Preview: The Green Room

On a golf course in rural Warner Springs CA, the Old Man delivers a requiem for an anonymous playwright (himself) to hypothetical audiences in Pittsburgh PA, New York NY, Galway IR, Hannover DE, St. Gallen CH and San Diego CA. The odyssey which has led him to the wilderness is recounted in 18 stages.

In uncanny unison, his prompter/doppelgänger fills the 18 breaks between stages with a solo rendition of The Wooster Group’s 2013 production of the most famous play in the English language, ranked by the British Library as one of the 10 key performances of the most famous playwright.

Logos on golf bag and scorecard pencil, respectively:

The part that I have taken of writing and hiding myself is precisely the one that suits me. If I were present, one would never know what I was worth. Rousseau, Confessions

Newly imprinted and enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect Coppie.

We shall produce a transcript of their oral proceedings. The playwright’s narrative will be straightforward in the first person, while his alter ego’s will play out as follows:

font key

regular – Hamlet/Scott

regular – Hamlet/Richard

italic – Other Characters (# indicates new speaker)

underline – Prompter’s commentary

bold – video

bold italic – monitor

BOLD ALL CAPS – sound

ALL CAPS – set/costume

Other golfers keep their distance, wary of the solitary voice in the wilderness.

Prologue

Old Man. My earliest theater memories begin with Shakespeare. I was 12 in 1972 for Two Gentlemen of Verona on Broadway as a rock musical.

Prompter. What do you remember about it?

Old Man. The balcony of a large, dark theater. The distant light of the stage. After Two Gentlemen came – in Miss Stroyd’s high school English class – A Midsummer’s Night Dream or Romeo and Juliet or both.

Prompter. What do you remember about them?

Old Man.. They did not embolden me to join the drama club. My peer group did not recognize the drama club.

Prompter. What about Hamlet?

Old Man. Around 1980 I saw the 1948 film with Laurence Olivier.

Prompter. Let’s fast forward.

Old Man. After Shakespeare came –

Prompter. Skip to the love or death scene.

Old Man. Skip decades?

Prompter. It’s 2008. It’s LA. There is a full house for Hamlet –

Old Man. “…re-imagined by mixing and repurposing Richard Burton’s 1964 Broadway production, directed by John Gielgud. The Burton production was recorded in live performance from 17 camera angles and edited into a film that was shown as a special event for only two days in nearly 1,000 movie houses across the U.S. The idea of bringing a live theater experience to thousands of simultaneous viewers in different cities was trumpeted as a new form called ‘Theatrofilm,’ made possible through ‘the miracle of Electronovision.’ The Wooster Group attempts to reverse the process, reconstructing a hypothetical theater piece from the fragmentary evidence of the edited film. We channel the ghost of the legendary 1964 performance, descending into a kind of madness, intentionally replacing our own spirit with the spirit of another.”

Prompter. After becoming a Wooster groupie, you gave up writing plays, right?

Old Man. Yes and no.

1.
Old Man: Expecting Castles, performance, The Burren, Ireland, 1987
Prompter: Hamlet

2.
Old Man: To the Four Courts
Prompter: Hamlet

3.
Old Man: The Dust-Up
Prompter: Hamlet

4.
Old Man: Theft in the Abstract
Prompter: Hamlet

5.
Old Man: The Country House
Prompter: Hamlet

6.
Old Man: The Undertow, performance, San Diego CA, 1996
Prompter: Hamlet

7.
Old Man: This Night We Come A-Souling
Prompter: Hamlet

8.
Old Man: Shareholder Value (auf Deutsch)
Prompter: Hamlet

9.
Old Man: The Unauthorized Autobiography of King Lear
Prompter: Hamlet

10.
Old Man: Play in the Dark, with Suzanne Daniels
Prompter: Hamlet

11.
Old Man: Play in the Dark, performance, San Diego, 2003
Prompter: Hamlet

12.
Old Man: Set in Venice, reading of first version, San Diego, 2005
Prompter: Hamlet

13.
Old Man: Euronevada (Djerassi Resident Artists Program, 2006)
Prompter: Hamlet

14.
Old Man: MFA Material
Prompter: Hamlet

15.
Old Man: No Loitering/No Vagancia
Prompter: Hamlet

16.
Old Man: Kampf um die Sonne/Battle for the Sun
Prompter: Hamlet

17.
Old Man: www.reunion.us/antigone
Prompter: Hamlet

18.
Old Man: Green Producer (Set in Venice)
Prompter: Hamlet

sources
Hamlet, The Wooster Group (dir. Elizabeth LeCompte)
The Collected Playbills of an Anonymous Playwright
The Collected Rejection Letters of an Anonymous Playwright
The Collected Unproduced Plays and Archival Videos of an Anonymous Playwright