Publisher George Spitzer
DISSECTED BY A PLAY
Press announces the publication of The Hemingway Play by Frederic
Hunter. The two-act, one-set, ten-character drama offers a unique take
on the author who helped shape the consciousness of his time in the middle
years of the 20th century.
"I saw a play - this must have been in the early '60s - that tried
to do Hemingway's life in a linear fashion," says Hunter. "It
didn't work." Because he admired Hemingway's zest for life, his globe-trotting
experiences, his compelling style, Hunter kept wondering how a play about
the author could be done.
Several Hemingways then came to mind. Suddenly they started to confront
one another in a bullfighters' hangout in Madrid, each needing to solve
a problem. So the play was born.
In a manner that drama alone can accommodate, the play offers Hem, 28,
a young novelist in Spain for the bullfights. Also there is Wemedge, Hemingway
at 19, an ambulance driver returning home after recuperating from a wound
in an Italian military hospital. He's seeking an interview with Ernest,
55, a world-personality author, who's just survived two air crashes in
Africa and arrives to have a reunion with old friends. Finally Papa, a
revered Nobel Prize-winner, finishing a series of Life Magazine articles
about bullfighting, enters to visit his favorite Madrid watering-hole
for the last time.
Since the real-life Hemingway as a young man scorned writers who chased
commercial success, Hem and Ernest, the embodiment of commercial success,
have some bristling exchanges.
In 1976 the play was presented by the PBS Hollywood Television Theater
series to ecstatic reviews. The Washington Post declared: "The
triumph of The Hemingway Play is the unexpected effectiveness of
its premise. By giving the opposing sides of Hemingway's divided self
an independent existence on stage, author Hunter permits us to become
ringside spectators at the contest between warring factions of his own
The Christian Science Monitor termed the play "A remarkable
The Hollywood Reporter called it "A brilliantly inventive
and totally fascinating piece of writing."
The Boston Globe wrote: "The fine script by Frederic Hunter
illuminates the enigmatic personal qualities of this adventurer, all done
in crackling dialogue, so clearly defined that there is no mistaking the
message each component of one man brings."