“We got away with this for three performances, when the stage manager asked for a chat after the curtain came down.
He said, ‘Changing a single word of a play without the playwright’s permission is illegal. Besides that, you’ll lose your Equity Card and be fired instantly from the production. Enough said?’
“The play lasted another three months, inspiring me to write my own play, for which I received a Ford Foundation Playwriting Grant. It was then produced at the Stratford Festival in Canada. After a soul killing stint writing and doctoring screenplays in Hollywood, I’m back to happily scratching out things for the theatre.”
I’ll be forced to think of other tales from my lifelong love affair with theatre and the arts if I don’t get more from you– please, please write a vignette — help to keep our connection alive for however long it takes.
And, once again, thank you for reading.
Carol Tambor publishes a monthly newsletter, which announces worthy shows coming to New York, along with occasional information about London theatre and, of course, the Edinburgh Fringe.