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Cast of characters
Off the manager's office is a small balcony. People standing on this balcony are visible from the terrace. Vines or wrought-iron decoration make it possible to climb from the main terrace onto the balcony.
At the downstage
left corner of the main ter-race area is the waiter's station. Beyond
it lies access to the kitchen.
A late evening in July, 10:30 or 11:00 p.m., when Madrid restaurant patrons are still arriving for dinner.Back to top
THE PLAYWRIGHT AND THE PLAY
My imagination was
as seduced by it as the next guy's. At a ramshackle beach house in a long
ago Malibu a friend and I read--could it have been by flashlight?--passage
in A Farewell to Arms that seemed indescribably sexy. We were thirteen.
Later The Sun Also Rises made me yearn to go to Europe. Working in San
Francisco I saw a play about Hemingway's life as drawn from his stories.
It was linear and failed to engage the audience. Still later, serving
as a USIS officer in the Congo, I read The Green Hills of Africa in Bukavu
on the eastern frontier and, shortly after its publication,
To keep from going bonkers with loneliness in Coq I wrote a play-and began to think like a playwright. Perhaps it was after reading Feast that I realized a play with a linear construction would never do justice to Hemingway. By then we knew that his accidental death, as it had first been reported, was a suicide. It became clear that the man's life was a web of contradictions. At some point it struck me that a play about Hemingway's life would need to show multiple phases of him simultaneously.
I began to write The Hemingway Play as a newly-married graduate student in African Studies at UCLA. Several years later-I was by then The Christian Science Monitor's Africa correspondent, living in Nairobi-my twin brother sent the play to Arthur Ballet at the University of Minnesota. He in turn got the play to the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference. It was given a staged reading there in the summer of 1973. Somewhere along the line I had brief correspondences with Hadley Mowrer and Agnes von Kurowsky Stanfield who gave me permission to use their names. Later I sent the play to George Hamlin, whom I had met several times, at the Loeb Drama Center at Harvard University. The Loeb staged the play as part of its summer series in 1975. (The cover photo is from that production, showing Alexander Scourby as Papa, Robert Gerringer as Ernest, Philip Kerr as Hem and James Maxwell as the youngest of the quartet.)
Alex Scourby sent the play to Norman Lloyd with whom he'd been a young actor in New York thirty years before. Norman was by then producer of the PBS series Hollywood Television Theater out of KCET in Los Angeles. KCET presented the play the following spring in a production in which everyone's contribution enhanced the final result. The reviews quoted on the back cover are in reaction to that production.
Whatever one wants to say about television, it reaches an enormous audience. It's been a matter of continuing surprise-and, of course, delight!-- that thirty-plus years after the PBS production people who saw the play look me up (ever easier on the Internet) to ask for a copy of it. So I'm now grateful to Nebbadoon Press for making the play available to a wider public.