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2 0 0 4 - 2 0 0 5 E D U CAT I O NA L O U T R E AC H S P O N S O R S

Syracuse Stage General Operating Support In the Spotlight ($50,000 and above) Syracuse University Impresario Circle ($25,000 - 50,000) New York State Council on the Arts The Richard Mather Fund The Post-Standard Shubert Foundation Time Warner Cable Major Underwriters ($15,000 - $19,999) Onondaga County Residence Inn by Marriott

Student Matinee Program Stage Sponsor ($5,000 - $7,499) The Grapes of Wrath Student Matinee Performances Central New York Community Foundation Niagara Mohawk, a National Grid Company Stage Manager ($1,000 - $2,499) Season Student Matinee performances Bruegger’s Bagel Bakeries

2004 Children’s Tour The Great Peanut Butter Radio Hour Stage Partner ($2,500 - $4,999) Lockheed Martin Employees Federated Fund Stage Manager ($1,000 - $2,499) Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Central New York Region Business Spotlight ($500 - $999) Carrier Corporation Robert D. Willis, DDS, PC, Children’s Dentistry

2004 JPMorgan Chase Young Playwrights Festival Stage Leader ($10,000 - $14,999) JPMorgan Chase Foundation Business Patron ($100 - $299) Clippinger Law Offices, Smyrna Dirk Sonneborn

Actors in the Classroom 2005 Stage Partner ($2,500 - $4,999) Time Warner Cable

2004 Nottingham Lunchtime Lecture Series Stage Partner ($2,500 - $4,999) The Nottingham Retirement Community


Syracuse Stage Season Study Guide

Theatre and Education

5

Theatre Etiquette and Frequently Asked Questions

6

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

14

Fully Committed

20

Crimes of the Heart

28

Big River

36

Culture Clash in AmeriCCa

44

Visiting Mr. Green

51

The Grapes of Wrath

59

My Fair Lady

Ta b l e o f C o n t e n t s

4

Acknowledgements We are grateful for the many contributors to this study guide: The Alliance Theater, The Alley Theater, The Court Theater, The Guthrie Theater, San Jose Repertory Theater (for the Culture Clash section) and Joseph Whelan. - Nichole Gantshar editor

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Theatre and Education "Theatre brings life to life." — Zelda Fichandler

world. Then artists come along and discover it the same way all over again."

S y ra c u s e S t a g e

— Eudora Welty

When the first cave dweller got up to tell a story, theater began. Almost every culture has some sort of live performance tradition to tell stories. Television and film may have diminished the desire for access to theater, but they have not diminished the importance. Live theater gives each audience member an opportunity to connect with the performers in a way he or she never could with Tom Cruise or Lindsay Lohan. The emotions can be more intense because the events are happening right in front of the audience. Ultimately, there is a fundamental difference in the psychological responses aroused by electronic media and theatre because the former presents pictures of events whereas the latter performs the actual events in what amounts to the same space as that occupied by the audience. This difference results in one unique characteristic of theatre: its ability to offer intense sensory experience through the simultaneous presence of live actors and audience. "The sole substitute for an experience which we have not ourselves lived through is art and literature." -- Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn Pedagogically, theatre can be used in a variety of ways. In many respects the teacher in the classroom is much like the actor onstage - with an audience (hopefully attentive), a script (lesson plan), props and set (classroom setting and teaching tools). The environment of the teaching experience can change day to day, and can be impacted by weather, mood, outside events - in other words, each day is a unique, active, sensory occurrence, just like a play. From this perspective all of what can be taught can be taught theatrically, whether it is having young children creating a pretend bank to learn about money, to older students acting out a scene from a play. Theatre provides an opportunity to teach, and any play provides an opportunity to teach more.

Bringing your students to productions at Syracuse Stage, and utilizing this study guide in teaching about the plays, fulfills elements of the New York State core requirements. We know that as educators you are the more qualified to determine how our plays and study guides blend with your lesson plans and teaching requirements. We hope that you find lots of possibilities to cover a variety of disciplines. As you bring your students to the shows, you might want them to examine not merely the thematic elements of the written word, but also how production elements explore these themes. Everything you see on this stage has been created specifically for this production - there are no standard sets for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, no codified method for presenting Big River, no rules for costuming Grapes of Wrath. How, for example, will we represent the mighty Mississippi in Big River? How will the costumes differentiate between characters? Our designers meet with our directors months before rehearsals start, and shows are built to their specifications, which are in line with their vision of the work. In our detailed study guides for our school shows, we will try to give you some previews of this process, but you might want to explore discussing all of the design elements with your students as a way of opening the door to the production they will be seeing. You probably know all of the elements that make up a show, but to recap: Sets Props Choreography

Costumes Sound Music

Lights Painting Casting

And of course, the one thing that is vitally necessary for any piece to be theatre: AN AUDIENCE Without this last, most important element, the theatre ceases to be. Welcome to Syracuse Stage's Educational Outreach Programs.

"Children, like animals, use all their senses to discover the

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4


Questions and Answers and theatre etiquette as well...

When should we arrive? We recommend you arrive at the theatre at least 30 minutes prior to the performance. Student matinees begin promptly at 10:30 am - we do not hold the curtain. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of the Management. Where do we get off the bus? Busses not staying should load and unload on East Genesee Street. Bus parking is available along East Genesee Street at the bagged meters. Parking at bagged meters is for busses only cars will be ticketed. Please do not park in the Centro Bus Stop. You may exit the bus, but have your group stay together in the lobby. Where do we sit? Will we have tickets? There are no tickets - ushers will direct you to the seats. Students will be asked to fill in the rows and not move around once seated. We request that teachers and chaperones distribute themselves throughout the students and not sit together. Remember, we have to seat 500 people as quickly as possible, so your help in seating is greatly appreciated. What can be brought into the auditorium? We do not allow backpacks, cameras, walkmans, recording devices, food or chewing gum. We do not have storage facilities for these items so it is best if these are left at school or on the bus. May we take pictures? Taking photographs or recording the performance is illegal, disruptive to other audience members and dangerous to the actors. All cam-

Is there someplace we can snack or eat? When possible, soda and snacks will be available for sale during intermission, at a cost of $1.00 (exact change appreciated.) Food is not allowed in the auditorium. Where are the restrooms? There are restrooms in the main lobby. We ask that students use the facilities before the show and during intermission only and not get up during the show.

What is the audience’s role? A performance needs an audience. It is as much a part of the theater event as our actors, our designers, our technician and crew. Each playwright asks you to come into the world he or she has created - but this world is different than television or movies. The actors need your responses - your laughter, your applause - but as you can imagine such things as conversations, cell phones, beepers and other distractions will disrupt the world that is being created. If any student becomes disruptive to the point of interference with the performers or other audience members, a chaperon will be asked to remove that student. If you play your part well, the actors can play their parts well and you both will enjoy the show!

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S y ra c u s e S t a g e

T

eachers: please speak with your students about the role of the audience in watching a live performance. Following are answers to some commonly asked questions that you might want to share with your students, and some helpful suggestions to make the day more enjoyable.

eras and recording devices are prohibited and will be confiscated.


James A. Clark Producing Director

Robert Moss

Marcus Cato

Paul Whitworth

Artistic Director

Managing Director

Artistic Director

PRESENT

EDWARD ALBEE’S Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? DIRECTED BY

Michael Donald Edwards

SCENIC DESIGN

COSTUME DESIGN

Scott Bradley

David Zinn

LIGHTING DESIGN

SOUND DESIGN

RESIDENT STAGE MANAGER

David Lee Cuthbert

Jonathan Herter

Stuart Plymesser

CASTING

Mungioli Theatricals, Inc.

SEASON SPONSORS

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6


A Troubled World Who’s Who in Virginia Woolf

Albee wrote that Martha is “a large, boisterous woman.” He hints that Martha’s father abandoned her emotionally, she constantly wants approval. She is a flawed, complex person who feels trapped by her circumstances. Albee named George and Martha for the nation’s first couple. He wanted to mirror George and Martha’s encountering of a world of shattered ideals to be reflective of what he saw as America’s shattered ideals in the early 1960s. Keeping with his theme, Albee named Nick after Nikita Krushchev, the Soviet premier who was President Kennedy’s rival. Although he appears wholesome and sympathetic, we soon discover Nick is coldly calculating and blindly ambitious. The revelation that he is impotent is a larger statement that Albee makes about the “new generation” that Nick represents. Honey appears to be a sheltered young woman with very little substance. Albee doesn’t even let us know her real name. Her childless relationship with Nick exists as a counterpoint to George and Martha. Honey’s need for motherhood is so great she suffers from a hysterical pregnancy, a psychological condition that mimics pregnancy.

Plot Summary The play examines the intense and troubled marriage of a university couple, George and Martha. The play begins as they return from a party hosted by Martha's father, the president of the university. Though it's now early the next morning, Martha has invited Nick and Honey over for drinks. "Daddy said to be nice to them." But the couple is anything but nice. George and Martha fight and then turn against the other couple. Their bitter words embarrass and fascinate Nick and Honey as George and Martha share some dark secrets. The play examines the human capacity for denial and fantasy. The characters challenge reality as Albee invokes ritual and game playing to tell his characters' story.

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Vi r g i n i a Wo o l f

W

hen we first meet George we can see that he doesn’t control his world. His wife has invited a couple over for drinks and not told him. Already, the audience knows George must compete with his father-in-law for influence with his wife. At first, it seems as if Martha “wears the pants in the family,” but as the insults start flying he shows he can verbally wrestle with anyone.


Edward Albee

Vi r g i n i a Wo o l f

E

dward Albee was adopted as an infant by Reed Albee, the son of Edward Franklin Albee, a powerful American Vaudeville producer. Brought up in an atmosphere of great affluence, he rebelled against the Larchmont, New York social scene. A young Albee irritated his mother by associating with artists and intellectuals.

At the age of 20, Albee moved to New York's Greenwich Village where he held a variety of odd jobs including office boy, record salesman, and messenger for Western Union before finally hitting it big with his 1959 play, The Zoo Story. Originally produced in Berlin where it shared the bill with Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, The Zoo Story told the story of a drifter who acts out his own murder with the unwitting aid of an upper-middle-class editor. Along with other early works such as The Sandbox (1959) and The American Dream (1960), The Zoo Story effectively gave birth to American absurdist drama. Albee was hailed as the leader of a new theatrical movement and labeled as the successor to Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, and Eugene O'Neill. He is, however, probably more closely related to such European playwrights as Beckett and Harold Pinter. Although they may seem at first glance to be realistic, the surreal nature of Albee's plays is

never far from the surface. In A Delicate Balance (1966), for example, Harry and Edna carry a mysterious psychic plague into their best friends' living room, and George and Martha's child in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962) turns out to be nothing more than a figment of their combined imagination, a pawn invented for use in their twisted, psychological games. In Three Tall Women (1994), separate characters on stage in the first act turn out to be, in the second act, the same character at different stages of her life. Albee describes his work as "an examination of the American Scene, an attack on the substitution of artificial for real values in our society, a condemnation of complacency, cruelty, and emasculation and vacuity, a stand against the fiction that everything in this slipping land of ours is peachykeen." Although he suffered through a decade of plays without a commercial hit in the 1980's, Albee experienced a stunning success with Three Tall Women (1994) which won him his third Pulitzer Prize. He wrote Fragments in 1993, The Play About the Baby in 2001 and The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? in 2002, which was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer and won the 2002 Tony Award for best play. He just revived Zoo Story for Hartford Stage in Connecticut and added a prequel, Homelife, to explore one of Zoo’s characters.

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A Glance at a Career Edward Albee’s plays Awards Tony Awards 1962 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 2002 The Goat Pulitzer Prize 1966 A Delicate Balance 1974 Seascape 1991 Three Tall Women 1980 Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters 1996 Kennedy Center Honors and National Medal of Arts

The Play’s Debut Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? premiered on Broadway in 1962. It was so unconventional that the producers were concerned about its potential to make money. They briefly considered having two simultaneous productions on Broadway and Off-Broadway, but this idea was scrapped. The play surprised its producers by becoming a box-office hit and making a hefty profit. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was turned into a film in 1966 starring then real-life husband and wife, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Taylor and Sandy Dennis, who played Honey, both won Academy Awards for their performances. The movie was the film debut of Mike Nichols, who went on to be one of America’s greatest film directors with classics such as The Graduate, Primary Colors and Angels in America. Since the play’s 1962 debut, it has had numerous regional productions at theaters such as the Guthrie, featuring Patrick Stewart and Mercedes Ruehl. Albee himself directed a Broadway revival in 1976.

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Vi r g i n i a Wo o l f

The Zoo Story (1958) The Death of Bessie Smith (1959) The Sandbox (l959) Fam and Yam (1959) The American Dream (1960) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961-62) Tiny Alice (1964) A Delicate Balance (1966) Box and Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse Tung (1968) All Over (1971) Seascape (1974) Listening (1975) Counting the Ways (l976) The Lady From Dubuque (1977-78) Another Part of the Zoo (1981) The Man Who Had Three Arms (1981-82) Finding the Sun (1982-83) Marriage Play (1987) Three Tall Women (1994) Fragments (1993) The Lorca Plays (1995) The Play About the Baby (2001) The Goat - or - Who Is Sylvia? (2002) The Occupant (2002)


Moments in History

Vi r g i n i a Wo o l f

The world

Albee’s life

1928 - Herbert Hoover is elected President of the United States. - Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando is published.

1928 - Edward Albee is born in Washington, D.C. His family’s wealth remains intact during the Great Depression

1936 - The Spanish Civil War begins.

1936 - He begins writing poetry

1940 - World War II intensifies.

1940 - When he is not promoted from the seventh grade, he is sent to a boarding school. He fails many classes, although he participates in the theater program, writes poetry and a play, Aliqueen.

1944 - Jean Paul Sartre’s No Exit opens.

1944 - After two more dismissals, he attends Choate, a prestigious prep school where he thrives.

1945 - Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie opens.

1945 - Albee’s first professionally published work, a poem Eighteen, appears in a literary magazine.

1947 - India gains its independence. William’s A Streetcar Named Desire opens.

1947 - He is dismissed from Trinity College.

1953 - DNA is discovered. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible opens.

1953 - He meets Thornton Wilder, playwright of Our Town, and shows him some of his poems. Wilder asks Albee to consider writing plays. He writes a short play in verse, The Making of a Saint and dedicates it to Wilder.

1957 - Samuel Beckett’s Endgame opens.

1957 - Albee sees a production of Jean Genet’s Deathwatch.

1958 - The drug Thalidomide causes 7,000 babies to be born with severe birth defects.

1958 - He writes a play, The Dispossessed. - He writes The Zoo Story.

1959 - Castro takes over Cuba.

1959 - The Zoo Story is produced on a double bill in German with Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape. - Albee writes The American Dream and The Sandbox.

1960 - Civil rights demonstrations in the U.S. south protest racial segregation. - Alfred Hitchock directs Psycho. - Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros opens.

1960 - The Zoo Story is produced in the United States at the Provincetown Playhouse - Albee begins work on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? but titles it The Exorcism. 1961 - He completes Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

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Time Capsule Snapshots of 1962

W

Pat Brown defeats Richard Nixon in California gubernatorial race

ho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opened on Broadway on October 13, 1962. The play is set on the campus of New Carthage, a small New England college. Here's some of what was going on beyond the campus.

Johnny Carson replaces Jack Parr as host of the Tonight Show Nobel Prizes Literature: John Steinbeck Peace: Linus Pauling Physiology or Medicine: James D. Watson, Maurice H.F. Wilkins, and Francis H.C. Crick for determining the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

France transfers sovereignty to the new republic of Algeria. The transfer sparks terrorism in both Algeria and France.

Grammy Awards Record of the Year: "Moon River," Henry Mancini

Pope John XXIII opens the Second Vatican Council. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy permits the liturgy to be conducted in vernacular language instead of Latin. John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth. James Meredith becomes first African-American to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett tries to bar his admission. Angry whites riot, causing three deaths and numerous injuries. 15,000 U.S. military advisers in Vietnam. President John F. Kennedy defends the U.S. role in Southeast Asia saying that the troops are "not combat troops in the generally understood sense of the word." Mariner II reaches Venus. The first interplanetary probe sends back photos of the cloud-shrouded planet. Telstar Communications satellite launched, making it possibly the first live transatlantic television broadcast.

Album of the Year: “Judy at Carnegie Hall,� Judy Garland Academy Awards Best Picture: West Side Story Tony Awards Best Play: A Man for All Seasons Best Musical: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement Humor: The Bob Newhart Show Major films: Lawrence of Arabia, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Manchurian Candidate Books: Another Country (James Baldwin), In the Clearing (Robert Frost), The Tin Drum (Gunter Grass), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Ken Kesey), The Colossus and Other Poems (Sylvia Plath).

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Vi r g i n i a Wo o l f

For one week the world seems on the brink of nuclear war as the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. square-off over Soviet intermediate-range missiles in Cuba.

Peter Fechter is the first person killed in an attempt to flee East Berlin over the Wall.


Questions for Discussion Can you sense the influence of other artists and events on Edward Albee’s writing? What influence has his work had on the development of this century’s theater and on the shaping of American identity?

Vi r g i n i a Wo o l f

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was written and set in the United States in the early 1960s. What political and social circumstances define this time period? How does the play reflect and comment upon this social and historical context? Give examples from the script. What makes this play relevant? Albee called early drafts of his play The Exorcism. What does this alternate title suggest about the events of the story? How do the humor and the serious edge of the play mix and to what effect? Consider the "sense of humor" displayed by George and Martha. What do they seem to find funny? What is meant when their characters talk about "taking a joke?" What do you find funny in the dialogue, personalities and situations of the play? Find examples from the script which illustrate Albee’s facility with language in this play. Notice the rhythms of speech, the patterns of exchange, the levels of meaning, the wit, the allusions, the musical structure. Discuss the tortured relationships portrayed in this play. Do these individuals love one another? What do you think holds these characters together? What do these relationships suggest about relationships in society?

The dramatist is always commenting on people, and the problem is to comment effectively and make art out of it. You’re making a critical comment when you create the life of somebody. You can only make propaganda out of it if you think somebody is entirely bad, entirely good. You must expose both attributes. A character totally unworthy of sympathy or love would be totally unworthy of attention - the author’s attention or the audiences.

Discuss the idea that it is difficult to determine which of the characters’ stories about themselves and each other is true? How important is it that the truth about the characters’ pasts is clear?

— Edward Albee address at the Overseas Press Club 1965

Discuss the games that George and Martha play: Humiliate the Host, Hump the Hostess, Get the Guests and Bringing up Baby. How do these games organize the action of the play? How does each game propel the action? Discuss the catalysts for the conflict between George and Martha: the alcohol, the presence of Nick and Honey, the lateness of the evening, the events of the faculty party. Can you identify other catalysts? How and why does the presence of these factors contribute to the conflict? Why for instance, do George and Martha seem to need witnesses? In what way do the characters of Nick and Honey parallel the presence of the audience in the theater?

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More to Read BOOKS Bigsby, C.W.E., editor. Edward Albee: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Incorporated, 1975. Bloom, Harold, editor. Edward Albee: Modern Critical Views. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.

Kolin, Philip C., editor. Conversations with Edward Albee. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi,1988. Roudané, Matthew C. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Necessary Fictions, Terrifying Realities. Twayne Masterwork Series. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1990.

WEB SITES www.nytimes.com/books/99/08/15/specials/albee.html www.educeth.ethz.ch/english/readinglist/albeee/ www.bedfordstmartins.com/litlinks /drama/albee.htm www.curtainup.com/albee.html www.mantex.co.uk/ou/a319/woolf-00.htm

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Vi r g i n i a Wo o l f

Gussow, Mel, Edward Albee: A Singular Journey. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999.


James A. Clark

Robert Moss

Producing Director

Artistic Director

PRESENTS

Fully Committed BY

Becky Mode

DIRECTED BY

Michael Donald Edwards SCENIC DESIGN

COSTUME DESIGN

Alex Koziara

Gretchen Darrow-Crotty

LIGHTING DESIGN

SOUND DESIGN

STAGE MANAGER

Cory Pattak

Jonathan Herter

Ryan Raduechel

SEASON SPONSORS

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14


A Crazy World Who’s who in Fully Committed

T

Chef: A world-class narcissist.

Midwest.

Curtis: Sam’s agent’s assistant.

Mrs. Vandevere: an old-moneyed Park Avenue socialite, on all the right social calendars and terminally dissatisfied.

Dominick Veccini: a low-level mobster.

The Sheik’s right-hand man

Mrs. Sebag: always on the verge of hysteria.

he performer plays 40 different characters, including the reservationist, the chef, the maitre d’, and all the various customers. They are:

Sam’s dad:

a retired auto mechanic from the

Midwest.

Sam: a 20 something out-of-work actor from the

Mrs. Winslow: the fine upstanding wife of a Southern executive.

Jean-Claude: The French maitre d’.

Hector: A macho line cook. Mrs. Buxbaum: a reservationist’s worst nightmare.

Bryce: Supermodel Naomi Campbell’s personal assistant.

Plot Summary

A Midwestern Secretary Carolann Rosenstein-Fishburn: the ultimate restaurant regular. An iron-willed, nouveau-riche, helmet-haired socialite.

Stephanie: the sweet-tempered British luncheon hostess.

Oscar: the restaurant’s 52-year-old Lebanese business manager. Mrs. Watanabe: a painfully soft-spoken Japanese tourist.

Bob: The self-important, condescending reservations manager.

Starting out as Sam, the stressed, outof-work actor-cum-reservations clerk at the city's hottest four-star restaurant, the actor portrays not only the eatery's staff (including the head chef, described by the New York Times as "Hannibal Lechter in kitchen whites"), but also a series of outrageous guests clamoring for a table. These patrons run the gamut from killer Mafiosi and rich old ladies to supermodels and Wall Street tycoons.

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F u l ly C o m m i t t e d

Jerry Miller: an old acting schoolmate of Sam.


A Cast of Dozens Continued Judith Rush: a retired furniture dealer with delu-

Setting:

S y ra c u s S t a g e F u l ly C o m m i t t e d

sions of grandeur.

Steven: Sam’s perfect older brother. Gloria Hathaway: food critic. Nancy: Bob’s girlfriend. Rick: He works for Carson Aviation. Mr. Inoue: A Japanese businessman. Dr. Ruth Westheimer: A famous sex therapist.

Others: Depressed secretary, Laryngitis guy Paramount lady, Jean-Claude’s wife, Smarmy guy, various voices and operators.

A dilapidated, windowless office in the basement of a four-star multiple-award winning, ridiculously trendy Upper East Side Manhattan restaurant. The ceiling seems as though its about to cave in, and occasionally little pieces of insulation drift into what might be called the reservation department, which is actually a long, skinny Formica counter top and three folding chairs crammed into a four-foot by six-foot nook. The walls may contain little pieces of paper which contain valuable information such as the daily reservations counts, others of which issue ominous sounding warnings from the powers that be. One in particular reads: “Under no circumstances take reservations for Ned Finlay, per chef!!!”

Time: Early December

We wanted to know how close table 17 is to the lighting sconce. ... When Naomi was in last time, she found the lighting a little harsh, so if table 17 is too close to the sconce, rather than change tables, what she’d like to do is change bulbs from whatever it is you’re using to something a little softer, which we would be more than happy to supply ... I’ll send my assistant over, and she’ll take care of it. - Bryce, Supermodel Naomi Campbell’s assistant, from Fully Committed

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16


What Was She Thinking Meet Becky Mode An interview with playwright Becky Mode Interviewed by Joseph Whelan, Director of Publications JW: How do you know so much about restaurants?

JW: Are the people in the play based on real customers, or clients as they call them? BM: I actually once called the place where I use to take reservations and they told me they were "fully committed." But no, they're not exactly based on real people. The story of how the play came into being was that I was working with my dear friend Mark Setlock at the old Bouley. He actually got me the job handling the phones. There was such a volume of calls there that we had three people who would answer the phones all day and all night just to take reservations. ... Mark was

Becky Mode Actress Staff writer

Party Girl The Cosby Show Welcome to Brooklyn Fully Committed

Playwright

JW: And it grew from there? BM: Mark could do these spot on imitations, and we had one of the moments when we were out to dinner-I can still remember the place in the East Village-and he was complaining about his career. I said you ought to do a show with all these characters. Do a one- man show and you play all the characters and have the phones and everything. ... JW: So how many categories did you have? BM: I don't remember. I'm sure somewhere in my archives I have the first round. I know it included some of those I just mentioned, maybe ten or twelve to start. But then we also started thinking about some of the characters in the restaurant: there's always the chef, there always the French maitre d', and food critics. We started picking apart the various people that would be there. So from this core of ten or twelve, it just ballooned. Then we explored Sam and his journey and the people in his life, his family and friends. ... JW: You mention this area (Central New York) in the play. BM There is a character in the play from Herkimer and she is based on my grandmother who lived there. My aunt went to Syracuse University and we would visit on occasion. So yes, I have a special fondness for central New York and mostly because of old Judith Rush, my grandmother.

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F u l ly C o m m i t t e d

BM: From years of indentured servitude. I came to New York to be an actor and that was my day job. I did a lot of waitressing. But I also did coat check and hostessing. The inspiration for this show came from working the phones and coat check at The Old Bouley in Manhattan. I felt like I was privy to this universe and I had a perspective that was unusual and interesting.

very good vocally. So to amuse ourselves, we would joke about the types of people who called and imitate them. ... It even got to the point where we would make a list and we would refer to the list while on the phones-you know, "depressive from the suburbs."


Dozens of Faces F u l ly C Soymra mci ut tseSdt a g e

Meet Frank Fiumano

F

rank Fiumano (Sam) Frank's theatrical career has spanned over four decades. His first venture on the boards was in 1962 in the Pompeiian Players production of Bells Are Ringing. Since that time, he's acted or directed for The Talent Company, Salt City Center for the Performing Arts, Opening Night Productions, Shattuck-Nye Productions, S.U. Drama, Landmark Theatre Wing, Rex Henriot & Co., Syracuse Musical Theatres, the The National Tour of Bye, Bye Birdie and so much more. JW: Have you ever done a one-man show?

FF: Never. When Michael Edwards called me he said he had seen me in Pageant and that he liked how I was at ease with the audience and how I worked with them. He asked me if I'd ever heard of a show called Fully Committed and said it was a one-man show. So I said, "Well who else is in it?" He chuckled and I figured he was thinking, "Oh, maybe I'm making a mistake." But I had the audition and here we are. But no, I've never done a one-man show.

JW: We've been talking about Fully Committed as a show about the day from hell in the job from hell. What's your worst job experience?

JW: How will you begin to work on so many different characters? FF: Well before Michael left for Australia in May, we spoke and met a number of times. I had some ideas about who these people were and he agreed with about 95% of what I was thinking. Then he gave me a sense of the kind of people they are and their intentions and I've been working on that. You know, some of them are based on people I know. Some of them are based on people in a movie or someone you might encounter at a restaurant or overheard talking, and a lot of them certainly come from Michael. JW: So these are people you observed? FF: Yes, but not all them. For example there's one character named Judith Rush. She's 84 years old and she's retired. She was a vice-president of a furniture company in Herkimer, New York. And she kills me. I decided on her voice, and Michael and I worked on it, and he thought it was perfect. She maybe has a touch of Parkinson's and it comes through in the voice. She really came out of nowhere. This is who she is. All of the characters have an attitude. Some of them are nasty, but it's still funny. A lot of the humor comes from how Sam, who is the central character, reacts to them.

Photo by James Scherzi Photography

FF: When I was in college, there was a local produce company that is not in business any longer. They sold apples to big grocery stores. I worked there for a week in this cold warehouse on the north side of Syracuse. I was probably 17 or 18, and all I did was pack apples in

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18


Meet Frank Fiumano continued was the worst job I ever had. JW: Has anything in particular struck you about Fully Committed as you've read the script? FF: Well, you know what's funny is that I've realized that I've actually said some of the things that are in the play. Some of the things Sam says, but also some of the nasty things the other characters say and with the same attitude. Particularly when something goes wrong or I've complained about something. It was like a reality check. This is what you sound like. When you're yelling at someone, this is what you sound like. JW: If you could eat in any restaurant that you know, where would it be? FF: There's a restaurant in New York . . .

Questions for Discussion Reality television has shown us the inner workings of a restaurant. Discuss the different intentions behind the concepts of reality television and this play. Both intend to portray flamboyant characters, tell an entertaining story - but the two projects are quite different. Even if yout students didn’t see The Restaurant on television, you can compare and contrast the differences between entertainment-reality and theater entertainment. Why would Becky Mode chose to have only one actor on stage? What are the benefits and liabilities that result from this choice? Discuss all the ways the play would be different if there were dozens of actors in the show. How does Sam change character? Discuss what tools the actor used - props, posture, accents - to change character. How does he make the character changes believable? Have your students pick two characters and write a 5-minute dialogue for each. Have them consider: what type of language will the character use to set him/herself apart? How does the type of language convey the character’s personality? Syracuse Stage is producing this show in a smaller space than the Archbold theater. Why do you think the theater made this choice? How can the size of the theater change the way you (the audience) perceive the play? Do you like the smaller theater or not like it?

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F u l ly C o m m i t t e d

plastic bags. I thought I'd go out of my mind, and I thought I better do well in college because I never want to do this again. It was horrible. The warehouse was about 45 degrees. I had two old Italian ladies on either side of me-they probably weren't that old, but to a 17year-old they seemed like they were 102. They didn't speak a word of English, and they certainly didn't like this young kid who was faster than they were. I remember going home after about three days and saying to my mother that I'd rather dig ditches. I'd eat my lunch alone in a corner. These trucks would come and dump apples in these huge bins. You had a lever like an old coal chute and you'd pull the lever and twenty apples, or whatever the count was supposed to be, would come out. You'd put them in bags, and this was before twist-ties, so you had these copper staples. Well, you had gloves because it was so cold, so do you know how many times I stapled my glove to the bag? That


James A. Clark

Robert Moss

Producing Director

Artistic Director

PRESENTS

Crimes of the Heart BY

Beth Henley DIRECTED BY

Robert Moss SCENIC DESIGN

COSTUME DESIGN

David Birn

Junghyun Georgia Lee

LIGHTING DESIGN

SOUND DESIGN

STAGE MANAGER

Steve Ten Eyck

Jonathan Herter

Maria Cameron

SEASON SPONSORS

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20


Unsensible Sisters Who’s Who in Crimes of the Heart

Middle sister Meg reunites with her now married old flame, Doc Porter, whom she lured to ride out Hurricane Camille, but abandoned after he sustained injuries. We learn that Meg is the sister who discovered Mamma when she hanged herself in the basement along with the family cat. Tortured by this for years, Meg displayed a talent for singing at a young age and was pressured into seeking a career in music by Old Granddaddy. She has a tremendous capacity for fantasy.

Babe’s young attorney, Barnette Lloyd, reveals to the sisters that Babe had been the frequent victim of abuse from her husband, Zachery. When faced with the choice between publicly humiliating Zachery and serving Babe’s case , he is forced to give up a life-long vendetta against Zachery, who Barnett believes ruined his father’s life. At the start of the play, Lenny is trying to have a private celebration of her 30th birthday. She also receives the news that Billy Boy, her cherished pet horse since childhood has been struck dead. Lenny has a tremendous capacity for self-denial. She’s been the responsibile, proper lady for so long, she’s forgotten how to be happy.

Plot Summary The three central characters in the play are the Magrath sisters: Lenny, the eldest, unmarried and desperate at age 30; Meg, just back from a futile attempt to land a singing career in Los Angeles; and Babe, the youngest, trapped in a bad marriage and suffering from depression. The play opens with the news that Babe has shot her well-to-do husband because, as she puts it, “I didn’t like his looks.” The event reunites the three at their family home in Mississippi. Babe’s attorney, Barnette Lloyd, reveals to the sisters that Babe was a victim of domestic violence. The sisters encounter old flames, vendettas and family secrets as they try to find a measure of peace - a moment of happiness. Babe will still have to go to court, but the sisters do resolve issues close to their hearts.

Chick is the sisters’ cousin. Her name may be Chick, but she’s the lead hen in Lenny’s world. Lenny lives for her approval.

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Crimes of the Heart

B

abe is the protected youngest sister. For years she’s endured a bad marriage, but she’s learned to repress the bad and pretend that life is good. The attempted murder that starts the play may be the first bold move she’s made in her adult life.


Crimes of the Heart

Beth Henley

B

eth Henley was born Elizabeth Becker Henley May 8, 1952, in Jackson, Mississippi, the daughter of an attorney and an actress. Early on she dreamed of becoming an actress, and to that end she earned a B.F.A. at Southern Methodist University in 1974. While at SMU, she wrote her first play, the oneact Am I Blue. In 1976, she moved to Los Angeles to live with actor/director Stephen Tobolowsky, with whom she would later collaborate on the screenplay True Stories. Henley followed the success of Crimes of the Heart with The Miss Firecracker Contest, in which a socially outcast woman, Carnell Scott, wishes to improve her standing in her small southern town and decides the best way to do so would be to win the “Miss Firecracker” beauty contest. First produced onstage in Los Angeles in 1980, the play would likewise be adapted into a Hollywood film, starring Holly Hunter, with a screenplay by Henley.

Broadway; The Debutante Ball, first produced in Costa Mesa, California, in 1985; The Lucky Spot (1987); and Abundance (1989). More recent plays include Signature, Control Freaks, and LPlay. Her most recent play, Impossible Marriage, debuted off-Broadway in 1998. Written while Henley was pregnant with her first child, the play is set in Savannah, Georgia, and tells of a young bride named Pandora whose upcoming wedding is opposed by nearly every other character, including her older, very pregnant sister, Floral. In addition to playwriting, Henley has written several television and movie screenplays, including Survival Guides with Budge Threlkeld for PBS (1985), the film Nobody’s Fool (1986), and Gary Friedman, Los Angeles Times True Stories, on which she collaborated with Steven Trobolowsky and David Byrne, the lead singer of the rock group Talking Heads who directed and starred in the film. Today, Henley lives in California with her son, Patrick.

Other plays by Henley include The Wake of Jamey Foster, produced first in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1982 and later that year on

John D. Padgett The University of Mississippi

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A Glance at a Career Beth Henley’s work Plays

Awards

Am I Blue, 1982 Crimes of the Heart, 1982 The Wake of Jamey Foster, 1983 The Miss Firecracker Contest, 1985 The Lucky Spot, 1986 Abundance, 1989 The Debutante Ball, 1991 Control Freaks, 1992 Signature, 1995 L-Play, 1996. Impossible Marriage, 1998 Family Week, 2000

Crimes of the Heart won:

The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best new American play, 1981

Motion Pictures:

The Pulitzer Prize for drama, also in 1981

Crimes of the Heart, 1986 Nobody’s Fool, 1986 True Stories, 1986 Miss Firecracker, 1989 Come West with Me, 1998

Henley also received a Tony Award nomination for best play and, five years later, an Academy Award nomination for best adapted screenplay

Crimes of the Heart onstage Louisville, Kentucky: Actors Theatre, 1979. New York (Broadway): John Golden Theatre, 1981. New Orleans: Southern Repertory Theater, 1989. Boston: Nickerson Theater, 1990. Denver: Littleton Town Hall Arts Center, 1991. New York: Second Stage Theater, April 2001. Starring Amy Ryan, Mary Catherine Garrison, and Enid Graham; directed by Garry Hynes

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Crimes of the Heart

The Great American Play Contest sponsored by the Actors Theatre of Louisville


Moment in Time Crimes of the Heart

Hurricane Camille - 1969

H

urricane Camille is a benchmark in the American hurricane experience. Although Camille hit an area that had a relatively small population, the region’s devastation left a lasting memory of a hurricane’s awesome power. At the time, Hurricane Camille was the most intense storm of any kind to ever strike mainland America in modern history. To put Hurricane Camille in scientific perspective, the storm represents bad luck more than any meteorological extreme. Although rare, several other category 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic, and supertyphoons in the Pacific, have been as intense. The big difference however, was Camille made landfall when at this rare intensity. The resulting property damage was so complete, that sections of the Mississippi coast seemed to vanish. Camille was detected by satellite on August 14, 1969, as a tropical disturbance moving west in the Caribbean Sea. Two days later, Camille was barely moving, but was intensifying rapidly with winds near 150 mph. Not since 1947, had a storm of this intensity threatened the central Gulf. By late in the afternoon on the 16th, an estimated 200,000 persons fled the central Gulf coast, while 50 civil defense shelters were opened. The next morning, historic conditions now existed in the tightly knotted vortex of Camille. The aircraft had measured a barometric pressure of 905 mb (26.73). This was one of the lowest barometric pressure readings ever measured by aircraft up to that time. Sustained winds had increased to 190 mph. Camille was estimated to make landfall along the coast around midnight. As Camille marched toward the Mississippi coast in

darkness, brick by brick, civilization from near Ansley to Biloxi, was erased. Homes, motels, apartments, restaurants, and other buildings were swept off their foundations, and deposited in mountains of rubble together with trees and automobiles. The local effect resembled an atomic bombing. Camille's 200 mph wind gusts and 25 foot storm surge, destroyed 100 years of growth and progress along the Mississippi coast in only three hours. Survivors near the eye reported a deafening roar of wind, that was by itself truly terrifying, often compared to speeding freight train. Although the damage in all of Photo courtesy of Chauncey Hinman southern Mississippi http://www.maritimemuseum.org/camille/ was appalling, within about 1/2 mile from the ocean, most of the structures seemed to have just vanished. Only footings and slabs remained. Even plumbing systems had been removed (W.Guice 1970). Hurricane Camille produced the highest hurricane tidal surge ever recorded in the United States. A still-water, high water mark, of 22.6 feet above mean tide, was measured ... in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Additionally, debris drift was found 25 feet above mean sea level in the vicinity of East Beach Blvd. From air photos and ground surveys, the tidal surge of Hurricane Camille seemed without parallel in American history. No Pacific Coast tidal wave or Atlantic Coast storm (hurricane or winter storm) had ever submerged so much land to such a depth. In a truly biblical tale, one survivor told of sitting in his home during Camille, and watching as the ocean water spread through his yard and eventually flooded the first floor of his home. Retreating to the attic, the water was quickly neck deep, forcing him to kick out the small attic window and swim to a large transmission tower at the rear of his property. As he struggled to climb up the tower, he watched in horror, as the roof of his home went under.

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Southern Gothicism

S

her play and invents a new Southern Gothicism. Freddie Ashely Alliance Theater, Atlanta

In her book, Motherless Daughters, Hope Edelman suggests that when a girl loses her mother, she is shocked into a perpetual emotional age - the age she was when her mother died. If this is true, then Lenny, Meg and babe are locked in their emotional ages of 14, 11 and 8 respectively. And while the choices they make sometimes reflect this state of arrested development, Henley does something that other Southern Gothic writers seldom attempt - she allows her characters to recognize their imperfections and make attempts to grow beyond them. The girls mother committed suicide by hanging herself in the cellar, and chose to take the family’s old yellow cat with her - a truly Southern Gothic way to kill oneself. It is an image often refered to in the play, but always recognized as strange. In that way, Henley breaks with her predecessors. When Babe, while attempting suicide, realizes that her mother forced the cat into a macabre end only so she would not die alone, Henley suddenly reveals that this event, considered bizarre and freakish, is actually neither but something lonely and palpable. In that moment of recognition, Babe sheds some of her own emotional shackles. And in doing so, Henley frees herself of the Southern Gothic shackles. She opens up a time-honored literary tradition to a more contemporary perspective. Henley’s Southern Gothic world is one in which the emotionally and psychologically damaged do not accept their impediments. They seek to work through them and, indeed to rise above them. And the point is not the effort of getting these. In one character’s moment of lucidity, Henley eschews a reductive classification of

Eudora Welty was born in 1908 in Jackson, Mississippi, which is still her home. One of America's most distinguished writers, she has published five novels and as many volumes of short stories. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Major Works Death of a Traveling Salesman 1936 A Curtain of Green, with a preface by Katherine Anne Porter, Doubleday, 1941, The Wide Net, and Other Stories 1943 Delta Wedding (novel) 1946 The Golden Apples 1949 Selected Stories 1953 The Bride of the Innisfallen, and Other Stories 1955 The Shoe Bird (juvenile) 1964 Thirteen Stories 1965 A Sweet Devouring (nonfiction) 1969 Losing Battles (novel) 1970 "A Flock of Guinea Hens Seen from a Car" (poem) 1970 One Time, One Place: MS in the Depression: A Snapshot Album 1971 The Optimist's Daughter (novel) 1972 The Eye of the Story (selected essays and reviews) 1978 The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty 1980 One Writer's Beginnings (autobiography)1984

Flannery O'Connor was born in Georgia, USA, in 1925 and died there thirty-nine years later. Her work includes another collection of stories, Everything that Rises Must Converge, and two short novels, Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away. In 1979 her collected letters were published under the title The Habit of Being. Anthologies A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955) Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965) Mystery And Manners (1969) The Complete Stories (1971) Flannery O'Connor: Collected Works (1973)

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Crimes of the Heart

outhern writers such as Flannery O’Conner and Eudora Welty created a school of writing critics call Southern Gothic. Critics find a common threat of Southern rural characters with shocking, freakish psychological abnormalities if not physical ones. The South accepts these abnormalities and “defect” as O’Conner often refered to them, as perfectly normal and unironic. Beth Henley takes this concept and gives it a modern twist.


Questions for Discussion What made Babe shoot her husband? Was she justified?

Crimes of the Heart

Write a scene between Babe and a newspaper reporter. How would Babe justify her actions? Divide up the class to be the characters from Babe’s courtroom trial. What would the judge say? The lawyers? Who would the defense call as witnesses? etc... Why does Chick the Stick greet the Magrath sisters as she does? Is she justified in her actions? What are her priorities? What does the future hold for the Magrath sisters? Will Meg stay in Hazelhurst or return to Hollywood? Will Lenny and Charlie Hill have a future together? Do you sympathize with any of the Magrath sisters? What information does Beth Henley provide about the characters to make them sympathetic or not sympathetic enough? What is the significance of the play being set so close in time to Hurricane Camille? Why do you think Beth Henley chose this event to anchor the play? Read a short story by Flannery O’Connor. What similarities do you see with Crimes of the Heart? What are some of the differences? In what ways might Beth Henley have been influenced by her writing? What are some of the ways that the Magrath sisters have been affected by their mother’s suicide? How does it color the choices they have made? What can you learn about life in the South from this play?

There are probably brilliant people, geniuses, alive today who don't even know how to say, "Hello, how do you do?" because their minds are absorbed with electronic images. — Beth Henley

Is this play a feminist play? List your reasons. What would define a feminist play? Do the women have to be powerful or sympathetic or both? Syracuse Stage is producing two plays by women this season. Even though women are 50 percent of the population, they are not 50 percent of the playwrights. Can you tell that this play is written by a woman? Why do you think there aren’t more women playwrights? Is there such a thing as a woman’s voice? Why do you think this play won the Pulitzer Prize? Does that mean this is a great play?

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More to Read Web sites www.olemiss.edu/depts/english/ms-writers/dir/henley_beth/ falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/southwomen.htm

Betsko, Kathleen, and Rachel Koenig. Interviews with Contemporary Women Playwrights. Beech Tree Books, 1987. 211-22. Holladay, Hilary. “Beth Henley (1952- ).” Contemporary Poets, Dramatists, Essayists, and Novelists of the South. Greenwood Press, 1994. 238-48. Ascheim, Skip. “Spotty Production of Henley’s ‘Lucky Spot.’” Boston Globe (9 December 1998): Sec. D, p. 18. Burke, Sally. American Feminist Playwrights. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1996. Chinoy, Helen Kirch. “Here are the Women Playwrights” in Women in American Theatre. Eds. Helen Chinoy and Linda Jenkins. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1987. Gutman, Les. Review of Crimes of the Heart (April 2001 revival). Curtainup.com (April 2001). Henderson, Kathy. “Best Beth: Playwright Beth Henley celebrates Family Week.” TheatreMania.com (11 April 2000). Pogrebin, Robin. “Sharing a History As Well as a Play.” New York Times (11 October 1998): Sec. 2, p. 5.

Books Edelman, Hope, Motherless Daughters, Delta, New York, 1995 Fesmire, Julia, Beth Henley: A Casebook, Routledge, 2002

And all writing is creating or spinning dreams for other people so they won't have to bother doing it themselves. — Beth Henley

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Crimes of the Heart

Articles


James A. Clark Producing Director

Robert Moss Artistic Director

PRESENT

Big River The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn BOOK BY

William Hauptman

ADAPTED FROM THE NOVEL BY

Mark Twain

MUSIC AND LYRICS BY

Roger Miller

DIRECTED BY

Robert Moss CHOREOGRAPHED BY

MUSICAL DIRECTION BY

Anthony Salatino

Dianne Adams McDowell

SCENIC DESIGN

COSTUME DESIGN

Troy Hourie

Elizabeth Hope Clancy and Jessica Ford

LIGHTING DESIGN

SOUND DESIGN

A. Nelson Ruger

Jonathan Herter

STAGE MANAGER

Stuart Plymesser

SEASON SPONSORS

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On the Big River Who’s Who in Huck Finn’s adventures

Jim is the other lead character. He’s a runaway slave.

Before Huck leaves his home, the audience meets his Pap, the dreary bible-thumping Miss Watson and Widow Douglas. The audience also meets Huck’s friends, Tom Sawyer and other village boys. Along the river, Huck and Jim encounter a roaming band of carnival performers, the Duke, the King and his cohorts. Huck also finds a moment of romance with Mary Jane Wilkes and her all-too trusting family. The actors will double and triple cast to bring more than 35 characters to life.

Plot Summary Mark Twain’s characters come to life in this story that captures the rhythms, sounds and spirit of life in the 1840s on the big river. Huck runs aways from his drunken father, Widow Douglas and Miss Watson, and escapes down the Mississippi River on a raft. There he meets up with Jim, a runaway slave. Propelled by the songs of country music legend Roger Miller, Jim and Huck negotiate the river’s many perils - thieves, romance and other challenges.

Did you know? Actor John Goodman (Roseanne, Monsters Inc. and Oh Brother Where Art Thou) got his first big break in acting playing Pap in the Broadway premier of Big River. He can be heard on the original cast recording in his solo, ”Government.” After appearing in Big River, Goodman went on to small parts in movies before getting his big break with Roseanne four years later.

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B i g R ive r

H

uckleberry Finn remains true to the character from Mark Twain’s stories. He’s smart, a little rebellious and full of spunk.


On the Mississippi Mark Twain

SByira s S rt a g e g cRuive

A

merican writer, journalist, humorist, who won a worldwide audience for his stories of youthful adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Sensitive to the sound of language, Twain introduced colloquial speech into American fiction. In Green Hills of Africa, Ernest Hemingway wrote: "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn..." Clemens was born in Florida, Missouri, of a Virginian family. He was brought up in Hannibal, Missouri. After his father's death in 1847, Twain was apprenticed to a printer and wrote for his brother's newspaper. Twain worked later as a licensed Mississippi riverboat pilot (1857-61), adopting his name from the call ('Mark twain!' meaning by the mark of two fathoms) used when sounding river shallows. The Civil War put an end to the steamboat traffic and Clemens moved to Virginia City, where he edited Territorial Enterprise for two years. On February 3, 1863, 'Mark Twain' was born when he signed a humorous travel account with that pseudonym. In 1864 Twain left for California, and worked in San Francisco as a reporter. He visited Hawaii as a correspondent for The Sacramento Union, publishing letters on his trip and giving lectures. He set out on a world tour, travelling in France and Italy. His experiences were recorded in 1869 in The Innocents Abroad, which gained him wide popularity, and poked fun at both

American and European prejudices and manners. This success as a writer gave Twain enough financial security to marry Olivia Langdon in 1870. Between 1876 and 1884 he published several masterpieces, Tom Sawyer (1881), which the author originally intended for adults, and The Prince and the Pauper (1881), in which Edward VI of England and a little pauper change places. From the very beginning of his journalistic career, Twain made fun with the novel and its tradition. He believed that he lacked the analytical sensibility necessary to the novelist's art, although he enjoyed magnificent popularity as a novelist. He frequently returned to travel writing - many of his finest novels were thinly veiled travelogues. Huckleberry Finn (1884) was first considered adult fiction. Huck Finn, which painted a picture of Mississippi frontier life, was intended as a sequel to Tom Sawyer. One of Twain's major achievements is the way he narrates Huckleberry Finn, following the twists and turns of ordinary speech, his native Missouri dialect. In the 1890s Twain lost most of his earnings in financial speculations and in the downturn of his own publishing firm. To recover from the bankruptcy, he started a world lecture tour, during which one of his daughters died. Twain toured New Zealand, Australia, India, and South Africa, and returned to the U.S. The death of his wife and his second daughter darkened the author's later years, which is also seen in his writings and his posthumously published autobiography (1924). Twain died on April 21, 1910. www.mtwain.com/

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Enough to fill a Library The works of Mark Twain Fiction

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. - Mark Twain

Non-Fiction

Big River Awards

A Tramp Abroad Christian Science Innocents Abroad Is Shakespeare Dead? Life On The Mississippi Roughing It

Tony Awards Best Musical Best Book of a Musical Best Original Score Best Featured Actor in a Musical - Ron Richardson [winner] Best Scenic Design Best Costume Design Best Lighting Design Best Direction of a Musical

Short Story/Essay At The Appetite-Cure Extracts From Adam's Diary A Helpless Situation The Californian's Tale A Telephonic Conversation

1985 Theatre World Award Cast: Patti Cohenour [winner]

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B i g R ive r

A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court A Double Barreled Detective Story A Horse's Tale Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn Adventures Of Tom Sawyer Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven The Gilded Age The Mysterious Stranger The Prince and the Pauper The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson Those Extraordinary Twins Tom Sawyer Abroad Tom Sawyer, Detective


Roger Miller ra cru s S t a g e B i g SRy ive

A country legend

O

ne of the most multifaceted talents country music has ever known, Roger Dean Miller left a musical legacy of astonishing depth and range. He became a struggling honky-tonk singer and songwriter and first hit Nashville in 1957. There he blossomed into a country-pop superstar in the 1960s with self-penned crossover hits like “Dang Me” and “King of the Road.” In 1965–66 he won eleven Grammy awards. Two decades later, he received a 1985 Tony award for his score for Big River. In between triumphs, Miller kept friends and fans in constant stitches as his extemporaneous wit proved almost as famous as his music. Born in Fort Worth, Texas, January 2, 1936, Miller was sent to live with an uncle in Erick, Oklahoma (“population 1500, and that includes rakes and tractors,” he liked to joke), when he was three years old. He grew up in Erick, working the family farm and dreaming of a different life. As a teenager enamored of Bob Wills and Hank Williams, Miller would drift from town to town in Texas and Oklahoma, trying to land nightclub work as a country singer. Drafted during the Korean War, he was sent to Fort McPherson in Atlanta, where he played fiddle in a Special Services outfit called the Circle A Wranglers. After his discharge, Miller headed to Nashville. While working as a bellhop, he wormed his way into the local music community. He was first hired to play fiddle in Minnie Pearl’s road band, then, in about the spring of 1957, he struck up a friendship with George Jones. Jones introduced him to Pappy Daily and Don Pierce of Starday Records. Miller’s first single, “My Pillow” was released on Starday in the fall of 1957. In the meantime, Jones and Miller had co-written some songs, including “Tall, Tall Trees,” which Jones released in 1957 to little response, but which Alan Jackson would take to No. 1 nearly forty years later. In 1958, Miller was hired to front Ray Price’s Cherokee Cowboys. Miller suggested Price cover “Invitation to the Blues,” a Miller song that took off under Rex Allen’s version. Released as the B-side of Price’s 1958 smash “City Lights,” “Invitation to the Blues” rose to No. 3 on the charts, giving Miller his first major success in the business.

Signed to Tree Publishing as a staff writer in 1958, Miller began to see his tunes recorded by such stars as Ernest Tubb, Jim Reeves, and Faron Young. (He also served for a time as Young’s drummer.) Though he had continued to record for Starday and then Decca, he had no success as an artist until he signed with RCA in 1960. His first RCA single, “You Don’t Want My Love,” Photo courtesy the Country Music Hall of Fame became his first Top Forty hit. It was followed a year later by his first Top Ten, “When Two Worlds Collide,” which he had written with his friend Bill Anderson. Miller’s RCA career never quite panned out, though, and by 1963 he was ready to quit Nashville to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. He had made guest appearances on The Jimmy Dean Show and the Tonight Show, and his humor had been well received. Late that year, when his RCA contract ran out, he was picked up by Smash Records. The subsequent recordings made Roger Miller a star. Out of those off-the-cuff 1964 sessions came “Dang Me.” A #1 smash on the country charts, “Dang Me” was also a Top Ten pop hit, as were four more of the Smash singles. The most famous was “King of the Road,” a million-seller. With his exceptional wordplay and jazzlike delivery, he was able to compete with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and continued to record into the 1970s. In 1974, he provided soundtrack music for the Walt Disney movie Robin Hood. Big River was, in Miller’s own eyes, the crowning achievement of his career. Rejuvenated by its success, he maintained an active career through the remainder of the decade. He died of cancer on October 25, 1992. Three years later he was inducted posthumously into the Country Music Hall of Fame. www.countrymusichalloffame.com/inductees/roger_millerl

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Life on the Mississippi The 1840s John Tyler made history by becoming the first vice president to succeed to the office of president on the death of his predecessor in 1841. The precedent Tyler set— moving into the office and assuming the title and role of President — carried through until the 1960s. Under his administration the government championed land development, distributing profits from land sales, raising tariffs for road, canal and other infrastructure improvements and allowed squatters to buy public land.

Land ownership was the theme of the 1840s. The U.S. dreamed of expansion and the first covered wagons crossed the Oregon Trail through the Rockies as the concept of Manifest Destiny took root in the American conscious. To the north of where Huck and Tom live, the United States quarreled with Canada over land. To the South, the area of Texas remained a constant political - and sometimes military - struggle. Texas remained an area of struggle because of the question of slavery. The United States was hesitant to annex it as a state, because the addition of another state could tip the balance of non-slave states and slave states. Texas became a state in 1845. The division is of such concern to Southern states that in 1841, South Carolina passed a law prohibiting black cotton workers and white cotton workers from looking out the same window. The debate over slavery carried into the 1848 election, which focused on the split between the North and the South. Zachary Taylor, a military hero, won the election. http://www.nv.cc.va.us/home/nvsageh/Hist121/Part4/1840s.html

Did you know? Horseracing was the most popular spectator sport. The term millionaire was popularized in the newspapers.

By executive order, Martin Van Buren established the ten-hour workday in 1840, for federal employees engaged on public works. In 1842 the ten-hour workday was adopted by several states at the urging of newly formed trade unions and workers parties. A new literary genre (detective and mystery stories) was created in 1841 when Edgar Allan Poe introduced The Murders in the Rue Morgue. Cheap publishing because of low postal rates for newspapers and improvements in printing, allowed newspapers to print novels in newspaper format, forcing publishers to produce cheap paperbacks. Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte (E.D.E.N.) Southworth, who wrote 60 novels and many short stories, published The Wife's Victory and the sequel The Married Shrew in The National Era. Her stories, based on true events, dealt with the role of women in society. Poets, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Ballads and Other Poems, Evangeline), flourished. The issues in education at this time did not differ much from the issues of today. Bilingual education for the children of German immigrants was mandated by the city of Cincinnati, Ohio after the recently arrived German population demanded it. kclibrary.nhmccd.edu/19thcentury1840.htm

Noteable inventions of the 1840s: 1840: Ship w/subwater machinery: John Ericsson 1840: artificial fertilizer: Justus von Liebig 1842: Anaesthesia: Crawford Long 1843: Typewriter: Charles Thurber 1844: Telegraph: Samuel Morse 1845: Portland cement: William Aspdin 1845: Double tube tire: Robert Thomson 1846: The ice cream freezer 1846: Sewing machine: Elias Howe 1846: Rotary printing press: Richard M. Hoe 1849: Safety pin: Walter Hunt 1849: Hydraulic turbine: James B. Francis

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B i g R ive r

This development had perfect timing because the 1840s, due to the potato famine in Ireland and political unrest in many parts of Europe, was also a time of great immigration.

During the 1840s panorama-type painting became popular. Rolled canvas would be unfolded as the story was told. John Banvard's Mississippi River series was 3 miles long and depicted 1200 miles of scenery.


Questions for Discussion S y ra c u s S t a g e B i g R ive r

How does Big River reflect some of the political themes of the 1840s? What does the musical show you about how people were valued? Were all white men treated the same? What was the role of women in this society? What could anyone do to change their situation? Why is the Mississippi river so important to people? What did it provide? How did it influence people’s lives? Why do you think Mark Twain set his story in Missouri? How would it be different if it had taken place in Central New York along the Erie Canal? How is your life different from Huck and Tom’s? Some people feel that race relations in America today are still influenced by the legacy of slavery. What is that legacy? How does it relate to Big River? In small groups, collect newspaper and magazine articles, music lyrics, poems, excerpts from books, artwork that expresses how America is still affected by slavery today. Do a short oral or multimedia presentation on your findings. Gerry Brenner, in his essay “More Than a Reader's Response: A Letter to 'De Ole True Huck'” (in A Case Study in Critical Controversy: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, edited by Gerald Graff and James Phelan, Boston: Bedford Books, 1995) pretends Jim has read Huck Finn and written a response in which he sets the record straight. Pretend you are Jim and write your reaction to Big River. How do the songs help move the action along? How would Big River be different if there were no songs? Would it change your reaction to the characters? Why do you think the characters of Huck, Tom and Jim have remained popular for so many years? Do you think people will still read this book 100 years from now? What are some key geographical features in the Mississippi region of the United States, specifically in Missouri? You may discover physical (mountains, land forms, flora, fauna, etc...) and cultural (cities, human-made structures, tourist attractions, specific cultures, etc...) geographical information. What aspects of life on the Mississippi did Mark Twain depict in his writings? How has the Mississippi River been utilized in the past, and how is it utilized in the present? Why was Mark Twain's life when he lived along the Mississippi so significant to his writings? How has the setting been important in other novels by Mark Twain? What might Mark Twain's life have been like while being raised in Hannibal, Missouri, along the Mississippi River? http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/teachers/huck/section6.html http://tamiscal.marin.k12.ca.us/staff/Risa/twain.html

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More resources Web sites http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/teachers/huck/section6.html http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/twain/huckfinn.html http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/railton/huckfinn/huchompg.html http://www.online-literature.com/twain/life_mississippi/ http://www.mtwain.com/ http://www.marktwainmuseum.org/ http://lemur.cit.cornell.edu/~jules/Mark_Twain.html http://www.elmira.edu/academics/ar_marktwain.shtml

B i g R ive r

Photo courtesy of Elmira College

Mark Twain’s summer house in Elmira.

Articles and Books Gay, Robert M., “The Two Mark Twains,’’ in the Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 166, December 1940, pp. 724-26. Kaplan, Justin, Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography, Simon & Schuster, 1983, pp. 233-34, 272, 292, 378. Long, E. Hudson, Mark Twain Handbook, Hendricks House, 1957, p. 23. Neider, Charles, "Introduction," in The Autobiography of Mark Twain.

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James A. Clark

Robert Moss

Producing Director

Artistic Director

PRESENTS

Culture Clash in AmeriCCa WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY

Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and Herbert Siguenza DIRECTED BY

Tony Taccone

SCENIC AND LIGHTING DESIGN

Alexander Nichols

SEASON SPONSORS

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Culture Clash in the ‘Cuse TONY TACCONE (Director) joined the staff of

tured below), Ric Salinas and Herbert Siguenza. Culture Clash was founded on Cinco de Mayo, 1984 in San Francisco's Mission District. Their theatrical works include The Mission (1988) which had a run at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in 1990, followed by the hit A Bowl of Beings (1991). S.O.S Comedy for These Urgent Times (1992) examined the Los Angeles uprising and the Rodney King beating and played at the Japan American Theatre and the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. Carpa Clash (1993), a tribute to the great UFW President, Cesar Chavez ran at the Mark Taper Forum/Center Theatre Group. Radio Mambo: Culture Clash Invades Miami (1995) premiered in Miami and toured nationally. In 1998, Culture Clash unveiled two world premieres: Culture Clash in Bordertown for the San Diego Repertory Theatre and The Birds, a musical adaptation of the Aristophanes' classic for the South Coast Repertory Theatre and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Nuyorican Stories (1999) ran OffBroadway at INTAR. Anthology (2000) was a 15-year retrospective that had extended runs in LA, San Francisco and San Diego. Mission Magic Mystery Tour (2000) played in San Francisco's Eureka Theatre. Anthems: Culture Clash in the District (2002) premiered at Arena Stage, Washington D.C. Chavez Ravine had its world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum in spring 2003. In 1992, their play, A Bowl of Beings, received its television premiere on PBS' “Great Performances” series. That same year, they co-produced, wrote and starred in an award-winning short film, Columbus on Trial. In 2002, Culture Clash produced interactive video installations for Cheech Marin's Chicano Now .

Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 1988, serving for one year as Resident Director then as Associate Artistic Director. He worked with Sharon Ott for nine years in that capacity, developing the company’s eclectic and progressive aesthetic. He was appointed Artistic Director after a national search in 1997. He has directed more than twenty-five plays for Berkeley Rep including Surface Transit, Cloud Nine, Homebody/Kabul, Culture Clash in AmeriCCa, The Oresteia, The Alchemist, The First 100 Years, Ravens-head, Skylight, Pentecost, Macbeth, Slavs!, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, End Game/Act Without Words, Volpone, The Convict’s Return, Major Barbara, The Virgin Molly, Serious Money, Waiting for Godot, The Birthday Party and Execution of Justice (with Oskar Eustis). He directed the world premiere of David Edgar’s two-play cycle, Continental Divide, for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which opened at Berkeley Rep in November. Prior to Berkeley Rep, Mr. Taccone served as the Artistic Director of Eureka Theatre in San Francisco, collaborating for seven years with Oskar Eustis, Lorri Holt, Susan Marsden, Richard Seyd, Abigail van Alyn and Sigrid Wurschmidt. His directorial highlights there included Road, Boomer!, Fen, Still Life and Accidental Death of an Anarchist. His work has been frequently seen at Oregon Shakespeare Festival where he directed Othello, Pentecost, Coriolanus and The Cure at Troy. He has also worked at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arizona Theatre Company, San Jose Rep and Yale Rep. He codirected the world premiere of Angels in America at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Mr. Taccone has served on the faculty of UC Berkeley and has been a regional representative for the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers

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C u l t u re C l a s h

CULTURE CLASH is Richard Montoya (pic-


Site-Specific Theater S y ra sStage C u l t u re C lcaus h

Why they do what they do

F

or the past several years, Culture Clash has been focusing on site-specific theatre, weaving personal narratives culled from interviews into an ongoing dramatic tapestry. Theatre companies from Miami to San Diego and from New York to San Francisco have commissioned Culture Clash to create performance pieces specifically for their cities. They were working on a performance piece about the nation’s capital (Anthems: Culture Clash in the District) at the time of the terrorist attacks, and that action places them on the frontlines of cultural and artistic response to crisis. Their work gives immediate dramatic voice and expression to people in a certain time and place. It is theatre of the moment, written and performed first for the people and communities on which it is based and secondarily for a broader audience. Culture Clash uses performance collage to bring history, geography, "urban excavation," "forensic poetry" and storytelling together in a contemporary, movable theatre narrative through a Chicano point of view what Guillermo Gomez Pena calls "reverse anthropology." Another powerful aspect of Culture Clash’s work is their sharp use of humor as both salve and social critique. Their comedy is sometimes raw and angry, sometimes joyful and silly; it can be cathartic yet it can call for action. It is in such a time of crisis that the profound and poetic value of Culture Clash’s work becomes clarified. The members of Culture Clash are, like Hamlet’s favorite players, "the abstract and brief chroniclers of the time." After 19 years, Culture Clash has become the most prominent Chicano-Latino performance troupe in the country. Their work has ranged from sketch comedy to an adaptation of Aristophanes. With only three members, they have managed to achieve a nearly impossible balance: they establish a consistent and recognizable voice while keeping their work fresh, innovative and timely. Their self-honesty and self-criticism (and lighthearted criticism of the Left, the Chicano movement and artistic motifs that spawned them) is an enduring theme of the group’s work. Ironically, in the process of

maintaining a running demythologization of themselves and their roots, they have, to a certain degree, become mythologized themselves. Paradoxically, in their evolution as iconoclast, they have become icons themselves. Citing the influence of Chaplin, Brecht and Cantinflas, Culture Clash is a representation of the new vaudeville, incorporating mime, rap, spoken word, dance and performance elements from "carpas.” Much like the great performers from early vaudeville, the members of

In these plays, they have developed a comic approach that examines cultures in flux and opposition, driven by an imperative to give voice to those who are largely unheard in America. These assemblages invite a deeper examination of who we are today. Their portraits of America celebrate and lampoon our national character. Culture Clash at once honors and debunks our self-evident truths, and they expertly hold up a funhouse mirror to our body politic. — Tony Taccone Director Culture Clash are personalities beyond their considerable abilities at impersonation, physicalization and satire. Salinas, Montoya and Siguenza possess an intangible element of personality that infuses their work. It is not simply that they share autobiographical narratives with an audience. As Phillip Kan Gotanda writes in his introduction to Culture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy, "One feels an authenticity about their performances the context, the style of presentation, the guys themselves. They are not six degrees away but right here, of the moment, inside the tube of contemporary, racialized America.”

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History of Satire ARISTOPHANES

S

Aristophanes (465 - 380 B.C.) considered by many the father of social satire, was educated in Athens, Greece. While some of the elements of early comedy, particularly license of word and gesture, were certainly not invented by Aristophanes, he used these elements to further his writing past stale practical joking into bold,

The comedy of the Greeks in general and Aristophanes in particular would have been impossible under any other form of government than a complete and unrestricted democracy. Its satirical nature spared no aspect of society including public and private life, statesmanship, education and literature: in other words, everything that concerned the city or could amuse the citizens. However critical he became of Athens though, he was a genuine patriot. His love for the city was that of the most freespoken of men. Flexible, even in his religious notions, Aristophanes was ready to be educated by his times. He could be witty at the expense of his friends and even of himself. In his mockery, he is incomparable for the union of subtlety with the riot of comic imagination.

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C u l t u re C l a s h

atire, as it exists today, can be better understood by its long and resilient history. Not just a form of criticism, satire is a type of art that requires both the artist and the audience to have a sure grip on history, language, politics, rhetoric and the ability to laugh heartily at the follies of society and themselves. Its survival depends on a free society that is not censored by its institutions. It is not surprising then, that the first incarnations of social satire are found in the world’s first democracy—Ancient Greece. The art of social satire developed under the auspices of comedy, which the Ancient Greeks finessed into what we recognize today as Western comedy.

witty jabs at society. Knowledge of the history and constitution of their country was expected from the citizens of a democratic republic. But, besides this, Aristophanes required from his audience a thorough literary understanding. Without the memory, almost word for word, of the tragic masterpieces, an audience member would not understand his parodies.


History of Satire C u l t u re CS lyara s hc u s S t a g e

COMMEDIA DEL'ARTE

D

eveloped during the early Italian Renaissance, Commedia del'Arte (comedy of artists) is a theatrical art form based on stock characters that improvise scenarios for the sole purpose of advancing a comic plot and reaching a humorous climax. Political satire was cleverly and effectively veiled by what seemed to be buffoonery. However, just below the surface resided an undeniable and pointed criticism on the structure of society. This theatre was developed on the streets of Italy, with the performers donning masks with exaggerated features to help propel the comedy. Italian audiences required a swift plot with plenty of physical action to keep them engrossed in the story. The troupe of actors traveled all over Italy and, eventually, Europe and was accessible to all social classes. Language was not a barrier as their physical work (miming, stunts, gags, broad gestures and clowning), combined with the stock characters and the masks, made the story readily understood by all. The use of stock characters as a comedic tool is still heavily employed today, especially in sketch comedy. In fact, the art form from which these characters are derived — Commedia del'Arte—is still a powerful influence on modern theatre. The main stock characters found in Commedia del'Arte are: Pantalone: An elderly, senile, rich and pretentious nobleman. Pantalone is often mocked by other characters that take advantage of his greediness. He typically busies himself by either trying to get his daughter married or locking her away to prevent her from marrying. Il Dottore: Pantalone's neighbor, a middle-aged man who is highly educated. He doles out unsolicited

advice to anyone who is unlucky enough to cross his path and usually ends up as the laughing stock. The Lovers: High status in society as the sons and daughters of Pantalone and Il Dottore. Their sole concern is whether to follow their hearts or obey their fathers. The lovers are infatuated and dreamy, with their heads in the clouds. They depend on their servants to keep them out of trouble. Il Capitano: The only outsider in the cast, an extremely pompous and arrogant character, Il Capitano is always bragging about his successful conquests in love and war. The townspeople are frightened and intimidated by him, but all his posturing is just an elaborate act. He is really a fake who travels from city to city so no one can figure out that he is lying about his profession to achieve higher status. During the 1500s, Italy was in constant conflict with Spain. Il Capitano probably represented Spain and its attitudes, and was, therefore, the butt of the jokes and target of the lazzi (slapstick comedy). Zanni: The lowest rung on the societal ladder and usually servants to the fathers. A typical zanni is a clown, always falling asleep on the job, stealing food, or getting caught daydreaming. Their needs are basic and carnal and they assist the performance by providing the crowd-pleasing physical tricks, slapstick and gags (lazzi).

Did you know? The term slapstick originated with the use of the bastonate, a hinged-board (shown above) that was used to beat the zanni. The Dottore always spoke with a Bolognese accent, from which the expression “full of baloney,” developed.

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History of Satire Vaudeville

A

the shape of things to come.

merican Vaudeville, born in the late 1800’s, marked

Medicine shows traveled the countryside offering programs of comedy, music, and jugglers along with their tonics and miracle elixir. In the Wild West, vistas of the disappearing frontier provided the backdrop for trick riding, music, and drama. Vaudeville gathered these itinerant amusements into a stable, institutionalized form of entertainment. It took an experienced and entrepreneurial personality to not only organize such a motley crew of acts into one coherent show, but also, more importantly, to market it to a growing middle class. Benjamin Franklin Keith (also known as the “father of American Vaudeville”) was the man for the job. His success as the owner of a museum in Boston that featured “Baby Alice Midget Wonder,” allowed him to build the Bijou Theatre. The state-of the-art theatre set the standard for

Keith’s strength was undoubtedly his ability to bridge the notions of high and low entertainment. He reinforced the Bijou’s image of gentility by including acts from the “legitimate” stage, while not alienating the fans of earlier variety shows by including acrobatic, dance, comedy, and singing acts. So long as patrons also abided by his “fixed policy of cleanliness and order” (this included such instructions as: “Gentlemen will kindly avoid carrying cigars or cigarettes in their mouths while in the building” and “Please don’t talk during acts, as it annoys those about you, and prevents a perfect hearing of the entertainment”). Keith placed his theatre at the disposal of the public: the poor as well as the rich. Within a few short years, other managers began their own profitable enterprises. By the 1890’s vast theatre circuits spanned the country and a network of booking offices handled promotion and production. Vaudeville remained one of the most popular forms of entertainment until around 1930. With the advent of motion pictures, vaudeville shows, with all their splendor and extravagance, could not compete.

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C u l t u re C l a s h

the beginning of entertainment as big business. After the Civil War, the number of white-collar workers and, consequently, leisure time was on the rise. The atmosphere was prime for savvy showmen to incorporate the various forms of American popular entertainment into a network of standardized theatre circuits In the years before the Civil War, variety theatre existed in the form of circuses, dime museums (often referred to as “freak shows”), amusement parks, riverboats, and burlesque and minstrel shows. As early as the first decade of the 19th century, audiences were enjoying performances of Shakespeare, acrobats, singers, dance, and comedy all in the same evening.

Before the Bijou, entertainment such as dime-museums, medicine shows, and especially burlesque were considered immoral and lowbrow by the middle class. To really be successful in the business of mass entertainment, Keith knew that he had to establish an environment of comfort and class. He established a “fixed policy of cleanliness and order,” and strictly forbade the use of vulgarity or coarse material in his acts “so that the house and the entertainment would directly appeal to the support of women and children.”


Theater of Protest S y ra c u s S t a g e C u l t u re C l a s h

In America The San Francisco Mime Troupe, not a group of pantomime artists as many think, is a collective of performers who strive as satirists to make people laugh at the absurdities of contemporary life. They perform everywhere from public parks to cultural centers, aiming to reach the broadest possible audience. Their style draws from genres including melodrama, musical comedy, and epic history and is based on some common elements: strong story line, distinct point of view, larger-than-life characters, fantasy, and live music. The San Francisco Mime Troupe delights Political theater in breaking from what has become mainstream American theatre, that is nataround the world uralistic and dependent on personal psychology. While they admire the depths that American theatre has plumbed, the troupe believes that this form of theatre “sanctions social inaction.” While the characters they create are individuals, they are also members of social classes that each have distinct status within the spectrum of power and wealth. Many of the shows are cross-cultural collaborations interested in showing people on each side of a cultural divide what the world looks like from the other. This multiracial, multigenerational company has been a living example of social and political theatre in the Bay Area since 1959. El Teatro Campesino (The Farmworkers Theatre). In 1965, an aspiring playwright named Luis Valdez left the San Francisco Mime Troupe to join César Chávez in organizing farmworkers in Delano, California. Valdez organized the workers into El Teatro Campesino in an effort to popularize and raise funds for the grape boycott and farmworkers strike. In 1968, El Teatro Campesino left the fields in a conscious effort to create a theatre that reflected the greater Chicano experience. In a few short years the theatre established what would come to be known as teatro Chicano. It incorporated the spiritual and presentational style of Commedia del'Arte with the humor, character types, folklore and popular culture of the Mexican theatre, the type presented by vaudeville companies and tent theatres that had toured the Southwest in the early 1900’s. Like The San Francisco Mime Troupe, El Teatro Campesino strives for international collaboration. Peter Brook, the former artistic director of England’s Shakespeare Academy, took his Paris-based company, the International Centre of Theater Research to work with El Teatro Campesino. The collaboration helped focus the attention of the international theatre community on El Teatro Campesino, which was already a significant and definitive force in the Chicano movement. El Teatro Campesino remains a strong presence in the world of political theatre.

Bread and Puppet Theater Glover, VT The Common Players Exeter, United Kingdom Irondale Ensemble Project New York, NY The Diggers San Francisco, CA In the Heart of the Beast Minneapolis, MN Wise Fool San Francisco, CA Art and Revolution San Francisco, CA Berliner Compagnie Berlin, Germany The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life. — Oscar Wilde

In 1994, Culture Clash set a milestone for Latinos on television with 30 episodes of their show for Fox. In 2002, Culture Clash produced interactive video installations for Cheech Marin’s Chicano Now national touring art show.

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Questions for Discussion Recently, Culture Clash performed their version of Aristophanes’ ancient play The Birds for modern audiences. The political issues outlined by Aristophanes thousands of years ago are still relevant today. What parallels can you see between the ancient story and today’s society? Commedia del'Arte is based on a group of broadly drawn stock characters derived from ancient Italian society. If you had to compile a stock of characters for today’s society what would they be? How would they dress? How much power would each character possess?

What current political events do you care most about? Imagine you decided to start your own political theatre group that centered around those events. What would you name it? What would you use to express your views: satire, drama, slapstick, dance, song? During the Red Scare, many artists faced strict surveillance and censorship in the name of national security. Once again, we find ourselves in uncertain times. How much, if any, free speech should the government censor in the name of national security today? When did your family immigrate to the United States? From where did they emigrate? Why? What political events do you think influence our government’s policies toward immigrants? Did you recognize any modern versions of the ancient stock characters of Commedia del'Arte in the Culture Clash scenarios? What about some of their other artistic influences (Cantinflas, Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, Lenny Bruce) — could you recognize where their influence was particularly strong? Culture Clash bases its scenes/characters on interviews with people across the country. Which characters particularly reminded you of people you might know? Why do you think they chose those people to bring to life on stage? Many of Culture Clash’s vignettes play up the absurdity of everyday experiences. Try writing a short scene that takes a satirical look at a situation you commonly see/experience. Culture Clash in AmeriCCa explores what it means to be an “American.” Was there a specific scene that resonated with you? Is there any portion of the “American experience” you think they missed that you would have included? What do you think it means to be an American? What responsibilities are attached to the label “American”? Culture Clash’s comic style is different from stand-up or situation comedy. Compare and contrast the genres.

Web sites . www.TheatreHistory.com www.TheOnion.com, Satire publication American Folklife Center www.loc.gov/folklife Hufford, Mary. A Commonwealth of Cultures, Library of Congress, 1991 www.cultureclash.com

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C u l t u re C l a s h

American Vaudeville was by far the most popular form of entertainment during the turn of the last century. What do you believe is the most popular form of entertainment today? Does it also have its own slang terminology? If so, which catch phrases are typically associated with it?


James A. Clark

Robert Moss

Producing Director

Artistic Director

PRESENTS

Visiting Mr. Green BY

Jeff Baron DIRECTED BY

Robert Moss SCENIC DESIGN

COSTUME DESIGN

Michael Schweikardt

Kirche Ziele

LIGHTING DESIGN

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SOUND DESIGN

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Stuart Plymesser

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44


Meet Mr. Green Inside his world Plot Synopsis

Young men have a passion for regarding their elders as senile. — Henry Brooks Adams The Education of Henry Adams

If I am not for myself, who shall be for me? If I am for myself, what am I? If not now, when? — Hillel The Wisdom of the Fathers

I really don’t have time for this. ... Forget it. I’m calling the judge. I’d rather go to jail. — Ross Visting Mr. Green

Meet Playwright Jeff Baron Originally from New Jersey, Jeff Baron earned his degree in film production at Northwestern, an M.B.A. from Harvard and left a successful corporate career to be a writer. His first play, Visiting Mr. Green, a 1998 Drama League Best Play nominee, enjoyed a long and successful run Off-Broadway at New York’s Union Square Theatre with Eli Wallach in the title role. It also has had successful productions worldwide. Baron wrote

the libretto for Escape, an original opera commissioned by the Los Angeles Opera, and directed the world premiere of the comic opera Song of Martina at Carnegie Hall, which he and Dean X. Johnson wrote. For television he wrote for The Tracey Ullman Show and A Year in the Life. His film The Bruce Diet won the CINE Golden Eagle award. He is currently working on a new play.

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Vi s i t i n g M r. G re e n

Ross Gardiner, an up-and-coming young business executive, is sentenced to six months of community service visits to Mr. Green, the elderly man he nearly ran down with his car. However, Mr. Green does not welcome the young man’s services, for he has lived as a virtual recluse since his wife died. Full of preconceived prejudices and resentments, he does not appreciate Ross’ attempts to clean up the clutter of his Upper West Side Manhattan apartment as well as mess with his memories. As Ross organizes, there is evidence of cracks in Mr. Green’s narrow-minded and suspicious veneer while Ross gains fatherly support in his own emotional struggle. The play is full of humor as it explores the nature of human understanding, tolerance and forgiveness.


An observant home S y ra c u s S t a g e Vi s i t i n g M r. G re e n

Laws of Kashrut

M

r. Green keeps a kosher home and is very concerned when Ross brings in food from the outside. Kosher has a threefold meaning: 1) generally means fit or proper, 2) refers to foods that can be eaten in accordance to Jewish dietary laws, and 3) refers to the separation of milk dishes from meat. If something is not kosher, then it is traif, meaning it is food that does not fit Jewish dietary laws or is a utensil which may have become unfit for use. The laws relating to keeping kosher are called kashrut and are derived from Biblical passages and are similar to the Hallal rules followed in Islam. In “Leviticus” 11:1-43 Jews are informed as to which animals, fish and fowl are regarded as appropriate to eat. “Leviticus” 20:25-26 states, “So you shall set apart the clean beast from the unclean…. You shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy.” From this perspective, kashrut is seen as a commandment from God. Another viewpoint about kashrut is that through the observance of these laws, Jews exercise and hopefully gain control over one of the basic activities of life—preparing and eating food. Such self-control is viewed as a form of personal growth and a mastery over one’s life. All vegetables and fruit are kosher and can be eaten at

Mr. Green: Ross: Mr. Green: Ross: Mr. Green:

any meal. Any variety of fish that has both fins and scales is kosher, but shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab, oysters, clams) are not. In addition, such exotic animals as eel, shark, porpoise and whale are forbidden. Domestic fowl are kosher and include chicken, turkey, tame ducks and tame geese. However, they must be ritually slaughtered by a person specifically trained and authorized to do this: a shohet. All animals that both chew their cud and have a split hoof are kosher; these include cows, sheep and goats. Animals that are traif include horses, donkeys, camels and pigs. As with fowl the animals must be properly slaughtered and must be koshered—soaked and salted to remove excess blood. A kosher butcher can perform this service, but many observant Jewish women do it themselves. In keeping a kosher home, one must observe the law of separation of milk from meat. Milshik refers to any food that is or contains milk or any product derived from a milk substance. Fleishik is any food that contains meat or meat by-products or derivatives. Thus, one may eat roast beef for dinner, but cannot have ice cream for dessert. As in Mr. Green’s home, separate sets of dishes and silverware must be maintained for this practice. If a milshik plate is used for meat, then it must be thrown away. Because glass is a nonporous material, it is home free and can be used with both milk and meat.

You don’t know milchadek? I don’t. I’m sorry. Milchick is dairy. Flayshick is meat. The flayshedek dishes are over there. So you actually have two complete different sets of dishes? Not two. Four. Milchick, flayshick, then milchick and flayshick for Pesach. Passover. It’s near Easter.

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46


A Nation in Denial An Essay Preparing for the Aging of America by Robert N. Butler

This attitude is nothing new. Leo Tolstoy wrote, "Old age is the most unexpected of all things that happen to a man" (and to a woman). Marcel Proust said, "Old age is one of those realities we retain the longest as an abstract conception." But this country seems particularly unprepared for a 21st-century era of longevity. Since 1900, Americans have gained 28 years of life expectancy. The most rapidly growing age group in the United States consists of those 85 and over. The extension of life expectancy here and around the world has been one of the great triumphs of medicine, biomedical research, and public health. Yet, we have not created productive jobs and social roles for older people. We are miles away from solving the massive problems of frailty and dementia. No more than 20 of the 126 medical schools in the United States have significant programs in geriatrics. Medicare remains a mechanism of finance rather than a way to ensure adequate health care for the elderly. The baby boomers are especially at risk. They will begin to retire in large numbers in about seven years. Without major changes in society, the aging baby boomers will overwhelm the institutions directed toward meeting the needs of older people. Some of the needed changes already are beginning to appear. New business opportunities are opening up as goods and services aimed at the aging market join those

We must begin by rapidly building productive social roles for the 40 million retirees in this country. Too many now are wasting their talents and experience. We must ensure that older people are able to continue contributing to society as only they can. We also need a way of focusing the responsibility that older people have to the broader society. One possibility is the creation of a new intergenerational National Service Corps. Such an organization could coordinate and expand programs that already exist, like the Foster Grandparent Program and Greenthumb, in which retired farmers work on conservation and beautification projects. Japan has addressed many of the issues of aging through its Committee of Long-Term Outlook. We need a similarly comprehensive public-private partnership in this country. The United States needs to go beyond the biennial elections and the quarterly earnings reports to confront the future status of older Americans. No one group can take all the actions that are needed. Each of us as individuals must foster greater awareness of aging and overcome our denial of what aging means for America. Robert N. Butler, director of the International Longevity Center at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, was winner of the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for his book Why Survive? Being Old in America. He recently received the Gustav O. Lienhard Award for the advancement of health care from the Institute of Medicine. http://www4.nationalacademies.org/onpi/oped.nsf

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Vi s i t i n g M r. G re e n

A

merica remains largely in denial about the implications of an aging society.

intended for the young. Initiatives like the Foster Grandparent Program have given older people an opportunity to help children, adolescents, and young families. But these are just the first steps in what must become a large-scale social movement. To draw upon the strengths of all members of society, governments, businesses, unions, private philanthropies, and families must unite behind a new national vision.


New York City Vi s i t i n g M r. G re e n

Mr. Green’s neighborhood

T

many successful merchants, lawyers and British officials had country homes there; after the Revolution the property of the Tories was confiscated.

he Lower East Side is the neighborhood in Manhattan bounded to the north by 14th Street, to the east by the East River, to the south by Fulton and Franklin streets, and to the west by Pearl Street and Broadway. It encompasses Ludlow Street where Mr. Green once lived, as well as such areas as the East Village, Chinatown, Little Italy, Tompkins Square and Astor Place. Some of the first settlers were free black farmers who settled around the Bouwerie (Bowery). In 1833, Irish immigrants settled in the first tenements built in the northern section; the Germans and Dutch developed the area north of Houston Street in the 1840s. The 1880s saw the influx of Italians, Jews, Russians, Rumanians, Hungarians, Ukrainians, Slovaks, Greeks and Poles. One of the largest ethnic enclaves was the Jewish one that had a population of 400,000 by 1920. Living in overcrowded tenements with poor sanitation and rampant poverty, the neighborhood, nevertheless, became known for its artists and radical politics. The Henry Street Playhouse opened in 1915 and spawned such talents as Eddie Cantor, George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jimmy Durante, Al Jolson and the Marx Brothers. After World War II, the area became the first racially integrated section of the city with the influx of African Americans and Puerto Ricans. The Upper West Side, where Mr. Green lives now, is a neighborhood in Manhattan lying on a rugged plateau bounded to the north by 125th Street, to the east by Central Park, to the south by 59th Street and to the west by the Hudson River. Before the American Revolution

In the early 19th century small villages were formed which interspersed with the estates of wealthy merchants, financiers and professionals. After the completion of Central Park in the 1850s, row houses were built in distinctive architectural styles on West End Avenue from about 70th Street to the lower 80s. Many large residential hotels soon lined Central Park West. Such establishments as Columbia University, the Cathedral of St. John and the American Museum of Natural History are located in this area. The advent of rapid transit in 1904 spurred the construction of apartment buildings well into the 1930s. Developers hoped the new residents would be prominent and wealthy; instead they were people in the arts, theatre, literature, advertising, sports, politics and crime. From the Great Depression of 1929 to the late 1970s the population was made up mostly of the middle and working class. From 1950 to 1980 several projects were built, including large mixed-housing complexes, the New York Coliseum and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The neighborhood became more attractive to affluent couples and single people who flocked there drawn by the cultural renaissance of the area, its social tolerance, political activism and neighborhood “feeling.” The inflated price of fine brownstones and pre-war apartments drove out many members of the middle class who could no longer afford the escalating rents.

Some New York City Web sites: www.nycvisit.com www.nyc.gov

www.nyctourist.com www.ny.com

www.mcny.org (museum of the city)

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48


Intermarriage A Jewish View

For example, in “Genesis” 24 Abraham worried about it and made his servant Eliezar swear that, in finding a wife for his son Isaac, “you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites.” It was a problem for Rebekeh, too, in “Genesis” 27:46 when she exclaimed, “If Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth—what good shall my life do me?” In contrast, Jacob kept calm when, in “Genesis” 34, he accepted the possibility that his daughter, Dinah, might marry a non-Jew named Shechem. And Jews do celebrate the holiday of Purim when Esther, who was married to King Ahasuerus, also not Jewish, outwitted the deceits of Haman and saved her people. However, according to religious Jewish law the “marriage of a Jew with a non-Jew has no binding force— and is not recognized as religiously valid even if performed and blessed by a hundred rabbis.” As contact between Jews and non-Jews increased, so did intermarriage, a union that the Jewish community regarded with distress and sorrow. If a family member married a goy (a non-Jew), often the immediate relatives would observe “shivah,” the actual mourning rites, for they considered that person dead — cut off from the living Jewish community.

However, a minority of rabbis disagree, contending the marriage will take place anyway and it is best not to drive the couple away completely. Recognizing that their members may hold divergent views, the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) has offered options: 1) provide opportunities for the nonJewish spouse to convert, 2) assist in educating children of such mixed marriages as Jews, and 3) encourage a cultivation of involvement in the Jewish community and synagogue.

Gentiles are not used to Jewish problems. — Folk saying.

Rachel married a goy. She’s dead. — Mr. Green, in Visiting Mr. Green

The vast majority of North American Jews no longer take such a harsh view of intermarriage; however, many Jewish parents and grandparents try to discourage their children from marrying a person of another religion. Today, intermarriage concerns Jews because it is seen as a threat to Jewish survival. The Holocaust annihilated nearly one-third of the world’s Jewish population while the low birth rate and assimilation keep the population below replacement levels. Because Jews live in an open egalitarian society, inter-

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Vi s i t i n g M r. G re e n

F

rom the earliest period of Jewish history, the question of intermarriage has been a highlycharged issue for some Jewish families but not so for others.

marriage has become problematic. Many rabbis refuse to marry a Jew and a non-Jew because it is contrary to the tradition of Jewish religion. Some Jewish newspapers refuse to run wedding announcements when one of the partners is not Jewish.


Questions for Discussion ra cGure s Setna g e Vi s i t i n g SMy r.

Why does Mr. Green cling to his faith while Ross Gardiner does not? Is Ross’ abandonment of his faith a result of pressure from modern society? How do you feel about inter-religious marriage? How does your family feel? How do you feel about the “punishment” Ross was given for nearly running down Mr. Green? Was it too harsh? What seems fair? Interview an older person about what life was like when they were growing up. Ask about schools, games, entertainment, courting rituals, leisure time activities, etc. What could you give to an older person that they might need, desire, enjoy? Some examples could be time, help, etc. What could an older person give to you that you might need, desire, enjoy? Some examples include perspective, experience, expertise, ideas, understanding. Read the essay on page 47 titled “Preparing for the Aging of America.” Do you agree or disagree with the author’s premise? In what ways does Mr. Green’s journey in this play support or not support the author’s thesis? In addition to the differences in religious observance and outlook on life, Ross and Mr. Green differ on the issue of homosexuality. In what way does Mr. Green help Ross resolve his struggle for a sense of self and sexual identity? Mr. Green’s depression is the result of his wife’s recent death. This raises not only the question on the healthiest way to grieve, but also how different cultures show their grief. What are the mourning customs of different faiths? Of different cultures?

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50


James A. Clark

Robert Moss

Producing Director

Artistic Director

Janet Allen

Daniel Baker

Artistic Director

Managing Director

PRESENT

The Grapes of Wrath ADAPTED BY

FROM THE NOVEL BY

Frank Galati

John Steinbeck

DIRECTED BY

Michael Donald Edwards MUSICAL DIRECTION BY

Tim Grimm

SCENIC DESIGN

COSTUME DESIGN

Scott Bradley

Bea Modern

LIGHTING DESIGN

SOUND DESIGN

STAGE MANAGER

Lap Chu Chi

Jonathan Herter

Katie Ahern

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Life on the Edge c uras tSht a g e G ra p e s SoyfraW

Who’s Who in The Grapes of Wrath Tom Joad: The central character, he is a recently released inmate imprisoned for murder who returns home to find that his family has lost their farm and is moving west to California. Tom is a plainspoken, forthright and direct man, yet he still retains some of his violent tendencies. Ma Joad: The mother of Noah, Tom, Rose of Sharon, Ruthie and Winfield, Ma Joad is a woman accustomed to hardship and deprivation. She is a forceful woman who is determined to keep her family together at nearly all costs. Pa Joad: Although the head of the Joad household, he is not a forceful presence. Without the ability to provide for his family, he recedes into the background. Uncle John: A morose man prone to depression and alcoholism, Uncle John believes himself to be the cause of the family's misfortune. He blames himself for the death of his wife several years ago, and has carried the guilt of that event with him. Rose of Sharon: Tom Joad's younger sister, recently married to Connie Rivers and pregnant with his child, Rose of Sharon is the one adult who retains a sense of optimism in the future. Connie Rivers: The shiftless husband of Rose of Sharon, Connie dreams of taking correspondence courses that will provide him with job opportunities and the possibility of a better life. Noah Joad: Tom's older brother, he suffers from mental disabilities that likely occurred during childbirth. Al Joad: Tom's younger brother, at sixteen years old he is concerned with cars and girls, and remains combative and truculent toward the rest of the family. Ruthie Joad: One of the two small children in the Joad family, it is Ruthie who reveals that Tom is responsible for the murder at Hooper Ranch, forcing him to leave his family to escape capture by the police. Winfield Joad: The other small child in the Joad family, Winfield becomes severely ill during the course of the novel from deprivation, but survives his illness.

Grampa Joad: An energetic, feisty old man, Grampa refuses to leave Oklahoma with the rest of his family, but is forcibly taken on the journey after he is drugged by the other family members. Granma Joad: She becomes severely ill on the journey to California, and dies as they reach the state. Reverend Jim Casy: A fallen preacher who too often succumbed to temptation, Casy left the ministry when he realized that he did not believe in absolute ideas of sin. He espouses the idea that all that is holy comes from collective society, a belief that he places in practical context when, after time in jail, A journey is like marriage. he becomes The certain way to be involved wrong is to think you conwith labor activists. trol it. — John Steinbeck Muley Graves: Muley is a crazy elderly man who reveals to Tom Joad the fate of his family. The Mayor: He is a half-crazed old migrant worker driven ‘bull-simple' from the police’s continued torture. Floyd Knowles: He befriends Al Joad and tells the Joad family about work opportunities and about the government camp at Weedpatch. Wilkie Wallace: A Weedpatch camp resident who takes Tom to find work when they arrive at the government camp. Aggie Wainwright: She is the young woman to whom Al Joad becomes engaged. Other characters include a car salesman, the camp proprietor, salesman, the gas station attendant, narrators, agricultural officers, the man in the barn and his son and musicians. Some roles are double cast.

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52


John Steinbeck

J

1902-1968

Steinbeck’s Novels

Steinbeck's novels can all be classified as social novels dealing with the economic problems of rural labor, but there is also a streak of worship of the soil in his books, which does not always agree with his matter-of-fact sociological approach. After the rough and earthy humour of Tortilla Flat, he moved on to more serious fiction, often aggressive in its social criticism, to In Dubious Battle (1936), which deals with the strikes of the migratory fruit pickers on California plantations. This was followed by Of Mice and Men (1937), the story of the imbecile giant Lennie, and a series of admirable short stories collected in the volume The Long Valley (1938). In 1939 he published what is considered his best work, The Grapes of Wrath, the story of Oklahoma tenant farmers who, unable to earn a living from the land, moved to California where they became migratory workers. Among his later works should be mentioned East of Eden (1952), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), and Travels with Charley (1962), a travelogue in which Steinbeck wrote about his impressions during a three-month tour in a truck that led him through forty American states. He died in New York City in 1968.

Cup of Gold (1929) The Pastures of Heaven (1932) The Red Pony (1933) To A God Unknown (1933) Tortilla Flat (1935) In Dubious Battle (1936) Nothing So Monstrous (1936) Of Mice and Men (1937) The Long Valley (1938) The Grapes of Wrath (1939) The Forgotten Village (1941) Log from the Sea of Cortez (1941) Bombs Away (1942) The Moon Is Down (1942) Cannery Row (1945) The Wayward Bus (1947) The Pearl (1948) A Russian Journal (1948) Burning Bright (1950) East of Eden (1952) Sweet Thursday (1954) The Short Reign of Pippin IV (1957) Once There Was A War (1958) The Winter of Our Discontent (1961) Travels With Charley: In Search of America (1962) The World of Li'l Abner (1965) (with Charles Chaplin) Viva Zapata (1975) The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976) Zapata (1992)

Non fiction Personal and Bibliographical Notes (1939) America and Americans (1966) In Touch (1969) Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969) The Harvest Gypsies: On the Road to the Grapes of Wrath (1988) Working Days: The Journals of the Grapes of Wrath, 1938-1941 (1989) Of Men and Their Making: The Selected NonFiction of John Steinbeck (2002)

www.nobel.se/literature/laureates/1962/steinbeck-bio.htmlShort stories

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G ra p e s o f W ra t h

ohn Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, came from a family of moderate means. He worked his way through college at Stanford University but never graduated. In 1925 he went to New York, where he tried for a few years to establish himself as a free-lance writer, but he failed and returned to California. After publishing some novels and short stories, Steinbeck first became widely known with Tortilla Flat (1935), a series of humorous stories about Monterey paisanos.


Journey Along Route 66 S y ra c u s S t a g e G ra p e s o f W ra t h

Plot synopsis

T

Work runs out, so once again the Joads have to move. They find a peach harvest. In the night, Tom sneaks out and finds Casy and others on strike to raise wages. People come by to break up the strike calling the strikers Reds (communists). Casey is killed, and Tom retaliates. He’s injured, but he evades his pursuers and makes it back to camp.

he farmers live in a world of dust, making little money until the bank forces them off the land. In this bleak world, enters a newly released prisoner, Tom Joad. Walking toward his house, he meets Casy, a former preacher who is sitting under a The Joads decide that it’s too dangerous for Tom, so tree. They begin to talk and Tom explains that he was they decide to leave the orchard and find another place in prison for killing a person that pulled a knife on him. to work while Tom is in hiding. At a cotton field that They walk together to Tom’s house but finds that it is needs picking, they begin working while living in a deserted. A friend Muley Graves tells them that the boxcar shared with the Wainwrights. Al falls in love Joads moved to Uncle John’s house and are planning to with Agnes Wainwright and they plan to marry. They move west to California. Tom’s relatives, Granpa and work there at that cotton field. It rains for several days Granma, Tom’s Grandparents, Ma and Pa (also named and floods the Tom Joad), Tom’s parents, Noah, Rose of Sharon, valley. Some Al, Ruthie and Winfield, Tom’s brother’s and sisters, men try to divert Connie, Rose of Sharon’s husband, were planning The Grapes of Wrath is said by many to the water by on leaving without him. be Steinbeck's masterpiece. Its power building a dyke lies not only in its searing portrait of The next morning when they are about to leave, but it breaks Dust Bowl poverty-if it were merely an Granpa refuses to go. The family has to get him when a fallen historical tract about 1930s it would not drunk in order to force him to go. But Granpa dies tree crashes sell over 150,000 copies a year. It is shortly after they leave. In Arizona, they stop by a through it. also the story of the migration of a peoriver and are hassled by a policeman. Noah Meanwhile, ple. It echoes Exodus. And it is the story decides to stay at the river and no one can change Rose of Sharon of a family disintegrating; of how power his mind. Crossing California, Granma dies and the goes into labor shifts from patriarchy to matriarchy; of family has to bury her a pauper since they are out but gives birth what freedom means. It is about two key of money. relationships. One is between Tom Joad to a dead baby. and Jim Casy, the preacher, looking for Having survived In California, they stop at a camp filled with other spiritual meaning outside the church. the flood, the migrants. There they meet Floyd Knowles who Tom is his pupil, and Casy guides Tom in family searches explains to them that there is no work and the his own rebirth into social commitment. for higher wages are down. Connie and Rose talk about their But equally important is the relationship ground. In a future and he leaves the tent, never to return. between Ma Joad and her self-absorbed barn they meet daughter, Rose of Sharon. Like Tom, she a boy and his During the evening, an employer comes to the must learn to look beyond herself. The starving father. camp promising work. Floyd, however, knows the novel is thus a plea for empathy and The boy system and that the employer is trying to get a lot understanding, as well as an indictment explains that the of workers so he can lower the wages. The man gave up his employer comes prepared with a police officer who of a system that left so many destitute in a land where excess oranges were food to keep the tries to arrest Floyd. A fight ensues. Everyone runs dumped in rivers in order to keep prices boy healthy. except Casy who turns himself in as the troubleinflated. maker. The officer threatens to burn down the San Jose State University The man can’t camp at night. The Joads leave that night, traveling digest even south to a government camp. bread. Rose of Sharon decides to feed her breast milk to the man as In the morning, Tom gets a job digging ditches for pipes. Their employer warns them that some people are the play ends. going to cause trouble in the camp at the dance.

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54


The Dust Bowl How the Joad’s fortunes fell

T

John Steinbeck wrote in The Grapes of Wrath: "And then the dispossessed were drawn west- from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas, families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Car-loads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand. They streamed over the mountains, hungry and restless - restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do - to lift, to push, to pull, to pick, to cut - anything, any burden to bear, for food. The kids are hungry. We got no place to live. Like ants scurrying for work, for food, and most of all for land."

http://www.usd.edu/anth/epa/dust.html

Farmers abandoned their land when the drought and dust storms showed no signs of letting up. Others were forced out when banks foreclosed on their land. In all, one-quarter of the population left, packing everything they owned into their cars and trucks, and headed west toward California. Although three out of four farmers stayed on their land, the mass exodus depleted the population in certain areas. In the area outside Boise City,

Poor agricultural practices and years of sustained drought caused the Dust Bowl. Plains grasslands had been deeply plowed and planted to wheat. During the years when there was adequate rainfall, the land produced bountiful crops. But as the droughts of the early 1930s deepened, the farmers kept plowing and planting even though nothing would grow. Over the ensuing years, the ground cover that held the soil in place blew away. The Plains winds whipped

Oklahoma, the population dropped forty percent, with 1,642 small farmers and their families pulling up stakes. www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/dustbowl/peopleevents/pandeAMEX08.html

See a video of a dust storm during the dust bowl: www.ksu.edu/vids.dust002.mpg Warning, it might take a while to load.

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G ra p e s o f W ra t h

he Dust Bowl of the 1930s lasted about a decade. Its primary area of impact was on the southern plain states. Drought, windblown dust and agricultural decline plagued a once fertile area. The agricultural devastation helped to lengthen the Depression whose effects were felt worldwide. This prompted an exodus of people to California.

across the fields raising billowing clouds of dust to the skies. The skies could darken for days, and even the most well sealed homes could have a thick layer of dust on furniture. In some places the dust would drift like snow, covering farmsteads.


A Migrant’s Life S y ra c u s S t a g e G ra p e s o f W ra t h

The Joads in California

T

he Dust Bowl exodus was the largest migration in American history. By 1940, 2.5 million people had moved out of the Plains states; of those, 200,000 moved to California. When they reached the border, they did not receive a warm welcome, as described in this 1935 excerpt from Collier's magazine. "Very erect and primly severe, [a man] addressed the slumped driver of a rolling wreck that screamed from every hinge, bearing and coupling. 'California's relief rolls are overcrowded now. No use to come farther,' he cried. The half-collapsed driver ignored him -- merely turned his head to be sure his numerous family was still with him. They were so tightly wedged in, that escape was impossible. 'There really is nothing for you here,' the neat trooperish young man went on. 'Nothing, really nothing.' And the forlorn man on the moaning car looked at him, dull, emotionless, incredibly weary, and said: 'So? Well, you ought to see what they got where I come from.' " The Los Angeles police chief went so far as to send 125 policemen to act as bouncers at the state border. Called "the bum brigade," by the press and the object of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, the LAPD posse was recalled only when the use of city funds for this work was questioned. Arriving in California, the migrants were faced with a life almost as difficult as the one they had left. Many California farms were corporate-owned. They were larger, and more modernized that those of the southern plains, and the crops were unfamiliar. The rolling fields of wheat were replaced by crops of fruit, nuts and vegetables. Some 40 percent of migrant farmers wound up in the San Joaquin Valley, picking grapes and cotton. They took up the work of Mexican migrant workers, 120,000 of whom were repatriated during the 1930s. Life for migrant workers was hard. They were paid by the quantity of fruit and cotton picked, with earnings ranging from seventy-five cents to $1.25 a day. Out of that, they had to pay twenty-five cents a day to rent a tar-paper shack with no floor or plumbing. In larger ranches, they often had to buy their groceries from a

high-priced company store. The sheer number of migrants camped out, desperate for work, led to scenes such as that described by John Steinbeck in his novel, "The Grapes of Wrath." "Maybe he needs two hundred men, so he talks to five hundred, an' they tell other folks, an' when you get to the place, they's a thousand' men. This here fella says, "I'm payin' twenty cents an hour." An' maybe half a the men walk off. But they's still five hundred that's so goddamn hungry they'll work for nothin' but biscuits. ... The more fella's he can get, less he's gonna pay. An' he'll get a fella with kids if he can." As roadside camps of poverty-stricken migrants proliferated, growers pressured sheriffs to break them up. Groups of vigilantes beat up migrants, accusing them of being Communists, and burned their shacks to the ground. To help the migrants, Roosevelt's Farm Security Administration built 13 camps. When migrants reached California and found that most of the farmland was tied up in large corporate farms, many gave up farming. They set up residence near larger cities in shacktowns called Little Oklahomas or Okievilles, on open lots local landowners divided into tiny subplots and sold cheaply, for $5 down and $3 in monthly installments. They built their houses from scavenged scraps, and lived without plumbing and electricity. Polluted water and a lack of trash and waste facilities led to outbreaks of typhoid, malaria, smallpox and tuberculosis. Over the years, they replaced their shacks with real houses, sending their children to local schools and becoming part of the communities, although they continued to face discrimination when looking for work, and were called "Okies" and "Arkies" by the locals, regardless of where they came from. www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/dustbowl/peopleevents/pandeAMEX08.html

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Questions for Discussion In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Steinbeck said, “. . . the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man’s proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit—for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love.” Debate whether or not the author met his own standards in the writing of The Grapes of Wrath. At first, Ma Joad feels the “family” is what life is all about and is all that is important. Trace how her view changes and analyze what statement Steinbeck is making through this change.

G ra p e s o f W ra t h

The Grapes of Wrath is described as among the most loved and the most hated of books. Discuss what elements you think caused it to be highly praised. What elements do you think caused it to be banned and burned in some communities? Some literary criticism maintains The Grapes of Wrath is an allegory, a story where characters, setting, and events have both a literal and symbolic meaning. Explore what the Joads’ journey along Route 66 might symbolize. Discuss what different characters like Tom Joad, Ma, Jim Casy, or Granma and Granpa might symbolize. In the first chapter of The Grapes of Wrath, as part of the description of the Dust Bowl, Steinbeck writes, “The men were silent and they did not move often. And the women came out of the houses to stand beside their men—to feel whether this time the men would break.” Discuss the mood this image evokes. What tone does it set for the novel? How did the creative team turn this writing into a live production? What’s more powerful - the words on the page or the theatrical production? When the book was first published many forgot the Joads were only make-believe. Discuss what you think caused the public to view these fictional people as real.

Credit: Alisa Soderquist Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia www.discoveryschool.com

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For further research Web sites

G ra p e s o f W ra t h

SJSU Center for Steinbeck Studies http://www.sjsu.edu/depts/steinbec/srchome.html This web site offers biographical information and photos of Steinbeck and links researcher to other sites and Steinbeck archives. Its goal seems to be to promote Steinbeck studies.

The Internet Public Library -Steinbeck http://www.ipl.org/ref/litcrit/ The IPL site contains links to critical and biographical information about Steinbeck which can be accessed by author's name, book title, or literary time period in America.

American Studies @ the University of Virginia xroads.virginia.edu/ As a good companion to the novel, this site contains a section on the 1930s presented through the lenses of films, radio programs, print, and other forms of cultural expression. It requires ShockWave, RealPlayer, and Netscape 3.0 or better for optimal use.

Voices from the Dust Bowl /lcweb.loc.gov/History eSearch.com Located in the American Memory collection, this is an excellent multi-media resource for the lives of those portrayed in GRAPES OF WRATH

All links on this comprehensive history site have been previewed for quality academic content. Many US history/Depression Era links contain excellent primary sources. www.snowcrest.net/jmike/ Credit: Alisa Soderquist, humanities teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. www.discoveryschool.com

Books Heavilin, Barbara A., John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath: A Reference Guide, Westport, CT : Greenwood 2002 Heavilin, Barbara A., The Critical Response to John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Greenwood, Westport, CT Wiener, Gary, Readings on The Grapes of Wrath, Greenhaven, San Diego, CA

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James A. Clark

Robert Moss

Producing Director

Artistic Director

PRESENTS

My Fair Lady BOOK AND LYRICS BY

MUSIC BY

FROM PYGMALION BY

Alan Jay Lerner

Frederick Loewe

George Bernard Shaw

DIRECTED BY

Robert Moss CHOREOGRAPHED BY

MUSICAL DIRECTION BY

Dianne Adams McDowell SCENIC DESIGN

COSTUME DESIGN

Adam Stockhausen

Nanzi Adzima

LIGHTING DESIGN

SOUND DESIGN

STAGE MANAGER

Jonathan Herter

Stuart Plymesser

SEASON SPONSORS

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A Rarified World usStage M y FaSi yr ra L acdy

Who’s who in My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle: A cockney flower girl from Lisson Grove, Eliza works outside Covent Garden. Her potential to become “a lady” becomes the object of a bet between Higgins and Pickering. Henry Higgins: A British, upper class professional bachelor, Higgins is a world-famous phonetics expert, teacher, and author of Higgins’ Universal Alphabet. Colonel Pickering: A retired British officer with colonial experience, Pickering is the author of Spoken Sanskrit.

Freddy Eynsford-Hill: An upper class young man, Freddy becomes completely smitten with Eliza. Mrs. Eynsford-Hill: A friend of Mrs. Higgins, Mrs. Eynsford-Hill is Freddy’s mother. Mrs. Higgins: Henry’s long-suffering mother. Professor Zoltan Karpathy: A former student of Higgins, he is a rival phonetics expert. Mrs. Pearce: Henry Higgins’ housekeeper.

Alfred P. Doolittle: Eliza’s father, Doolittle is an elderly but vigorous dustman.

credit: Utah Shakearean Festival

Production History Perhaps the most popular musical of the 1950s, My Fair Lady came into being only after Hungarian film producer Gabriel Pascal devoted the last two years of his life to finding writers who would adapt George Bernard Shaw's 1914 play Pygmalion into a musical. Rejected by the likes of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein and Noël Coward, Pascal finally turned to the younger, but very talented duo, of Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner. My Fair Lady opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on March 15, 1956 and enjoyed a run of 2,717 performances which lasted more than nine years. The original production featured Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins and Julie Andrews as Eliza. The 1964 film version starred Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway and Audrey Hepburn. It was revived in 1976 and ran for 377 performances, revived again in 1981 with Rex Harrison reprising his role and finally in 1993, when it ran for 165 performances. A two-piano version (orchestrated by Lerner and Loewe before their deaths) premiered in 1999 at Trinity Repertory Theatre.

Awards Tony Award 1957

Best Musical Best Actor in a Musical, Rex Harrison Best Scenic Design, Oliver Smith Best Costume Design, Cecil Beaton Best Direction, Moss Hart 1956 Theatre World Award

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Plot of My Fair Lady

T

his adaptation begins at a dinner party in 1915, during which friends debate current events, George Bernard Shaw and the war. One begins to tell the tale of Pygmalion.

Liza has now come to live with Professor Higgins, who devotes himself painstakingly to teaching her how to act like a lady. Higgins convinces both her and her father that, beyond this experiment, he has no further interest in her. At long last Liza responds to Higgins' instruction and manages to drop her cockney accent. At Ascot, Pickering informs Mrs. Higgins that her son will soon make his appearance with the transformed Liza. Within the enclosure, elegant gentlemen and ladies are watching the races -- their reactions reflected in the ballet, "Ascot Gavotte." Eliza now appears on Higgins' arm. Beautifully gowned, and very much the lady, she instantly captures the heart of young Freddy Eynsford-Hill. Smitten, Freddy later haunts Higgins'

Meanwhile, Higgins is upset to discover Liza has left and wonders why women behave the way they do. When next he does see Liza, it is at his mother's house, where Liza has come for a brief visit. He would like her to come back to him, but when Liza informs him that Freddy has asked to marry her, he loses his temper. Liza retorts that she can marry anybody she wishes, and she can get along in life without Mr. Higgins. At his home, at dusk, Higgins realizes how much Eliza has come to mean to him. Without her, he is lost and lonely. Liza slips silently in as he is thus musing. When he finally notices her he barks: "Liza! Where the devil are my slippers?!"

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M y Fa i r L a dy

Liza's father, Doolittle, and his pals have been drinking, and he asks Liza to give him money.

.

It is a blustery March evening outside Covent Garden a few years earlier. Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower girl tries to sell some flowers to Colonel Pickering. Professor Henry Higgins from a distance is painstakingly writing down her speech, for he is a distinguished phonetician. He insists he can place any Englishman within six miles of his home by the quality of his speech. Spurred on by a wager with Pickering, Higgins decides to transform Liza in speech, manner and dress into a duchess.

house for a sight of Eliza. However, Eliza’s transformation is short lived. The night of the embassy waltz arrives. It is here that Liza is to meet her final test. In every sense the wellgroomed lady, Liza carries herself with the utmost poise, as she dances a waltz with Higgins. Her triumph is complete. Later the same night, back at Higgins' place, Pickering is exuberant over Liza's triumph, while Liza herself nostalgically recalls the pleasures of that evening. But before long she turns angrily upon Higgins for not having left well enough alone by allowing her to remain a flower salesgirl. For, now that she is a lady, what will become of her? Higgins suggests she marry some nice young man. This serves only to arouse Liza further. Packing her things, she storms out of Higgins' house to stumble outside into Freddy. He protests that he is in love with her, but Liza brushes him off. In an attempt to find Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison her true identity she returns to the flower mart, where she is not recognized, even by her own father. When he does he gives her news that he is getting married.


l.

S y ra c u s S t a g e M y Fa i r L a dy

Meet Lerner and Loewe

F

rederick Loewe, an unheralded Vienna-born composer, and Alan Jay Lerner, the lyricist-playwright son of the proprietors of an American chain of women's clothing shops, with sketches and lyrics for two Harvard Hasty Pudding shows among his major credits, met by chance at New York's Lambs Club, a hot spot for theater people, in 1942. One evening, Loewe encountered Lerner at a nearby table. Loewe went up to him, saying "I understand you write lyrics." Lerner replied "Well, I understand you write music.” The first Lerner-Loewe collaboration was a musical adaptation of Barry Connor's farce The Patsy for a Detroit stock company in 1942. They called it Life of the Party and it enjoyed a nine-week hit that encouraged them to continue with the musical comedy What's Up? which opened on Broadway in 1943. Lerner wrote the book and lyrics with Arthur Pierson, and Loewe composed the music. It ran for 63 performances and was followed in 1945 by their The Day Before Spring It was when the curtain went up to the haunted strains of bagpipes on the night of March 13, 1947, and the mist-shrouded Scottish Highland village of Brigadoon first appeared, that the team reached true success. The musical, which after its original 581 performances on Broadway, toured extensively and has been revived frequently, won the "best musical" award from the New York Drama Critics Circle the year it opened and was hailed as having "evoked magic on Broadway."

tic and financial in the history of the American theater. Playing a record 2,717 performances on Broadway alone, it went on to break all other existing world records. This musicalization of Shaw's classic Pygmalion was named "outstanding musical of the year" by the New York Drama Critics Circle — and by millions of theatregoers. Lerner and Loewe's next collaboration was on the film adaptation of the Colette novel Gigi, another success filled with songs destined to become standards. The next production, Camelot, received terrible reviews when it opened. The director and producer of the play got the brilliant idea of having the stars, Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, and Robert Goulet appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. The next morning the ticket office was swamped with requests, and Camelot became a hit. There was more collaborating to come — the film version of the Antoine de Saint-Exupery fable The Little Prince in 1972. Loewe, who had suffered a heart attack in 1958, went into retirement. He died in 1988. The two received the prestigious Kennedy Center Award in 1985, and Lerner died the next year. Lerner wrote of his partner, "There will never be another Fritz. ... Writing will never again be as much fun. A collaboration as intense as ours inescapably had to be complex. But I loved him more than I understood or misunderstood him, and I know he loved me more than he understood or misunderstood me." http://www.punahou.edu/theatre/curriculum /AMTWeb/lernerleowe/bio.html

Between Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon, Lerner wrote Love Life, with music by Kurt Weill, which was selected as one of the best plays of the 1948-49 Broadway season, plus the story, screenplay and lyrics for the films Royal Wedding and Brigadoon and the story and screenplay for An American in Paris, for which he won an Oscar in 1951. Paint Your Wagon rolled in in 1951, and then, five years later, on March 15, 1956, My Fair Lady opened and became one of the most spectacular successes — artis

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Pygmalion Transformed On the stage

I

n a poetry collection of myths concerning metamorphosis or transformation, the Roman poet Ovid (43 BC – 17AD) first wrote down the Greek myth of Pygmalion, about a misogynist who creates the perfect woman as a statue. Aphrodite brings the statue to life, creating Galatea.

In adapting Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion for the musicalcomedy stage the highest standards were applied to every aspect of the musical theatre -- text, lyrics, music, choreography, direction, Cecil Beaton's costuming and Oliver Smith's sets -[We] were determined to to create as near perfect retain as much of Shaw’s dia- a production as human ingenuity and imaginalogue as possible, which tion could contrive. The would automatically mean result was, as the critic William Hawkins said, "a there would be more dialegendary evening", or, in the words of Brooks logue than in any other Atkinson, "one of the best musical to date. The only musicals of the century ... close to the genius of way to accomplish this . . creation."

The first English language produc.was to fill the score with tion, starring Mrs. Campbell and directed by Shaw, was a huge sucWith these and similar tempo and search every cess and established Shaw as a critical accolades as a emotion. commercially successful playwright. springboard, My Fair “I wish to boast that Pygmalion has Lady went on to become — Alan Jay Lerner been an extremely successful play the greatest commercial all over Europe and North America triumph the American as well as at home. It is so intensely and deliberately theatre had known up until that time. On June 13, didactic, and its subject is esteemed so dry, that I 1961, it became the longest-running production in delight in throwing it at the heads of the wiseacres who Broadway history, outdistancing the Rodgers and repeat the parrot cry that art should never be didactic. It Hammerstein musical play, Oklahoma!, which had held goes to prove my contention that art should never be that record up to then. By that time it had been seen by anything else.” over three million patrons, and had earned almost forty million dollars; the long-playing recording by the origiIn 1938, a film version of Pygmalion changed the endnal cast sold over three million discs at a price of fifteen ing to a reunion between Eliza and Higgins. million dollars; the motion-picture rights were sold for over five million dollars. The national tour of a second In the 1940’s and 1950’s, various adapters tried to turn company begun on March 18, 1957, stayed on the road Pygmalion into a musical, including the team of Lerner several years, breaking box-office precedents in city and Lowe. With the success of Oklahoma, the form of after city. Numerous companies were formed to present the musical changed, placing much more emphasis on it throughout the civilized world, including the Soviet the story, or book, and less on big splashy song and Union in 1960. dance numbers. In the wake of this development,

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M y Fa i r L a dy

In 1912, George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950), a playwright, critic, social activist, and passionate advocate for the rights of women, wrote his version of Pygmalion. The play was written as a star vehicle for Mrs. Patrick Campbell, and was inspired by a flower girl Shaw saw outside Covent Garden around the turn of the century, and by the British phoneticist Henry Sweet.

Lerner and Loewe make a second, successful, attempt at adapting Pygmalion. Six years after Shaw died, My Fair Lady debuted in 1956.


Ovid’s tale

P S y ra c u s S t a g e M y Fa i r L a dy

ygmalion saw these women waste their lives in wretched shame, and critical of faults which nature had so deeply planted through their female hearts, he lived in preference, for many years unmarried. But while he was single, with consummate skill, he carved a statue out of snow-white ivory, and gave to it exquisite beauty, which no woman of the world has ever equalled: she was so beautiful, he fell in love with his creation. It appeared in truth a perfect virgin with the grace of life, but in the expression of such modesty all motion was restrained — and so his art concealed his art. Pygmalion gazed, inflamed with love and admiration for the form, in semblance of a woman, he had carved. He lifts up both his hands to feel the work, and wonders if it can be ivory, because it seems to him more truly flesh — his mind refusing to conceive of it as ivory, he kisses it and feels his kisses are returned. And speaking love, caresses it with loving hands that seem to make an impression on the parts they touch, so real that he fears he then may bruise her by his eager pressing. Softest tones are used each time he speaks to her. He brings to her such presents as are surely prized by sweet girls; such as smooth round pebbles, shells, and birds, and fragrant flowers of thousand tints, lilies, and painted balls, and amber tears of Heliads, which distill from far off trees — he drapes her in rich clothing and in gems: rings on her fingers, a rich necklace round her neck, pearl pendants on her graceful ears; and golden ornaments adorn her breast.

stroke of death upon their snow-white necks; and frankincense was smoking on the altars. There, intent, Pygmalion stood before an altar, when his offering had been made; and although he feared the result, he prayed: “If it is true, O Gods, that you can give all things, I pray to have as my wife—” but, he did not dare to add “my ivory statue-maid,” and said, “One like my ivory—.” Golden Venus heard, for she was present at her festival, and she knew clearly what the prayer had meant. She gave a sign that her Divinity favored his plea: three times the flame leaped high and brightly in the air. When he returned, he went directly to his image-maid, bent over her, and kissed her many times, while she was on her couch; and as he kissed, she seemed to gather some warmth from his lips. Again he kissed her; and he felt her breast; the ivory seemed to soften at the touch, and its firm texture yielded to his hand, as honey-wax of Mount Hymettus turns to many shapes when handled in the sun, and surely softens from each gentle touch. He is amazed; but stands rejoicing in his doubt; while fearful there is some mistake, again and yet again, gives trial to his hopes by touching with his hand. It must be flesh! The veins pulsate beneath the careful test of his directed finger. Then, indeed, the astonished hero poured out lavish thanks to Venus; pressing with his raptured lips his statue’s lips. Now real, true to life— the maiden felt the kisses given to her, and blushing, lifted up her timid eyes, so that she saw the light and sky above, as well as her rapt lover while he leaned gazing beside her—and all this at once— the goddess graced the marriage she had willed, and when nine times a crescent moon had changed, gave birth to her dear daughter Paphos.

All these are beautiful—and she appears most lovable, if carefully attired — or perfect as a statue, unadorned. He lays her on a bed luxurious, spread with coverlets of Tyrian purple dye, and naming her the consort of his couch, lays her reclining head on the most soft and downy pillows, trusting she could feel. The festal day of Venus, known throughout all Cyprus, now had come, and throngs were there to celebrate. Heifers with spreading horns, all gold-tipped, fell when given the

- P. Ovid Naso, editor Brookes More, Book 10

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Eliza’s World Pre-war England

T

Henry Higgins is a beneficiary of this power structure, but by teaching Eliza he also subverts the power structure. Higgins believes he has power over everyone he meets. He is quite wealthy but doesn't flaunt his money or a high position in society. He treats everyone the same: "I would treat a duchess as if she was a flower girl."

Published in 1913: - D.H Lawrence’s Son’s and Lovers - Willa Cather’s O Pioneers - Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way - Charlie Chaplin creates his first films for Paramount - Henry Ford announces he will pay $5 a day for work in his car factory. It revolutionizes the American workforce and guarantees a liveable wage. He wrote: ”It is our belief that social justice begins at home. We want those who have helped us to produce this great institution and are helping to maintain it to share our prosperity.” - Richard Spikes invents the automated car wash and directional signals - The New York Times runs its first crossword puzzle

English society expected men to treat a lady politely regardless of her class, age or ethnicity. But the society contradicted itself and treated people differently dependent on their class, age and ethnicity.

- Formica, stainless steel and the zipper come into existence - Mary Phelps Jacob invents the bra

Women's suffrage movements started in the early 1840's, but in the time of this play, a man still had total control over his wife and daughters. Women were second class citizens. Because they were expected to be wives and mothers, work was viewed as temporary. They weren't paid the same as men, they didn't vote, and they couldn't do the same jobs as men. Yet, the Victorian period allowed growth in women’s roles. Education became more important. And women benefited from the gradual growth of a middle class.

- The first refrigerator, as opposed to the simple ice box, designed for home use was the Domelre, which was manufactured in Chicago in 1913. Frigidaire brand's roots date back to the invention of the first self-container refrigerator for household use by Alfred Mellowes in 1915. - Two different men, Ernst Alexanderson and Reginald Fessenden, invent radio receivers - Thomas Alva Edison invents sound motion pictures

Here are some major events of 1913: - Grand Central Terminal opens in NYC

- Niels Bohr publishes his model of the atom, based on energy states described by one quantum number

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M y Fa i r L a dy

he Victorian period (1837-1901) was a time of revolution and change. It saw great expansion of wealth, power and culture. The modern idea of “invention” was invented. Religion was in doubt. Romantic emphasis was placed on self-emotion and imagination. Victorians created astonishing innovation and change in democracy, feminism, unionization of workers and socialism. The brief reign of King Edward VII (1901-1910) continued these changes. And when King George V took the throne, England society was about to break with its formal past. This is the time of My Fair Lady.

- British suffragettes are led by the Pankhursts, who spend much of the year battling the authorities in court - Roland Garros flies across the Mediterranean - The Panama Canal Opens


Questions for Discussion S y ra c u s SStyara g ec u s S t a g e M y Fa i r L a dy

How are Pickering and Higgins foils for each other? How do Henry Higgins and Alfred Doolittle get educated during the play? What does this play suggest as possible results of education? Do teachers and students alike need to be concerned about those results? In Shaw’s ending of the play, Eliza marries Freddy and works in a flower shop to support them. They remain friends with Henry Higgins and Pickering. Why do you think Shaw chose to deviate from the Pygmalion myth’s ending in his original? Why does the musical change who Eliza falls in love with? What does the play suggest about the differences between social classes? What does it suggest about marriage and family? Do the differences that exist between the classes in 1913 still exist today? If they do, how does it affect your life? How does it affect our city? The country? Why did Shaw pick Pygmalion as the title of his play? How does this source material compare to the story of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins in the musical? Think of the different accents people speak with. Do people make judgements of others who may speak with an accent? Why are some accents cool and others not? Is Eliza Doolittle a feminist character? Why or why not? How does the musical show us Eliza’s transformation? Which is the most important transformation? This version of My Fair Lady deleted the chorus. How may this have changed the production? How might it have changed the focus of the show? The story of Pygmalion has inspired many movies: Trading Places, Educating Rita, Can’t Buy Me Love, Overboard, Mannequin, Pretty Woman, She’s All That and The Princess Diaries. Can you think of others? What’s the common theme in all these films? How do they differ? Does it matter if the Eliza character is a man or a woman? How does that change the development? Audrey Hepburn

Write your own script outline for a story inspired by Pygmalion. Think of the inventions of 1913 and think of the way people lived then, how will these inventions impact the way Eliza and others would live (if they were real). How does the story foreshadow some of these changes?

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Further Reading Web sites www.eusa.ed.uk/societies/filmsoc/films/my_fair_lady.html eonline.com/Facts/Movies/Reviews/0,1052,11908,00.html www.flickfilosopher/oscars/bestpix/myfairlady.html www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/albm25.html

M y Fa i r L a dy

www.landow.stg.brown.edu/victorian/hist/Gentleman.html www.landow.stg.brown.edu/victorian/religion/herb1.html www.landow.stg.brown.edu/victorian/wmhisttl.html http://www.frederickloewe.org/fritz/bio.htm www.musicals101.com www.psd.k12.co.us/schools/rocky/mfl/story.html

Books and journal articles Bach, Steven, Dazzler: the Life and Times of Moss Hart, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2001 Citron, Stephen, The Wordsmiths: Oscar Hammerstein 2nd and Alan Jay Lerner, Oxford University Press, New York, 1995. Flinn, Denny Martin, Musical! A Grand Tour, Schirmer Books, New York, 1997. Hellerstein, Erna Olafson and Hume, Leslie Parker and Offen, Karen M. Victorian Women: a documentary account of women's lives in nineteenth-century England, France and the United States. Stanford University Press, 1981. Holroyd, Michael, The Genius of Shaw, Hodder and Stoughton, New York, Applause Theater Books, 1979. Mintz, Steven. A Prison of Expectations: The Family in Victorian Culture. New York University Press, 1983. Perkin, Joan. Victorian Women. New York University Press, 1993. Phillips, K.C. Language and Class in Victorian England. Basil Blackwell Publisher Limited, 1984.

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Syracuse 2004-2005 Season Study Guide  

Syracuse 2004-2005 Season Study Guide

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